From the river to the sea

A very concise defense of Palestinians

By  Monsieur Jacques d’Nalgar, 5 juin 2024 de l’ère commune


Zionists are bloody goddamned fascists

A less-concise defense of Palestinians…

Leaving aside moral arguments for ending 70-plus years of festering injustice, leaving aside comparisons to South Africa’s systemic apartheid racism, and even leaving aside the ultimate irony of obvious parallels to Nazi Germany’s millennial dreams (Godwin’s Law be damned)…

In the beginning…

Archaeological evidence in the Levantine corridor is scant, suggesting ancient Israelites were just one of many tribes in ancient Canaan (Palestine). Each tribe had their home-team deity (or deities). Yahweh was the Israelites’ main go-to dude, although artifacts from that pre-Biblical time show he was rarely alone — neighboring gods (especially plump fertility goddesses) were routinely included. Yahweh and monotheism were gradually established as Israelites jockeyed for power and emerged as the region’s dominant tribe. Despite tall tales of bloody smiting and manly conquest, their dominance came more through gradual assimilation and population growth. Maybe those fertility goddesses really worked!

Israelites’ self-rule typically lasted only as long as they were overlooked or ignored by their more powerful neighbors. Once superpower empires from back East or out West showed up, their tiny kingdoms quickly collapsed or collaborated. Aristocrats were hauled away as hostages (except for a lion’s den or a fiery furnace here and there, they were very well-treated hostages). It was hardly total ethnic cleansing of the sort attempted in WW2 and 1948. Peasants, mostly agrarian, were left behind to make sure fields and flocks were cared for to keep profits flowing to the conquerors du jour.

Eventually, rich-folk hostages returned from exile, only to discover their lowly peasants had “moved on up to the East Side” — that is, established themselves as the land’s new aristocracy. And conveniently, at just about that same time, Israelites’ ancient creation myths — every tribe and nation has them — were found in the ruins of one of Jerusalem’s destroyed temples. There has never been any physical evidence for these  miraculous discoveries, but in this seismic, superstitious corner of our cosmos, faith has always trumped fact…

What a coinky-dinky! Greatgawdamighty had suddenly uncorked the first five books of the Old Testament — the Pentateuch — mandating a return to the old pecking order. Farmers and shepherds were forced to shuffle back to their fields of hard labor. The old sheriff — the aristocracy and hereditary priesthood — were back in town, large and in charge!

Bob Marley and Exodus

Burning bushes, human sacrifices, bathing beauties, floating babies, and naughty kings and queens — the Israelites were into some pretty weird stuff back in their “good ol’ days”.

One of their great central themes is Exodus (not the reggae version), an epic forty-year trek from Egypt back to Canaan. The only problem is there is not a shred of archaeological evidence to suggest Exodus is anything more than another fable in an increasingly improbable mythology of Israelite origination. If it happened at all, it could have just as easily happened in Ethiopia and along the western coasts of Yemen and Arabia.

Much later, after an itinerant rabbi named Jesus of Nazareth got himself killed for upending the cozy relationship Jewish muckety-mucks had worked out with their military occupiers, a gradual exodus, or diaspora, had scattered most Jews well beyond Palestine and into every corner of the Roman Empire. Left behind were a few odd mystics, diehard anti-Roman terrorists, and peasants too poor to emigrate. By the time the last books of the New Testament were written and collected, even Jerusalem had faded in importance for Judaism.

Get off my lawn!

Jump ahead a few thousand years. There are two sides to the raging battle today. One side is based on a pop-eschatology based on dubious ethics and piss-poor exegesis  of “my fine Corinthian leather-bound Bible” — and a mountain of pulp fiction like “The Late Great Planet Earth” and the “Left Behind” fantasies — says Israel belongs to Jews and Jews only. It’s a fairy tale propped up by Israel’s well-oiled Hasbara propaganda apparatus. The other side simply says “we (Palestinians) were already here, minding our own business!”

Science is a stubborn thing. Sephardic Jews (especially the Mizrahi) and Palestinian Arabs have practically identical DNA, while Ashkenazi DNA — the majority (and privileged) Jewish population in Israel today — indicates medieval origins in eastern Europe… Let’s repeat that: the Ashkenazi have absolutely no pre-Zionist connection to the land of modern-day Palestine/Israel. During early DNA testing, Israel shut down research because findings were so awkward and antithetical to their necessary notions of ancient racial purity.

The second blow to the notion of an ancient lineage connected to the land came once modern Israeli historians began re-examining a long-held idea that the Roman Empire completely emptied Palestine in 70 CE (when Jerusalem was destroyed). They soon concluded that the logistical requirements for an ethnic cleansing of that enormity rendered the old ideas of a land-emptying Jewish Diaspora as nothing more than yet another ludicrous myth. “A land without a people for a people without a land” is nothing more than a political slogan with no basis in reality. Zionists unsuccessfully attempted wholesale ethnic cleansing again in 1948…

Which is a long, roundabout way of saying most Palestinians in 1948 — those chased out and those left behind — were descendants of those same Jews who still lived in Palestine while Jesus was among them. They are direct descendants of those same Jews and pagans and pilgrims and assorted mystics who were there while Jesus was among them. They didn’t go anywhere. A few clung to their Judaism, but most became Christians and later, Muslims.

Notions of racial purity are a fool’s fantasy…

The blood-soaked “Holy Land” is an enduring genetics meat grinder. Waves of conquerors have marauded through the Levant since the dawn of human history. Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, Crusaders, Arabs, and even French, British, and now Ashkenazi Jews have all blended their cultural and genetic flavors, often with sexual violence, to the recipe of Palestine’s ravaged people.

