Israel is Jewish – Part One: Is There a “Palestine?”

Israelis protest against Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside Prime Minister official residence in Jerusalem on July 25, 2020. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi
/Flash90 *** Local Caption *** שמאל

This morning I lamented how I consider the Black Lives Matter organization and movement as antisemitic and anti-Israel, based on the erroneous belief that Israel is an apartheid state and an occupier of Arab (Palestinian) land. Since the riots and protests began here in the U.S., I’ve been searching for a way to express how wrong that is, but for a lot of reasons, I haven’t been able to get a handle on it.

Then after receiving an email from a Jewish friend of mine who lives in Israel, and reading the contents, I realized why. The topic is huge and multidimensional. I’d never cram what I want to say into a single blog post, which is why it will have to be a series. I have no idea how it will end, but I do know how it will begin.

It will begin with this idea that there is and always has been this “thing” called “Palestine” that somehow supersedes the Biblical and historical land of “Israel.”

Let’s start with Palestine. Where did it come from?

According to Encyclopedia Britannica:

Palestine, area of the eastern Mediterranean region, comprising parts of modern Israel and the Palestinian territories of the Gaza Strip (along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea) and the West Bank (the area west of the Jordan River).

Oh really? How did that happen? The same source says:

The word Palestine derives from Philistia, the name given by Greek writers to the land of the Philistines, who in the 12th century bce occupied a small pocket of land on the southern coast, between modern Tel Aviv–Yafo and Gaza. The name was revived by the Romans in the 2nd century ce in “Syria Palaestina,” designating the southern portion of the province of Syria, and made its way thence into Arabic, where it has been used to describe the region at least since the early Islamic era.

I don’t completely trust the Encyclopedia Britannica because they’re dancing around the facts. When did the Romans rename ancient Israel “Palestine” and why? They don’t say, so I had to look elsewhere.

According to the Jewish Virtual Library:

A derivative of the name Palestine first appears in Greek literature in the 5th Century BCE when the historian Herodotus called the area Palaistine. In the 2nd century CE, the Romans crushed the revolt of Shimon Bar Kokhba (132 CE), during which Jerusalem and Judea were regained and the area of Judea was renamed by the Roman Emperor Hadrian Palaestina in an attempt to minimize Jewish identification with the land of Israel.

Bingo! The Romans deliberately renamed Israel as “Palestine” to insult and demean the Jewish people and the Jewish right to their own land. We also understand from those two articles, that “Palestine” didn’t always exist as an Arab nation and in fact, wasn’t a nation, Arab or otherwise, at all. Not until it was “invented.”

Okay, I get it. Nations are invented entities. Once upon a time there was no such thing as the United States of America, and if you go back in time far enough, anything you call a country didn’t exist.

Before I go on, let’s revisit the Jewish Virtual Library article:

Though the definite origins of the word Palestine have been debated for years and are still not known for sure, the name is believed to be derived from the Egyptian and Hebrew word peleshet. Roughly translated to mean rolling or migratory, the term was used to describe the inhabitants of the land to the northeast of Egypt – the Philistines. The Philistines were an Aegean people – more closely related to the Greeks and with no connection ethnically, linguistically or historically with Arabia – who conquered in the 12th Century BCE the Mediterranean coastal plain that is now Israel and Gaza.

Did you get that? “rolling or migratory” people. And “Aegean people – more closely related to the Greeks and with no connection ethnically, linguistically or historically with Arabia – who conquered in the 12th Century BCE the Mediterranean coastal plain that is now Israel and Gaza.”

So “Palestine” isn’t and never has been an “Arabic” nation…ever. Those original people were more related to Greeks, but does that mean “Palestine” is Greek? No, that’s nuts. The root for what some people now call “Palestine” came into being because that area was conquered about 3,300 years ago.

But what about before then?

According to the article Evidence of the Jewish People’s Roots in Israel:

Now, the Bible pictures an Israelite-Jewish population and government there starting in the 12th century BCE and continuing until the end of the Bible’s history about 800 years later. But how do we know if this is true? As scholars, we can’t just say, “The Bible tells us so.” We need to see evidence that could be presented to any honest person, whether that person be religious or not, Jewish or Christian or from some other religion or no religion, or from Mars.

Yes, exactly, and that’s the hard part. I could cite Jewish and Christian sources all day long, but at the end of the day, critics could say those sources were so biased that they’re telling lies. I could call the sources who say that a Jewish Israel never existed the same thing. So what now? Let’s see if this article’s author Richard Elliott Friedman has an answer:

In the first place, the land is filled with Hebrew inscriptions, so I begin with that. These are not just an occasional inscription on a piece of pottery or carved in a wall. Nor should we even start with one or two of the most famous archaeological finds. Rather, there are thousands of inscriptions. They come from hundreds of excavated towns and cities. They are in the Hebrew language. They include people’s names that bear forms of the name of their God: YHWH.

