by Daniel Greenfield

Yassir Arafat

In the post-news environment, media no longer exists to report, it exists to disseminate glib talking points that sound good at first, but don't stand up to examination. Fact checks, one of the latest media gimmicks, have become another vector for disseminating talking points. So have media blogs which began repeating the same ridiculous thing over and over again.

Take the response to Gingrich's accurate statement that the Palestinian Arabs are an invented people. Aside from all the hysterical "sky is falling" nonsense, is the comparison between the Americans as an invented people and the Palestinian Arabs.

Let's look at how wrong this is and in how many ways. To begin with the American colonies did not demand their independence based on some spurious ancient history. If they had then Washington would have dressed himself up as an Indian and instead of the United States of America, there would have been the Indian States of Iroquisville.

Americans are not a self-invented people, they are a self-evolved people. The American revolution was a struggle between a colony and the mother country that ended in a break and the creation of a new country that still used the language and much of the culture of the mother country, but at the same time the colonies had been slowly evolving their own unique identity.

The "Palestinian" Arabs on the other hand are an invented people, and not even a self-invented people. That dubious honor fell to some comrades in Moscow and the Arab nations who found it convenient to have terrorist militias that could launch attacks across the border, supposedly on their own initiative, but in reality answering to them.

Their whole claim to a state is the bizarre insistence that they are the region's original inhabitants who were driven out by the actual original inhabitants, the Jews. When they are actually the descendants of the Muslim conquerors who drove out or subjugated the native inhabitants. It's as if George Washington had not only put on an Indian costume but began claiming that his ancestors were there for thousands of years before the Cherokees drove them out.

Palestinian identity is just so much gibberish. The official definition of that identity encompasses only those parts of the Palestine Mandate which Israel holds today.

The people who live on the parts of the Palestine Mandate that were turned into the Kingdom of Jordan in 1921 are not Palestinians. There is no call to incorporate them into a Palestinian state. The people who lived in the parts of Israel that were captured by Jordan and Egypt in 1948 weren't Palestinians, and there was no call to turn the land that today comprises the so-called "Occupied Territories" into a state. But in 1967 when Israel liberated those areas-- only then did they magically turn into Palestinians.

How is anyone supposed to take this nonsense seriously?

Suppose I were to tell you that there were an ancient people known as the Floridians whose land was seized from them to make resort hotels and orange groves. What would be your first clue that there was something wrong here? Florida is a Spanish name meaning flower. Palestine, which is a Latin name applied by its ancient conquerors, derived from the Greek, has the same problem.

When the Jews rebuilt their country, they did not call it Palestine, that was the name used by European powers. They called it Israel. The local Arabs who had come with the wave of conquests that toppled Byzantine rule had no such history and no name for themselves. Instead they took the Latin name used by the European powers and began pretending that it was some ancient tribal identity, rather than a regional name that was used by the European powers to describe local Jews and Arabs.

Even Arab place names invariably lack historicity. The Arab name for Jerusalem is Al-Quds or the holy city. It's a little like calling New York, Big City and pretending that it means you saw it first, when it actually means that you saw it last and are piggybacking on its existing identity.

The Arabic for Hebron is a translation of the Hebrew. The same goes for Bethlehem. Ah but what about Nablus? The Jews may call it Shechem, but the Arabs have a unique name for it. Surely Nablus is part of the great and ancient Palestinian heritage. Not a chance. Nablus isn't Arabic, it's the Arabic mispronunciation of Neapolis, which if you happen to know Latin means "New City".


Nablus has the same relationship to Neapolis, as Filistin does to Palestine, it's the Arabic mispronunciation of the Latin. The name "Nablus" is every bit as regionally authentic as Naples, in Italy or Florida, which has the same meaning.

But what of the "Occupied Territories"? The Jews call them Judea and Samaria. The Arabs call them ad-difa'a al-gharbiya or the West Bank. Nothing says ancient history like bluntly descriptive names. But what of Ramallah, capital of the Palestinian Authority, that at least is an Arabic name. And that's true. It is an Arabic name. A name almost as ancient as the city which dates back to the 16th century when a group of Christian Arabs crossed over from what is today Jordan fleeing Muslim persecution. Under Jordanian rule, Ramallah was overrun by Muslims and today it has a Muslim majority.

