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*Editor’s Note: This is the first installment in ‘Setting The Record Straight,’ the most recent series of articles from Jewish Press Online contributor, Alex Grobman, PhD 

Arab attempts to deny Israel’s legal and moral right to exist and to distort the Jewish historic connection to the Land of Israel are part of an ongoing campaign to convince the world that Jews are colonists, interlopers, occupiers of Arab lands, imperialists, oppressors, and racists who have established an apartheid and ‘white supremacist’ state. The objective of these fabrications is to refute the legitimacy of the Jewish state, strip the country of its supreme right to defend itself, and rationalize attacks in the present and future aimed at its ultimate demise.  


In this series of essays, we will analyze the terms used by Israel’s enemies to undermine Israel and the origin of these assaults.  

Zionism is the Root of all Evil 

The Palestinian National Charter of the Palestine Liberation Organization(PLO) claims that “Zionism is a political movement organically associated with international imperialism and antagonistic to all action for liberation and to progressive movements in the world. It is racist and fanatic in its nature, aggressive, expansionist, and colonial in its aims, and fascist in its methods….” It is geographical base for world imperialism placed strategically in the midst of the Arab homeland to combat the hopes of the Arab nation for liberation, unity, and progress. Israel is a constant source of threat vis-a-vis peace in the Middle East and the whole world.” [1]   

By framing the conflict between Israel and a people struggling for their liberation, the Arabs attempt to justify this dispute as a just war worthy of international support. Palestinian Arab “liberation” does not mean just the end of their “oppression,” but establishing Arab sovereignty over all of Israel. [2]  

Psychological Operations (PSYOPs) 

The Arabs engage in psychological warfare to demoralize Israelis and convince them that their country is unjust and morally bankrupt. This PSYOP, (psychological operation), is used to thwart Israel from maximizing her military potential. Instilling guilt in an army can be a powerful weapon in undermining their will to fight. Causing a soldier to question why he is committing such aggressive acts which he would not do in civilian life and could precipitate the “disintegration of the group to which he belongs.”  This form of propaganda is further designed to influence the individual to question the effectiveness of the military strategy being employed and the probability of its success.  [3]  

PSYOP’s also focuses on neutral audiences in Western Europe and the U.S. One goal is to garner international support to establish an independent Palestinian Arab state because of their historical rights and ongoing suffering. A second is to portray Israel as a rogue state flaunting international law. A third is to have Israel depicted as treating the Arabs with extreme and inhuman brutality. [4]  

Their techniques are borrowed from a number of revolutionaries including Carlos Marighella, a leader of the Brazilian guerrilla organization ALN. Marighella urged his followers to use the mass media, foreign embassies, the UN, international commissions, and Vatican representatives to spread their lies and false rumors to discredit the government. Acts of terror, assassination, sabotage and kidnappings further create an environment of uncertainty, anxiety and apprehension. [5]  

Arab Nationalism 

Yasser Arafat, former chairman of the Palestinian Authority (PA), attempted to convince the West that Arab “nationalism has been active as long as Jews and Arabs have been living at the eastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea” notes historian Daniel Pipes.  Although the West accepted Arafat’s assertion that they have always wanted an independent Palestinian Arab state, this is not true Pipes points out. The idea of an Arab state “between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea is, rather, a twentieth-century concept. Indeed, its origins can be traced with surprising precision to a single year — 1920. In January 1920, Palestinian nationalism hardly existed; by December of that critical year, it had been born.” [6]  

Palestinian nationalism cannot be age-old Pipes adds, since nationalism itself only originated in the late eighteenth-century Europe, and the Muslims accepted nationalism even more recently. Until the early 20th century, the descendants of today’s Arabs living in Israel viewed themselves primarily in terms of religion. Islam stressed bonds between fellow-believers, permitting little room “for territorially bound loyalties among Muslims.” [7] 

Furthermore as Pipes explains, although the concept of nationalism fascinated people in Middle East as much as it captivated others in Europe and elsewhere, the idea of a Palestinian nation had not resonated with any Arab writer or political leader, and justifiably so.  Palestine had always been a Jewish and Christian idea, one that was completely alien to the Muslims. Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel) and Terra Sancta have no equivalent in Islam. Muslims direct their attention to the Islamic holy cities of Medina and Mecca, not Palestine. Moreover, Muslims have never ruled over an independent state in Palestine. These states were created and governed either by Jews or Christians. [8] 