Click the link to get the entire context, but the point is that not only do we find artifacts from ancient times that testify to a Jewish Israel, but from the lands around it. Ancient nations and people groups recognized the Jewish people as having occupied and possessed Israel for many hundreds if not thousands of years before anything like “Palestine” was manufactured.

The people at believe that:

When scholars refer to “ancient Israel,” they often refer to the tribes, kingdoms and dynasties formed by the ancient Jewish people in the Levant (an area that encompasses modern-day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria).

They presuppose that somehow, nations like Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria, plus the increasingly unlikely “Palestine,” can undo, unroll, or unwrite the existence of both ancient and modern Israel, the Jewish Israel.

The article goes on to say:

Scholars draw largely on three sources to reconstruct the history of ancient Israel — archaeological excavations, the Hebrew Bible and texts that are not found in the Hebrew Bible. The use of the Hebrew Bible poses difficulty for scholars as some of the accounts are widely thought to be mythical.

If you don’t believe in the Hebrew God and His miracles, naturally the Bible isn’t going to be considered an authoritative source. I mentioned that before.

But to continue:

The earliest mention of the word “Israel” comes from a stele (an inscription carved on stone) erected by the Egyptian pharaoh Merneptah (reign ca. 1213-1203 B.C.) The inscription mentions a military campaign in the Levant during which Merneptah claims to have “laid waste” to “Israel” among other kingdoms and cities in the Levant.

The article concludes:

In the millennia afterward, the Jewish diaspora spread throughout the world. It wasn’t until the establishment of the modern state of Israel in 1948 that the Jewish people had a homeland again.

You might consider this source a tad more objective, since it’s not Jewish, which is why I included it.

Just for giggles, I read a source asking “Does Palestine exist, or is it Israel?”

A lot of people responded since, after all, it is a hot button topic. One person named Shira Barabi answered on February 9, 2019. Please note that English is probably not this person’s main language:

As a israel , Palestine does not exist.

The civilians of so called Palestine are arabs who live in Israel.

This whole concept of another land for the arabs started in 1948 , after Israel declared independence. We had a civil war and won. Actually , we won several wars between us and the surrounding arab states.

So , why is Palestine still a concept? After being ” founded ” in 1988 ( that’s right. 40 years after israel was formed ) there has been total chaos for owning that little piece of land. Obviously , if you choose to take israel’s side then you’re a heartless Zionist that kills innocent children.

Believe it or not , but I live next to an Arab village ( I am a Jew-Moroccan so we settled here ) and every time there’s a terror attack that hurts innocent citizens there are fireworks and parties until the sunrise. Seeing that as a little child made me lose empathy.

We fight for a home constantly. Nobody wants us obviously and we have to fight for the little we have. I still find it petty for the Arabs to want it so badly and be willing to kill so many for it while they obviously have quite a few of their own.

We have offered many peace arrangements to this so called state that doesn’t even have a territory and they were sadly all dismissed. How can we get to peace when they want to eat the whole cake?

I personally think this conflict is absurd. How can people keep calling an official state another name? How is this even normal? Can you imagine calling the USA another name just because some citizens of a minority decide that they want it all to their selves? Can you imagine negotiating with such an absurd group? That’s why I can’t take Palestine supporters seriously. Take a flight to Palestine , I dare you. You will soon find out that it’s Israel.

Let’s embrace what it is. A little country surrounded by enemies and STILL surviving. Thriving! Sadly to the rest of the world , we have god on our side. we were raised in an environment where we were hated. We always had. There is only israel. As it is on all the documents. As it is on the Bible. As it is until the day the world will go down in flames.

That’s not scientific or historical or authoritative, but I kind of like it so I put the quote here.

Going back to evidence, if it does exist and it’s uncontroversial, why does anyone doubt?

Both The Times of Israel and Arutz Sheva chronicle Arab efforts to deliberately destroy artifacts supporting the ancient Temple in Jerusalem, the very center of religious life for Jews in the City of David.

A 2017 piece from The BESA Center begins:

The existence of a living Jewish people in a functioning Jewish state threatens the very raison d’être of Islam, which came into being to render Judaism obsolete. For that reason, Arabs and Muslims will never accept Israel as the Jewish State.

So there are nationally, ethnically, and religiously based reasons for many people to object to admitting that the land of Israel is Jewish and not Arabic, that religiously it has been the only nation established by the God of the Hebrews rather than being Islamic.

