Sometimes brainwashing can become so uncontested and thoroughly convincing, what’s left after the spin cycle is nothing but falsehood.
Take the case of the “nation-laundering “of the Palestinian people. Here’s what decades of impeccable PR, global gullibility, and re-imagined anti-Semitism has enabled many to bizarrely believe:
There once was an Arab nation called Palestine, with the people in it known as Palestinians. After the Holocaust (which was either a hoax or exaggeration), the Western powers, duped by scheming Jews, were guilted into creating a Jewish state, fashioned solely from stolen Arab land.
Israel’s colonial imperialism required a massive population transfer of invaders and settlers. Jews from Europe, America, Canada, and South Africa—all white-skinned with absolutely no connection to the Holy Land—“occupied Palestine.” They formed an army, fortified by advanced weaponry supplied by the West, and then forcibly drove Palestinians from their homes, confiscated their property, and scattered them either to other Arab states or wretched refugee camps.
An otherwise peaceful people, the Palestinians who remained in the West Bank and Gaza have been relentlessly tormented by Israeli aggression, mistreatment, and, of course, illegal occupation, ever since.
Not a single sentence of that storyline is remotely true.
There never has been an Arab nation-state called Palestine. At the time of Israel’s founding, in 1948, the word Palestinian did not describe a distinct Arab people. In fact, the word itself was created by the Ancient Romans, and they were referring to Jews, not Arabs.
Jews have been living continuously in what is today Israel since the time of the Jewish patriarchs of the Old Testament and the creation of the first Jewish state – the Kingdom of Judea, which preceded the Ancient Greeks by several hundred years. After the fall of Judea, until Israel was created, the land was occupied by a host of other nations for well over 2,000 years. Ironically, the occupation of “Palestine” ended with the creation of Israel.
And with one million Middle Eastern and Persian Jews forcibly removed to Israel soon after its creation, most Israelis today are actually dark-skinned, indigenous people. But even Jews who were born in Brooklyn or Brentwood have an umbilical, ancestral connection to Israel.
The Holocaust did, in fact, result in the mass murder of two-thirds of European Jewry, but the discussions about resurrecting Judea and creating a new Jewish homeland originated decades earlier, during World War I.
Declarations, treaties, resolutions, the League of Nations, and then the United Nations all attested to Israel’s existence. The world was not conned into giving Jews anything more than what was already a claim of right—a country of their own after two millennia of exile, on the same land where Jews first became a people.
The West did not weaponize Israel against the Arabs. In fact, the West’s reluctance to enflame the Cold War caused it to stay fairly neutral. During its early years battling hostile Arab nations, Israel relied mostly on archaic armaments from Czechoslovakia and France—which were purchased with cash.
Finally, many Arabs living in Israel in 1948 would still be there as full citizens had not five regional nations attacked Israel on its very first day of existence. And certainly no one can credibly refer to the Palestinian people as “peaceful.” We have them to thank for inventing and perfecting the terrorism that plagues us all today. And as for “occupation,” not a single Jew lives in Gaza, and Israel has no legal obligation to withdraw from the West Bank until the border is secure and Palestinian violence is finally abated.
So how did the counter-story of a mythical Palestine—this phantom fantasia—obtain such staying power? It’s not just false—it’s spectacularly false. And the plain facts are not ancient history. It’s quite easy to verify. There are still people alive from Israel’s founding—Jews and Arabs. There are ample books, newspaper accounts, radio recordings, documentary footage—all setting forth how Israel became a nation, and how the Palestinians, time and again, repeatedly failed to take the necessary steps to become one. Yet, these easily debunked fabrications persist.
It requires the suspension of disbelief aided by the repetition of lies. Palestine is more an idea than an actual place, the magical thinking of a country that never existed. Hocus-pocus political history. The politics of telling a better story, especially one that more people are already predisposed to believe.
And it’s working.
The United Nations has designated “Palestine” as a permanent non-member state with souped-up observer status. They have their own relief agency, UNRWA, which allows Palestinian-Arabs to remain as refugees in perpetuity, never required, unlike other refugee groups, to fold themselves into another state. The U.N. has accepted the mythology of an unlawfully confiscated Palestinian homeland. No such similar acknowledgment has been granted to the Kurds, Cypriots, Tibetans, and Kashmiri, however.
Meanwhile, Middle East Studies Departments in universities all across the Western world hype the false narrative of persecuted Palestinians and land-grabbing Jews. The paradox of Palestinian inclusion within the vortex of woke, intersectional grievances is not lost on anyone who has been to college lately. Indeed, it is laughable given how Sharia-observant Palestinians, especially in Gaza, feel about women, gays, the transgender, cultural and academic freedom, religious diversity, free speech, and the rule of law.
Feminists march alongside theocrats who mandate head coverings and praise beheadings? Homosexuals find common cause with those who would have them flung from rooftops?
The “progressives” who have embraced the plight (and overlooked the terrorism) of the Palestinians wouldn’t last a week in Gaza or Ramallah. Tel Aviv, however, would be very much to their liking if they could only get past the presence of so many cosmopolitan Jews.
Mainstream media plays its own role in disseminating a one-sided, hopelessly biased account of how Jews came to dominate a Middle East where they don’t belong, and who subjugate a docile and distinct group of Arabs who merely wish a return to their homeland without Jewish malevolence. Palestinian rejectionism of five separate offers of statehood since 1947 is never even a footnote in the “official” account.
