Promoting the “Palestinian” Fallacy

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18 responses

  1. Fred Maroun says:

    Interesting. I don’t disagree with most of what you wrote Sheri, but I still think that challenging the use of the term today is pointless. And it has nothing to do with being PC; being PC is not something that I ever worry about. If Jews wanted to keep the term Palestinian to themselves, they should have started this debate when the term was first used by Arabs. In fact they should have called their state “Palestine” not “Israel”. Now no one will take such claims seriously, and as I said, it is a waste of time.

    • Sheri Oz says:

      I can accept that you think it is a waste of time. For me, I can think of few better ways to spend my time than working toward correcting corruptions of my history and setting the record straight. We Jews did not want to keep the term “Palestinians” any more than the Inuit want to keep the name “Eskimo”. Doesn’t mean that we Jews or the Inuit are happy to find other entities using the colonial name once assigned to us or to them. The Inuit (and Native Americans facing similar issues) are not giving up and neither will I.

  2. Steve Blowers says:

    Well written piece and I agree that to give assent to the term “Palestinian” lends legitamacy to the aspirations of people who self identify as such, for their own state.

    I think this is the key sentence, “Just because someone calls himself or herself something does not make it so.” If somebody wished to call themselves a Jedi Knight then it is patently true they are not because such a thing only exists in the fantasy called Star Wars.

    It is a good point you make that the Inuit were given the title of “Eskimo” and my research shows that this title was rejected by indigenous peoples because it was used by people who discriminated against them. The Romans first used the name “Palestine” perjoratively against the Jews so why would anyone wish to appropriate the name now, Jew or Arab?

    I think as you say, as long winded as it might seem to do so, something like “the Arab inhabitants of the former British Mandate of Palestine,” needs to be used often so that it gains currency.

    In my understanding, there are only some 30,000 people left alive today anywhere in the world who who fit the above description. The rest are inhabitants of the countries in which they now find themselves. It is a shame that Israel did not permanently annex the areas it captured in 1967 and give its inhabitants citizenship. The population of those areas was far fewer then. Had they done so, this discussion would have been put to rest 50 years ago.

    • Sheri Oz says:

      I have a feeling there are many Israelis today regretting what seemed to be a wise decision then and has turned out to be one of our greatest errors of judgement.

    • Ron Barak says:

      Even if “[t]he population of those areas was far fewer then”, Arab reproduction rate would not change if same Arab has a Jordanian or an Israeli passport.

  3. Brenda Reeves says:

    I learned something, Sheri. I did not realize Eskimo is derogatory. I’ll keep that in mind.

  4. Nancy Hardin says:

    This is a subject upon which we both agree. Amazingly, even my own partner was under the mistaken notion that the “Palestinians” were somehow a wronged people. I set that error straight quickly, with historical proof that there were never any such people until someone invented them. We Americans have our own problems with names from the beginning of our history when we landed here and met the natives. We called them Indians and they went by that for centuries, even created their own organizations with that term in it. Now they prefer Native American, to American Indian. The Inuit and the Tlingit would sympathize I’m sure. So what’s in a name? As Shakespeare famously wrote, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” I understand people yearn to have an identity, but shouldn’t it be based on a measure of authenticity? Arabs are Arabs, have been for centuries, that IS their inheritance. They can’t choose to be Palestinians just for the purpose of laying claim to land that they never owned in the first place. Good writing!!

  5. Sheri Oz says:

    I am amazed how many educated people think that the “Palestinians” were a sovereign Arab nation before we Jews came back.

  6. Ron Barak says:

    How can it be: PUBLISHED DECEMBER 8, 2015 · UPDATED DECEMBER 7, 2015 ?
    Shouldn’t it be the other way around (namely, before something can be updated, it has to be published first)?

    • Sheri Oz says:

      You must be an editor to always pick up on this kind of thing and my typos and other errors. The way this happened is that my last draft revision was on Dec 7 and I only published it the next day.

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