“Progressive” Europeans, Canadians, and United States citizens, among others, are such a gullible breed. Historically, the world has used the Jewish people as the cause of pretty much everything bad and they are still at it. I guess that’s why it’s so easy for them to believe that Israel is an “apartheid state” and “occupiers” when the evidence is plain that they’re not. Also, according to an image I posted this morning, the British really did establish a Palestinian state. It’s called “Jordan.”

I’ve given you enough to digest for the time being. I welcome comments, but I keep a tight rein on what I do and don’t allow. I’m okay with disagreement, but personalizing conflict here is not permitted. I don’t know what Part 2 will be like exactly. I do know that when Black Lives Matter claims the “Palestinian people” are victims of racism just like African Americans and other people of color, if they’re basing that claim on historical evidence, they are not just wrong, they’re bigoted.

For more, go to The Jewish Journal and Tablet Magazine.


28 thoughts on “Israel is Jewish – Part One: Is There a “Palestine?””

  1. We can also say being anti-Judaism/Jew (or Judaism in Israel) is “the very raison d’être of Christianity, which [wanted] to render Judaism obsolete.” Notice I didn’t say the reason of Jesus/Y’shua to speak nor even the reason for a faith or religion based in him. Are we really interested in history and truth? Or just favored politics? A way to win or be “right.” To simply target Black Lives Matter and progressives (a currently-favored whipping boy of the blindly right-wing while concerns of BLM are being diminished by any means) is to keep ignoring facts that have been studied and shared by Messianic leaders. Maybe some people think it makes sense to criticize or see Christianity for what it is only in whispers and cloistered rooms, perhaps because speaking reality out in the open won’t get votes for the increasingly unhinged? Who is gullible? Who is cynically or designedly selective in what they share of what they know? Who is plainly misinformed or not well-informed (a difference from gullible)? Each person has to search his or her own heart honestly, and (one would hope) go forward solidly in reality.

    The server for the website to which I would link is not responding or is not to be found at this time. I will have to get out the books. But I have shared, before, that developers of the institutions (particularly those leading to establishment) of what came to be called Christianity affirmed dispossessing Israel or Jerusalem of honor, it’s bishop of primacy; hundreds of years later (still early on) pushed Jewishness out the door. Real Messianic congregations are few and far between; even congregations that call themselves messianic when they are really something else (Hebrew Roots, evangelical with pro-Israel rhetoric, what have you) are rare. It’s not surprising teshuva and enlightenment in this regard hasn’t gone far. Yet, there always seem to be a few people who do hear the Spirit of Jesus speaking through recorded words of the gospel writings. Some even hear more directly; sometimes that’s what it takes when the powers that be would steer most astray. How will those who don’t know learn? Not through the politics that undermine freedom or equitable rights every time such energy exibits a breath.

    1. Unfortunately, in news and social media, it’s come down to that, hence my crafting this blog post and whatever follows. For whatever reasons, the U.S. has become severely polarized and the impression I get is that you can’t criticize anything BLM related without being accused of racism. That gives the BLM organization and their supporters a lot of power because they can do pretty much anything they want and get away with it, at least as far as public opinion is concerned. That includes vandalizing a synagogue in Los Angeles and attacking Jews in New York. I’m not saying every single person allied with BLM is antisemitic, but based on this idea that Israel is “apartheid” and an “occupier,” a lot of people feel justified in defending “Palestinians” by attacking American Jews (and Jews all over the world, really). That is what I’m addressing.

  2. By the way, there is an archaeological site only about ten kilometres from my home, on a hill just to one side of the Elah Valley where David defeated the Philistine champion Goliath, where explicit evidence was uncovered showing it to be on the border between a 10th-century BCE Judean monarchy and the Philistine enclave, in perfect alignment with the biblical story of the capture of the Hebrew Ark of the Covenant by the Philistines and their return of it to a field near the town of Beit Shemesh. I attended a lecture by the archaeologist who led the work on that site. The point of this comment is that the biblical record is strongly supported as historically accurate time and again by facts “on the ground”, literally.

  3. I neglected to mention how large is the difference between the few areas occupied by the ancient Philistines, along the southern Mediterranean seacoast in the southwestern territories of ancient Israel and also in some separate locations farther north in the Lebanon, and the much larger area that came to be called “Palestine” by the Romans and the several conquerors who took over the region subsequently such as the Byzantines, the Mamelukes, the Ottomans, and the British Allies of WW1. I should note that the Greeks held the area before the Romans, and at least one of their writers in the BCE era referenced the area as Philaestina. So the Romans weren’t the first to make general references to the area that ignored the small Jewish portion which was Israel.

    Nonetheless, it was this much larger region that the British ended up administering, called the British Mandate for Palestine, which they divided between the Arabs and the Jews in the region as a reward for their assistance during the war, allocating the transjordanian four-fifths of it to the Arabs, which became the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and the cisjordanian one-fifth for Jews to establish their own modern state Israel. Note that the division of territories for the various administrative mandates for Palestine, Syria/Lebanon, and Iraq, was more or less along lines inherited from the Ottoman definitions of the territories in their Empire which was dissolved after their defeat by the WW1 Allies.

