Yerushalayim, Jerusalem, or al-Quds?

An excellent piece re-cycled from Oct 18, 2013.

In a recent comment by Pam at Mufti of Jerusalem Screeches for Jewish Blood as Jewish “Progressives” Lie Down and Die , wrote:

And by the way Mike, I totally agree we should not refer to Judaea and Samaria by its Jordanian name change to West Bank. If we acquiesce in our enemy’s de-Judaization, we may as well start calling Jerusalem Al Quds.

Well, maybe we should call Yerushalayim “al-Quds.”  Why not?  Western liberal Jews have so capitulated to the “Palestinian narrative” that they think within terms created by the enemies of Israel.  That is, most western liberal Jews have, over the years, adopted the language that the enemies of the Jewish people use to describe the alleged atrocity which is the existence of the Jewish state..

This is what I refer to as the Palestinian Colonization of the Jewish Mind.  It is the unconscious embrace of terminology developed by the enemies of the Jewish people that suggests Jewish guilt and aggression in stark contrast to supposed “Palestinian” innocence and victim-hood.

Instead of talking about Judaea and Samaria, we talk about the “West Bank” which is a Jordanian term that erases Jewish history on Jewish land.  For 3,500 years Judaea and Samaria was the heartland of the Jewish people.  No other people in the world has ever had a country comprised of that land but the Jews.  And, yet, with a mere conceptual switch provided by Amman we turn off the lights.  It’s both terrible and pathetic.  We sell-out our own posterity in order to maintain Politically Correct anti-Israel terminology and sensibilities developed by those who are hostile towards us.

We talk about the “Occupation,” sometimes with a capital “O” which stresses the idea that a Jewish presence on Jewish land represents not only an atrocity, not only a military occupation, but the foremost, singular military occupation on the planet. Thus the capital “O.”  It is as if western liberal Jews who use such terminology believe that the alleged “Occupation” of the “West Bank” represents the uber-Occupation or the Original Occupation or the Archetypal Occupation.

Whatever else that capital “O” might mean, it means the Jews are guilty as hell and are trying to defend that which is indefensible.  Any pro-Israel Jew who speaks of Occupation is doing the Jewish people a terrible disservice because not only is such terminology inaccurate in ways both historical and contemporary, but such language condemns the Jewish people of the Middle East, and those of us who support them, as aggressors.  It doesn’t matter how much any one of us may care about our fellow Jews, or care about Israel, if we speak of Occupation than we’ve already admitted Jewish guilt and wrong-doing and thereby open the door for anti-Zionists and the BDS racists to defame us.

This, needless to say, has the further effect of contaminating potential allies and friends throughout the western world who might otherwise be more sympathetic to the plight of the Jewish minority in the Middle East and it has the effect of neutralizing pro-Israel advocacy.  If even pro-Israel Jews honestly think that Israel is a racist, imperial, colonial, aggressor-state that is Occupying the “Palestinians” then why should any decent non-Jewish Americans, or Europeans, or Australians have any sympathy whatsoever for those Jewish criminals Occupying an indigenous people?

For 3,500 years our ancestors referred to Judaea and Samaria as Judaea and Samaria, with variants depending upon regional linguistic preferences.

Furthermore, western liberal Jews – and, once again, I am a western liberal Jew – very often speak with hatred in their hearts concerning their fellow Jews who happen to live in Judaea and Samaria.  These people are the much despised “settlers” and somehow the word “settler” has come to mean illegitimate, bad, and wrong.  In the way that we discuss such things, Arabs have villages while Jews have settlements.  Villages are nice, human things wherein indigenous people go about their daily lives, whereas “settlements” are viewed as an imperial encroachment upon those villages and upon the innocent indigenous population who reside there and have done so since Time Immemorial.

