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June 19, 2013

Where's the Coverage? Arabs the Occupiers, Colonizers of the Middle East, North Africa

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You probably did not hear that “moderate” Palestinian Authority official Jibril Rajoub said that “All of Palestine - from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea – it’s all occupied.” This includes all of Israel. He made this statement in an interview on an Arabic sports channel, as translated by Palestinian Media Watch.

Very few news outlets reported this story. Only some of the Israeli press and specialized media found it deserving of coverage.

This is not an uncommon remark coming from a Palestinian official. They frequently deny Israel’s right to exist (or even, if you look at Palestinian schoolbooks and maps, Israel’s very existence). References to Jewish “occupation” are so common that, in a dog-bites-man way, the media could argue that Rajoub’s statement is not news.

Using that logic, when someone claims that Arabs are the real occupiers, that should get front page coverage. But it doesn’t.

Ryan Bellerose, a leader in the Canadian indigenous rights movement, Idle No More, and founder of Canadians for Accountability, a Native rights advocacy group, wrote an Op-Ed in the Toronto Sun:

To begin, though Palestinian propagandists love to characterize Zionism (that is, Jewish nationalism) and the re-establishment of Israel in 1948 as colonial enterprises, it is the Jews who are aboriginal to the Holy Land. Alone among other nations, Jews’ language, history, culture and folklore were born and forged in the Holy Land. There is no statute of limitations on being indigenous. Accordingly, to claim the Jews are colonizers in the Holy Land delegitimizes all indigenous peoples because such attempts trivialize the unbreakable, maternal ties to the land that make us, like the Jews, indigenous.

In stark contrast, Arabs arrived to the Holy Land only in the seventh century, when Arabian armies colonized the Middle East.

[…]

Tellingly, Palestinians are silent with respect to the rights of indigenous peoples still dominated by Arab states from Morocco to Iraq.

Arabs are the colonizers, the occupiers, not the Jews. You won’t hear that in most major news outlets. Bellerose continues:

I am offended that my people’s cause appears to serve merely as a prop for Palestinian propaganda. For example, I have seen materials juxtaposing Native-American symbols — the feather, a symbol of peace — to AK-47 assault rifles, a symbol of Arab militantism. And yet, unlike most Palestinian nationalist groups across the board, Native rights movements seek to be peaceful and inclusive. Palestinian groups who are otherwise all too eager to wrap themselves in the indigenous mantle systematically ignore this crucial difference.

For too long, we Natives have let an uncompromising and reactionary Palestinian narrative substitute for facts. […] Natives cannot let themselves be used merely as ornamentation to often-damaging Palestinian propaganda.

The Jews are the indigenous people of Israel and the Arabs are occupiers and colonizers. That’s certainly a man-bites-dog story and yet… Where’s the coverage?

FYI:

Bellerose wrote before about the common experiences of his people and the Jews; how Jews are the indigenous people of Israel. That too got little media attention.

And… if Jibril Rajoub’s name sounds familiar to you, it might be because he recently threatened to nuke Israel, but you wouldn’t have heard much about that in mainstream news outlets either.

Posted by SC at June 19, 2013 07:07 PM

Comments

I've always wondered how the Palestinians get away with saying the Jews stole "their land." What made it "their" land and not Jewish land? Just because they conquered it? If that were the case, couldn't the Italians say Arabs stole Roman land? Wouldn't the Greeks also have a "right of return?"
Of course, now some Palestinians are claiming they're Canaanites. No lie is too outrageous.

Posted by: Gary Katz at June 20, 2013 11:43 AM

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