Taking Back Our History
by Michael Lumish
The Jewish people in the Middle East are a people under siege.
Aside from the perpetual violence leveled at the Jewish minority in the region, the Jewish people are also subject to the theft of our history. This is a theft that cannot be measured in financial terms. This is a theft that goes to the core of our humanity and our dignity as a people. It seeks, in fact, to eliminate us as a people.
For reasons which I find unfathomable, we are failing to place the Arab-Jewish conflict within the history of the Jews in the Middle East under thirteen centuries of Arab-Muslim persecution. The conflict between the vast Arab-Muslim majority and the tiny Jewish minority needs to be understood in just those terms. The Jews of the Middle East were a subjugated people since Muhammed’s armies marched out of the Saudi peninsula in the 7th century. From that day to this the Jews were considered dhimmis, second and third class citizens under the boot of Arab-Muslim imperialism.
But the Day of the Dhimmi is Done.
When people read about the conflict between the Arabs and the Jews in the Middle East they are, today, generally given the distinct impression that Jewish militarists are oppressing an innocent, “indigenous” Arab minority. Ever since the 6 Day War Israel has been depicted as the “Goliath” to the Palestinian-Arab “David.” Sometimes, in fact, the Jews of the Middle East are even depicted as the “New Nazis” while the local Arabs are depicted as the “New Jews.” For those of us with relatives dead from the Holocaust, such depictions are sadistic and the extent to which they come from the progressive-left, or even progressive-left Jews like David Harris-Gershon, is the extent to which the progressive-left has betrayed its own alleged values.
Sadism toward Jews, of course, is nothing new and it was the theocratic hallmark of Arab rule for thirteen centuries. There is, however, an extreme reluctance within the international Jewish community to discuss this fact, but fact it is. The Long Arab War Against the Jews of the Middle East has gone through many phases.
Phase 1, 1920 – 1947: Riots and Massacres
Phase 2, November 1947 – April 1948: The Civil War in Palestine
Phase 3, 1948 – 1973: Conventional Warfare
Phase 4, 1964 – Present: The Terror War
Phase 5, 1975 – Present: The Delegitimization Effort
It is the delegitimization effort, beginning with the UN “Zionism equals racism” resolution of 1975 that, today, represents the greatest threat to both the Jewish people and to the Jewish state of Israel. The delegitimization effort, and the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel (BDS), is grounded in the denial of Jewish history. The only way that it can be maintained – if it wishes to have any moral legitimacy – is through the denial of Jewish history and the theft of Jewish history.
The Denial of Jewish History:
The denial of Jewish history is a game played by Arabs and Jews alike.
The Jews play it by simply keeping quiet because we don’t want to upset anyone. Given Israel’s success, and given the shaming that the world lathers on us, we don’t want to discuss the fact of Jewish persecution under Arab rule because it seems almost petty at this point. Why dig up little things like the fact that historically in many places under Arab rule, Jews were not allowed to build new synagogues? Why even mention the fact that in many places throughout the Middle East, Jews were not allowed to ride horses? Or that sometimes we had to wear distinctive clothing in order to distinguish us from Muslims? Or why even mention the fact that throughout the region a Muslim could beat a Jew, but it was illegal, under al-Sharia, for a Jew to fight back?
There is a reason that young Arab boys love to throw stones at Jews and they’ve been doing so long, long before anyone ever heard of any such person as David Ben-Gurion.
If in the Jewish world the denial of Jewish history is a matter of silence, in the Arab world, however, it is not.
The foremost example is what Dore Gold refers to as “Temple Denial.” The first that Bill Clinton heard about it was during the Oslo “peace process” wherein Yassir Arafat denied that the Jewish Temple ever resided in Jerusalem. Clinton was, by all accounts, flabbergasted at Arafat’s assertion, but this certainly did not prevent the PLO and Hamas and Fatah, and their western-progressive allies, from undertaking the full-scale theft of Jewish history in the years following. Within Islamic historiography, Abraham was a Muslim. Moses was a Muslim. And now we learn that Jesus was the first “Palestinian shaheed.”
We even have Jewish opinionators claiming that some contemporary Jews, despite DNA evidence to the contrary, have no actual connection to the Land of Israel.
So, what we need to do is take back our own history and place the Arab war against us within the context of that history. It’s a matter of time and place. History did not start in 1967, after all, nor 1948. The ongoing hostility against the Jews in that part of the world has been consistent and vicious and incessant since Muhammed. He decided that because the Jewish people refused to accept him as “the Prophet” that we are his mortal enemy who need to be either murdered or subdued under the rules of Sharia and Arab hostility against the Jewish minority has been predicated on that ever since.
What is perhaps most egregious is not the denial of Jewish history, but the theft of Jewish history within something akin to “replacement theology” or what is also known as supersessionism. Anti-Israel, anti-Jewish, pro-Arab propagandists love to appropriate Jewish history and claim it as their own. The Jewish people, of course, are among the most ancient people on the planet. Our history predates written history, itself. Yet, as you can see from the image of Anne Frank in a keffiyeh, the Arabs, and their supporters, love to abscond with our history.
It’s a form of cultural theft and it is widespread within the delegitimization war against the Jews of the Middle East.
Another example, of course, is the attempt to replace the Holocaust with al-Nakba, the “catastrophe.” Among Arab anti-Jewish racists, and their supporters in the west, the failure of their Arab grandparents and great-grandparents to commit genocide upon the Jews – directly after the Holocaust – is considered a catastrophe on the level of the Holocaust, itself.
They even use the term “Nakba denial” to place the failure to kill the Jews, and thus their subsequent displacement to neighboring Arab countries, on a moral level with the Holocaust, itself. This is despite the fact that the only reason there was any such thing as al-Nakba is because of intense Arab racism toward the indigenous Jewish population as that population restored its national home after World War II and after freeing itself from dhimmitude.
What we need to do going forward is to stand up for our rights of self-determination and self-defense and to remind our detractors that the Jews of the Middle East withstood thirteen centuries of abuse under Arab rule, but those days are over. In my view, the “Palestinians” can have a state for themselves within the Jewish heartland, but that can only happen if they demonstrate an actual inclination toward peace. So long as they continue to revile Jews throughout Arab media and threaten us with genocide and teach their children that stoning us makes for good sport, there can never be a twenty-third Arab state.
So long as they endeavor to steal our history and heritage, the vast Arab-Muslim majority can never be friends with the tiny Jewish minority.
It’s sad, but it is true.
Michael Lumish is the editor of Israel Thrives.