When the capital of your ancient people was founded by Christians from the other side of the river in the 16th century, and it wasn't actually your capital until the bygone days of the 1990's, and it only became your capital because you drove off its residents in the 1950's, then your ancient civilization has a problem. It doesn't actually exist.

The Arabs are not indigenous, they are colonizers who overran the land in tribal groups. There is no Palestinian people. For that matter there isn't a Jordanian people or an Egyptian people. Just clans living behind one set of colonial borders drawn by European mapmakers in the 20th century. Those clans moved back and forth. Prosperous families lived like feudal lords. There was no common culture or national identity.

The Al-Husayni clan, who dominate Palestinian Arab nationalist politics, were a bunch of immigrants from what is today Saudi Arabia, and settled in the region. Clan members include Yasir Arafat, the Mufti of Jerusalem, along with a raft of modern officials, including the Chief of Staff of the PA and the head of the Waqf, the Muslim religious authority. The Al-Husayni clan was out for itself, it is still out for itself. It is not a people, it is not a part of a people, it is one of many Arab clans in the Middle-East whose only priority is power for the family.

The Al-Husaynis are no different than the House of Saud or the Al-Thanis of Qatar, they are ruling clans pretending to be a nation. The Palestinian Authority is for the most part a coalition of prominent clans, some of the same clans who refused to deal with the Jewish inhabitants and tried to drive them out instead.

If the Palestinian Authority was willing to be honest, it would call itself Husseinstin instead of Filistin, but since its entire claim to the land derives from a supposed ancient history, in which time they did not get around to thinking of a name for themselves, or creating a single government until the ancient days of the 1990's, calling themselves the Husseinstinians wouldn't have worked.

The Hashemite ruling family, also Saudi expats, may call their country the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, but they keep the "Jordan" part in there all the same, because it creates the illusion of antiquity. But Jordan is at least the river. What is Palestine? It's the foreign name for a region that was meant to be a subsidiary of Syria. And the PLO began life as a Syrian front group, with its original chairman, who had represented Syrian in the UN, asserting that there was no such place as Palestine.

This bloody circus has been going on for way too long. Enough that the Arab states and the local clan leaders have managed to turn out generations of children committed to killing in the name of a mythical identity for a state that they don't really want. The call for a Palestinian state was a cynical ploy for destroying Israel.

It's why the negotiations never go anywhere, they're not meant to go anywhere. The players aren't free agents, they answer to their masters, and they can't function without them. Hamas is running around like a chicken without a head, because it's afraid of losing its Syrian backing. The Fatah leaders of the PA are even more incoherent, their ploy to threaten to unilaterally create a state has fizzled, and now they're threatening to turn over rule to Israel if they don't get what they want.

Self-government was the baseline for the American Revolution, but the Palestinian Authority can't even manage that. Its budget consists of foreign aid. Its entire economy runs on money given to it by the rest of the world. It has an entire UN agency to cater to it. And despite being the biggest welfare state on the planet, it's still completely incapable of taking care of itself.

Gingrich is right that the "Palestinians" are an invented people, but they're a badly invented people. The Big Lie technique has turned their existence into an established fact, but the only basis for it is the repetition of the same lie. Orwell said that "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." Gingrich's statement was a revolutionary act and no matter how the media might pillory him for it, as long as people continue to challenge the universal deceit of the press, then the revolution can continue.



These are some of the readers' comments that added useful information.

Der Shygetz said...

Supposedly, a group of Balestinians who tried to commit fraud using bank documents blew it when they misspelled the name of Bank haPoalim as Bank haBoalim. Indeed, they took a name for their invented people that they themselves cannot pronounce in their language. Bank haBoalim...well, suffice it to say that the translation would be rated PG-17 or whatever R is called now.

The problem, though, is oil. Oil pays for the Big Lie called the Balestinians. If it were not for oil, the Arabs would be less important to the world than sub-Saharan Africa. Even if a substitute were found just for engines, it would be the end of them because the US can produce enough oil for itself to make plastics, petrochemicals etc.

but pygmies said...

As usual, completely accurate and brilliant... which leaves me with a question: when will you (we all) realize that logic, facts, reality, truth have no bearing on what people think, do, feel? People want it to be the way they want it to be. Period. And the way they want "it" to be is generally to conform to the fairy-tale world they imagine exists. That's called ideology. These days in the West that fairy-tale is that all people and peoples are "equal" (whatever equal means). So, people who blow up buses are victims, and people who cure cancer are imperialist aggressors. Daniel -- "ayn ma'l'asot."