Zionist thinkers were aware of this: Yitzhak Ben Zvi, later president of Israel, and David Ben Gurion, its first prime minister, accepted it as late as 1936, the year of the great Palestinian revolt. Both stated on several occasions that the peasants of Palestine were the descendants of the inhabitants of ancient Judea.

Today, too many foolish fundamentalist (a tautology?) Christian nationalists are beguiled by their religious and political leaders and Israel’s massive hasbara propaganda apparatus. As an antidote, I heartily recommend Gary Burge’s book — Jesus and the Land: The New Testament Challenge to “Holy Land” Theology.


Footnote: October 7, 2023 – the Gaza abscess erupts again…

Seriously, what do you know about Hamas?

That it’s sworn to destroy Israel? That it’s a terrorist group, shunned by the United States, the UK, and the European Union? That it rules Gaza with an iron fist? That its enemies claim it has killed hundreds of innocent Israelis with rocket, mortar, and suicide attacks?

But did you also know that Hamas — which is an Arabic acronym for “Islamic Resistance Movement” — would probably not exist today were it not for the Jewish state? That the Israelis helped a bunch of fringe Palestinian Islamists in the late 1970s turn into one of the world’s most notorious militant groups? That Hamas is epic blowback?

This isn’t conspiracy theory. Listen to former Israeli officials such as Brig. Gen. Yitzhak Segev, who was the Israeli military governor in Gaza in the early 1980s. Segev later told a New York Times reporter that he had helped finance the Palestinian Islamist movement as a “counterweight” to the secularists and leftists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Fatah party, led by Yasser Arafat (who himself referred to Hamas as “a creature of Israel.”)

“The Israeli government gave me a budget,” the retired brigadier general confessed, “and the military government gives to the mosques.”

“Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel’s creation,” Avner Cohen, a former Israeli religious affairs official who worked in Gaza for more than two decades, told the Wall Street Journal in 2009. Back in the mid-1980s, Cohen even wrote an official report to his superiors warning them not to play divide-and-rule in the Occupied Territories, by backing Palestinian Islamists against Palestinian secularists. “I … suggest focusing our efforts on finding ways to break up this monster before this reality jumps in our face,” he wrote.

They didn’t listen to him. And Hamas was the result. To be clear: first, the Israelis helped build up a militant strain of Palestinian political Islam, in the form of Hamas and its Muslim Brotherhood precursors; then, the Israelis switched tack and tried to bomb, besiege, and blockade it out of existence.

In the past decade alone, Israel has gone to war with Hamas three times — in 2009, 2012, and 2014 — killing around 2,500 Palestinian civilians in Gaza in the process. Meanwhile, Hamas has killed far more Israeli civilians than any secular Palestinian militant group. This is the human cost of blowback.

“When I look back at the chain of events, I think we made a mistake,” David Hacham, a former Arab affairs expert in the Israeli military who was based in Gaza in the 1980s, later remarked. “But at the time, nobody thought about the possible results.”

From the river to the sea…

The precise origins of the phrase are disputed. According to American historian Robin D. G. Kelley, the phrase “began as a Zionist slogan signifying the boundaries of Eretz Israel.” Israeli-American historian Omer Bartov notes that Zionist usage of such language predates the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 and began with the Revisionist movement of Zionism led by Vladimir Jabotinski, which spoke of establishing a Jewish state in all of Palestine and had a song which includes: “The Jordan has two banks; this one is ours, and the other one too,” suggesting a Jewish state extending even beyond the Jordan River. In 1977, the concept appeared in an election manifesto of the Israeli political party Likud, which stated that “between the sea and the Jordan there will be only Israeli sovereignty.” The current ideology of the Israeli government in 2024 is rooted in Revisionist Zionism, which sought the entire territory of Mandatory Palestine.


Image of Abdulrahman Al-Rai holding his daughter Hana Al-Rai, 3, who suffers from diabetes, a weakened immune system and malnutrition, at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al Balah in the central Gaza Strip, where she is receiving treatment, 6/2/2024 (AP).

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    • Richard on April 13, 2024 at 10:59 pm

    Excellent, John. But very complicated for most.
    And, yes, the religious/ethnic arguments simply can’t be defended any more. So many have rightful claims to the land – and I tend to lean towards those who have lived there for 1000s of years, not who came back 80 years ago.

    Question: what is a realistic and workable solution to this nearly 80 year conflict?

    Do you think a 2 state solution is feasible?

    I welcome your insight on this.

  1. It is indeed overcomplicated. What you read was an early draft, where I try to cover the main points I’m making, in a sequence that tries to logically connect those points (if possible). There are so many baked-in preconceptions and prejudices, on all sides, that the first few attempts at writing it down are always going to be reworked several times. Beyond that, there are lots of places where the sentence structure is inelegant or redundant. Finally, I’ll go back and add hyperlinks to the more obtuse phrases like “Godwin’s Law” and “hasbara.” Self-editing takes almost as much time as writing first drafts…

    I do not think that all sides have rightful claims to the land. Most of those who do are living in exile or treated like 2nd-class citizens or common laborers without any state protections. It’s not a sustainable model for self-government. The world has to get to a place where it regards Israel (and others) as a pariah state before there can be an effort to solve all the problems – it may take centuries. No, I don’t think a 2-state solution is possible. The best we can hope for is 1 state for 2 people and even that is fraught with complications. More later maybe – there are no quick answers but there is a real need to interrupt loud arguments with some gristle to gnaw on…

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