A brief summary of Arab history in the region will expose how Arabs have distorted the historical record. Historian Moshe Gil writes that from the destruction of the Second Commonwealth by the Romans in 70 CE until the establishment of the modern state of Israel in 1948, that Palestine (the name given to the area by the Roman conquerors with no connection to Arabs or Muslims who were nowhere near the area in the former case and as yet non-existent in the latter, ed.) was neither a home for any other people, nor ever been considered a separate geopolitical entity. When the Muslims invaded Palestine in 634, ending four centuries of conflict between Persia and Rome, they found direct descendants of Jews who had lived in the country since the time of Joshua bin Nun, who led the Jews into Canaan. For 2,000 years, Jews and Christians constituted the majority of the population, while the Bedouins were the ruling class. [9]   

No matter how absurd or historically inaccurate the accusations might be, Israel’s adversaries have elevated Israel’s right to exist to legitimate discourse by inverting the truth and reality, a propaganda technique honed by the Nazis observed historian Joel Fishman. Arab attempts to deny the Jewish past is not only as a problem for Jews, but for the West as well: Beyond the specific circumstances, inversion of truth constitutes an assault on the foundations of modern culture, which is based on empirical and rational thought. If this assault on Israel succeeds, which is actually an attack on all true democratic institutions, there is a danger that language will be debased, and society will regress to a condition of anomie. There is, therefore, an urgent need to expose the lies which have become part of a global anti-democratic media war and to discredit those who spread them. [10]  


[1] (Article 22 of The Palestinian National Charter: Resolutions of the Palestine National Council July 1-17, 1968 

[2] Yehoshafat Harkabi, “The Palestinians in the Israeli-Arab Conflict,” in Israel and the Palestinians, Shlomo Avineri, Ed. (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1971), 11; Ron Schleifer, Perspectives of Psychological Operations (PSYOP) in Contemporary Conflicts: Essays in Winning Hearts and Minds (Portland, Oregon: Sussex Academic Press, 2011), 102); Itamar Marcus, “PA to Israelis: “We are remaining here, [Israelis] go drink from the Sea,” Palestinian Media Watch (April 25, 2023); Nan Jacques Zilberdik and Itamar Marcus, “Israel’s destruction is inevitable – a repeating PA promise,” Palestinian Media Watch (October 22, 2021). 

[3] Jacques Ellul, Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes (New York: Vintage Books, 1973), 189; Schleifer, op.cit. 82. 

[4] Schleifer, op.cit.24, 82. 

[5] Ron Schleifer, Psychological Warfare in the Intifada: Israeli And Palestinian Media Politics And Military Strategies (Portland, Oregon: Sussex Academic Press, 2006), 21; Carlos Marighella, Mini-Manuel Of The Urban Guerrilla (Toronto: Abraham Guillen Press and Arm The Spirit, 2002),4, 28-32; Maurice Tugwell, “Terrorism and Propaganda: Problem and Response,” Conflict Quarterly (Spring 1986): 5. 

[6](Daniel Pipes, “The Year the Arabs Discovered Palestine,” Middle East Review (Summer 1989). 

[7] Ibid. 

[8] Ibid; Daniel Pipes, “The Year the Arabs Discovered Palestine,” Middle East Review (September 13, 2000). 

[9] Moshe Gil, A History of Palestine, 634–1099 (New York: Cambridge University Press,1997), 2; Rashid Khalidi, The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917–2017 (New York : Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt and Company, 2020). 

[10] Joel Fishman, “The Big Lie and the Media War Against Israel: From Inversion of the Truth to Inversion of Reality,” Jewish Center for Public Affairs, Jewish Political Studies Review, Volume 19, Numbers 1 and 2, (Spring 2007) 


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Dr. Alex Grobman is the senior resident scholar at the John C. Danforth Society and a member of the Council of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East. He has an MA and PhD in contemporary Jewish history from The Hebrew university of Jerusalem. He lives in Jerusalem.