"Palestine" is a fiction, a concept that refers to an imaginary entity, not real but socially constructed.
by Phyllis Chesler
Six months ago I published a piece at Israel National News. Two weeks ago it landed at a website “Fundies Say The Darndest Things.” (Perhaps a play on Bill Cosby’s “Kids Say The Dardnest Things?” But he’s no longer much of a role model, is he?) Anyway, I am called out as a “transphobe/wing-nut/racist.” Whatever is a “wing-nut?”
How many times can one say that Islam is not a race, that Muslims exist in all shades of the human rainbow? And in so saying, be castigated as a “racist?” How many times can a radical feminist analysis of the unseemly focus on the transgender phenomenon (to the exclusion of biological women’s special sorrows) be demonized as “transphobic?” How many radical feminists have to be de-platformed, harassed, and death threatened before saner voices speak out?
Anyway: For those who might have missed this piece (or forgotten it altogether) here it is, together with some words from the lower depths of understanding.
Published on November 21, 2018 at Israel National News.
I dare to say, at the risk of being shamed and shunned for telling the truth, that "Palestine" is a fiction, a concept that refers to an imaginary entity, not real but socially constructed.
Even as barbarians terrorize civilians everywhere, (if not, the UK and Australia would have granted Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi asylum), the world remains divinely diverted, even obsessed by the alleged “occupation” of a country that does not exist.
I am talking about “Palestine” aka the disputed territories. And yes, I dare to surround this word with quote marks because it is a fiction, a concept that refers to an imaginary entity, an entity desired by the world, the more so because it is not real but is, rather, socially constructed.
The world’s honor is now bound up with this falsity. And why? Because this is an idea that allows Jew haters the world over to continue their genocidal lust towards Jews, both in Israel and around the world.
Although non-existent, “Palestine” is so sacred a concept that one risks being shamed and shunned for saying so. The world’s honor is now bound up with this falsity. And why? Because this is an idea that allows Jew haters the world over to continue their genocidal lust towards Jews, both in Israel and around the world.
It is the way European Christian and non-Western Muslims can continue their gruesome history of pogroms, massacres, and the industrial-scale slaughter of Jews—and still virtue-signal their compassion for the other Semites: displaced Arab Muslims, a compassion they sadly lack for persecuted Arab and African Christians.
This imaginary Palestine is similar to other imagined and socially constructed realities. For example, Caucasian Rachel Dolezal believed she was an African-American. An increasing number of men believe they are, in truth, women trapped in men’s bodies; as such, they are seen as both victim and hero for embracing this destiny. A smaller number of women believe that they are really men trapped in women’s bodies. They, too, are seen as victim/heroes.
Arab “Palestinian” style Intifada and Jihad has gone global. Antifa activists in America are also face-masked, aggressive, verbally vulgar, and violent. They shout down anything and anyone with which they disagree and operate as a mob both on campuses and at demonstrations. No matter what their real issues are (Wall Street, police anti-Black racism, climate apocalypse, the prison system, women’s rights), “Palestine” is often signaled by the wearing of checkered Arafat-style keffiyehs and Hamas-style face masks.
Often, they also chant “Palestine will be free, from the river to the sea” which is the same as saying “Let’s ethnically cleanse all the Jews, not only those who live in the 'West Bank' but also those in Haifa, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem.” It is a call to genocide which has been misunderstood as a call to righteous resistance.
Renowned scholar, author and human rights advocate Prof. Phyllis Chesler posted the above article last week on Fundies say the Darndest Things and received a slew of insults which we will not post here. Note the hashtags provided: #racist#wingnut#transphobia She commented only: I stand by what I wrote.
One of the talkbackers, however, added these maps and wrote:
I am aware of Israel’s stance that it’s not an occupation strictly speaking, due to the Palestinian territories not being claimed by any sovereign state recognized by Israel as legitimate (like Jordan or Egypt), thus being “just” a disputed area. Regardless of that, just about the entire rest of the world considers the West Bank to be occupied territory, and Israel to be an occupying power with all the obligations that entails. I doubt you’re saying this due to understanding the legal intricacies of the issue and wanting an educated discussion, though. Nah, more likely, you’re just prejudiced and cheering for one side (Israel).
