[lit-ideas] Re: Strong Stuff

  • From: Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 11 May 2004 00:58:41 -0700 (PDT)

"To begin with, I'd like to share something written by
Joseph Farah, an
Arab-American Journalist who wrote "Myths of the
Middle East" just for 

Dear Stan,

Thank you for this article. It may not say much that
merits attention about Palestine and Israel, but it
says a lot about the true feelings and beliefs of many
American Zionists. I cannot say that I am surprised,
myself, but I do recommend reading it carefully.


Myths of the Middle East/ Joseph Farah

...... If you believe what you read in most news
sources, Palestinians want a homeland and Muslims want
control over sites they consider holy. Simple, right?
Well, as an Arab-American journalist who has spent
some time in the Middle East dodging more than my
share of rocks and mortar shells, I've got to tell you
that these are just phony excuses for the rioting and

Isn't it interesting that prior to the 1967
Arab-Israeli war, there was no serious movement for a
Palestinian homeland?

"Well, Farah," you might say, "that was before the
Israelis seized the West Bank and Old Jerusalem."
That's true.  In the Six-Day War, Israel captured
Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem.  But they didn't
capture these territories from Yasser Arafat. They
captured them from Jordan's King Hussein.  I can't
help but wonder why all these Palestinians suddenly
discovered their national identity after Israel won
the war. The truth is that Palestine is no more real
than Never-Never Land.  The first time the name was
used was in 70 A.D. when the Romans committed genocide
against the Jews, smashed the Temple and declared the
land of Israel would be no more.  From then on, the
Romans promised, it would be known as Palestine.  The
name was derived from the Philistines, a Goliathian
people conquered by the Jews centuries earlier.  It
was a way for the Romans to add insult to injury.
They also tried to change the name of Jerusalem to
Aelia Capitolina, but that had even less staying

Palestine has never existed -- before or since
-- as an autonomous entity. It was ruled alternately
by Rome, by Islamic and Christian crusaders, by the
Ottoman Empire and, briefly, by the British after
World War I.  The British agreed to restore at least
part of the land to the Jewish people as their
homeland. There is no language known as Palestinian.
There is no distinct Palestinian culture.  There has
never been a land known as Palestine governed by
Palestinians.  Palestinians are Arabs,
indistinguishable from Jordanians (another recent
invention), Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis, etc. Keep in
that the Arabs control 99.9 percent of the Middle East
lands.  Israel represents one-tenth of 1 percent of
the landmass.
But that's too much for the Arabs.  They want it all.
And that is
ultimately what the fighting in Israel is about today.

Greed.  Pride.  Envy.  Covetousness.  No matter how
many land concessions the Israelis make, it will never
be enough.
What about Islam's holy sites?  There are none in

Shocked?  You should be.  I don't expect you will ever
hear this brutal truth from anyone else in the
international media.  It's just not politically
correct. I know what you're going to say: "Farah, the
Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem
represent Islam's third most holy sites." Not true.
In fact, the Koran says nothing about Jerusalem.  It
mentions Mecca hundreds of times.  It mentions Medina
countless times.  It never mentions Jerusalem.  With
good reason.  There is no historical evidence to
suggest Mohammad ever visited Jerusalem. So how did
Jerusalem become the third holiest site of Islam?
Muslims today cite a vague passage in the Koran, the
seventeenth Sura, entitled "The Night Journey."  It
relates that in a dream or a vision Mohammed was
carried by night "from the sacred temple to the temple
that is most remote, whose precinct we have blessed,
that we might show him our signs. ..."  In the seventh
century, some Muslims identified the two temples
mentioned in this verse as being in Mecca and
Jerusalem. And that's as close as Islam's connection
with Jerusalem gets -- myth, fantasy, wishful

Meanwhile, Jews can trace their roots in
Jerusalem back to the days of Abraham. The latest
round of violence in Israel erupted when Likud Party
leader Ariel Sharon tried to visit the Temple Mount,
the foundation of the Temple built by Solomon.  It is
the holiest site for Jews.  Sharon and his entourage
were met with stones and threats.  I know what it's
like. I've been there.  Can you imagine what it is
like for Jews to be threatened, stoned and physically
kept out of the holiest site in Judaism? So what's the
solution to the Middle East mayhem?  Well, frankly, I
don't think there is a man-made solution to the
violence.  But, if there is one, it needs to begin
with truth. Pretending will only lead to more chaos.
Treating a 5,000-year-old birthright backed by
overwhelming historical and archaeological evidence
equally with illegitimate claims, wishes and wants
give diplomacy and peacekeeping a bad name.

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