by Elliott A. Green
2nd part of 2
This history is important because history does not go away. When there is a void in general knowledge of history in a situation of national conflict, one's enemies may fill the void with false history, inventing what suits them and their goals and interests. Hence, forgetting history is dangerous.
In this vein, a line stands out here from the anti-Israel tract of Profs. Walt and Mearsheimer, quoted approvingly by a leading British journalist, Max Hastings:
...while there is no question that the Jews were victims in Europe, they were often the victimisers, not the victims, in the Middle East, and their main victims were and continue to be the Palestinians.
These authors moralize. They develop the themes of guilt and innocence. Yet it's hard to be sure which historical period Walt and Mearsheimer are referring to. Is it all of history or the present or some past time? The indefinite, the insinuation, and the evocative rather than the specific or explicit, are features of their prose. In another passage, however, they indicate that the Palestinian Arabs were innocent when
A third moral justification [for
Walt and Mearsheimer disarmingly admit that "the Christian West" made Jews suffer. But they implicitly exculpate the Arab-Muslim East generally — and Palestinian Arabs explicitly of harming Jews throughout history, perhaps insinuating that Jews were not even present in that part of the world till the 20th century. Yet we have shown above that traditional Arab-Muslim society oppressed, exploited, and humiliated Jews, in
From this time, the late Ottoman period saw improvement in the status of the dhimmis, largely thanks to intervention by European powers. This was so in
Likewise, before Israeli independence, Palestinian Arab representatives demanded in 1939 that the British end Jewish immigration into the country. This was on the very eve of the Holocaust when few countries were willing to allow more than token Jewish refugee immigration. The British fundamentally complied with this demand in the 1939 Palestine White Paper, thereby closing off even the internationally designated Jewish National Home to more than a token few Jewish immigrants. Subsequently, Arab nationalists, most notably Haj Amin el-Husseini, the chief Palestinian Arab leader, collaborated in the Holocaust more directly. Husseini was effective in preventing release of thousands of Jewish children and other Jews from the Nazi-fascist domain, having Jews sent instead to
It is obvious that when the UN General Assembly recommended a "two-state solution," that is, partition (29 November 1947), the Palestinian Arabs were hardly innocent in regard to the Jews. Nor were they innocent afterwards. Arabs under Husseini's leadership attacked and killed Jews throughout the country in response to the UN recommendation. While much has been heard since 1948 about Arab refugees, little has been heard about Jewish refugees in that war. The first refugees in the war who could not return to their homes after it were Jews who fled the Shim'on haTsadiq quarter (in what is now "
Skipping over Arab provocations, wars, and terrorist attacks from the 1950s through the 1980s, we come to what many saw as a new beginning in relations, the 1993 Oslo Accords. Contrary to many expectations, signature of the accords was followed by increased terrorism, suicide bombings, drive by shootings, etc., in a wave of violence starting before Barukh Goldstein killed 29 Arabs in Hebron (February 1994). Handing over to the Palestinian Authority control of Arab West Bank cities in late 1995-early 1996, led to unprecedented slaughter of civilians in
Nevertheless, many today — like Walt, Mearsheimer, and Max Hastings too — wish to claim Arab and Palestinian Arab innocence. Now, the claim of Arab innocence was prominent in the 1940s and 1950s, although then the Palestinian Arabs were not called simply "Palestinians" as today, as if they were a people separate from other Arabs. In those days, the argument explicitly claimed that Arab-Muslim treatment of Jews was regularly benign, thus making
The evidence presented above shows that throughout history, this claim has not only been false but is the very opposite of the truth. This false notion of history, of the relations of Jews and Arabs in
1. Verse numbers vary in some editions.
2. Carsten Niebuhr, Travels through
3. Moshe Gil, "The Authorities and the Local Population," in The History of
4. Jacob Barnai, "The
5. Maimonides, "Epistle to
6. Moshe Sharon, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Jerusalem: Sacks Publishing House 1989), p 89.
7. Quoted in Bernard Lewis, The Jews of Islam (
8. Words of Moshe Sharon, op. cit., p 94; also see Carlo Panella, Il 'Complotto Ebraico' — L'antisemitismo islamico da Maometto a Bin Laden (Torino: Lindau 2005), p 89
9. Panella, op. cit, p 31.
10.Quoted in Leon Poliakov, De Mahomet aux Marranes, II (Paris: Calmann-Levy 1961), p 72; and in Panella, op cit, p 157, n. 9.
11. Bernard Lewis, What Went Wrong? (
12. Quoted in William R Polk, The Opening of
13. Polk, op. cit., p 138.
14. Francesco Suriano, Treatise on the Holy Land (Jerusalem: Franciscan Press, 1949) [in original: Trattato di Terra Santa e dell'Oriente], pp 101-02. For a scholarly view of the Jews in
15. Amnon Cohen, "On the Realities of the Millet System:
16. Chateaubriand, Itinéraire de Paris à Jérusalem (Paris: Juilliard 1964), pp 426-427.
17. Neophytos, Extracts from Annals of
18. See Marx in Shlomo Avineri, ed., Karl Marx on Colonialism and Modernization (New York: Doubleday, 1969), pp 150-151; translated and paraphrased from Cesar Famin, L'Histoire de la rivalite et du protectorat des Eglises chretiennes en Orient (Paris: Firmin Didot freres, 1853). pp 50, 54
19. Re the Jewish population majority, see Famin op. cit., pp 49, 51. Famin's main themes in the book have nothing to do with Jews. He endeavors to prove Roman Catholic primacy over the Christian holy places in
20. Gerardy Santine, Trois ans en Judée (Paris: Hachette 1860), p 189.
22. Ibid., p 181.
23. Quoted by Max Hastings in the
24. John J Mearsheimer and Stephen M Walt, The
25. Elliott A Green, "Arabs and Nazis, Can It Be True?," Midstream (October 1994).
Elliott A. Green is a researcher, writer and translator, living in
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.