Friday, February 2, 2024

Understanding Today's Mideast Through the Lens of the Bravery of the Jews and the Brutality of the Arabs During Israel's War of Independence

There is a false, multi-layered narrative asserting that Israel was founded by white Jewish colonists who displaced native peoples of color and destroyed an Arab nation called "Palestine" (sic). I refuted those notions in Who Are the Invaders, and Who are the Invaded? An Analysis of Inversions of Truth:

In a world where so many dangerous delusions are presented as important facts, it is refreshing to catch a glimpse of truth emerging from the darkness. In How the true story of Mizrahi Jews defeats anti-Zionist mythology, James Sinkinson writes:

What most anti-Zionists miss is that despite the perception that resettling Israel was largely (though not completely) an Ashkenazi initiative, the majority of today's Israelis are ancestors of refugees from the Middle East and Africa. Most are brown-, black- or olive-skinned—not what anyone could describe as white—and as a group are called Mizrahi (Eastern) Jews...

While for millennia Jews lived with unbroken continuity in the land of Israel, many Jews also lived in neighboring countries, predating the birth of Islam and the Arab conquest, occupation and colonization of the region. While many think of the region today as "Arab," places like Morocco, Syria and Egypt were invaded 1,300 years ago by Muslims, and their indigenous populations killed or forced to convert and adopt the Arabic language and culture.

In Iraq, for example, Jews had lived for almost 2,500 years—since the destruction of Jewish sovereignty in the First Temple period—but all this ended just a couple of generations ago with an orgy of bloody pogroms and public hangings.

Few indigenous populations survived the centuries of onslaught on their authentic identity, and simply disappeared. Despite having second-class, dhimmi status imposed on them by Muslim rulers, Jews refused to relinquish their culture and tradition. They were made subservient to the majoritarian Muslims, who had arrived via invasion and colonization.

This history of conquest, occupation and colonization is one many anti-Zionists would like to hide, since it turns every popular Middle East narrative on its head. Today, strong forces and lobbies ensure that anything exposing Muslim colonial history is censored.

Far too few people know the real history, and far too many people refuse to read/listen/learn. In addition to the points that Sinkinson makes, it is worth thinking about why the United Nations created a separate organization (United Nations Relief and Works Agency--UNRWA) to deal with the "Palestinian" refugees but every single other refugee situation in the world--which includes the fates of tens of millions of refugees--falls under the domain of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). It is also worth thinking about why there is no UN agency to help the hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees who were expelled from Arab/Islamic countries in the late 1940s.

Much has been said and written about the "Palestinian" nation and about "Palestinian " rights. I agree with anyone who fights for the basic human rights of every single human being, but I have some questions about Palestine as a nation. When did a sovereign country named "Palestine" exist? What was its capital, and what were its borders? What distinct, unique language was spoken there? Such questions arouse outrage and venom from some people, but I have yet to hear or see any answers--and there is a simple reason for that: it is a demonstrable historical fact that no such sovereign country ever existed.

The Jewish people's successful struggle for independence against British colonists and the armies of multiple Arab/Muslim nations is the greatest story that is never (or at least rarely) told accurately in its full glory. What other nation has preserved its identity, language, and culture despite suffering a two millennia exile? When nationalism emerged in the 1800s, the Land of Israel was largely barren and sparsely inhabited. The native Jewish community--bolstered by their Jewish brethren fleeing persecution in various countries--lovingly made the desert bloom, and displayed remarkable tenacity despite facing overwhelming military and political opposition. 

No one gave the Jewish people a state: the Jewish people built a state, and for more than 75 years the Jewish people have tenaciously fought to keep that state.

"A Bravery Fiercer Than Death: The 35 Heroes of Gush Etzion" provides eyewitness accounts of the 35 Jewish soldiers massacred by Arabs while trying to provide supplies to the besieged Etzion Bloc communities during Israel's War of Independence:


There are several striking aspects of the Gush Etzion story, beyond the bravery of the young Jewish soldiers:

1) The descriptions of the barbarities committed to the Jewish bodies by the Arabs (which can be heard at around the 13 minute mark of the video) should not be surprising to anyone who has studied history, and they underline the reality that what Hamas did during the October 7, 2023 mass casualty terrorist attack is neither isolated from Arab/Muslim history nor in any way a response to anything that Israel ever did; rather, it reflects the barbarism at the heart of radical Islam. The sad reality is that radical Islam enjoys wide support in the Arab/Muslim world; as one of the veterans of Israel's War of Independence stated during the movie, "We understood the reality of our situation. We understood what we could expect, if they were to defeat us." What they could expect was torture, murder, and desecration of murdered bodies, which is what Hamas did on October 7, 2023 and has publicly pledged to do "again and again and again."

2) As noted early in the movie, Jewish individuals and organizations legally purchased the land. There was no colonization, no depopulation, and no deportation. The only thing more stunning and disheartening than the Arab attitude that the entire Mideast from Morocco to Pakistan should be free of any Jews is the world willfully ignoring this grotesque antisemitism. Why did the Arabs seek to massacre Jews living peacefully in Gush Etzion (and the rest of the Land of Israel)? Regardless of who would ultimately have sovereignty over the area, why did the Arabs feel compelled to try to kill every Jew there? That same antisemitic attitude persists today; the Arabs not only demand that Israel give up land, but that Israel render that land Judenrein. How can one make peace with an enemy who is not willing to live side by side together?

If it is that important for the Arabs/Muslims west of the Jordan River to live in Judenrein lands, then they have over 20 Arab/Muslim countries from which to choose, but they have no legal or moral right to demand that a single Jew leave the ancestral Jewish homeland. That is (or should be) a non-negotiable principle.

3) The deep love of the Jewish people for the Land of Israel is very moving. The Jewish people dreamed of Zion for 2000 years, fought so hard to keep Gush Etzion in 1947-48, and spent 19 more years longing for Gush Etzion until finally liberating the area during the Six Day War. 

4) I have thought a lot about Zionism and the Mideast for a long time, and one thought has increasingly become prominent: what Israel's enemies misunderstand the most is at the heart of their false narrative about colonization, namely their assertion that Israeli Jews are European outsiders who should "go back home." The Jewish people in Israel are home. The Jewish people in Israel are not the Romans, the Turks, the British, or any other foreign colonizers of the Land of Israel.

I don't know how much Israel's enemies believe the lies that they tell, but if they believe that violence will drive Jews out of Israel then they are gravely mistaken. Within the Jewish community, it is understood that the Zionist response to terrorism is to plant another tree and to build (or rebuild) a community. Jewish kindness should not be mistaken for weakness: the Jewish people's enemies may love death more than the Jewish people love life, but the Jewish people's strength is love of life and love of the Land of Israel, and it is that love that will triumph over the lust for death.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All contents Copyright (c) 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 David Friedman. All rights reserved.