Friday, September 07, 2018

Everything Old Is New Again

I had not heard of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. I was linked over from another site, and noticed an historical summary of Palestinian and Jewish immigration into the Levant that I thought compact. One might call it one-sided, but I think it is important to note that the facts it puts forward are verifiable.  If you like other bits of information that speak against their premise, I would challenge that many of those are widely believed, but untrue.  It is one of the Assistant Village Idiot's foundational premises that anything that "everyone knows" often turns out to be untrue, even the reverse of the truth.  It is a Chestertonian approach, and remarkable for how often it works.  Things that "everyone knows" are spread socially, rather than by any rigorous evidence.

Within the essay is a link to MEMRI, which provides the service of translating what Arabs say to each other, not for public consumption. I had not thought about them recently - not for a few years, in fact. I don't know that the Palestinians and Iranians actually are master manipulators of the Western media.  I think they succeed because that media is eager to be duped. MEMRI notes what Arab leaders, political, religious, and cultural, say to their countrymen when they believe no one is listening.  At one level, it is rather true.  Western journalists, even when given the information, are not interested in hearing it.

En bref

The idea that the "Palestinians" got there first and were invaded by Zionists is supported by sparse evidence.  That they were a functioning and prospering group before the 1940's is even less sustainable. They claim publicly that they are descended from the Canaanites, and thus predate the Israelis who committed war crimes against them thousands of years ago.  The Lebanese have the better claim to be Canaanites. Though all the peoples of the area are interrelated (including the Jews), the folks who call themselves Palestinians are most closely related Bedouins, Jordanians, and Saudis, and have significant Sub-Saharan African admixture.  They will say among themselves that they are Saudi and Egyptian. They may actually be the most closely related to the Jews.

Jews have been there for thousands of years.  They have come in greater numbers starting in the 1890's, and again in mid-20th C, so the Palestinian claim is not made out of nothing, it just ignores some important facts.


JMSmith said...

Travelers visiting Jerusalem in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries noted a Jewish minority of a few thousand. Many of these were old men who had gone there to die, and much of the remainder were serving these and other Jewish pilgrims. I have never seen mention in these sources of Jews outside Jerusalem, although these travelers were not much interested in the rural villages. No doubt the modern Palestinians are, as you say, substantially Bedouin in heritage, but many Palestinian Christians are also, most likely, descended from early Jewish Christians. The recipients of the Letter to the Hebrews presumably had children, and those who did not return to Judaism must eventually have stopped thinking of themselves as Jews. It will be interesting to see what DNA testing finally reveals, but I think it may be that Zionists and Palestinians are about equally related to the Jews of the Bible.

One last thing to bear in mind is that the Palestinian population grew very rapidly in the twentieth century, owing to high fertility and reduced mortality. The two populations (Palestinian and Jewish) were at different stages in demographic transition, so both grew rapidly, but for different reasons. The new argument that Palestinians flocked to Israel recently, in order to take advantage of Israel's prosperity, strike me as spurious.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I agree that the current Palestinians are not very new. The Saudi components came mostly in the 19th C, as did the African component that might be Bedouin/Egyptian/mixed. Others have been there much longer. I don't think there is much currency in the idea that many have come since 1948. But they were not prospering there, despite their claims to the contrary. They were tenants of Egyptian, Turkish, and Lebanese landlords. I believe there was a National Geographic write up in the 30's in which things looked pretty dire, though I have not been able to locate it. With a little effort in an index it shouldn't be hard, but I haven't done it. Mark Twain thought the whole place looked primitive, and he had been on the American frontier.