  4. Quote: … if they’re basing that claim on historical evidence, they are not just wrong, they’re bigoted.
    I didn’t realize people who care and are heartbroken about the murdering of black people by police officers and by others (such as Zimmerman and the triplecate of racists [including a retired officer] in Georgia in a more recent hunt) were required to have a master class in history before those they love or who look like them can be murdered. Perhaps those who murder them should be informed of this prerequisite, as I don’t actually think the victims or so-hated can uniformly live up to that expectation.

    As for someone who has spent decades in serious study (as a Messianic believer [and not someone who simply commandeers that modifier or pays lip service as if in respect of Jewish people while really a standard Christian who has adopted politically-correct words to say])… of course, the thing to do in handling her (my earlier) post is to not post through what said person has for sharing. I don’t know why you would choose that course of action other than that what you meant by “personal” wasn’t really what personal means but that you’ll enforce a certain political bent, non-negotiable and curbing discourse.

    1. I wish I could say I was making this up, but I’m not. It’s actually worse since BLM has ties with Hamas, an organization that even the Obama administration considered terrorists. A quick Google search of “BLM and Hamas” turned up links to stories at Arab News, Jewish World News, and reddit:

      I’m not accusing African-Americans of being antisemitic, but as an organization, for whatever good BLM has done, they do have a side that is antisemitic.

    2. I do apologize, James. I had refreshed the page, this morning (multiple times), after my post had not only not been posted through yet but had disappeared from the notation (very soon after my posting, last night, but not immediately) of pending moderation. Clearly, I observe the severe polarization in our culture as you do. I’ve even interacted with a “pastor” recently who characterizes Hitler and the Nazis as part of “the left” — which, certainly, is a convenient (but wrong) attempt at a salve for his [in lieu of saying something more descrptive of him] political and spiritual confusion or deceit.

      He blocked more than half of what I said, while repeatedly saying to me and others that he desires interaction. The reality is that most of the comments on his site consist of people saying, “Ditto, you great guy you.” After my having indicated (not explicitly) that I am Messianic (which he ostensibly holds in dear esteem), his next subject matter tore into some random Messianic leader. What an odd “coincidence” — while I don’t remember the Messianic leader’s name and have no familiarity with him. But I fear such a spirit is getting worse. Anyway, I don’t recall you ever doing that.

      1. Attempting to categorize the political locus of Nazism is problematic. Socialism — as in National Socialism — is leftist, and usually populist, while nationalism is more commonly a rightist characteristic. Totalitarian tyranny tends to occur on either extreme. In Germany, socialism was a populist economic tool to forcibly rectify Germany’s depressed economy after losing WW1. Nationalist elitism was a tool to place the blame onto other countries and to suppress the public memory of Germany’s actions which had brought about their calamity. But socialist economies tend to go bankrupt given enough time, hence fomenting national sentiments to support militant actions against these others was a means to hide the economic shortcomings of socialism by appropriating assets from the subjugated countries. Perhaps that renders Nazism, National Socialism, as a form of socialism in disguise, a leftist wolf in rightist sheep’s clothing. Hence the confusion.

        On the topic of BLM and criticisms thereof — I’d like to share an observation I experienced after returning to the USA after my first seven years of living in Israel. I would listen regularly to news and political discussion on my car radio during my commute to and from work. I found it odd to hear how much time was devoted to the notion of race and racial differences.

        Understand that I had never held any animosity toward people of any “race” or ethnicity different from my own. It was rare and jarring even when I occasionally heard some derogatory comment or assumption from one particular member of my extended family whom I seldom encountered. The view that was inculcated into me growing up was one of taking people at face value, without presuppositions about their background on any superficial basis. At the same time, I didn’t encounter so very many different sorts of folks, including relatively few “blacks”. But those whom I did encounter were not treated any differently, pro or con. Nonetheless, living in Israel, with Jews from virtually every nation on earth including Ethiopia, India, Morocco, Yemen, Russia, Europe, America, South America, and even Far East Asia, reinforced my “people as people, primarily” perspective.

