Saturday, August 25, 2007

Pseudostinians or Palestinians?

It's been a long-standing bone of contention between my fellow blogger and good friend Eitan (from HearOIsrael.blogspot.com) and myself. Briefly put, Eitan and many nationalistic Israelis with him, believes there never was a Palestinian people and that their claim to part of Palestine/Israel is therefore unjustified.

My reading of history on the other hands speak of two conflicting, mirroring even, mythologies regarding the Palestinians and Israel. These myths are the Nationalistic narratives respectively of the Jews and the Arabs (Palestinians included) that both people have woven as a weapon of war (the shouting part of the shooting war, as it were). Both myths contain kernels of truth and rely on half-truths but neither attempt to approach the whole truth (that is not their purpose to begin with).

The alleged non-existence of the Palestinians (hence the many epithets like Pseudostinians, Fakestinians, Fakostinians, Palarabs etc) is central to a part of the Jewish nationalistic narrative. It is widely believed by many Israelis and Diaspora Jews (but not by all).

While we're not pretending to be able to resolve our differences regarding the Palestinians (specifically their existence and history) by snapping our fingers, Eitan and I have now agreed to an exercise in open thinking. Following Eitan's recommendation I will read Samuel Katz's
"Battleground: Fact & Fantasy in Palestine" (which, incidentally, sounds like an interesting book) and in return Eitan, following my own recommendation, will read Avi Shlaim's The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World. I will also read the latter, as I haven't read it yet.

From our respective experiences we hope to open up a dialogue, this time based on a little more than just opinion, attempts at point-scoring and a few loose quotes.

Previous attempts at such dialogue can be found
here and here.

Please note that this attempt at dialogue isn't (at least in my opinion) a question of putting either or both Israel and/or the Palestinians "on trial".

And to our huge worldwide fan base (cough!): we will keep you updated on our progress on our blogs...

12 Comments:

At 3:58 PM, Blogger David said...

"The alleged non-existence of the Palestinians (hence the many epithets like Pseudostinians, Fakestinians, Fakostinians, Palarabs etc) is central to the Jewish nationalistic narrative."

Funny you should argue this since you posted and recommended an essay I wrote to others which was how the early Zionists dealt with the Arab Question in Palestine. This essay, you probably wont remember, contradicts your lazy argument about the "Jewish Nationalist Narrative" which you should be aware is not one narrative.

And the funny thing about the Iron Wall by Shlaim is that he took his title from an article by revisionist and militant Zionist Vlad Jabotinsky who accepted the nationalist right of the Palestinian-Arabs in the early 1920s! Go figure.

 
At 3:59 PM, Blogger Eitan Ha'ahzari said...

Gert: thank you so much!!! Can I simply copy some parts of your post and repost it over at mine or would u prefer it if I put up my own post over @ mine? I'll get right to reading "The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World." Most likely I'll begin reading the book either tomorrow evening or sometime on Monday.

Thank you again,

Your friend and fellow blogger;)

Eitan

 
At 4:10 PM, Blogger Gert said...

David:

"Funny you should argue this since you posted and recommended an essay I wrote to others which was how the early Zionists dealt with the Arab Question in Palestine. This essay, you probably wont remember, contradicts your lazy argument about the "Jewish Nationalist Narrative" which you should be aware is not one narrative."

This is a totally unfair criticism. Firstly, I have not only NOT forgotten the essay, I have quoted it to Eitan in the comment section of the piece I linked to in my post (illustrating the kind of arguments we have had about this question) AND elsewhere.

Your comment smacks of literalism and refusal to accept the context in which this post was made.

I don't believe there is just ONE nationalist Jewish narrative, I believe there is a whole spectrum of them. I am responding to one type of narrative, the one held up by Eitan and many of his friends.

What you do here is either below the belt or very lazy.

 
At 4:17 PM, Blogger Gert said...

I've made a small edit to the piece.

 
At 6:19 PM, Blogger David said...

You cant continue to hide behind your own misrepresentations and ahistorical arguments by claiming the critic (me in this case) is confused. I quoted you. Your implication was clear. You even noted your poor choice of words by changing what you wrote.

 
At 8:56 PM, Blogger MillTownAtheist said...

I actually agree with you, Gert, that there are a Palestinian People. Perhaps for different reasons though! I think that race is just a social construct in many cases. From reading "The Blood of the Isles", it seems that genetic distribution in the British Isles has little in common with the traditional England-Scotland-Wales-Ireland distinction.

 
At 5:40 AM, Blogger Mad Zionist said...

Palestinian as an identity is not relevant. One can always make up a nationality for political expedience. I actually consider the sudden invention of this imaginary nationality a stroke of pure genius on the part of the moslems. However, the important question isn't whether the moslems masquerading as Palestinians are real, rather what is to be done with them. As far as I'm concerned Syrian identity is irrelevant, Iranian identity is irrelevant, Egyptian identity is irrelevant, Saudi Arabian identity is irrelevant, all that is relevant is the fact that repugnant moslems are trying to exterminate the Jews of Israel and the Jews better start ripping them apart and forcing retreats before it's too late. Moslems are incredibly difficult to defeat because civilized people fight by rules while savages just fight to conquer. The secular humanist ISraelis are no match for the barbarian moslems in this department and that will be the difference in the long run unless the religious zionists are somehow able to wrestle away control of the Jewish State in the near future.

 
At 7:35 AM, Blogger Eitan Ha'ahzari said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 8:25 AM, Blogger Eitan Ha'ahzari said...

David: nice to meet you, even if only via the blogosphere. I just wanted to congratulate you on your aliya. I think that was the right thing to do no matter the reasons for it.

I don't really understand what you're trying to say concerning Gert's misunderstanding of the "Jewish national narrative."

It seems clear he was referring to my nationalistic Zionist narrative that as you correclty pointed out, has been outlined in Zhabotinsky's article on the "Iron Wall."

 
At 10:08 AM, Blogger Gert said...

MTA:

Race doesn't come into this at all. It's a construct and a concept of the past.

Eitan:

As far as I know David hasn't made Aliya and has no plans of doing so in the near future. He lives and studies history in London.

 
At 5:31 AM, Blogger Eitan Ha'ahzari said...

Whoops, my bad. I was sure David had made aliya if this is David Zarnett we're talking about. I thought you told me he'd made aliya. I must be wrong.

Take care.

 
At 9:50 AM, Blogger Eitan Ha'ahzari said...

Well, now David and I are in the same boat...the galut, silly!

 

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