The charge heard most against Israel is some version of “Israel is a colonial power occupying the land of others.”
Those are code words. Use them and instantly sympathy is garnered for the underdog. In the case of Israel, the Palestinian-Arabs are the presumed victims, a persecuted minority oppressed by imperialist Israel. Indeed, Israel is labeled a white, Western, colonial power occupying and enslaving the indigenous Palestinians. That’s the situation today.
But what if that’s not the case?
What if historical truth is the opposite of popular belief?
“Every element of this is demonstrably false,” writes Melanie Phillips, the provocative British columnist for The Times (UK), who makes her home in Israel (melaniephillips.com, September 14, 2018). “Israel is neither predominantly white nor Western. More than three-quarters of its population, Jews as well as Arabs, are brown-skinned and originally hailed from the Middle East.”
Exploding the myths of contemporary revisionist history, she writes: “Crucially, the Jews are the only extant indigenous people of the land which today comprises Israel, the ‘West Bank’ and Gaza. The Arabs merely formed one of the many waves of conquerors, including Romans, Persians, Greeks, Christians and Turks, who first drove out the Jews and then colonized their rightful and historic home.
“It is therefore not the Jews who are colonizing, and thus enslaving or oppressing, anyone at all. It is the ‘Palestinians’ who are would-be colonizers threatening again to dispossess the indigenous Jewish people of the land.
“So Israel and its defenders should talk routinely about ‘Palestinians’ as colonialists.”
She argues that words have been turned against Israel and need to be reclaimed and restored to their true meaning:
• “The ‘occupation’ of the disputed territories should be replaced with ‘liberation,’” she declares. We agree fully. In the past 40 years, we have written numerous times about the false term “occupation,” and have often used “liberation” instead.
• Mrs. Phillips dislikes the term “peace process,” preferring the more accurate term, “appeasement process,” because there hasn’t been a hint of peace in decades despite Israel’s many sacrifices as attempts to achieve it.
• She has no sympathy for Hamas, the terrorist organization ruling in Gaza: “Because of its lethal attacks against Israeli civilians, as well as the abuse of their own civilians as human shields, Hamas should routinely be termed ‘Palestinian war criminals.’”
• What about Mahmoud Abbas, the self-declared head of the Palestinian Authority? “Mahmoud Abbas should always be tagged not just as a ‘Holocaust denier’ because of his infamous doctoral thesis. On account of his continued hero-worship of Haj Amin al-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem who was Hitler’s chief ally in the Middle East and planned to exterminate the Jews of the entire region in Auschwitz-style crematoria, Abbas should be described as a ‘neo-Nazi sympathizer.’”
This is not merely a matter of manipulating words. Phillips is emphatic: “Some may say [I am merely hijacking] the language in the opposite direction. Not so. This is using it to express truths backed by evidence rather than lies. To claim the Israelis are Nazis is an obscene lie; but Abbas really is a sympathizer with the would-be leader of the Nazi extermination program in the Middle East.
“And truth and evidence cannot ever be said to be hijacking the language.”