Promoting the “Palestinian” Fallacy

When Arab writers and pro-Israeli activists I respect, such as Fred Maroun, cry out that the Palestinians exist and we cannot say they do not, they are falling into the trap of promoting the lie. I deny the existence of a nation called Palestine, something that never existed in human history. I do not, of course, deny the existence of individuals who now refer to themselves as Palestinian. The two are not the same.

Flag of Mandatory Palestine , Jews, the original Palestinian
Flag used by the Jews of Mandatory Palestine.

Does this mean that I need to agree to call these Arabs, Palestinians? I think not. Maroun would say that I am being pathetic – in fact, he used that very word in a number of responses to comments on his Facebook page and on the blog post itself. And even in the title to the post: It is Pathetic to Deny the Existence of Palestinians.

Just because someone calls himself or herself something does not make it so.

Names and Labels Are Important For Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous groups around the world are fighting for the right to call themselves by the names by which they know themselves, and not some moniker applied by colonial powers that conquered them. The Inuit of Canada, for example, rose up as recently as the 1970s and insisted they be called by their true name and not the scornful label “Eskimo”. You will not find many Canadians who continue to call them Eskimos.

I think people started referring to the Palestinian Arabs as Palestinians merely because it took too much energy to say things like: the Arab refugees from the former British Mandate of Palestine, or the Arabs living in the former British Mandate of Palestine, or Arabs in the Palestinian Authority, accurate as such terms may be. It is far simpler just to say: the Palestinians.

At first the Arabs rejected that term. They (rightly) declared that “Palestinian” referred to the Jews. Before 1948, the rest of the world agreed with them, chanting: “Jews, go back to Palestine”. (Note the “go back” and not “go”, but that would be material for a separate article.)

In fact, as late as 1996, Azmi Bashara, then an Israeli Arab Member of Knesset, stated clearly on an Israeli television interview programme that the Arabs are NOT Palestinians and never were (view on the video below).


Bishara was not the only one. To this day, there are Arabs living in this region who claim that there is no such thing as a Palestinian.


(I state in a separate post why the Arabs-who-now-call-themselves-Palestinians began applying that label to themselves. It is beyond the scope of this post.)

On his Facebook page, Maroun writes in response to a commenter (October 29):

Anyway, we are straying far from the topic which is simply to accept the widely accepted term “Palestinian” and move on from ridiculous and pointless debates about its origin.

Would Maroun, a Canadian citizen, also say that the debate about the origin of the name of the football team, the Edmonton Eskimos, is ridiculous and pointless? Once upon a time, “Eskimo” was a widely accepted term. Even though the Inuit are no longer known by that name, they resent seeing anything called by what was once the colonial term applied to them.

Ashinabe Niigaan Sinclair, head of the University of Manitoba Native Studies Department says:

. . .the term is disrespectful and should no longer be the name of the team. It’s not easy to divorce ourselves from these terms, but history will eventually rid ourselves of these racially inappropriate, misdescribing names.

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  1. Arabs are not native to Palestine. The Jews are the only 3,000 un-broken natives and the only people the name Palestine applied to for 2,000 years.

  2. You seem to have no reblog options. Are you still with WordPress? Thanks.

    • Yes still with WP.
      People do ‘ping backs’ when they want to reblog. They are enabled. I see no options anywhere for reblog.

      Just looked there is no option anywhere to ‘reblog’
      This is all I have, which is enabled

      “Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks) on new articles”

  3. Larry Langman

    We have gone around and around this discussion so many times. The correct name for this Syrian Arab group by their own recent specification is , دولة فلسطين‎ Dawlat Filasṭīn. If we want to go further the first formal government, at least for Gaza, established by the Arab League was called the حكومة عموم فلسطين‎ Ḥukūmat ‘Umūm Filasṭīn. This was the name conferred on these folk of Syrian Arab decent by the Arab league on the 22 September 1948. So in Arabic they are Filastins. The English equivalent is Philistines surely. But why bother with an english term….Filastin seems perfectly reasonable to me and it is the name the Arab League gave to these people and it is the name of their state, should they ever get to the point of having one. They are the Filastin. Not Palestinians.

    Let us ask the question. Between 1948 and 1967 what did the Filastin refer to themselves as….how are they referred to on all official documents. I understand that for the sake of differentiation the world press and officialdom prior to 1948 spoke of Palestinian Jews and Palestinian Arabs or just simple the Arabs of Palestine. The Jews became Israelis by their own choice….Did the Arabs become Filastins by their own choice? Not that I recall. To my understanding they either retained the old Mandate name….or simply called themselves the Arabs of Palestine and amongst themselves Filastins, but I can’t recall coming across that label in any official document usually they are simply referred to as the “refugees”, but thats an economic label that has proved most useful! But let’s not go their that’s a whole other discussion and we have spent to much ink on that question as well…….

    • We have to keep repeating it Larry as so many people have no idea.
      Read the item I posted earlier by Arlene Kushner. She references and links to loony left female rabbis

    • Unfortunately, I am still explaining this over and over again and that is why I continue to write about it.

  4. I find this article extremely interesting. As the encyclopedia’s of yesterday are obsolete and known to be full of false and often racist representations of Indigenous people, past history is being scrutinized and redefined by the world. In fact, through the lens’s of different people and groups, there are also new interpretations of the past which transcends to the present. Because there is cognitive dissonance and guilt in western countries about the tremendous harm and destruction that came to Native people contrasted to the freedom and way of life we have now, even basic words are being redefined to suit our personal and/or political ideals. Words like “settlement”, “Palestinian”, “occupiers” are also used by Islamic extremists or corrupt politicians to support or destroy people, groups and/or countries the latest target being Israel, but it will be Europe and North America if we keep allowing the wrongful misuse of words for political gain to drive people into civil unrest, rioting, anarchy or wars, and that is especially dangerous not just for Israel but for our entire world.

  5. We know that the Boers and the British are not indigenous to Southern Africa because both languages lack the “click” consonants [] common to the actual indigenous languages of the region.

    We know that the Arabs are not indigenous to Israel because Arabic lacks the bilabial plosive consonant (The sound produced b the English letter ‘P’ or the Hebrew letter ‘Pey’.) What this means is that they are unable to pronounce the word, they claim, is the name of their ‘Native Homeland’ in their ‘Native Language’

    It does not help that the word “Palestine” has no root or meaning in Arabic. It is a loan word taken from the British Mandate period usage. The previous (sic) “sovereign”, the Ottoman Turks (whose sovereignty also rested on conquest and not indigenous status) did not use the term []

    Palestinianism is an Ames Room illusion [] created by the ad naueam repetition of deliberate lies; a Potemkin Village propaganda ploy that their own leadership does not believe.

    In addition to the examples cited in this post there is also Zuheir Mohsen’s interview for the Dutch magazine Trouw [] as well as the statements cataloged here [] (including an interview with Arafat); and this virtually unremarked on statement by Abbas []