We also tend to refer not to the “Arab-Israel” conflict, but to the “Israel-Palestine” conflict.  When we use the latter terminology we’ve lost the debate before the conversation has even begun in the eyes of very many non-Jewish western liberals.  After all, if it is an Arab-Israel conflict this means that it is a conflict between the tiny, historically persecuted, Jewish minority in the Middle East versus the much, much larger hostile Arab-Muslim majority.  Using the term “Arab-Israel” also allows us to place the conflict within the larger historical context of Jewish history under Arab-Muslim imperial rule since the fall of Yerushalayim to Mr. Muhammed’s armies in 637 CE

Instead, most progressive-left western Jews refer to the Israel-Palestine conflict which is something else entirely.  By designating the conflict under these terms we change the entire dynamic of the discussion in a manner that puts the Jewish minority back on their heals.  If it is an Israel-Palestine conflict it suggests that a Jewish majority is in conflict with a much weaker “Palestinian” minority and this will incline very many well-meaning western liberals to automatically side with who they see as the underdog.  Furthermore, using the term Israel-Palestine entrenches the post-colonial view that the Jewish State of Israel is a foreign implant upon indigenous “Palestine.”

It goes even further than that, however.  When we speak of Israel-Palestine it implies that there was at some time a sovereign country known as Palestine and that the “Palestinians” are a separate and distinct ethnicity from other regional Arabs who are engaged in a movement for national liberation, which is something that most westerners would be sympathetic towards.

In these ways, and many others, the language that we use to discuss the conflict predetermines the outcome of the debate and when we use the language that was developed by the enemies of the Jewish people than we might as well hand over the keys of al-Quds to the Waqf and be done with it.

There is a way out of this rhetorical dilemma that well-meaning western Jews have strapped us with.

It’s called an appreciation of history.

What we need to do is expand our understanding of the historical time-line of the conflict, as well as our understanding of the actually physical space wherein the conflict is taking place. The ongoing Arab-Muslim war against the Jews of the Middle East did not begin in 1967, nor in 1948.  Arab-Muslim hostility toward the Jewish minority in the Middle East has been continuous since the Jews of the Arabian peninsula refused Mr. Muhammed’s offer to capitulate to the religion that he invented.

From that day to this there has been endless, Koranically-based, Arab hostility toward the Jews on Jewish land that Mr. Muhammed’s armies conquered in 637.  The Arab-Muslim conquerors forced the Jews, and the Christians, into second and third class citizenship under the boot of Arab imperial rule within the dominating system known as dhimmitude and once we freed ourselves from that oppression, they launched a war against us that continues to this day.

That is the rightful context of this discussion, both historically and contemporarily.

Also, of course, it is not about Israelis versus “Palestinians,” but Jews versus the larger, intensely anti-Jewish Arab world around them.  It’s not Jerusalem (or Yerushalayim) versus Ramallah, but Jerusalem versus Ramallah and Cairo and Beirut and Riyadh and Tehran and Tripoli and Doha and Algiers and Manama and N’Djamena and Moroni and Djibouti and Asmara and Rabat and Tunis and Damascus and Mogadishu and Khartoum and Abu Dhabi and Sana’a and even that is not the full extent of it.

The conflict is an Arab and Muslim religious aggression against the Jews that has been ongoing for 14 centuries and in this aggression it is the Jewish minority which is the victim of the much larger conquering population.

Until such a time as western liberal Jews grasp the extent, in time and place, of this conflict, and until we stop using the language of the majoritarian aggressors to describe the persecution of the Jews, we can expect little sympathy from the western world.

Why should they sympathize with the Jews or the Jewish state when we fail to even sympathize with ourselves?

So, yes, we might as well call Jerusalem “al-Quds” and then maybe the Jews of Israel can “return” to Germany or Poland as the well-respected American journalist, Helen Thomas, suggested right before she kicked the bucket.



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  1. Michael

    I am really glad and grateful that you embarked on all those issues.
    My “contributin” here would connect us to something and someone that hve been nagging me since I encountered them (him), it. This is a bloke casually referred as Jewish, yet I would be a bit more pedantic and object to it on good reasons. I am talking about Karl Popper.

