Fighting against a virtual country and a virtual people, portrayed to the entire world as victims
By: Neville Kahn
Few words today are capable of arousing as much human emotion as the word ‘Palestine’, a name which has become the focus of a sacred cause in the eyes of the international community. With roots that can be traced back to the biblical era, the word ‘Palestine’ evolved from the name of an ancient sea people, the Philistines, age-old enemies of the Jewish people. After their forced exile 2000 years ago, the term was used by the Romans to re-name the conquered homeland of the Jewish people in defiance of their sovereignty. Since then, for the last two millennia, no single population group has ever enjoyed sovereignty in Palestine. At the San Remo Conference of 1920, the name ‘Palestine’ was resurrected by the League of Nations in reference to a geo-political area of the Middle East which was allocated for a future Jewish State. Once the Jewish people had re-claimed their sovereignty, the name ‘Palestine’ – which has no affiliation to the Jewish people whatsoever – was replaced with the name ‘Israel’ in accordance with the political rights granted to them by the Mandate for Palestine. At that point in time, the name ‘Palestine’ should have been relegated to the dustbin of history. Sadly, this never happened.
Today, the name ‘Palestine’ has taken on a whole new meaning and has become firmly embedded on the political stage of world theatre. ‘Palestine’ has been resurrected once again – this time by the Arab world – and has been magically transformed into a virtual country which is home to a virtual people who are portrayed as the sole victims of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Ever since the Six Day War, the Arab world has popularised and exploited this name, and have callously used this fabricated nation as political fodder to sell the world the greatest hoax of the 20th century – the fantastic notion that “their land was stolen” – implied by terms such as “the occupied territories”. Furthermore, by infusing a mentality of victimhood into this fallacious narrative, they have created exactly that – the world’s ultimate victim, the ‘Palestinian’. Naturally, they have also provided the perfect culprit: the State of Israel. And by re-defining the Arab-Israeli conflict of 1948 into a fabricated Israeli-Palestinian conflict of today and creating one of the best public relations campaigns in history, the Arab world has hijacked the sympathy of the global community on an unprecedented scale. This is tragic proof of the power of propaganda – what Goebbels did to the Jewish people, the Arabs are doing to their State.
In light of this onslaught, the Jewish people are entitled to make a bold and clear statement: The rights of the Jewish people to sovereignty in their historic homeland was never, and will never be subject to the political process, nor to public opinion, but rather to the legal process which brought about the re-birth of their ancient homeland through a series of treaties and agreements firmly based in international law. All attempts to deny the Jewish people their sovereignty in the State of Israel are born out of political agendas which are based on false claims, fabricated libels, and outrageous lies.
In 1956 Hollywood produced the epic movie ‘Exodus’ which depicts the return of Jewish refugees to mandated Palestine prior to the declaration of Israel’s independence. The lyrics of its theme song contain some of the most powerful, yet fateful words of the 20th century: ‘This land is mine…’ These poignant words are the ultimate expression of the return of the Jewish people to their historic homeland after 2000 years of exile, and have changed the face of the Middle East forever. Unfortunately, these words have also become the source of an intractable conflict ever since. But today every single Jewish person, whether inside or outside the State of Israel, has every right to echo these words freely and proudly in the firm knowledge that they are based on absolute truth, and that Israel’s sovereignty has never infringed upon the rights of others in any way or means.
It is an indisputable fact that the State of Israel was re-established in strict accordance with a just politico-legal process which was fully recognised in international law and endorsed by the world powers at that time, and not as a result of aggressive conquest as was the case with the creation of other nation states in our time. Real peace between Israel and her neighbours will only become a reality once the Arab countries are able to acknowledge and internalise these sentiments, instead of attempting to delegitimise the one and only democratic state in their midst by embracing pernicious and false political agendas. These feeble strategies have only proven to be counter-productive and, ultimately, cause more harm to the Arab nations than they do to the State of Israel – a tiny country which not only contributes more to mankind than all 22 Arabs states combined, but one which, despite all the odds against her, has become the marvel of the modern world.
Neville Kahn is an optometrist by profession and a staunch Zionist with a particular interest in anti-BDS activism. He also has a keen fascination with Christian support for Israel. He has a passion for flying radio-controlled model aircraft, competing in aerobatics competitions at the national level. He and his wife, Rochelle, reside in Johannesburg.