Considering the scope of human history, we are still in the wake of World War II.
Prior to World War II concepts of race were considered a matter of course. After a mere 60 million people lost their lives, however, we began to rethink the notion.
Today there is no person considered more despicable, outside of the murderer or rapist, than the racist.
Notions of race have done more harm to humanity in recent centuries than almost any other rotten notion that I can think of.
However, I want to talk a little bit about “race” and how it applies to the Palestinian-Arabs.
In my recent piece for the Elder entitled, A few thoughts for the pro-Israel Left a commenter named “minskee” said this:
Too often do I hear arguments denying Palestinians the right to call themselves Palestinian or that all the Palestinians left under their own will. The facts are contrary to both. Hell if a group of people want to call themselves Martians then what’s the difference.
Some of you guys will be familiar with this exchange which received a considerable back-and-forth around the concept of the “Palestinians” as a distinct people.
I want to emphasize a number of things on this matter.
The first is that “Palestinian” does not represent a race, because races do not exist.
“Jewish,” of course, is not a race, either.
The difference is that over the course of thousands of years the Jewish people emerged as a distinct group with a distinct language, distinct customs and traditions, a distinct religion, and distinct ways of being (ontology) and ways of knowing (epistemology).
The Jews are a distinct people and have been since the earliest of recorded history. Only the Chinese – perhaps the Japanese? – and the peoples of the Indian sub-continent rival the Jews in terms of longevity as a distinct people.
The “Palestinians,” needless to say, showed up around a Quarter Past Last Tuesday and did so for the specific purpose of challenging the rights of the Jewish people to our tiny bit of land.
They could only do so, obviously, because we are a small and maligned minority.
Their aggression against us is a part of the much larger racist Arab effort to stomp on the Jewish people for religious reasons.
The fact that I put the word “Palestinian” in quotes is enough for many people, particularly on the Left, to label me “racist.” They have ideology on their side, but I have history on mine and I will take history over ideology any day.
History says that for thirteen hundred years all non-Muslims, including Christians and Jews, were non-citizens under the boot of Arab-Muslim imperial rule within the Middle East. For fourteen hundred years, any non-Muslim outside of the State of Israel, continues to be so.
History also tells us that Palestinian-Arab national identity is brand-spanking new.
Even Rashid Khalidi acknowledges the youthfulness of “Palestinian” national identity. He finds its roots toward the latter part of the nineteenth-century, but no one denies that the great majority of Arabs who live in Israel only began to consider themselves “Palestinian” toward the latter third of the twentieth-century, with the encouragement of the PLO and the Soviet Union.
This being the case, I do not see why Jewish people are under any ethical obligation to acknowledge a distinct people who only came into being as a distinct people to rob Jewish people of our homeland.
It makes no sense.
The Jews have lived in that part of the world for something approaching four thousand years.
We are under no moral obligation, despite our small numbers, to bow our heads to a people who came into being for the specific purpose of robbing us of self-determination and self-defense and it is not “racist” to say so.
We should be saying so loudly and often.
Furthermore, not only is “Palestinian” not a race, it is not even an ethnicity. The very name “Palestine” was a Roman attempt to erase Jewish history on Jewish land by naming that land after the old enemies of the Jewish people, the Philistines, during the reign of Hadrian after the Bar-Kochba rebellion.
Prior to 1948, when someone used the word “Palestinian” they generally meant the Jews who lived within British Mandated Palestine, but given the fact that “Palestine” was a region not associated with a specific ethnicity anyone who lived there was a “Palestinian.”
Just as anyone who lives in California, despite ethnicity, is a “Californian,” so anyone who lived in pre-Israel Palestine was a “Palestinian.”
It was only after the Jews re-established our old name for the Jewish people, Israel, did the local Arabs start referring to themselves as “Palestinian” and did so for the sole express purpose of driving the Jews out of ancient Jewish land.
We have no need to respect this and, in fact, by respecting it we give non-Jews every reason to believe that this set of Arabs represents a natural people-hood with rights to what is the national homeland of the Jewish people.
We will never win this fight through negotiation and compromise, because the other side is not the least bit interested in negotiation and compromise.
We can only win it through standing up for ourselves.
First posted at Israel Thrives.