The Charters of Hamas and Fatah are never closely examined, either. If anyone bothered to look, they wouldn’t find anything resembling the Declaration of Independence. The Palestinian contribution to representative democracy, as embodied in their founding documents, are blood libels writ large. So, too, is the chant, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” an undeniable ode to genocide. A gleeful anticipation of a Jewless Israel. The expressed language of national aspirations foreshadows what pluralism will look like in a Palestinian state.
It is well known that Palestinian violence is rarely reported. Hamas launches rockets from hospitals and schools indiscriminately; Palestinian children are deployed as human shields. Not newsworthy. Palestinians stab tourists outside the gates in Jerusalem’s Old City. A minor incident, especially if the victims are either Jewish or white. What’s “fit to print” is always reduced to an indictment of Israeli reprisal, which is presented as disproportionate and aimed at civilians.
Moral clarity gets lost in this fog of twisted perceptions and altered states. Israel wins wars it does not start and rather than set the terms for surrender, global opinion insists that it instantly sue for peace—and then return conquered land. Palestinian attacks on civilians are dismissed as the price Israel should pay for the “Occupation.”
Anti-Semites will accept any story that demonizes Jews. They are forever the world’s scapegoat from which there is no escape. Blamed for its problems. Subjected to its absurd double standards. Always portrayed in a false light. And self-hating Jews are quite comfortable looking unfavorably upon their own people, a life’s mission dedicated to distancing themselves from the tribe. They don’t seem to understand that trying to convince Christians that they are among the “good Jews” is a self-defeating crusade.
Which comes down to this unassailable inflection point: There’s never a shortage of people who will gladly adopt the Palestinian version of events.
Yet, is there no consequence to these delusions—moral or otherwise? It is the deliberate circulating of an entirely wrong set of facts with no attention paid to truth.
In 2020, the actor Seth Rogen appeared on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, where he revealed that he was lied to as a child in a Vancouver Hebrew School. Apparently, he was told that no Arabs lived in Israel at the time of its creation, that Britain was overseeing a totally empty piece of land that eventually was awarded to the Jews. Camels, dates, and sand were in abundance—but, improbably, no Arabs. He wanted listeners to know that this inexcusable omission has left him incensed and caused him to reject the idea of a Jewish state altogether.
How can a Jewish person be that ignorant of basic facts, while also casually rejecting the self-determination of his own people? Rogen accused the Zionist movement of conning not just the world, but Jewry itself! The Conflict and all its complexity, simplified by someone who wasn’t paying attention in Hebrew School. The 2,000 years of Jewish wandering, an exile that ended for him in western Canada, is a mere trivial detail in recorded history.
Let me be clear: If the Arabs of British Mandate Palestine wished to rename themselves “Palestinians,” that is their right. There will always be right-wing Jews who argue that Palestinians are simply Jordanians who want their own country. I am not among them. Like many Jews and Israelis, I accept the reality that Arabs and Jews always lived in the land that is now Israel—which include the disputed territories. There is no dispute about that. But the question of nationhood is equally without dispute: There has never been an Arab, no less Palestinian nation, on Israeli soil.
The problem is that Palestinians profess to want the land and the title, but they refuse to put in the work necessary to achieve statehood. States are not built on the foundation of hate alone. All those rejected peace offers are telling. It suggests a fear of what it takes to bring about an actual Palestine. Fantasizing about a mythical homeland while seeking to destroy the Jewish one is far more satisfying.
Palestinians may lack confidence in everything except their disdain for Jews, which is prodigious, but also poisonous. After all, both are descendants of Abraham, a sibling enmity that is as tragic as it has been long-lasting. The Abraham Accords, so aptly named, was regrettably not launched where it was most needed.
But while Palestinians may be indigenous to the land of Israel, they are wholly disingenuous in presenting themselves as its perpetual victims. Nothing was stolen from them. They are stateless because they never had a state—not because they were denied one, or had one taken away. Indeed, it’s not at all clear whether they actually want one. When your patriotism is inversely related to the death of Zionism, you’re not ready for statehood.
For a people without a country, with no national currency, political history, sustained leadership, defined borders, or even a gross national product aside from terrorism, Palestinians have nonetheless created the illusion of a homeland lost to Jewish land-grabbers. After all those hijacked planes, murdered Olympic athletes, a handicapped man (69-year-old Leon Klinghoffer) tossed overboard from a cruise ship, elderly Parisian grandmothers thrown from balconies, pizza shop and Passover Seder bombings, the Palestinians finally discovered their true calling—the branding of their suffering, and the delegitimizing of the Jewish state.
If you can’t beat them, defame them.
Palestinian rage is understandable, the bitterness of seeing Israel rise from the sands of the Middle East and in a mere handful of decades, emerge as an economic juggernaut and regional superpower. But that rage is not limited to violence alone. It has been channeled into a secret weapon worthy of TV’s Mad Men – the deploying of Madison Avenue techniques to peddle propaganda. Israel has been outmaneuvered in both the game theory of hasbara and the conspiracy theories of old.
The case for the Jewish state is a tough sell, always perhaps, but especially these racism-shaming days. Palestinians are invoking Jim Crow but dispensing with passive nonviolent resistance. Sympathy for Jews in this cultural moment is a woke outrage; while criticizing Muslims, even the fanatically murderous variety, is categorically taboo.
Will this new marketing strategy continue to succeed? Hard to tell. Palestinian petulance has always been rewarded. And there’s no Iron Dome for global revulsion. Yet, with the normalizing of relations with Israel, Gulf nations have seemingly withdrawn from the Palestinians, favoring a more profitable trading partner, instead. Angry Arabs can be tiresome. And hate does not a nation make.
Palestinians have rejected peace offers that would have given them 97 percent of what they had ostensibly asked for. It’s what they can’t respectably ask for that is the real problem: dead Jews.