    Popper’s intrusion into History through his comprehensive arching of epistemology, has diffused quite subliminally notions embraced by quarters of the political kind in the most opportunistic manner. Briefly and to the topic. Popper in his ” The Poverty of Historicism”, in a very persuasive way dismisses the “generality” of method in historical/sociological study and drives the argument in favour of the ” singular explicandum”. The relevance of the “…singular, or specific events, rather than in laws or generalisation.” ( op cit. pp 133 Routledge, 2002 ).

    Simply put, the inevitability of change creates entities which, while inherent in the “character” of the phenomenon, evolve into new entities, philosophically distinct from the previous “historical” states, thus , in Arstotelic/Platonic concepts, negating the precedent.

    In our/your case, the new entity of Palestinian is as valid as the inevitability of the changes which created the new entity. Thus the new entity has the legitimacy of the inevitability a priori in principle, established. Brutally, we are stuck with the Palestinians and their entire dowry case/box. Israel is, therefore, fighting a legitimate entity and, furthermore, it has lost, by the same process, the EXPIRED, redundant claims which historicisms falsely advocated.

    Subliminally, this concept has become political praxis and has pervaded “intellects” through various means. One of them, which must be emphasised, is the post-colonial aversion to external entities on geopolitical spaces.

    I shall leave you here for the time being, but will be back. Enough to chew on for now………..

    • Well, I have to say, Otto, that is certainly a mouthful to chew upon.

      I do find your comment above rather opaque, but I don’t know much about Popper, and the word “epistemology” tends to make me slightly nauseous, which is why I went into history rather than philosophy.

      You have to understand that I am not actually very bright, but if you put your concepts into plainer terms than perhaps I could respond.

      • Thank you Michael.

        I am sick of telling Otto that he needs to regurgitate a few of the dictionaries he has swallowed.

      • Michael

        Happy to oblige.
        First I would not have bothered to engage in “clarifications” unless I knew that I addressing an excessively bright fella.
        Then Popper was among the first to adjust epistemology to what he named “sociological science”.
        I quoted from his interesting small opus “The Poverty of Historicism” which is interesting.
        I personally have little sympathy for Popper as a person and even reservations in regards to some of his works.
        What I indulged earlier, though, is very important and I am sure that you will understand EVERY word I said, however concise, perhaps a bit too contracted.

        I shall explain here in other words .

        We are dealing these days with new phenomena in politics. A new type of Islamic offensive, a new state entity in the making i.e the Arabs living now in Judea and Samaria.

        According to Popper’s theory of “anti historicity”, mankind produces constantly new forms of social existence ( cannot be more explicit !! ). These new forms derive from precedent contents but are entities distinct from previous forms, even if caused by them.

        Popper, actually, constantly draws comparisons between various sciences and “sociological sciences”, history included.

        Briefly also, Popper entered briefly into arguments with Sir Iassac Berlin regarding the values of old civilisations and their cultures and their relevance to modern civilisations.

        Berlin maintained that African cultures, for instance, have a lot to contribute to current European forms of cultural manifestations. Popper retorted that, to the contrary, “primitive” cultures have nothing to contribute particularly where the dynamism of advanced ( European ) cultures constantly “deny” the temporal currency of modes of expression.

        Popper promotes in “social” science – political dynamism – the rule of stark pragmatism.
        Here we are dealing with the ESSENCE of our current problems, particularly in respect to the Palestinians and the new developments in the conflicts international Zionism and Israel in particular are facing.

        …… be continued, but all the frustrations expressed in the current thread are related to this phenomenon.

      • Thanks, Otto.

        That is more clear and it should be obvious that all forms of social existence derive in some measure from previous forms. And although I am not a big fan of the word “primitive” to describe other cultures, it should also be obvious that some cultures are superior – morally, intellectually, economically, materially – to others. And what that means is that I reject the multicultural imperative that demands that we treat all cultures as equal and, thus, equally deserving of our respect.

        That may be off-target from the thrust of your conversation, but I think that it also needs acknowledgement.

  2. I’ve often thought how redefining things changes the story entirely: in the 60’s wasn’t it a David and Goliath story which we referred to as an Arab -Israeli conflict (Goliath being Arab/David being Israel) – and our political left at that time were on kibbutz supporting Israel anyway they could. So the story was changed to Israeli-Paliestinian conflict and now Israel is Goliath and the Palestinians young David. Yet in reality – nothing changed except the media presentation of the story.