        Hence when I later heard so much preoccupation with racial differences and tensions and presuppositions and whatnot, I could only marvel at the broad public failure to understand the artificiality of it, the failure to recognize that all of us are descendants of Noa’h the ark-builder, and of the same Adamic family, of the *human* race. It is from this perspective that I criticize BLM as only contributing to worsen the very problem they ostensibly decry. They wish to highlight racially-biased misconduct by engaging in even more racism. Is it, then, any wonder that they find common cause with other bigots such as antisemites who target Jews and the Jewish state with lying accusations? Those who respond against BLM by saying that ALL lives matter are absolutely correct in that emphasis. W.Shakespeare’s Shylock character is not at all flattering to Jews, but his soliloquy in which he asks: “Does not a Jew bleed?” is emphasizing the right focus on human commonality as the proper basis for sympathy, empathy, and equal treatment. That includes *real* justice rather than falsely so-called “social justice”. Racism simply creates another artificial category to divide the “Family of Man” into cadres which can be pitted against one another in accordance with Marxian dialectic. The reality of human genetics and melanin distribution is much less categorical and much more gradual across a broad spectrum of humanity. Culture and historical experience are much more responsible causes of distinction and division, but these also rely on artificial constructs that can be modified or otherwise redressed.This is where social problem-solving must do its work.

      2. Are China and North Korea republics, in the sense we understand a republic as a form or modification of democracy, because they use the word? Was the Soviet Union such a republic — because they said so? Not in my book.

        As for the pastor to whom I was referring, he just thinks everything evil… everything… is left. It’s like the nuns who used to bang my dad on his hands with wooden rulers and yard sticks because he was left handed and used his left hand.

        The Marxism dialectic trope is so tired. I can understand that you grew up with no sense of racism (with an exception of one person you didn’t see a lot). I grew up what I would say is the same (or even with less racism… or so I thought).

        It’s easy for an adult to hide racism from a child if the adult doesn’t use the “n” word and doesn’t have any nooses or ready rope around. Yes, it’s more complicated than that. But not very. Anyway, I was all “conservative” all the time.

        I happen to have been growing up at a spot in time where racists had figured out they should shut up. Nevertheless, the dog whistles have gotten louder. And cameras have become ubiquitous. Additionally, knowledge has increased.

        Our U.S. history is more complicated than we thought (with regard to race and more) but less complicated than Israel’s history (with regard to other differentiations besides race as well as some of the same persistent religious problems).

        I appreciate your high-flying language. I could quote most of it happily. But I have found out things aren’t as simple as that even if they should be or should have been. Why are there so many organizations defending Jews. Is there no need?

      3. What were you trying to say, Marleen, by: “The Marxism dialectic trope is so tired.”? Did you mean that you’re tired of hearing folks decry Marxist philosophy and its implementation by current-day leftists and anarchists? Or were you trying to suggest that his philosophy is outdated and folks should stop trying to enact it? It is not a “trope” to describe the philosophy underlying and driving the riots and the entirety of identity politics. It is an analysis of the very essence of the methodology that defines separate groups in order to pit them destructively against one another, seeking a locus of blame rather than seeking to propose actual positive constructive solutions to problems. That is what the “dialectical” term of Marx’s “dialectical materialism” means. That is precisely what we are witnessing on the streets and in the Congress. It is the nature of socialist counter-cultural warfare.


        Quotation from about midway through the article: … getting kicked out in 1989 for saying Jews were responsible “for the majority of wickedness that goes on across the globe.”

        Now, I find the subheading atop the full article to be overstated and potentially misleading. But those who read the whole article will get a mostly appropriate sense of the matter. An example is that the sentence from which I’ve quoted shows black people actively opposing anti-semitism or over-the-top ignorance.

        What I would say aloud, that is implied but not explicit at the end, is that someone who has (in a way) removed himself from receiving the “benefit of the doubt” if there is a “next time” (which doesn’t include all people for whom there might be a next time), still wouldn’t be written off.

      5. Steve Bannon was arrested while hanging out with a Chinese billionaire. I’m not sure whose yacht it was (his or that of the Chinese man). Bannon talks a hard line against China, until he gets to be friends with a billionaire. You know, China has what we refer to, in the legends of capitalism, as ”markets” or “the market” — the all-seeing god (more a god, or the missapprehended hidden hand, in our culture than theirs). That still doesn’t make them democratic or the republic alluded to in their name.

        “Trump has ‘more friends in jail than me’!”

        ……. indicted with three others who are accused [in] defrauding donors to the online fundraising campaign known as “We Build the Wall” that raised $25 million.

        He was released on a $5 million bond and took to the airwaves to promote his innocence, calling his arrest a “political hit job.”


      6. How is this news item related to the current discussion? What is the linked article deemed to illustrate? I don’t see any link to Israel, nor to BLM or any organization that has taken a position right or wrong on the rights of Israel to exist or any claims about a Palestinian state or claims about Israeli governmental behavior. It seems to be a report of criminal indictment against a former associate of President Trump, and perhaps against a Chinese man who reportedly possesses a lot of money, and about a black rapper who attempted a bit of snide humor at their expense and by implication against the President. Is there supposed to be some implication against the rapper? Is there supposed to be some implication of guilt by dint of a former association (or even a current one)? Is there deemed to be something germane about the financial nature of the indictment? Where are we going with this reference in this discussion?

