June 6th, 2011 by Michael L. Brown

Editor’s Note: Also published on Townhall.

My May 28th article, “Five Simple Truths about the Mideast Conflict,” elicited some passionate responses from those on both sides of the debate, with the first point in particular proving to be the most controversial: “There is no such thing as a historic ‘Palestinian people” living in the Middle East.’”

Let’s unpack two of the most common responses to that assertion, separating myth from fact. Of course, we know that there are several million people living in the West Bank and Gaza who identify as Palestinians today, and regardless of their historic pedigree, they are human beings with real needs. But when a misleading “history” is presented so as to delegitimize Jewish claims to the Land, the falsehoods must be exposed.

Myth #1. The modern Palestinians can trace their lineage back to the ancient Philistines, who were living in the land of Canaan (= Palestine) long before the Israelites had arrived on the scene.

This is completely false as to any lineal or ethnic connection between modern Palestinians and ancient Philistines.

First, the Philistines were Aegean (or Cypriot) sea peoples who migrated to the southern coast of Israel/Canaan in the 12th century BC. It is unclear what relationship they bear with the Philistines who are mentioned in Genesis, hundreds of years earlier. In short, they were not a Semitic people, as the Israelites and Arabs were. Second, from the 8th-5th centuries BC, they were crushed or ruled by the Assyrians, Babylonians, and Persians, ultimately being absorbed by these populations and entirely disappearing from history. In other words, there was a distinct, end of the line for the Philistines roughly 2,500 years ago.

Third, six hundred years after the extinction of the Philistines, and after putting down a Jewish revolt, the Romans changed the name of Judea to Palaestina (in Latin) in order to discourage Jewish patriotism. So, there is absolutely no lineal or ethnic connection between the (earlier) Philistine people and the (later) land called Palestine. In fact, the Philistines had previously lived in the western part of the country, on the Mediterranean coast, whereas Palestine originally referred to the eastern part of the country, on the West Bank of the Jordan river.

Fourth, some Muslim leaders have claimed that there was a continuous Arab presence in Palestine dating back to Muslim conquests in the 7th century AD. But this dubious claim, even if true , would still mean that the continuous Jewish presence in the land predated the first major Arab presence by at least 2,000 years, and it would also underscore the fact that there is no connection between the later Arabs and the earlier (extinct) Philistines.

Myth # 2. The whole argument about there being no historic, “Palestinian people” is meaningless, since there’s is no such thing as a historic Iraqi people either. Borders were artificially created after World War I.”

This is false, as to the overall argument and only partially true about the artificial borders.

Anyone who knows the history of the modern Middle East will recognize the names of nation-states that did not exist as such before (such as United Arab Emirates). But not all national identities in the Middle East are of recent origin.

There has certainly been an ancient, historic Egyptian people in the region, to the south of Israel, and an ancient, historic Syrian-Lebanese people, to the north of Israel, while the Iraqi people often traced their heritage back to the ancient kings of Babylon as well as to the golden age of Islam that flourished in their region 700 years ago. In contrast, the Arabs living in Palestine had no such national identity because they had no such ancient, historic roots, not to mention the fact that there were dozens of other (non-Arab) peoples living in Palestine, some of whom had ruled the region for centuries.

In the oft-quoted words of the celebrated Arab-American historian and Princeton University professor, Philip Hitti, testifying before the Anglo-American Committee in 1946, “There is no such thing as ‘Palestine’ in history, absolutely not.” And so, if there was no “Palestine” in the pre-1948 Arab consciousness, there was no Palestinian people. The only people living in Palestine who traced their pedigree back to ancient, biblical times and who awaited the restoration of their ancient homeland were the Jewish people.

But why bother with facts? The old myths and lies are so much more effective.


Dr. Michael Brown is the author of A Queer Thing Happened to America and the host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network.

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June 4th, 2011 by John Paul

So while the core issues of the conflict must be negotiated, the basis of those negotiations is clear: a viable Palestine, and a secure Israel. The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.

President Obama, May 19, 2011


“We have openly said that the map will never again be the same as on June 4, 1967. For us, this is a matter of security and of principles. The June map is for us equivalent to insecurity and danger. I do not exaggerate when I say that it has for us something of a memory of Auschwitz. We shudder when we think of what would have awaited us in the circumstances of June, 1967, if we had been defeated; with Syrians on the mountain and we in the valley, with the Jordanian army in sight of the sea, with the Egyptians who hold our throat in their hands in Gaza. This is a situation which will never be repeated in history.”

Abba Eban, November 5, 1969


History is replete with the exchange of territory at the hands of war and conquest. How should we look at the modern state of Israel? The above quote by Abba Eban is the famous reference to the pre-1967 armistice lines as “Auschwitz lines” of which our President wants to use as a basis for the two states of Palestine and Israel. Commenting on the President’s speech, Charles Krauthammer sagaciously states,

Note how Obama has undermined Israel’s negotiating position. He is demanding that Israel go into peace talks having already forfeited its claim to the territory won in the ’67 war — its only bargaining chip. Remember: That ’67 line runs right through Jerusalem. Thus the starting point of negotiations would be that the Western Wall and even Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter are Palestinian — alien territory for which Israel must now bargain.