    • Precisely!

      Now this I can wrap my little brain around.

      Vickie is absolutely correct and we all know it. After the 6 Day War Israel became the “bad guy” within the western left because it was no longer seen as the undercat. Within a very few years Israel went from being the spunky little guy standing up for itself to something akin to Nazis in the minds of many progressives. They went from marching in Paris shouting out, “We are all Jews now!” to shouting out, in the 2000s, “We are all Hezbollah now!”

      One of my claims is that the western progressive-left has betrayed its Jewish constituency through accepting anti-Semitic anti-Zionists as part of its larger coalition.

      What I don’t understand is why progressive-left western Jews do not seem to mind so much.

      They may quibble, even argue, but they will not defect.

      {I defected.}

  3. Mike, a very important and timely article, which has made many important points that MUST be widely disseminated. I shall post your article on our Australia Israel friendship Association facebook page –
    also send to all on my mailing list. I urge other readers to do the same.

    We must return to historical accuracy and do our best to overturn the post-modern nonsense which passes for history at most of our institutes of higher learning.

    Every word you wrote resonated with me, but 3 points really stood out:
    1. “Western liberal Jews have so capitulated to the “Palestinian narrative” that they have adopted the language that the enemies of the Jewish people use to describe the alleged atrocity which is the existence of the Jewish state. So maybe we should call Yerushalayim “al-Quds.”
    This is what I refer to as the Palestinian Colonization of the Jewish Mind. It is the unconscious embrace of terminology developed by the enemies of the Jewish people that suggests Jewish guilt and aggression in stark contrast to supposed “Palestinian” innocence and victim-hood.
    We sell-out our own posterity in order to maintain Politically Correct anti-Israel terminology and sensibilities developed by those who are hostile towards us.
    2. Arabs have villages while Jews have settlements. Villages are nice, human things wherein indigenous people go about their daily lives, whereas “settlements” are viewed as an imperial encroachment upon those villages and upon the innocent indigenous population who reside there and have done so since Time Immemorial.
    3. The conflict is an Arab and Muslim religious aggression against the Jews that has been ongoing for 14 centuries and in this aggression it is the Jewish minority which is the victim of the much larger conquering population.
    Until such a time as western liberal Jews grasp the extent, in time and place, of this conflict, and until we stop using the language of the majoritarian aggressors to describe the persecution of the Jews, we can expect little sympathy from the western world.”

    I suggest we initiate an annual ‘homage’ award, with readers nominating any Jew who has assisted in the deligitimisation of Israel.
    In this context I pay ‘homage’ to Rabbi Fred Morgan, from Temple Beth Israel in Melbourne. He organized an interfaith model seder, but instead of the 4 cups of wine, substituted grape juice. He also omitted the “Next Year in Jerusalem”, in deference to his Islamic interfaith partners.
    To me and many others, this was shameful, denying a part of your own heritage in order to placate those who want to destroy that heritage.

    • Pam, thank you very much for your kind words.

      All I know is that I often see youtube video clips of various imams and ayatollahs and Islamic religious figures screaming their bloody heads off about how the Jews are the children of apes and pigs and need to be slaughtered in order to free “Palestine.”

      And then when I say, “Gee, that Muslim religious figure is screaming for Jewish blood” it makes ME the racist in the minds of my former friends and allies.

      I am an apostate of the left and, yet, I am not of the right.

      I think that I can live with it.

      Let’s just call it ideological freedom.

  4. I couldn’t agree with you more, Michael. I have made it a policy on my own blog to refer to the Jewish communities in Judaea and Samaria as “villages” or (where appropriate, such as in the case of Ma’aleh Adumim, Ariel etc.) – towns or even cities. As far as the Hebrew word “mitnachalim” (usually translated as “settlers”) goes, I am ready to use the word, on the clear understanding that it comes from the Hebrew word נחלה (“nachala”) meaning an inheritance portion, and that it refers to our return to our inheritance. I won’t use the word “settler” in English but refer to “the Jewish residents of Judaea and Samaria”.
    Oh – and another thing. As far as I am concerned, there is no such thing as “East Jerusalem”. There is only “Jerusalem”. You would be surprised how easy it is to fall into this trap, even if you are a true blue (and white) right winger.