      7. That rapper was used as an example by the authors of the previously-linked article (while Seth Rogan was sort of let off the hook and sort of not let off the hook) at jpost:

        Rapper Ice Cube added his voice to the mix last month when he slammed NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for including him in a column in The Hollywood Reporter as an example from the entertainment world who espoused antisemitic tropes. In response, Ice Cube tweeted, “Shame on the Hollywood Reporter who obviously gave my brother Kareem 30 pieces of silver to cut us down without even a phone call,” a reference to Judas, the disciple said to have betrayed Jesus.

        [I won’t quote the details on] … Jewfros around the globe … during a hipster conversation [between Seth and] fellow Jew Marc Maron…….
        THE JEWISH WORLD shuddered on its axis.

        Within days … much publicized … Ice Cube [… was] called into the proverbial principal’s office [as were others].

        Ice Cube made his amends in a two-hour phone conversation with Mort Klein, the president of the Zionist Organization of America.

        “Cube told me he supports condemning Black&all antisemitism& I condemned all racism,” Klein wrote in a tweet describing the conversation.

        Ice Cube, for his part, tweeted: “Shout out to Mort Klein who had the courage to seek the truth and speak with me and see for himself I am obviously NOT an anti-Semite or racist. I admire him for the advocacy of his people and look forward to talking more on how Black and Jewish communities can work together.”

        What the rapper had done was make a Christian reference. What Seth had done was criticize Israel and a sense of coming in and taking over. But I saw a tie-in, in that it was this rapper. These conversations — as I have said, whether under this “part” or another, previously — seem to start out like there is a hope to show that an aspiration for justice in the United States should be seen as something different from what is happening in Israel. But then the enduring nature turns out to be a sustained dig at “the left” or “leftists” and black lives or people who want justice for black people. Somehow, it’s as if the air we breathe or the water we swim in (the hidden or overlooked environment) is the assumption and argument that such people certainly are lawless, probably godless as commies, and are enemies of the state. That’s how MLK was seen before we… after decades… finally accepted a national Day in his name.

  5. Getting back into blogging and reading.

    I am wary of joining organizations, and won’t until I’ve done research. As such, while I fully believe that black lives do matter, and that we have a true problem with racism in this country, I haven’t jumped on the “official” bandwagon. Looking forward to reading the rest of this series.

  6. Osama Al-Sharif said:

    The words “I can’t breathe,” which were uttered last month by African-American George Floyd as a Minneapolis police officer forced his knee into Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes — all recorded on video — have resonated across the US and the rest of the world. Floyd, 46, died as a result of the excessive use of force by police, igniting nationwide protests that have now entered their fourth week. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) has also crossed the Atlantic, spreading into European capitals, with largely peaceful protesters condemning racism, police brutality, social injustice and their countries’ colonial history.




    …. the Palestinian side of the story [after decades] is now reaching once-indifferent and misinformed Western publics. BLM has found an ally in pro-Palestinian activists, including the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, which last week scored a significant victory when the European Court of Human Rights ruled unanimously that the highest appeals court in France had violated the rights of BDS activists when it upheld their criminal convictions in 2015.

    On June 6, 500 law students marched in support of BLM from Washington’s State Capitol to the White House and, at one point, one of the organizers recognized the Palestinian flag and shouted “Free Palestine” as he denounced Israeli apartheid.

    This wave of global protests against injustice comes at an awkward time for Israel, as it plans its controversial and illegal annexation of Palestinian territory. Many anti-Zionist Jewish activists have been especially active ….

    Are you, James, saying that — if someone sees worth in a movement — whoever every one and kind of those people is/are “in” or “with” the movement? Can black and brown people who want to have civil rights make sure they don’t attract the attention of a wide variety of people (white and otherwise and of any number of persuasions)? The “black lives matter” refrain is not responsible for Al-Sharif’s point of view. I boldfaced the words “have found” because it is not clear BLM went looking. It might be more that BDS, or whoever Al-Sharif is, or Hamas was looking. And one person among five hundred lawyers shouted out when he recognized the Palestinian flag. The fact Osama wants to point it out (and potentially make something more out of it for his own interests) isn’t on the the black people who would go to and participate in peaceful demonstrations when they seem to have a lot of broad support across the United States of America’s.

    Here is a story about another group of people seeing something they identify with, but in a self-serving manner of there own.

