Photo Credit: Larousse
Palestine Flag with Jewish Star as it appears in the Larousse French Dictionary

Could you imagine someone trying to prove that the U.S. was an independent Native-American (Indian) country before 1930 by showing you a buffalo-head nickel or an Indian-head penny? Ridiculous, right? No serious person could make that mistake, right?

Well if the issue is Israel – then wrong, people make that “mistake,” either intentionally out of malice to the Jewish state (then it’s not a mistake, it’s called lying), or out of sheer ignorance. I’ve met some well intentioned but awfully ignorant people on the internet who were fed a propaganda line that they lack the most basic knowledge to check for veracity and accurateness. And you know where such good intentions pave the way to…

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Here’s an extract of an exchange I recently had with somebody named Melody:

Me: When was there ever an independent Arabic-speaking state of Palestine? What coinage was there?

Melody posts four English maps of the region that the Europeans called Palestine.

Me: I just told you that the name Palestine isn’t indigenous but rather the European name – and you brought proof from the Europeans that they call the geographical area: Palestine?! In addition, ironically, two of those maps that you cited portrayed the division of the land amongst the Twelve Tribes of Israel!

Melody then posts three photos of coins from the 1920s with the name “Palestine” minted on them in English, Hebrew and Arabic. “That proves that today’s Palestinians had a free and independent nation in 1927!”

Me: (This was at first actually embarrassing, since it was so patently and stupidly false. From Israel-haters I expect those stupid lies, but it saddened me to see someone unknown – and therefore I hope not prejudiced against Israel – cite this). Those are: coins minted by Great Britain serving as the executor of the League of Nations mandate over the Holy Land, the mandate with the stated intent of re-establishing a Jewish Homeland in the ancient Jewish land.

Melody cites that Toscanini came to conduct a concert by the Palestine Orchestra as proof of an independent Palestine before 1948.

Me: The orchestra was a Jewish-Zionist established orchestra, set up by the Polish-born Jewish violinist and musician, Bronislaw Huberman, who had invited 75 Jewish musicians from major European orchestras to move to the land of Israel (then called Palestine by the British mandatory power) for the purpose of “materialization of the Zionist culture in the fatherland” in the sand dunes of Tel Aviv. Arthur Toscanini indeed conducted the opening concert held at the Levant Fair Hall in Tel Aviv on December 26, 1936. Citing this as “proof” of an independent Palestine (as opposed to a Jewish-Zionist endeavor) is the cheapest, dumbest type of falsehood, and – as leftists say – a clear case of cultural “appropriation”!

Melody cites the Palestine soccer team as proof of an independent Palestine.

Me: Once again the truth is that this was a Jewish-Zionist soccer team from the days of the British Mandate. Notice that the players’ names are all Jewish!

Melody repeats an oft-heard leftist/Arabic anti-Israel canard that in “free, independent Palestine” all people – Muslims, Christians and Sephardic Jews – all lived in peace before the European-Jewish-Zionist invasion. So the soccer team of Palestine had Sephardic-Jewish players.

Me: (Again I was embarrassed by the lack of knowledge exhibited by such posts.) I point out that the names of the players were all Ashkenazy, European, and not Sephardic. At any rate – we are all one people, Sephardic and Ashkenazy, Yemenite and Ethiopian and whatever. We’re all one Jewish nation.

So – I have learned from Melody that she was fed a propaganda line: Until 1948 there was an independent state of Palestine – where certain Jews, Christians and Muslims lived in harmony (as in Iraq? Syria? Lebanon?).

I hope I said enough things to cause her to realize that this is an immense lie, a fantastical fabrication worthy of 1001 Arabian nights. I’m afraid it’s hard to convince innocents brainwashed by relentless propaganda that they were fed lies. Still I believe there is merit is stating the facts – and in the end the truth will triumph.

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Dovid Ben-Meir was born in Chicago, through no fault of his own. He was a Cubs fan - which prepared him for life in Israel, at it taught him loyalty in the face of adversity. He came on aliyah through free choice and has been here ever since graduating high school. He studied at Merkaz Harav yeshiva and has been a teaching rabbi in Eilat, the Ohr Etzion hesder yeshiva, and for the last decade at the Bnei David post-army yeshiva. He is married to his high school sweet-heart and they have a whole bunch of children and grandchildren.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Decades ago, there was in Brooklyn, NY a barber shop called
    "The Palestinian". It was in a neighborhood with a sizable
    Jewish population, Avenue P near McDonald Avenue. As well
    as I can remember, Arabs were not part of the equation. Some friends and relatives still refered to the new state of
    Israel as Palestine.

  2. Under the British Mandate the Jews living here in Israel were classed in their Identity Papers, birth certificates etc as Palestinians. Arabs in the area REFUSED that designation – said they were Pan-Arabian as they came from other parts of the Middle East and were loyal to their places of origin!!

    I suppose they'll be claiming Kosher wine next. Palwin – the famous brand name – came from PALestine WINe. It seems to have been taken over these days by rather more classy Israeli brands – but Palphot still exists. Stationery goods. Yes – PALestine PHOTos!

    There's also still a travel company around today that started way before the official founding of the State of Israel. Patra. That's PAlestine TRAvel!

    Just to make this crystal clear – these were, are and always will be Jewish companies founded by Jewish people living in Israel – which at the time of founding was still called Palestine.

    Anyone know any more?

    By the way, the Palestine Brigade were the 5000 Jewish volunteers from Palestine who fought in the war on the side of the British.
    NOT the Arabs (who now call themselves Palestinians) They were too busy following the Mufti's lead and supporting Hitler.

  3. A point of interest – the flag that now represents Israel was actually already used by the Jewish people before the founding of the State in then-Palestine. It evolved over time from the first design made in 1885 and displayed in the new Jewish settlement of Rishon L'Zion – and was in the form we know today by 1911.
    I don't know why the one from the 1939 dictionary wasn't the one we know – but blue and white stripes and a Star of David (albeit yellow!) clearly shows it represents a Jewish not Arab people!

  4. As for the coins – I hope you pointed out to Melody that if by having Palestine written in Arabic on the coin proved "today’s Palestinians had a free and independent nation in 1927" – then by the same token the Jews ALSO had a free and independent nation because in Hebrew it says Palestina – E"Y which stands for Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel)!

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