By William Markiewicz

The main interest of Josef Farah's article "Myths of the Middle East" (WorldNetDaily.com) lies in the fact that the author is an American Christian Arab journalist who voices Zionist arguments. Here I quote excerpts for those who are not familiar with the topic:
"The truth is that Palestine is no more real than Never-Never Land. The first time the name was used was in 70 A.D. when the Romans committed genocide against the Jews, smashed the Temple and declared the land of Israel would be no more. From then on, the Romans promised, it would be known as Palestine. The name was derived from the Philistines, a Goliathian people conquered by the Jews centuries earlier. It was a way for the Romans to add insult to injury. They also tried to change the name of Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina, but that had even less staying power.

Palestine has never existed -- before or since -- as an autonomous entity. It was ruled alternately by Rome, by Islamic and Christian crusaders, by the Ottoman Empire and, briefly, by the British after World War I. The British agreed to restore at least part of the land to the Jewish people as their homeland. There is no language known as Palestinian. There is no distinct Palestinian culture. There has never been a land known as Palestine governed by Palestinians. Palestinians are Arabs, indistinguishable from Jordanians (another recent invention), Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis, etc. Keep in mind that the Arabs control 99.9 percent of the Middle East lands. Israel represents one-tenth of 1 percent of the landmass. But that's too much for the Arabs. They want it all. And that is ultimately what the fighting in Israel is about today. Greed. Pride. Envy. Covetousness. No matter how many land concessions the Israelis make, it will never be enough."
"I know what you're going to say: "Farah, the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem represent Islam's third most holy sites." Not true. In fact, the Koran says nothing about Jerusalem. It mentions Mecca hundreds of times. It mentions Medina countless times. It never mentions Jerusalem. With good reason. There is no historical evidence to suggest Mohammed ever visited Jerusalem."

All his arguments may be true, but I believe that in this debate we should be careful not to lose sight of the main problem: historical, religious and cultural arguments belong to scholars, not to the populations at large. Today people are not rewarded by gaining their freedom through what they represent historically -- their physical existence is sufficient reason to be free. In democracy, the ordinary man alive has more rights than a dead saint or genius. Today, the most primitive populations without written History gain independence and rightly so; imperialism corrupts the oppressor as much as the oppressed. One of the most blatant examples of oppression in our times is the Kurds' situation. The Kurds have their language and their culture. I don't know how rich their political history is but it doesn't really matter; if freedom is denied them, it has nothing to do with any philosophical considerations but is due to their neighbours' imperialism and the world's indifference which amounts to complicity. Thirty million people whose freedom is denied is a disgrace.

The fabric of History was mostly woven in violence and the stronger has always enslaved or chased away the weaker. All nations that built states and empires at their beginning have been tribes chased from somewhere by intruders. The Jews were not only exiled wanderers, but built their own statehoods in Yemen, Ethiopia, apparently in Catalonia before the Moorish invasion, in Khasaria... Probably for mainly religious reasons, those Jewish states didn't last, and because of their weakness the Jews, like the Gypsies, were constantly victimized.

How did Zionism realize its dream? Sixty years ago the Jews had an unequalled tragedy and a unique historical opportunity to resurrect statehood after two thousand years. Let's not forget that after WWI, many politicians were against resurrecting Poland because it had not been a political entity for 150 years. One hundred and fifty years was too long for them! Today such a return and resurrection would be denied to the Jews; the ashes are dispersed and the memories burned out. Therefore the Israelis must be extremely cautious not to lose this unique opportunity. Miracles don't happen twice.

Back to the index of the Vagabond
© Copyright 2000 E-mail to: William Markiewicz