By Ahmed Amr
You can’t make this stuff up. It was a Monday, the first day of spring in 2010, a time usually reserved for a little fresh air. Alas, the Prime Minister of Israel was dispensing noxious fumes in a speech to AIPAC, the pro-Israeli lobbying conglomerate that is considered the single most effective arm-twisting organization in Washington. Did I forget to mention the Prime Minister’s name? It’s Benjamin Netanyahu. The significance of that factoid will become apparent as we move along.
Here’s part of what Netanyahu had to say to the AIPAC faithful and the drooling congressmen and senators who came to pay homage to the prince of Israel. “The attempt by many to describe the Jews as foreign colonialists in their own homeland is one of the great lies of modern times. In my office, I have on display a signet ring that was loaned to me by Israel's Department of Antiquities. The ring was found next to the Western wall, but it dates back some 2,800 years ago, two hundred years after King David turned Jerusalem into our capital city. The ring is a seal of a Jewish official, and inscribed on it in Hebrew is his name: Netanyahu. His name was Netanyahu Ben-Yoash. My first name, Benjamin, dates back 1,000 years earlier to Benjamin, the son of Jacob. One of Benjamin's brothers was named Shimon, which also happens to be the first name of my good friend, Shimon Peres, the President of Israel. Nearly 4,000 years ago, Benjamin, Shimon and their ten brothers roamed the hills of Judea. Ladies and Gentlemen, the connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel cannot be denied. The connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem cannot be denied. The Jewish people were building Jerusalem 3,000 year ago and the Jewish people are building Jerusalem today. Jerusalem is not a settlement. It is our capital.”
There you have it folks. If your name is Benjamin Netanyahu, what more justification do you need to expropriate land from the native Palestinians? What’s all this fuss about international law and the indigenous rights of the native inhabitants of Palestine? When will the Palestinians stop ranting about their bonds to the land of their ancestors?
What the Israeli bashers don’t seem to grasp is that Israel’s Prime Minister is named Benjamin and Israel’s president is named Shimon. Not only that, Benjamin has a very old ring that he found in a pawn shop next to the Western Wall. And here’s the kicker, it was the seal of a Jewish official who used to work for the East Jerusalem Water Company 2,800 years ago and, you won’t believe this, his name was also Netanyahu. An interesting factoid that the Prime Minister omitted from his speech is that this very same ancient Jewish official took early retirement and opened a falafel stand to supplement his pension. That’s why the ancient name of Netanyahu is still legend in the Holy Land.
Now apparently some people can’t handle the facts - especially Palestinian people. But the rest of the world knows the indisputable truth - Jacob had a dozen kids and one of them was named Benjamin and another one was named Shimon. I can’t remember the name of the other ten - but it doesn’t really matter because they used to play together in a nursery in the Judean hills and they graduated with honors in roaming. That’s what they did in nurseries back in Ye Olde Holy Land - they made the kids roam.
If Palestinians had a lick of sense, they would at least have had the vision to name their kids Shimon or Benjamin or Avraham. With names like Simon, Michael, Ahmed and Ibrahim, how can they possibly make audacious claims to their ‘right’ to remain on their ancestral lands? I bet none of them have rings like Netanyahu? Every time you talk to one of these Palestinian agitators - all they can come up with is the keys to their homes and land deeds going back hundreds of years? If they were serious about peace, they’d start shopping around for seals at pawn shops. But you know the Palestinians - they never miss a chance to buy a ring and they have a stubborn militant streak about what to call their little darlings.
There is only one little problem with Netanyahu’s rationale. Benjamin’s father, Ben-Zion Netanyahu, used to have a different name. Before Bibi’s daddy immigrated to Palestine from Lithuania, the family name was Milikovsky. See, this is where I get a little bit confused. Wouldn’t the Prime Minister have a better claim for encroaching on Palestinian land if he found a 2,800 year old ring from an ancient Jewish official named Milikovsky?
To his credit, Benjamin Milikovsky (aka Bibi Netanyahu) is a chip off the old block. His father, the senior Milikovsky, was considered a right wing radical even by Menachem Begin. He famously said "The two states solution doesn't exist. There are no two people here. There is a Jewish people and an Arab population. There are no Palestinian people. So you don't create a nation for an imaginary people. They only call themselves a people to fight the Jews."
See, the ten million imaginary Palestinians will stop at nothing. They insist on calling themselves a people. What kind of indistinguishable peace loving ‘population’ would do a thing like that? You’re obviously spoiling for a fight if you start calling yourself a people. Would it kill them to name their kids Benjamin or Shimon? Zionist colonial settlers, like Bibi Milikovsky’s Lithuanian daddy, had the sense to change their family names. In the name of peace, why can’t the Palestinians do the same?
As a sign of their commitment to a peaceful two state solution, the United States must insist that the Palestinians rename their children and dig up some old rings. A good place to start is near that shish kebab stall that stood by the Western Wall 2,800 years ago. Just ask Bibi Milikovsky for a treasure hunting map.
Of course, an alternative solution is for Netanyahu to reclaim his Lithuanian heritage and start addressing us as Bibi Milikovsky - son of a Zionist colonial settler. That might make him a little more flexible on Jerusalem.
This name thing is all so very confusing. I think somebody is messing with my head and trying to propagate one of the ‘great lies of modern times.’ You know the one about how a Milikovsky who becomes a Netanyahu gets to strut around like he’s a native of the Holy Land and brag about how his ancestors built Jerusalem.
- Ahmed Amr is an Arab-American commentator and the former editor of NileMedia.com. He is the Author of “The Sheep and the Guardians - Diary of a SEC Sanctioned Swindle.” He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.