    • Shimona, funny how the term “East Jerusalem” has crept into people’s vocabulary, as if it is accepted that Israel has no claim at all on a large part of their capital city. Just because the Arabs want someone else’s land doesn’t make it theirs.

      If it was decreed that East London was no longer part of the capital of the UK, or East Paris no longer part of the capital of France, it would be seen as outrageous. Yet Israel alone is excoriated for not wanting a large part of Jerusalem given to an enemy sworn to destroy her.

      We read in the Haggadah “Next Year in Jerusalem”, not “Next year in West Jerusalem only”. The whole thing is ridiculous.

  5. Michael

    very important what you say about the amalgam of cutures ascending into a desirable spirit of tolerance, social harmony etc.

    The Popper vs Berlin instance used the term “primitive” because it is a legitimate notion.
    Multiculturalism of the ethic amalgam regardless of value strata has introduced new politically correct terms in which “privitimism” is abhored. I love multicultralism. Only today, for instance i listened to Bellini, then Faure, then Schubert, Dvorak and finished with Prokofiev. Wha can be more multicultured than that !!
    I will, however, continue with the category of “individual” values, singular valid entities and the political pragmatism thereof.
    If there is a pervasive politcal attitude today in regards to regional and even more specific geopolitical zones, Isreal vs PA, for instance, you shall observe the following.
    PA has been recognised as a new singular legitimate entity. Its origins, although well known, are NOT implicated in the essential disputes at the furnace face of the melting of the issues.
    Israel and its counterparts are not discussing previous UN, Oslo or any other so called “agreements”. Currently the strict points of negatiation are pragmatic realities of teritories to be allocated gto each party. Second is the state morphology of the palestinian entity. Logically, however, the second prevails, simply because , unless drastic changes will be concluded in terms of ideological and even socio-psychological, the ethos of the people, Israel cannot accept any palestinian authority over the said allowed Palestinian State teritories.
    The changes envisaged by israel as precondition, shall constitute practically a distinct entity, a palestinian spirit completely different to what we are seeing today. Thus, the changes that otherwise would occur as a result of “organic” evolutions, NOT preordained will need be determined a priori, as arranged ,purpuseful and intentional. Palestinians will have to be educated on a PRESCRIBED formula as designed by Israel, otherwise there will be NO Palestinian state as such.
    HERE WE ALTER Mr. Popper’s “natural inevitability” by the hand of man. Here traditions claimed, cultural values expressed and established as organic and valid, must be changed by “decree”, executive order, agreemnent and forceful implementation. Here tradition, prejudice ( also a form of tradition, after all ), natural tendencies of existing currents, will need to be curbed, anihilated. The past obliterated and a completely new, refurbished Palestinian nation will need to emerge.
    I do not need to expand on the colateral benefits, once the Palestinina problem will be taken out of the comprehensve Islamism narrative.

  6. Israel won the territory in the war of 1967 and should have then taken on the responsibility of control ,instead of being afraid of a million pore ,uneducated Arabs . Then today they ,the Arabs would be living in a similar situation as the Arabs in Wadi Ara . With schools ,medical services, electricity ,sewerage control a normal people . Without the Israeli army doing the damage it has done in the last 46 years and creating so much hate and hostility that today it is almost impossible to talk to those Arabs

    • Aryeh, I think we have a death wish. You’d think by now we know what the Arab are like.
      Releasing murderers and terrorists from gaol with the promise of peace talks.

      What a joke?

      We let them out and they the are glorified as heroes.

      Jerusalem cannot be divided, not should it be. This East Jerusalem business is ridiculous. As I have said elsewhere Jordan was created for the Arabs. If they want their ‘Palestine’ go to Jordan.

      Makes me laugh that the world has just accepted this Palestinian nonsense, when the region was named by the Romans to remove the ‘Jewishness’ of the region. There were no Arabs there then.

