Israelis have come to take the delegitimization of their national rights and
hard-won sovereignty in stride. Partly it’s the overwhelming global tide
of vilification. There is just so much one can rebut. After a while,
apathy takes over.
We grow inured to smears – be they from glory-craving
statesmen, populist politicians, British or Norwegian trade unions, supermarket
shelf-stackers, sanctimonious church groups, human rights promoters, campus
organizers, professors foisting intolerant agendas on impressionable students or
artsy self-appointed thought-molders worldwide.
But it’s one thing not to
pay heed anymore or care about what they say about us out there. It’s quite
another to imbibe the slander and take it for granted as a given fact. It’s one
thing to ignore the lie, but once we begin believing it, we accept that our very
existence is sinful.
Once our villainy is established, we invariably
become the side that’s always required to build the confidence of sworn foes,
make concessions, give rather than receive, weaken itself and expose its anyway
ultra-vulnerable soft underbelly to genocidal predations. The onus is forever on
Seems far-fetched? Not really. Examples abound of the subconscious
reprogramming of our perceptions. The other day we watched with a mixture of
amusement and horror a Hamas video purporting to preview its future, lusted-for
conquest of Tel Aviv. Computerized visual effects showcased Hamas minions
marching victoriously through the main avenues of Zionism’s greatest urban
creation, pouring exultantly into its landmarks and planting Islam’s flags
We know that this is what they script for us. This is their
concept of justice. They won’t reconcile themselves to coexistence. They won’t
desist until they vanquish us and obliterate all memory of us. The Arabic
chronicler of Tel Aviv’s “humiliating defeat” called the city Tel al- Rabia. He
thereby erased the name Zionist pioneers gave the gleaming white metropolis they
built on mounds of barren, uninhabited, forbidding and constantly shifting sand
dunes which they had purchased in 1909.
Tel Aviv was the Hebrew
translation for Theodor Herzl’s seminal Altneuland
– old-new land – embodying
our bond to our historic homeland and our new endeavor to restore our national
home in it. As part of their delegitimization campaign, ongoing since the 19th
century, our neighbors habitually seek to expunge any connection we have to this
Time and again their leaders (including the deceased Yasser Arafat,
his successor Mahmoud Abbas and assorted official PA mouthpieces) assert that no
Jewish Temple ever existed in Jerusalem and that Jewish roots in this part of
the world are trumped-up stories.
But we are inured. We take it in
HOWEVER, AS the Hamas cinematic triumph was featured on our own
Channel 2 news, the presenter noted the name change and informed his audience
that “Hamas has reverted to Tel Aviv’s previous, original Arabic
This was repeated in Yediot Aharonot
Whoa, hold it! What
previous name for Tel Aviv? There was none. Tel Aviv had no predecessor. It rose
from the desolate wasteland. Nobody was here before it and it displaced
So why did this spurious comment inspire no squawk? Perhaps
because we passively acquiesce to our own delegitimization.
self-evident to the anchor and news reporter that everywhere we reside, we
dislodged indigenous Arabs. The original sin applies everywhere even to
Rothschild Boulevard, Herzl and Ahad Ha’am streets – the cradles of embryonic
As decades pass, fewer and fewer old-timers remain to attest to
how it was. New immigrants and the young (who are taught post-Zionist
historiography in our schools) make the same assumptions as Channel 2’s talking
Outright lies are incorporated into what looks like an enlightened,
objective narrative. That’s how myths are born, history revised and skewed
falsehoods become the moral compass for the likes of Sweden’s pension
Gargantuan lies have triggered all major turning points here for
more than a century. For a full 11 months the infamous Haj Amin al-Husseini
(later Hitler’s avid collaborator) meticulously orchestrated the incensed
spontaneity of the August 1929 countrywide massacre (remembered foremost for the
destruction of Hebron’s ancient Jewish community). Husseini even prepared
postcards with photomontages of Herzl (then dead for 25 years) on the Temple
Mount to inflame passions about a Jewish plot to demolish al-Aksa. Sounds
familiar? On April 19, 1936 Husseini’s provocateurs spread rumors simultaneously
in different quarters of Jaffa about three Arab men and a woman who were
butchered in Tel Aviv and whose bloodied remains were brought to the government
hospital. Within minutes, as if by a prearranged signal, thousands descended
menacingly on the British Mandatory headquarters. Officials escorted a
delegation through Jaffa’s hospitals to prove that there were no
But proof wasn’t in demand. Facts were immaterial.
agitators swore they saw corpses and the riled crowds needed no corpus delicti.
Ferocious shrieks of itbah elyahud
– slaughter the Jews – resonated throughout
The roused rabble was on the warpath to wreak vengeance on Tel
Thus started the Nazi-financed, three-year Arab revolt that cost
thousands of lives, but paradoxically fortified the emergent Jewish state, which
would achieve independence 12 years later.
The Arab aggression against
the Jews was based on an outright lie, but nobody sought the truth. The lie, if
believed, becomes reality. Fraudulent reality then takes on a life of its own.
If nurtured, it grows, multiplies and becomes an axiomatic premise for a searing
sense of injustice.
The lie binds. Spurious grievances confine and
scourge those they ensnare.
The Arabs (who then fanatically spurned the
Palestinian moniker) were victims of their own uprising. They murdered their own
brethren and sabotaged their own economy. It was a self-inflicted disaster, a
precursor to the 1948 one which would follow the onslaught by seven Arab armies
on day-old Israel.
The Jewish state would be blamed for surviving and
would fill its thwarted would-be annihilators with yet more frustration and
festering rage. Instead of abating, genocidal hate would only intensify and
Those belatedly calling themselves Palestinians portray
themselves as innocents struck by a monumental calamity and continuously
oppressed for no fault of their own.
They clamor for another chance, for
a return to square one, presumably to recoup their losses and continue from
where they left off.
NO PEACE is possible until Arab leaders tell their
people they were brainwashed for decades, victimized by lies rather than Jewish
injustice. So long as Arabs feel wronged, they won’t rest till they kill the
last Jew in this land.
But not only our enemies need to renounce the
Those among us who believe that Tel Aviv was Tel al- Rabia fan the
flames too. By repeating the lie, they inadvertently supply still-implacable
enemies with evidence of Jewish guilt.
Unwittingly they cast themselves
in the role of the Jaffa resident who provided conclusive “proof” of the Jewish
crime in 1936. He dipped his hands in the blood of two slain and mutilated Jews
and ran shouting: “Here is the blood the Jews spilled.” Furious frenzy