The very idea that Judaism’s holiest shrine is alien or that Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter is rightfully, historically, or demographically Arab is an absurdity. And the idea that, in order to retain them, Israel has to give up parts of itself is a travesty.


The point is well taken that President Obama once again has weakened Israel, although more seriously, at the negotiating table in same way he did with the settlement freeze. What exactly are Israel’s concerns with the pre-1967 lines? The video cited below gives a graphic illustration of Israel’s security concerns.



This puts Prime Minister Netanyahu’s demand for a “demilitarized” Palestinian State into context.

To summarize the points taken from the video:

  • Arab countries make up territory 650 times the size of Israel.
  • The distance between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River is 44 miles.
  • An aircraft can traverse the country of Israel in less than 4 minutes. An aircraft from the Jordain border can be in Jerusalem in 2 minutes. See map.
  • 70% of the population and 80 % of the industrial capacity of Israel is within the reach of hills of Judea and Samaria (West Bank). See map. See map.
  • The narrowest point of the coastal plain is a mere 9 miles.

Certainly, this is a unique situation as are other things with the Arab-Israel conflict (for example, the refugee issue, water resource issues, and historical revision and false ancestral claims). And this is precisely the point: the world cannot just hand over a state to the Palestinians who have refused offers that even included half of Jerusalem as their capital. What remains enigmatic is why our President would put such stress on any negotiations. Better these issues are settled by talks rather than bombs or bullets or public fiat. God help Israel, God help President Obama.

John Paul is is an Associate Editor for Voice of Revolution, overseeing Jewish Issues.

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May 29th, 2011 by Michael L. Brown

Editor’s Note: Also published on Townhall.

Is there any subject more controversial than the question of the legitimacy of the modern State of Israel? Is it the eternal home of the Jewish people, promised to them by God Himself? Or is it the illegitimate home of violent Jewish occupiers, an apartheid state guilty of ethnic cleansing? Or is it something in between? In the midst of the often emotional arguments on both sides, it is helpful to review five simple truths about the Mideast conflict.

1. There is no such thing as a historic “Palestinian people” living in the Middle East. To be sure, there have been Arabs living in the land of Palestine for centuries. (The land of Israel was derisively renamed “Palestine” by the Romans in the second century A.D.). And it is true that some of these families have lived in Palestine without interruption for many generations. But at no time before 1967 did these Arabs identify themselves as “Palestinians,” nor did they seek to achieve any kind of statehood there. As expressed by former terrorist Walid Shoebat, “Why is it that on June 4th 1967 I was a Jordanian and overnight I became a Palestinian?”

Before 1967, there was no such thing as Arab, Palestinian nationalism and no attempt to develop the territory as a homeland for the Arabs who lived there, and in 1936, when the Palestine Orchestra was formed, it was a Jewish orchestra. In fact, the original name of the Jerusalem Post, the flagship Jewish newspaper, was the Palestine Post.

There is no question that there are several million people who identify themselves as Palestinians today, and many of these people have suffered great hardship in recent years. Nonetheless, the concept of a Palestinian people is a modern invention, and it is part of the anti-Israel propaganda machine without any basis in fact. The recent comments of Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, claiming a 9,000 year Palestinian pedigree, are purely fictional: “Oh, Netanyahu, you are incidental in history; we are the people of history. We are the owners of history.”

2. There were anti-Jewish intifadas in Palestine two decades before the founding of the State of Israel in 1948. We are often told that Jews and Arabs coexisted peacefully in Palestine prior to the formation of the Jewish state in 1948, or at least, prior to the rise of strong Jewish nationalism. In reality, as Jews began to return to their one and only ancestral homeland in the late 19th century, hostilities began to rise among their Arab neighbors, despite the fact that there was more than enough room for both.

By the 1920’s, radical Muslim leaders like Haj Amin Al-Husseini, later a confidant of Adolph Hitler, were organizing intifadas against the Jewish population, with many Jewish lives lost. And what helped fuel Al-Husseini’s Jew-hatred was the anti-Jewish sentiment found in the Koran and early Muslim traditions. Post-1948 Jew-hatred simply built on centuries of Islamic anti-Semitism.

3. Jewish refugees fleeing from Muslim and Arab countries were absorbed by Israel after 1948; Arab refugees fleeing from Israel after 1948 were not absorbed by Muslim and Arab countries. Despite the fact that the Muslim nations surrounding Israel are 650 times the size of this tiny state, they made no effort to absorb the approximately 600,000 Arab refugees who fled Israel in 1948 when war was declared on Israel by five neighboring Arab nations.