Linda Rivera said

TAKIYYA -- Lies and deception in Islam are considered a good thing to deceive hated non-Muslim infidels and advance the cause of Islamic conquest and sharia. When lies and deception are applied to the Holy Land, it becomes extremely dangerous for liars! G-D keeps ALL His promises! G-D promised to curse those who curse Israel.


Mr. Gingrich told the TRUTH! Gingrich also told the truth when he declared the Muslim goal is to destroy Israel. This means not one inch of Israel can ever be given to barbaric enemies bent on Jewish genocide.

babawawa said...

Actually, in terms of DNA, Jews and Arabs share a lot of it. All that means is that both Jews and Arabs are of Middle Eastern origin. It does not prove that Palestinians have been on the land longer than anyone else. On the contrary,to call themselves Palestinians means they couldn't have been on the land longer than anyone else, as both Jews and Christians predate the name change.

David Pakter said...

Re: Invented People

Daniel Greenfield has accurately described the "Alice in Wonderland" quality of the entire Middle East debate whether it concerns a One State, Two State or Twenty State "solution".

According to the logic of proponents for the establishment of a separate State for a group of people calling themselves "The Palestiniansv, it would logically follow that the countless people who today live on a myriad of so-called "Indian Reservations" in the USA have every right in the world to rise up and campaign for their own separate independent State or States on the continent of North America.

Indeed, those people probably can make an argument that they have the right to establish their own State/s with far more force than the so-called "Palestinians" of the Middle East.

No one can possibly argue who inhabited North America first- the Europeans or the indigenous people now miscalled"Indians", (because Columbus mistakenly believed he had discovered India.

The above debate could be made for the feuding opposing inhabitants of almost every country in the world.

But how often do we see the name of Tibet in the news or agencies and "rights groups" yelling about the really brutally invaded and occupied nation and peoples of Tibet.

Regarding Tibet and a countless number of other "occupied" areas of the Earth, most of the so-called "rights groups" could not care less.

That is because there are few, if any, Jews living in or having even a remote connection with such 'occupied in fact' areas of the world.

Thus, in the end it really does not matter or serve any purpose to argue and endlessly debate and attempt to inform and enlighten the Israel bashers of the world.

Had Hitler succeeded in his goals there would likely be little anti-semitism in the world today because there would be so few Jewish people left alive on the planet to hate.

But the Jews, at least half of them, robbed Hitler and the Nazis of their maniacal dream to wipe them off the face of the Earth.

And the Jews even managed to not only survive but make it back to their original country/ancient roots, where many Jews had never left in the first place, and rebuild the Ancient Land of Israel into a free and strong and independent nation.

And that is the crux of the matter. The Jewish people refused to be destroyed once and for all.

And for that "crime" of surviving they will never be forgiven.

This is the entire story of all the problems in the Middle East today in a nutshell.

May I add, as was once so wisely said-"all the rest is commentary".

occupant9 said...

The Big Lie is worse than what Gingrich stated. The full disclosure of the "Palestinian" goal is the deep connection Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem and the so-called "father" of "Palestinianism" had with Hitler. That part of the legacy and lineage of the "Palestinian" objective has yet to become openly stated by anyone with the necessary clout.

But worse, what excuse have the various Israeli leaders that have enabled the Big Lie to spread unchallenged? Why have the same Israeli leaders delivered to the "Palestinians" the Judenrein results the "Palestinians" live/die for?

DP111 said...

Christians in Egypt have far greater right to demand a state in Egypt - a two state solution in Egypt. They were after all the inhabitants of Egypt before being invaded by Muslims//

Barry said...

By the way Barry Rubin points out another remark of Gingrich's which escaped the media's attention:

Yet ABC and everyone else missed the real bombshell in what Gingrich said: “For a variety of political reasons we [the United States] have sustained this war against Israel now since the 1940s, and it's tragic.” fact-checking-newt-gingrich-and-the-fact-checkers -on-the-middle-east/

Anonymous said...

