After violence broke out in the Middle East between the Israeli military and Hamas “militants” in the Gaza Strip, the so-called “Israel/Palestinian” debate returned to both the political arena and social media.
The debate surrounding the conflict is, indeed, more complicated than some will admit. However, one fundamental element of the conversation is the increasingly dominant viewpoint pushed by the Left that Israel represents a colonialist oppressor state, while the Palestinians are perpetual victims of Western aggression.
This narrative prevents an honest discussion on Israeli government policy by dismissing or obfuscating the routine human rights abuses of Palestinian groups and building an invalid moral equivalency between Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Central to this narrative are four abject falsehoods:
1) Jews did not “steal” Israel after World War 2. There has been a Jewish presence in Israel for thousands of years
The claim made by many anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian advocates is that Israel “became” a Jewish state in response to the attempted eradication of European Judaism during the Holocaust, and was somehow “created” following the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine in 1947.
However, this selective historical cherry-picking intentionally ignores that the Jewish people have maintained ties to their historic homeland for thousands of years, far before even the existence of Christianity or Islam. There has also been a physical Jewish presence in Israel for thousands of years, despite numerous attempts to expel the region’s Jewish population.
Contrary to the notion that “Palestinans” pre-existed Jews in Israel, the name “Palestine” wasn’t even introduced until the Romans applied the name Palaestina to Judea in the second century C.E. “in an attempt to minimize Jewish identification with the land of Israel.” Indeed, the Arabic word, “Filastin” is derived from this Latin name.
Another factor in the false narrative that Jews “stole” Palestinian land is the fact that Jews legally purchased land in the decades leading up to Israel’s declaration of independence as part of the early Zionist movement. Between the 1880s and the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Jews actively purchased land in Ottoman and Mandatory Palestine — as it was known at the time — procuring the land from British or Arab landowners. By the end of 1945, various Jewish organizations had purchased 906.8 square kilometers of land.
However, the false claim that areas of Palestinian “territory” were “given” to Jews or “stolen” by Jews following the Holocaust is continually pushed to delegitimize the Jewish claim to the region. Examples of the promotion of this falsehood include Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who “said she had a ‘calming feeling’ knowing that her ancestors had lost their land and their livelihoods in the creation of ‘a safe haven for Jews’ after World War II.”
2) Israel is not the roadblock to peace, or a Palestinian state. Israel agreed to give the Palestinians their own state on multiple occasions.
Another falsehood promoted by much of the pro-Palestinian movement is that Israel — both its policies and mere existence — represents the sole roadblock to the establishment of peace in the region, usually in the form of a “two state solution,” in which an Israeli and Palestinian state exist side-by-side.
In reality, it was the Arabs and Palestinians who, on multiple occasions, turned down opportunities for peace between themselves and the Jewish state, instead choosing to fuel ongoing conflict and terrorism.
The UN’s “Partition Resolution,” passed in 1947, called for the creation of both a Jewish state and an Arab state, which would live side-by-side in what we now call a “two-state solution.” Jerusalem — often the focal point for conflict given the “claims” to the city by Jews, Christians, and Muslims — would have been its own separate and independent district.
The Jewish Agency, representing the region’s Jewish residents, accepted the plan. Had the Arab Higher Committee accepted it too, there would have been an independent Palestinian state since 1947. Instead, Arab nations refused and invaded, violating Resolution 181 and the UN Charter. They were later defeated by Israeli forces.
This pattern of refusal is common, with Palestinian leaders refusing to negotiate or accept generous offers, despite their repeated military failures to achieve their goals through force. In 2000, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat rejected a proposed peace plan known as the “Clinton Parameters,” which would have provided the Palestinians with “‘custodianship’ over the Temple mount, sovereignty on all Islamic and Christian holy sites, and three of Jerusalem’s four Old City quarters,” choosing instead to return home and arguably oversee a flood of terrorist violence, including suicide bombing attacks against Jewish civilians.
On the subject of relations between Israel and Arab nations, Israeli diplomat Abba Eban said in 1973, “The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” In the context of achieving their supposed goal of a two-state solution in the region, Eban continues to be correct.
3) Israel is not occupying the Gaza Strip.
Critics of Israel often accuse the Jewish state of being an “occupying force,” and that their military presence is both the reason for the low quality of life for Palestinians and justification for the terrorist tactics used by groups like Hamas “in response.”
However, when it comes to the Gaza Strip, Israel has not been an “occupying” force — ignoring that the term occupying implies an illegitimate presence — for 16 years. Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005, dismantling Israeli settlements, removing military members, and evacuating Jewish civilians — sometimes by force. Gaza is now under complete Palestinian control.
When it comes to the so-called “occupation” of the West Bank, the territory is viewed as disputed by objective analysts, given that the region was captured by Israeli forces during the 1967 Six-Day War. This conflict began with a pre-emptive attack on Egyptian air forces after Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli ships and mobilized Egyptian forces along the border while ejecting the United Nations’ Emergency Force, in preparation for an imminent attack against Israel.
The Palestinians are perhaps the world’s only population whose continued claim to territory lost after multiple failed attempts to expand their borders through military force are taken seriously by the global community.
Indeed, the intentional dismissal of the impact of Arab-instigated conflict upon the “map” of Israel implies that Israel is the aggressor in an apparent “expansion” of territory, when quite the opposite is true. The changes in territory fluctuated only when Israel was targeted for elimination by the surrounding Arab states, and critics often ignore that Israel repeatedly returned fairly-won territory as part of ongoing attempts to achieve long-term peace.
— Islamabad Policy Research Institute (@IPRI_Pak) May 18, 2021
4) Israel is not an apartheid state
Perhaps the most egregiously untrue claim leveled against Israel is that the world’s only Jewish country is an “apartheid” state, with Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) saying “It is our duty to end the apartheid system that for decades has subjected Palestinians to inhumane treatment and racism,” and “comedian” John Oliver claiming that “Palestinians are essentially being governed by a form of apartheid.”
This is demonstrably false. Not only do Arabs in Israel have equal voting rights, but Israel is also one of the few countries in the Middle East where Arab women are even permitted to vote. Four members of Israel’s parliament — the Knesset — are members of “Ra’am – United Arab List.”
As Rich Lowry of National Review noted, “Arab Israelis are full participants in Israeli society.”
“There are Arab justices on the Supreme Court. About 20 percent of doctors in Israel and about half of pharmacists are Arab,” Lowry added. “Roughly 17 percent of students seeking an undergraduate degree are Arab, a number that has roughly doubled over the past decade.”
According to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor” and “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” are both examples of anti-Semitism. The false accusation of “apartheid” policies falls squarely under such categories.
Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.