To this day, these refugees are not welcomed by other Arab states. As expressed more than 20 years ago by Ralph Galloway, former head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees, “The Arab States do want to solve the refugee problem. They want to keep it as an open sore, as an affront to the United Nations and as a weapon against Israel.” Yet Israel absorbed roughly 800,000 Jewish refugees that had to flee from Muslim nations after 1948.

4. Only one side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is truly committed to peaceful co-existence. It is often stated that if the Palestinians put down their weapons, there would be no more war but if the Israelis put down their weapons, there would be no more Israel. This is not to say that all Palestinians are warmongers and all Israelis are doves. But the vast majority of Israelis are not driven by a radical ideology that calls for the extermination of their Arab neighbors, nor are they teaching their children songs about the virtues of religious martyrdom.

Israel does not relish spending a major portion of its budget on defense, nor does it relish sending its sons and daughters into military service. It simply will not surrender Jerusalem, its historic and religious capital, and it will not commit regional suicide by retreating to indefensible borders. In return it simply asks the Palestinians to say, “We embrace your right to exist.”

5. The current uprisings throughout the Muslim and Arab world today remind us that Israel cannot fairly be blamed for all the tension and conflicts in the region. The nation of Israel is obviously not faultless in the current conflict, but it is ludicrous to think that without the presence of this supposed evil nation in the Middle East, all would be well. There have been constant disputes between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, and in 1980, Abd Alhalim Khaddam, then Syria’s Foreign Minister, admitted, “If we look at a map of the Arab Homeland, we can hardly find two countries without conflict. . . . We can hardly find two countries which are not either in a state of war or on the road to war.”

Certainly, there are many obstacles that stand in the way of a true peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, and the road ahead is fraught with uncertainty, but it would be a good starting point if we replaced myths and emotional arguments with facts.


Dr. Michael Brown is the author of A Queer Thing Happened to America and the host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network.

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April 6th, 2011 by John Paul

The push for a new state for the Arab Palestinians may be attained by September of this year.  The way this could be achieved is outside of the current peace process and could lead to negative results.  A lengthy article has been written by David Horovitz of the Jerusalem Post  explaning how this could come about.  In essence if the UN Security Council reaches an impasse on its ability to maintain order and stability, the process can then go to General Assembly where resolutions are passed via two-thirds majority.  Although non-binding, this “Unity for Peace” Resolution has been used before where the dynamics on the ground affected the related parties (for example, boycotts and sanctions).  The article states,  

The Palestinian leadership, that is, anticipating that the US will veto its unilateral bid for statehood at the Security Council, will take the matter to the General Assembly. There it will push for the necessary two-thirds GA support for recognizing “Palestine,” presumably along the pre-1967 lines and with a “right of return” for refugees, under a “Uniting for Peace” resolution to ensure global action.

If this were to transpire,  critical issues that normally are solved through consensus could become flash points of contention and further world condemnation.  Horovitz adds

Most Israelis may well believe that the failure to make progress in negotiations with the Palestinians stems from the other side’s refusal to take positions that would guarantee Israel’s physical and demographic security alongside the proposed Palestine. Most Israelis may well believe that the Palestinian leadership has neither encouraged its people to accept the Jewish right to statehood, nor accepted this right itself, and has maintained an environment in which terrorists who target Israelis are regarded as role models.

But the sad fact is that most of the international diplomatic community simply doesn’t accept this narrative, and tends increasingly to blame strong, sovereign Israel for failing to grant independence to the weak, stateless Palestinians. Rocket attacks from Gaza, bombings at bus stops in Jerusalem, even horrific murders of fathers, mothers, children and babies in their homes, are evaluated in that context.

So there is certainly no automatic, or even readily attainable, blocking vote in the Security Council for the Palestinians’ demand for statehood, even if the establishment of that “state” is being sought while the core issues of dispute with neighboring Israel remain unresolved.

No Jews were allowed in Judea and Samaria between 1948 and 1967 while the region was under Jordanian control.  Currently there are many established Jewish communities in this same region.  What would happen as result of this machination to these communities?  Do any of the recent terror attacks give us a clue as to the attitude of some Palestinians?

Another area of incitement being reviewed is the attitude to peace: “They say that Jews have no right to be in this region, Jews have no right to be here. This is especially noticeable in school text books, where Israeli presence isn’t even mentioned. There are no maps with Israel. (Ynet News).

If such an event were to occur the security of an estimated 200,000 Jews  would be of immediate concern.  Just as a point of fact, other items that have been in negotiation are water, refugees, and the status of Jerusalem.

It is unclear what the position of the US is in this regard.  With the recent vote on the settlements, it was stated that the US ‘ was “very, very close” to not vetoing the anti-settlement resolution’. 

The manner in which this Administration has conducted its foreign policy over the past few years, allowing others to take the lead in domestic and international affairs, may pave the way for this potentially historic event in September.


John Paul is is an Associate Editor for Voice of Revolution, overseeing Jewish Issues.

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