    1. I suppose that link demonstrates both opportunism and the phenomenon of “pushback” or reaction. The rioters have already demonstrated the threat of violence, actual violence, destruction of public and private property, insurrection against legitimate public servants and the democratically-elected system they represent, and disruption of livelihoods for residents and business owners alike, regardless of “racial” or “justice” issues. How long did anyone expect this leftist insurrection to continue before independent citizens who feel threatened and damaged, and unprotected by legitimate security forces, begin to band together to take matters into their own hands? Forget the anarchistic opportunists on either left or right political extremes — ordinary armed citizens will begin to do exactly what a couple of lawyers did in Minneapolis when they felt their property in a gated community was threatened by “protesters” pouring through a gate which their initial wave had broken open. These citizens will brandish their guns as a warning, and then ultimately they will begin to use them against the obvious threat from fellow citizens who do not behave like fellow citizens and neighbors but like an unreasoning mob. This is what will come of the removal or “de-funding” of legitimate police services.

      And on the subject of opportunists — Mr. Al-Sharif is obviously one of them who will say anything to twist events into a spin for his own purposes. He invokes the “colonialist” meme, particularly in the European historical context, and the phrase “illegal annexation of Palestinian territory”, neither of which applies to Israel. Migration is not as such “colonialism” — especially not when talking about Jews returning to the ancient homeland of their cultural heritage — nor is any part of the former Palestine Mandate west of the Jordan river “Palestinian territory” unless one refers to Jewish Palestinians, as Jews referred to themselves prior to the establishment of Israel. Arabs did not refer to themselves as “Palestinians” until after Arafat popularized the term sometime after 1964. It probably gained momentum after the 1967 reclamation by Israel of its territory previously stolen by Jordan in 1948; and it became accepted usage by the time of the 1970 Black September massacre of the PLO forces by Jordan in response to PLO insurrection therein.

      The use of the term “annexation” is another abuse of language to imply theft of territory owned legitimately by another nation, which is inapplicable because there never existed a Palestinian people, a Palestinian nation, nor a Palestinian history or culture whose land could be annexed by anyone. The normalized application of Israeli law to Israeli citizens in non-incorporated territory allocated for Jewish settlement and political self-determination a century ago by internationally-legitimized administrators is not “annexation”, nor would be actual incorporation of such territories into the Israeli national body. In fact, such incorporation should have been included in the original establishment of Israel as a nation-state. It was inhibited then, as now, by the UN in response to continual Arab agitation against any Jewish territorial sovereignty.

  7. I was hoping it could be seen that, whoever that man (the one at the Arab News link) is, he is speaking as an opportunist. His opportunism should not be laid right on top of the people upon whom he wants to piggyback. I am reminded of a couple times I went with friends and visited in an unfamiliar place. In looking at pictures, later, that had been taken while on the trip or visit, I wondered at some weirdness. Once in Louisiana and once in California, there were young men* (one of this sort in each place) who posed in a way for the camera (without my knowing it) to make it appear for the pictures — two pictures with completely different groups of people other than that I was there — that they were with me. I had certainly spoken to them, and other people. They were sure in the places, as were other people. I didn’t hate them, I didn’t really know them. But they weren’t with me, or I wasn’t with them. I knew they were standing near me, as were other people for the picture. But I obviously was not aware of their character. Perhaps I “should” have been less naive and, in paranoid fashion, refused to stand in a group with any person I didn’t know in some depth. Because… who knows what they’ll do or who they really are.

    * I guess I ought to state outright they were both white. Don’t want to let the assumption stand that anything weird is a black person doing it (they weren’t even, either one, someone who was spending time with any black person).

    It kinda doesn’t matter that it happened. They’re just stupid old pictures. It might’ve been more important in earlier eras that certain things not look certain ways, as “a girl’s” reputation could be trashed — the female being blamed for anything untoward in appearance. I think something like that goes on now. (Of course, it still happens archaically with regard to girls or women… but not among almost everyone in relation to them/us. But I mean something different.) While I have shared links to white people doing things, and conveyed a fact of a story for which I haven’t chosen a link, the reaction isn’t “look what happens when white men go to parks.” Where is the complaining about the white guys who hung around in Hawaiian shirts (and without the shirts) agitating and hoping for a civil war? (They are anti-government and right wing — as if that’s a surprise.) But, aside from that, we don’t say “look what the heck goes on when white men want freedom.” No, we celebrate that in our history books.

    I mentioned that I saw footage of two black people as they went into a store (to take some folded clothes somewhere) where the glass had been broken by someone else. I haven’t mentioned that I went and found the story about businesses being crashed into in Los Angeles (that James mentioned); the two people I saw in that picture, captioned as the people taking jewelry, were white. I didn’t mention it because I didn’t think it was necessary. But the bigotry doesn’t end, does it?