Another reader answered:
The leftmost, 1917 map - what does it show? Palestinian land? Not really… since the territory at that time belonged to the Ottoman Empire. There was no such thing as Palestinian sovereignty.
It doesn’t even show private land, since Palestinian Arabs* at that time did not own all the land - privately or otherwise.
In other words, that map doesn’t show any discernible reality.
The next map, from 1946, shows land privately owned by Jews, in green. What is the yellow land, though? It wasn’t land that was privately owned by Palestinian Arabs. It wasn’t state land, either - the territory of Mandate Palestine was under British management, not Palestinian Arab or Jewish. So how was all of that “Palestinian land”? The king of Jordan handed it out to his friends.
The map compares privately owned Jewish land with… err… all the land, including uninhabited desert areas, that wasn’t owned by Jews? How is this relevant for anything?
That said, I’ll give kudos to the author of the image for mentioning that most of the Jewish-owned land back then was bought perfectly legally. That’s true, and also not something pro-Palestinian people tend to admit or even seem to know.
I have no issues with the next three maps. The only problem is with the very last one and its accompanying text, which are… at best incomplete.
What does it show?
Firstly, the stated year of the map is 2012. The IDF’s Gaza disengagement and the evacuation of Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip took place in 2005. Therefore, that green bit within the Gaza Strip and next to the Egyptian border had not existed for seven years by 2012.
Secondly, the distribution of areas in the West Bank is unexplained. The yellow areas here are a combination of Areas A and B of the West Bank, where the Palestinian Authority has civil control (but full security control only in Area A, and even that not fully since Israeli forces do enter it regularly in order to control terror but do nothing else). The green one is Area C, where Israeli authorities exercise full control and where nearly all of their settlements are. Thus, while perhaps not precise enough, the map does somewhat accurately depict the areas of Israeli or Palestinian civil control. A summary of these finer points should have been given in the accompanying text, though.
The actual text the author included below the image is problematic as well.
Other than not mentioning the year of Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, it also gives almost nothing of the background of the Israeli operation in 2012. Nothing about thousands of Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli civilians, for instance. And while such a small text can’t really do the job, I’d at least try to be a bit more informative (and, of course, avoid possible propaganda by omission).
So, to conclude: I’m sorry, Swede, but your post is a classic example of ignorant but well-meaning people parroting other (potentially malicious) people’s talking points without really considering what they’re about. And don’t get me wrong, pro-Israel propagandists facilitate that as well, not just pro-Palestinian ones.
Such arguments don’t help resolve the conflict at all; they only muddy the waters. Please take a closer look at what you use in the future, lest you become an unwitting pawn in somebody’s propaganda machine.*I use the term “Palestinian Arabs” since ‘Palestinians’ as a term for a nation only became popular and commonly used by the Palestinians themselves in the 1960s. Using it for the previous period isn’t really accurate, but I’ll grant you that using it as a shorthand won’t really cause confusion. Still, I prefer to make the distinction.
I didn't see a difference b/w maps 3 & 4. Might be worth mentioning: while the Israelis conquered all of 'Palestine' plus the Sinai peninsula and the Golan Heights, they returned the Sinai in 1981 and annexed the Golan in 1982. A quick summary of what was stated above: there was no entity called 'Palestine' under either of the Islamic reign that the region was under - be it Ottoman Turkish or the myriad Arab sultanates before that. That region was always described by the Arabs as 'ash-Sham' - variously translated as meaning either the Levant, or Syria. Essentially, the entire region west of the Euphrates was known as ash-Sham, and the capital of that region was Damascus. In short, if Israel is illegitimate, so are Jordan and Lebanon, and the entire region west of the Euphrates should be run from Damascus, if history is their argument. Of course, the (Sunni) Arabs of all these places - Israel, 'West Bank', Jordan, Lebanon - would hate to be ruled by an Alawite regime of Assad, which is what the Syrian civil war was all about. But if they're not willing to go back to that time, they have no business asking Israel to take back all the Muslims who voluntarily left the area anytime
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