Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Jesus the "Palestinian" and the First Shaheed in History

Mike L.

{Cross-posted at Israel Thrives.}

Issa Karake: "We are standing at Jesus' Plaza, in front of the Church of the Nativity, [to convey] to those who uphold human rights: Take action before it is too late, take action to save [the Palestinian prisoners] the sons of Nativity, the sons of Jerusalem, and the sons of Jesus, the Palestinian, and the sons of Jesus, the Palestinian, the first prisoner and the first Martyr (Shahid) in history." 
[PA TV (Fatah), May 4, 2012]
Among the various tactics used within the Arab world to delegitimize the Jewish state of Israel one of the most insidious, in my opinion, is the effort to either appropriate or deny Jewish history.  We see this continuously, in large ways and small, including, for example, presenting Anne Frank as if she was a Palestinian.

Another example is what Dore Gold calls "Temple Denial," the suggestion that the First and Second Temples were never located in Jerusalem, with the implication that Jews have no legitimate historical rights to the City of David.  This is what Arafat claimed to an astonished Bill Clinton during the Oslo negotiations.

Alternatively, when Jewish history is not denied, Palestinian history is invented out of whole cloth.  One example of this is when dictator Abbas claimed:

We say to him [Netanyahu], when he claims that they [Jews] have a historical right dating back to 3000 years B.C.E.—we say that the nation of Palestine upon the land of Canaan had a 7,000-year history B.C.E. This is the truth, which must be understood, and we have to note it, in order to say: "Netanyahu, you are incidental in history. We are the people of history. We are the owners of history." - Mahmoud Abbas, May 14, 2011

Well, if the Palestinians own history they do not seem to be treating it very well.  The fact of the matter, of course, is that the Palestinians are Arabs and therefore they could not have had an earlier presence in Israel than the 7th century, millenia after the Jews had already settled that land.  Furthermore, of all the various Arab subgroupings the very newest is that of the Palestinian-Arab.  The majority of Palestinians only came to consider themselves "Palestinian" after the Jews, themselves, let go of that word in favor of "Israeli."  It was only toward the middle-end of the twentieth century that most of the local Arabs came to think of themselves, with considerable encouragement from Yassir Arafat, as "Palestinians."

My point in raising this issue is not to deny Palestinian peoplehood, but to place it within something that resembles an historical context.  Palestinian nationalism could not gain any credence among the local Arabs until they began to see themselves as a distinct Arab ethnic group.  Palestinian national identity was born out of the larger Arab effort to destroy Jewish sovereignty on historically Jewish land in the twentieth century.  Palestinian national identity, like all national identities, is a social construction.  The difference is that Palestinian national identity only really took hold among them at about a quarter past last Tuesday and, furthermore, it is a national identity grounded in the imperative of destroying the Jewish state.

And that is what all of this really comes down to.  The reason that Palestinians often steal or deny Jewish history is because they wish to replace Jews in the land of Israel.  The reason that there is no peace is not because of this Israeli policy or that Israeli policy, nor because of the "occupation," nor because of those insidious Jews who dare to live where neither Mahmoud Abbas, nor Barack Obama, want them to live.

The reason that their is no peace, and consequently something like 150 rockets have been fired into southern Israel in just that last day or two, is because of the long, long history Islamic imperial supremacism which viewed the Jews as "our dogs."  The Muslim world has been beating up on the Jewish people since Muhammed's armies came roaring out of the Saudi peninsula in the 7th century and dhimmi status became standardized within Islam with the Covenant of Omar.
At the core of the Covenant was a promise to protect Jews and Christians - People of the Book - based on three essential benefits: security of life and property, freedom of religion and internal communal autonomy.  Each benefit was guaranteed provided certain conditions were met.  First and foremost, among these conditions dhimmis has to pay the jizya tax to the local ruler and accept the condition of ahl al-dhimma.
In addition to codifying existing rules, Abd al-Azziz formulated new ones.  Several of these were identical to laws against the Jews that were already in place in Christian Byzantium, but they were nonetheless new in the Muslim world.  There could be no building of new synagogues or churches.  Dhimmis could not ride horses, but only donkeys; they could not use saddles, but only ride sidesaddle.  Further, they could not employ a Muslim.  Jews and Christians alike had to wear special hats, cloaks and shoes to mark them out from Muslims...
Men could enter public bathhouses only when they wore a special sign around their neck distinguishing them from Muslims, while women could not bathe with Muslim women and had to use separate bathhouses instead.  Sexual relations with a Muslim woman were forbidden, as was cursing the Prophet in public - an offence punishable by death.
The property of a dhimmi who died was to belong to the Muslim authorities...
Martin Gilbert, In Ishmael's House: A History of Jews in Muslim Lands, Yale University Press, 2010, pgs 31 - 33.
This is what resides at the core of the conflict.  If Israel was not the Jewish state there would be no conflict.  The fact of the matter is that century upon century Muslims were traditionally taught that Jews are their inferiors and that, therefore, Jewish sovereignty on any land that at any time was part of the umma is a theological abomination.  This is why the conflict exists and this is why the conflict will continue on into the future.

And this is part of the reason that I find myself so disgusted with Jewish progressives who either do not know the history of dhimmitude or, even worse, refuse to discuss that history because it is considered socially unacceptable within progressive-left circles to do so.

Among the various ways that the Jewish left lets us down, this is merely one.

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