The word Falastin appears in plenty of old chronicles in Arabic, as do Nablus, Jenin, and Gaza, to name a few of the towns in the PA. However derivative these names are from pre-Arab hegemonic times, they have been around longer than some of those antecedents. But those chronicles don't make any political or ethnic unit out of all those towns. There were "Nawabilsa", "Janiniyun" and "Ghazazwa", but no "Falastiniyun" (Palestnians) ever. Even among today's so-called Palestinians, you have such family names as "Masri" and "Masrawi", which denote their comparatively recent Egyptian origin.

Keliata said...

But what of the "Occupied Territories"? The Jews call them Judea and Samaria. The Arabs call them ad-difa'a al-gharbiya or the West Bank. Nothing says ancient history like bluntly descriptive names."

So true, and the description of Samaria and Judea have been called West Bank for so long that people just assume it's Arab. I was surprised myself when I learned that the "West Bank" was actually Samaria and Judea. That was an eye opener. Quite an eye opener since I knew from the bible even as a kid that these places were Jewish.

And yet...I also remember looking at pictures of places in Israel and its people described as "Palestinian."

No mention of Palestinians whatsoever in the bible and yet the people in the pictures were always described as Palestinians. Another bible had a map of Israel but not labeled Israel at all--Palestine. No mention of Palestine in the bible.

Lemon said...

Egyptians are a people, but the majority living in Egypt today are Arabs and not Egyptian.                          

Pilpula Charifta said...

"When they are actually the descendants of the Muslim conquerors who drove out or subjugated the native inhabitants."

According to what I've read in "Time Immemorial", the land was almost totally empty until the influx of Jews in the late 19th century. Arabs from surrounding countries emigrated in large numbers, to take advantage of the new jop opportunities.

Anonymous said...

Zachriel the genetics only matter if you are not whoring around with other gods; but you wouldn't understand this - their ideology is from Mecca and is just about everywhere else and therefore have no rights to the land. They are religious and should understand this as the QQur'an sura 3:3 states that their god has given the Qur'an as confirmation to what has been laid down in the Torah and Injil (TNK and New Testament) and therefore by their own god's admission they must NOT have any part of the land of Israel. So that clears that part up.

Now to the dreadful fact that 2 generations of invented people only know a lie:

Don't just read this, use it as part of your political argument when you lobby the UK Foreign Office/Cameron - the Mandate for a homeland for Jews in a RE-created Jewish nation, in the RE-established ancient, historical homeland is UK's responsibility - only the original mandate is legal.

Going back to the link - The quote specifically about causing their own people to become homeless and aggressive to killing themselves and others is particularly disturbing. Also the truth that the invention of "Palestine" serves their purposes, politically against Israel wants quoting EVERY time.

Also remember that Yasser Arafat, the 1st "Balestinian" leader was an Egyptian........hmm I wonder how his untreated Phimosis is doing after servicing all those perpetual virgins?

aviv said...

RE: 'There is no escaping this fact of genetics. Palestinians have deep roots in the area we know as Palestine, as do Jews'

The fact is, out of the total population of 'palestinian' arabs in Israel today, a very, very small minority can claim 'deep' roots. And ironically, they are those whose ancestors were Jews. indigenous-people-palestine-drrivka-shpak-lissak

DP111 said...

What drives the conflict is Islamic ideology - that any land once conquered by Muslims, is forever Islamic. If it ever reverts to anything else but Islamic, it is incumbent on all Muslims to return that land to Islamic control. The same dagger points to countries such as Spain and India, which were once invaded and ruled by Muslims.

Muslims will adopt any garb or identity to further the aim of extending Islamic control. Thus the only DNA that matters is the Islamic DNA.

Anonymous said...

The 1911 edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica finds the population of Palestine composed of so widely differing a group of inhabitants — whose ethnological affinities created early in the 20th century a list of no less than fifty languages that it is therefore no easy task to write concisely ... on the ethnology of Palestine. In addition to the Assyrian, Persian and Roman elements of ancient times,the short-lived Egyptian government introduced into the population an element from that country which still persists in the villages. There are very large contingents from the Mediterranean countries, especially Armenia, Greece and Italy, Turkoman settlements, Persians and an Afghan colony ,tribes of Kurds,German Templar colonies ,a Bosnian colony and the Circassian settlements placed in certain centres by the Turkish government in order to keep a restraint on the Bedouins, a large Algerian element in the population still remains ,while the Sudanese have been reduced in numbers since the beginning of the 20th century.

