By Ahmad Amr
I bet you’ve never heard of anti-Palestinism? In Israel and the United States, defaming and delegitimizing the Palestinians is a national sport; but have you ever heard anybody complain about it? Why didn’t Americans get worked up when 1,400 Palestinians were incinerated with Israeli phosphorous bombs? Why did the murder of 300 children in last year’s assault not touch a nerve? Why did it take three long years and the slaughter of eight Turks and a Turkish-American citizen to notice that Israel has incarcerated 1.5 million Palestinians in a concentration camp?
What if you were Palestinian shell shocked by decades of the world’s collective indifference? What would you tell your children? Is there any way to explain to a child why his people were ethnically cleansed to make room for a State as Jewish as England is English?
Why do pundits and politicians in the West get away with denying that the Palestinians are the indigenous people of the Holy Land? Why do we allow Israelis and their supporters to denigrate the historic rights of the Palestinians to live in the only homeland they’ve ever known? How is it that we don’t notice that, even today, half the population of historic Palestine is of native stock?
Why do the treasonous intellectuals of the West routinely allow Zionists to unabashedly declare their ‘right’ to settle in the Holy Land? Are they really that ignorant of the ethnic cleansing that dispossessed the Palestinians in 1948 or have they been afflicted by the epidemic of anti-Palisitinism? With or without a state, should we accord the Palestinians the right to exist and what kind of existence are they entitled to?
It’s one thing to talk about the facts on the ground and despair at the remote possibilities of a just solution for Palestinian problem. Because we all know what it would take to accord Palestinians the full spectrum of rights that we all take for granted. We all have the right to leave and return to the places where we were born – to the sacred land where our forefathers are buried. But if the Palestinians make legitimate claims to exercise that most basic of rights, they are accused of denying the right of Israel to exist.
Simply put, if international law applied to Palestinians, we would have to restore their rights to live anywhere in their ancestral homeland. But that’s not in the cards – because they’re nothing more than Palestinians and anti-Palestinism is the law of the land. If we were of a mind to accord them their legitimate rights, we would be obliged to issue every Palestinian refugee a visa to return to the Holy Land and we all know where that might lead – a country where immigrant European Jews and their descendents would be ‘deprived’ of an exclusive Jewish state.
Heaven forbid we should even attempt to persuade Israeli Jews to grant equal rights to the indigenous population. See, that would be considered anti-Zionism which is now deemed indistinguishable from anti-Semitism. The whole notion that there ever was an indigenous population in the Holy Land is a taboo subject. When it comes to the Palestinians, we cast reason aside and conveniently forget history, demographics and DNA. Who died and gave the Israelis and their dispensationalist Armageddon worshiping allies a license to make the absurd claim that Ethiopian and Moldavian Jews are the original natives of Palestine. Who issued the Israeli Lobbyists a pass to substitute their scripture for international law? Who says Jews are chosen and the Palestinians are not. And tell me again; if you’re not chosen, I imagine that means you’re cursed. How derogatory is that?
If you probe Zionist theology, you’ll see the logic behind the core Zionist argument. Palestinian Christians and Muslims deserved to be ethnically cleansed because they abandoned the ‘right’ religious traditions. Think about that because it’s a real simple concept to digest. If the Zionists had shown up on the shores of Palestine and found the natives still practicing Judaism, they wouldn’t have evicted them from their homes or expropriated their lands. Every Palestinian understands that. They also understand that if they had obliged the Zionists and converted to Judaism, they might have been spared an eviction notice and all the carnage that has plagued them for two generations. You want to know the original sins of the Palestinians – some of them put their faith in Jesus and gave up Judaism for Orthodox Christianity and others went a step further and embraced Islam. Had they stuck to their ancient Jewish traditions, they would never have tasted the bitter fruit of exile and dispossession.
Today, we have six million nuclear armed Zionists in full control of the entire historical boundaries of Palestine and another six million Palestinian natives living under the military rule of a Jewish supremacist state. Even in ‘Israel proper’, 20% of the citizens are descendents of the indigenous people of the Holy Land. Just to give you a perspective, at the height of the civil rights movement, only 12% of Americans were of African descent. I challenge anybody to compare the worst excesses of the segregationist south to the draconian laws that apply to Palestinians living under military occupation.
The toll in the 1972 Bloody Sunday massacre in Northern Ireland was 13. Last week, the British finally got around to apologizing for that crime but will they ever get around to making amends for the Balfour Declaration? Even the racist Apartheid regime in South Africa didn’t kill the way Israel kills. In 1976, five hundred Africans were slaughtered in the Soweto uprising. Not that the world paid much attention to the carnage – but compare that figure to the 1,400 civilians who were slaughtered in Gaza last year. Does the State Department keep a tally of how many Palestinians have been butchered since the Zionists came to build a ‘Jewish homeland’ on their native soil?
Did the Palestinians deserve what happened to them? If they had been left unmolested by the British and the Zionists, what kind of country would they have now? That’s what the world looks like from Palestinian eyes? Why us and why doesn’t anybody care? They’ve stolen our homeland – can’t the Israelis at least leave us with the memories of what was and what could have been? Before they set their covetous eyes on our towns and villages in the West Bank, can’t they take a deep breath, hang their head in shame and step back to the land they’ve already vanquished?
Why are the Israelis given a carte blanche to falsify history? Why is Nakba denial not considered beyond the pale? Indeed, why is the ‘Nakba’ not part of our daily vocabulary?
Why was Joseph Biden not taken to task when he publicly avowed his allegiance to Zionist ideology? Where was the public outcry? Why didn’t anybody call for his immediate resignation? What exactly did the Vice President of the United States mean to say? Those words have a very clear meaning – they are an expression of the vilest form of anti-Palestinism? When somebody utters them – every Palestinian understands their meaning? It means that Palestine never had a right to exist – that it was a disposable country that deserved to be eradicated off the face of the earth. I know Joseph Biden is a bigot for uttering those words; the problem is he doesn’t. Worst still, he feels righteous in saying them – as righteous as any true blue segregationist who applauded Jim Crow laws – as righteous as any Nazi German who believed that European Jews deserved to be incinerated – as righteous as any Zionist who believes the Palestinians should be ethnically cleansed to make room for Eretz Israel.
The thing about Zionists who openly spew their anti-Palestinism is not their support of the right of Israel to exist but their subscription to the obscene notion that Palestinians deserved to lose their homeland. In formulating a resolution of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, it is one thing to accommodate current demographic and political realities and quite another to say that Israel had the right to come into existence over the carcass of Palestine. We can acknowledge and deal with the end result of the nauseating refuse of Israeli history without justifying the cruelty inflicted on the Palestinians. Tribes have eradicated tribes for centuries. But last I checked, this is the 21st Century. What might have been considered acceptable conduct at the peak of the European colonialism should not be condoned today. We’ve dealt with segregationist southerners and the radical Apartheid regime and we can work a humane resolution to the plight of the indigenous people of the Holy Land without cheering Zionist racists or denigrating their Palestinian victims.
Anti-Palestinism deprives us of the moral clarity that is essential to a resolution of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. We need to start recognizing anti-Palestinism for what it is – hate speech. That day will come when every pundit and every politician will rue the day they public flaunted their anti-Palestinism. Make no mistake, in the not so distant future, bigots like Joseph Biden will be obliged to eat their words and apologize for their blatant espousal of ethnic cleansing. When anti-Palestinism becomes a crime, Biden is the first person the Palestinians should sue.
– Ahmed Amr is an Arab-American. He is the former editor of NileMedia.com and the author of “The Sheep and the Guardians – Diary of a SEC Sanctioned Swindle.” He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.