Mohamed Ali Eltaher



Page 33

. . . TO ISRAEL,

Anti-Semitism was never a Palestinian or an Arab issue. Occasional “gossipy” push and pull among all ethnic groups and religions, including among Muslims, Christians and Jews, is not something unheard of in all parts of the world. The tragic and inexcusable treatment of European Jews in Europe was not known to the world until much later close to the end of WW II. That includes the Arabs, who were themselves struggling in self-defence from the competing European colonial powers throughout several periods of their history. Warts and all, Arabs of the Jewish faith were part and parcel of the Arab family and of the Mediterranean mosaic.28

Neither the Palestinian Jews nor the other Arabs planned to take over Palestine each for himself. They were all “at home”. Nor did the Muslims and Christians challenge the Jews' presence, whether the historic Samaritans, the Ashkenazi, or the Sephardic, among them. That included the individual European Jews who had chosen to come and settle among the Palestinians since the early nineteenth century.

The creation of a European Ashkenazi-populated Israel was as much a challenge for Palestinian Arabs of the Jewish faith (the Mizrahim – i.e. Eastern Jews), as for the rest of the population. Both Arab Jewish Mizrahim and Spanish Jewish Sefardim must have found themselves initially in an untenable position between their European co-religionists streaming from Europe on the one hand and their traditional Arab countrymen, who were their ethnic cousins on the other hand. It took several decades and generations after the creation of Israel for them to adjust to the new order.

Over the past ninety years there has been a subtle and smooth choice of words to describe the Palestinian opposition to British-supported European Jewish immigration. The conflict is deliberately portrayed as one between two sister communities, one Jewish, the other Arab, living side-by-side in Palestine for millennia. The fact that the conflict began only following the waves of European Jewish immigration into Palestine, especially in the thirties, forties and fifties, is intentionally omitted and never mentioned. The discourse continues that when the small Jewish community wanted to separate and create its own country and state on the land of Palestine, the non-Jewish community opposed that move by force with the help of Arab armies, which marched through the borders to stop the creation of the Jewish state.

This discourse has been maintained purposely, incessantly and with premeditation in order to create confusion in the minds of those unaware of the reality. As mentioned above, the Palestinians opposed the new European Jewish combatant settlers who had territorial designs, and not the millennial Palestinian Jewish community already living peacefully with everyone else, whether in Palestine or in the other Arab countries.

The widely held claim by Muslim and Jewish fundamentalists that the conflict between the two peoples goes back to the seventh century A.D., i.e. upon the advent of Islam, is inaccurate. What goes back to that period is the political and not the religious fallout between some Arab Jewish tribes and some Arab Muslim tribes in northern Arabia during the formative years of Islam. What also goes back in centuries is the clash of mythologies within the three communities that they thrive on until today. It is actually against the interest of the Muslims, Christians and Jews to use these mythological occurrences as a historical basis for today’s political conflict.

These original conflicts had different reasons, took place in a completely different geographic setting, and with different types of people from those in conflict today. The old conflict was among Arabs of two sister faiths. The modern one is mainly between Arabs, both Muslim and Christian, and people of various European races who happen to be Jewish.

Under these confusing conditions, it is extremely difficult to carry on a dialogue based on logic about such a complicated topic as peace talks among modern-day enemies!29

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