The disparate peoples assumed and purported to be settled Arab indigenes, for a thousand years were in fact a heterogeneous community with no Palestinian identity and according to an official British historical analysis in 1920, no muslim identity either: The people west of the Jordan are not Arabs,only Arabic-speaking. The bulk of the population are fellahin. In the Gaza district they are mostly of the most mixed races.

The British census of Palestine in 1920 registered 752,048 inhabitants consisting of; 420,310 Arab Christians, 240,331 Muslim Arabs, 83,790 Palestinian Jews,7,617 persons belonging to other groups.

Bedouins were not counted in the census, but a 1930 British study estimated their number at 70,860.

A new form of Arab nationalism took root in 1920 after the Nabi Musa riots, the San Remo conference and the failure to establish the Kingdom of Syria.

The first Palestinian nationalist organisations emerged at the end of the World War I after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire. Dominated by the Nashashibi family who militated for the promotion of a singular Arabic language,culture and Islamic laws for Syria and Palestine thereby excluding the non-muslim populace.Palestine consisted of only the land now known as Jordan.

With the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the French conquest of Syria, the pan-Syrianist mayor of Jerusalem, Musa Qasim Pasha al-Husayni, said "Now, after we have to effect a complete change in our plans here. Southern Syria no longer exists. We must defend Palestine".

Anonymous said...

But, of course, Zachriel is going to keep on thumping the old DNA tub here.

My own opinion is, yes, the Palestinians are an invented people. They are, essentially, Marxist created propaganda, designed to make the world hate Israel (and America); the perfect, politically correct, uber-victims.

But, even if this were not the case. . .

The Palestinians encourage their children to blow themselves up, in the hopes of taking a few Jewish civilians with them. any "civilization" which fosters suicide bombers, and terrorism. . . well, far as I'm concerned, they're no longer a civilization---and their society is no longer worth defending.

The left will continue to defend the Palestinians, however, because they are so deeply invested in the myth of oppressed Palestine, and anti-semetism.


The Copts, Aremenians, Kurds, etc., all have very deep roots in the Middle-East. The Left does not champion them, however. They aren't politically correct. Their DNA, their culture, their roots, don't count.

The Left does champion the "Palestinians", because they are a useful tool against Israel, and the West.

DP111 said...

Palestinian Arabs are Jebusites? ROFL!

Fatah Revolutionary Council member Dimitri Diliani said Gingrich's remarks reflect "the ignorant, provocative, and racist nature of Mr. Gingrich," according to WAFA.

"The Palestinian people descended from the Canaanite tribe of the Jebusites that inhabited the ancient site of Jerusalem as early as 3200 B.C.E.," Diliani said. The "Gingrich remarks are ignorant of the basic historical facts of the Middle East."

This is too good.

The only confirmed mention of the historic Jebusites is in the Hebrew Bible. That's the only source that says that the Jebusites lived around Jerusalem. This exact same source says that one of their leaders, Araunah, offered to give the Temple Mount to King David; David insisted that he pay for it, and he did - for the amount of fifty silver shekels.

So if you believe that the Palestinian Arabs are actually Jebusites, you must believe that they sold the Temple Mount to the Jews in a legal transaction. 12/palestinian-arabs-are-jebusites-rofl.html

Proud Jew said...

Brillian article! However, I am curious where you got the false idea that Ramallah is an Arabic name. You see, at home I have a popular book called Encyclopedia Britannica. Its entries on Israel often have a decidedly pro-Palestinian slant. However, according to this Encyclopedia, the name "Ramallah" is actually a compound word - Ram-Allah, and this is the Arabic translation of the ancient Hebrew name - Beit E-l. So Ramallah is no more an Arabic name than Al-Khalil is. In fact, the ONLY city the Arabs ever built in our land was Ramle. So it should not be surprising that over the centuries of Arab/Muslim imperial rule over our land, the district capital was never chosen to be Jerusalem - it was always Ramle.


Daniel Greenfield is an Israeli-born artist, writer and freelance commentator on political affairs with a special focus on Jewish concerns and the War on Terror. He maintains a blog at, where this article was published on December 11, 2011. It is archived at in-post-news-environment-media-no.html

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