  7. Aryeh

    with due respect for your generous “Marshall Plan”, realities on the ground then, in 1967, were so that a comprehensive “Wadi Ara” picture would have been impossible. Not least is the fact that the notion of a “NEW” political/national entity, the “Palestinians”, was meant to undermine ANY Jewish attempt at winning furher the 1967 war as in the winning of the minds of the local Arabs. I will not even contemplate on paper the impossible costs of constructing a country populated by inimical people to equal what our chalutzim have accomplished in Eretz Israel.
    In addition, post 1967, only 13 other Arab countries wre constantly preparing for war against Israel.
    Otherwise Israel has launched countless initiative in appeasing the local Arabs and, in fact, under normal circumstances, Arabs in Judea and Samaria and for a while even in Gaza, did benefit from fantastic employment opportunities offered by the Jewish State all over, in Yerushalaim, Tel Aviv , Haifa, wherever they could have behaved as normal people and make a bloody good living for themselves. It has been always the Arabs who have undermined any normalisation of affairs with the Jews, not the failure of Israel to engage in a decent way.

    • Did you ever do reserve duty in the ”West Bank” ? In 1976 I spent a month on duty in Nablus and participated in night time raids on Arab homes of supposed stone throwers ( kids playing on the streets ) The damage was done back then and now we are suffering the consequenses.

  8. Aryeh

    are we to believe that “stone throwing” by Arabs in Nablus and other places is a Zionist lie !??!

    • Otto

      You were asked

      “Did you ever do reserve duty in the ”West Bank?”

    • Back in the 70s If the army wasn’t annoying the Arabs , there wouldn;t have been any stone throwing. That’s the point .

      • Back in the 70’s I lived in Israel and my recolections are totally different to yours.
        Would you like me, or anyone else for that matter, to provide some statistics re the behaviour of the “angelic” Arabs toward the Jews “back in the 70’s “??!! Just say the word.

        • Otto, I think I’d have a heart attack if you ever agreed with anything anyone says. I should get you together with my husband who knows more than any tradesman or professional person about everything.!!

          • Sorry Shirleee, you’re wrong again……………..
            I have always agreed with ANYONE who agrees that I am ALWAYS right !!!
            Give your Husband my sincere compliments.

  9. Aryeh

    and I am replying: I wish I was, but, if I were I would not have claimed it as a blanket moral ascendance and avoid concrete questions as the one I asked you in regards to the “Zionist lies”.
    Over to you , Mr. Miluim !!!

  10. Excellent article, Michael – you are spot-on. There is just one point where I disagree – and that is you say that Koranic hostility is driving the conflict with Israel. But Muhammad defeated the Jews, they had not been a threat since the 7th century and knew their place as a subjugated minority. I would argue that a qualitative change took place in the 20th century when Arabs imported the Nazi concept of the Jews as the epitomy of cosmic evil. It is no accident that Islamic fundamentalism is referred to as ‘Islamofascism’. The influence of Nazism on groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, whose genocidal project to kill infidels or convert them by force to Islam – and Israel is in the front line of this ‘war of civilisations’ – is consistently ignored and downplayed by the politically-correct West. What these fundamentalists do is cherry-pick the antisemitic verses that do exist in the Koran to support their war.

  11. Leon Poddebsky

    Michael, I agree.
    The program of the approaching Jewish International Film Festival uses the incorrect term, “occupied territories” in the synopsis of the film about the late Professor Leibowitz.
    I pointed out the error in an email to the Director of the festival.
    His response was that the festival is non-political.
    Well, clearly the use of the misnomer reflects a political stance.
    I asked him why not use JEWISH terminology at a JEWISH festival or at least something like “disputed territories” or “allegedly occupied…” or at a bare minimum, inverted commas around the term.
    I have not yet heard back.
    ( I suggested that before each screening, the audience should be told the real facts, and an apology issued for the slandering of Israel and of the supporters of its existence.)
    I also complimented him and his staff on bringing Jewish films to us.
    I think the problem is a lack of understanding, not ill will.