    Is the problem that black people haven’t declared an all-out war? In point of fact, it has become fashionable amongst the right to blame black people for not having been more violent when they experienced complete subjugation. Of course, it wasn’t the white people’s fault that white people had slaves. (I’d bet you find it annoying, right now, that I’m implying a possible associating of you with other people you permit to stand by you as right wingers.) And what, now, about officers and others killing people? It’s been going on for a long time. Does that oppression bother us? Conservatives (Republican or Democrat) have been defunding and looting our country for decades, and it’s only getting worse (the looting and trashing and defunding except for war). But when someone indicates* those who shoot and strangle and non-medically drug them should be defunded rather than defunding the schools, holy hell. Get out the guns.

    * As we know, it didn’t even take that. All that had to happen was an attempt not to spread a pandemic and the guns were on display. How dare you ask me to care about my neighbor?

    By the way, it was not Minneapolis where the couple of people who were lawyers came out with their guns because of a group of people walking down the street. It was St. Louis. Rather than your fun in putting the scary markers around the black people, maybe knowing something would be good. There had been a problem there, within the local government, in recent days, and the protestors (which is indeed what they were) were heading past, on toward the mayor’s home [to be outside]. Oh, and the so-called “castle doctrine” — even when you own a near castle or palace and therefore must be a more important human being in this world — doesn’t extend to the street, according to a former state prosecutor. We’ve been over this more than once before. You have a greater degree of gun control in Israel in general (at least in the part that isn’t quasi-Israel). [I don’t know what goes on in the settlements or the other areas that would be considered irregular. I’m not asking, either.] We have some laws here and there in the United States. Missouri (where St. Louis is) has pretty lax laws in that regard, but I’d hope the ones we have could be respected.

    1. Sorry for the memory lapse by which I cited Minneapolis rather than St.Louis Missouri. I was writing off the top of my head without rechecking each reference. The importance of investigating actual events, actions, and motivations is unarguable; and news video snippets can be quite misleading because one can’t be sure that the selection of a visual illustration is actually related to a given event being reported. The accuracy or reliability of the reportage itself is yet another matter, and certainly the standards that should be upheld by a court of law are not guaranteed for news reportage. You tossed off a number of accusations here that are doubtful, to say the least, against duly and democratically elected officials and other appointed or employed representatives and public servants; but addressing them would require investigation of each claim and related evidence specifically.

      1. Indeed, the selection of a visual illustration for a commercial Trump’s people put together was purported to show chaos in American streets. They used footage from Ukraine (not an American city, called Ukraine, the nation called the Ukraine). You’ll likely find that doubtful as well.

        [That is not to say there hasn’t been some chaos. The timing, place, accuracy, etcetera are relevant. Stock footage to “make an argument” should have no place when communicating from the government or an official’s campaign — the president no less — to the public.]

      1. We don’t necessarily know what kind of white extremists those, above, are. (Meanwhile… at least some just looked like thieves to me, not extremists in the sense of having a cause right or left or anything.)

        Now, these are more clearly extremist with some kind of intent that is not to walk away with stuff for themselves:

        Man caught on video vandalizing Sikh temple.

        There’s a video here that mentions the feature of association with an all white gang.

        And from CBS the same afternoon as the reporting/link on that evening right above:

        Now, the city’s police department believes it has identified the man as a white supremacist, linking the suspect to the Hells Angels and the Aryan Cowboys. The man has not yet been charged.

        Viral videos captured the suspect, dubbed “Umbrella Man,” breaking the glass windows of an Auto Zone in south Minneapolis on May 27, ignoring people’s pleas to stop. He is also responsible for spray painting, “Free sh** for everyone zone” on the store’s front doors, police said.

      3. These first two links pertain to the topic of my 4:13 pm post of yesterday.

        In an affidavit filed in state court on Monday [way back early on and not today or this month] as part of an application for a search warrant and seen by BuzzFeed News, an arson investigator with the Minneapolis Police Department identified the man as a 32-year-old member …
        {This is a much longer article.}

        According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minneapolis police arson investigator Erika Christensen wrote in a search warrant affidavit filed this week that the man’s actions created a hostile atmosphere and sparked a series of events that turned previously peaceful protests chaotic. She said she believed his “sole aim was to incite violence.”

        Minneapolis police spokesperson John Elder told NPR he is unable to comment on the investigation, which is “open and active.” NPR has not seen the affidavit and is not naming the man because he has not been charged with a crime.

        Video of the individual breaking the windows of an AutoZone with a sledgehammer went viral this spring, prompting speculation about the identity of the so-called “Umbrella Man.”

        The Star Tribune reported that the man had also spray painted “free (expletive) for everyone zone” on the doors of the store, which was later burned to the ground.

        I found this conversation worth hearing (not touching specifically on the hateful umbrella fella at all): “Hells Angels Undercover Shot First 4 Days on the Job”:

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