(Cross-Posted at Israel Thrives and Pro-Israel Bay Bloggers.)
The Palestinian theft of Jewish history remains one of the more insidious tactics in their efforts to erase Jewish claims on the land of Israel. Italian journalist and friend of Israel, Giulio Meotti, writes:
At UNESCO’s next session, which will run from June 24th to July 6th in St. Petersburg, the UN cultural body will assess the Palestinian request for admission of the “Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem” to the list of world heritage sites.
The Christian shrine will become Palestine’s first world heritage site.
Next in line is the Hevron’s Cave of the Patriarchs.
So the Palestinians are claiming both the Church of the Nativity and the Cave of the Patriarchs as "Palestinian heritage" sites? It just boggles my mind that so many people would thoughtlessly accept such a designation. The Church of the Nativity was originally a Jewish site and obviously Jesus was a Jew. Thus to claim it as a "Palestinian heritage" site is a lie on its face.
It is true, of course, that the Church of the Nativity has, for obvious reasons, a special resonance with Christians and this should be honored by everyone. We are, after all, talking about the alleged birthplace of Jesus, so naturally Christian claims should be respected. Muslim claims hold significantly less sway due to the fact that for Islam Jesus was merely one prophet among others and is not a figure at the center of their faith.
But the Cave of the Patriarchs? This is one of the holiest sites within the Jewish religion and thus to designate it as a "Palestinian heritage" site would be a crime against the Jewish people. The site may be "Palestinian" in that Hevron is largely an Arab-Muslim town, but the ancient heritage of that town is unquestionably Jewish.
The Palestinians are trying to erase any trace of Jewish history in Judea and Samaria. Yet a few days ago Israeli archaeologists discovered a seal bearing the name “Bethlehem” in ancient Hebrew script from First Temple times, one of the most important pieces of physical evidence supporting the Jewish claim to the town before it became revered as the birthpace of Jesus.
That Judea and Samaria are historically Jewish regions is beyond question. According to A Historical Atlas of the Jewish People: From the Time of the Patriarchs to the Present, edited by Eli Barnavi, there were about 2 million Jews living in the area over three thousand years ago, within a world population of about 120 million. If the Jews of the Middle East had been allowed to develop normally, without our numbers being kept artificially low through the imposition of dhimmitude under the boot of Arab-Muslim imperialism from the 7th to the 20th centuries, there would be many, many more of us currently among the living in that part of the world. Our diminished numbers in the region are a direct result of Arab-Muslim imperial persecution of the Jews.
Nonetheless, both the historical and archaeological evidence definitively shows the long Jewish attachment to that land. The Palestinian attachment only goes to the middle-end of the 20th century because it was only at the middle-end of the 20th century that the Palestinians emerged as a distinct people, as Newt Gingrich (of all people) was brave enough to remind us.
Mustafa Barghouti, the influential so-called “moderate” leader within the Palestinian Authority, in December 2009 claimed that Jesus is “the first Palestinian who was tortured in this land”.
The Palestinization of Jesus, with the corollary of an Islamicized Christianity, is one of the most lethal weapons in the Arabs’ war against the Jewish State.
Identifying Jesus as “a Palestinian living under an occupation” has become normative for Christian Palestinianists in the current anti-Israel crusade.
The claiming of Jesus by the Palestinians as one of their own would be comical if it weren't so insidious. It is an effort to use Jewish history, and that includes the history of the emergence of Christianity, as a club against us. It is a Palestinian effort to rob us of our history in order for them to claim it as their own. In this way, not only do the Palestinians seek to destroy Jewish claims on historically Jewish land, but even seek to rob Jews of our very identity.
If they can steal our history they turn us into ghosts.
It doesn’t matter that Jesus was not born a Christian, but a Jew, and that Bethlehem was a Jewish town in Judea, not a Muslim one - because there was no Christianity before his death and certainly no Islam for hundreds of years after his death.
It doesn't matter that the Palestinian Authority persecuted Arab Christians in its midst.
The Palestinian Arab leadership has been successful in turning the Christian narrative against the Jewish people. In this theological-political operation, there is no space for the Jewish tomb of Rachel as well. The Palestinians will try to convince UNESCO to call the shrine Bil Bin Rabah mosque.
The entire Eretz Yisrael is a myth, a colonialist construct, a Jewish plot, as far as they are concerned.
As far as Palestinian and Arab propagandists are concerned the Jews have little or no historical connection to the land of Israel. From an historical perspective this is clearly nonsense, but the purpose of propaganda is to make reality bend to the will the propagandist. The Arab-Muslim / Palestinian effort to kill, or remove, the Jews from Jewish land can only rely so much on rockets and bombs. What they really need is for the world community to join them in their belief that the Jews have no legitimate historical claims to a Jewish state on historically Jewish land.
This we cannot allow them to do, not only because it would represent a terrible injustice to the Jewish people, but also a terrible injustice to the field of history as a discipline of knowledge.
Let them propagandize, but let us not be shy about speaking the truth.