Palestinian propagandists and their willing collaborators in the Western media have been bewailing the fact that the Palestinians haven’t been given the sympathy that is being lavished on Ukrainians, even though their situations – they claim — are identical, for both Ukrainians and Palestinians are brave peoples being denied their national rights by their oppressors, Russia and Israel, respectively. Sean Durns reports scathingly on this latest Palestinian effort to win international sympathy here: “Media Outlets Use Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine to Attack Israel,” Algemeiner, March 10, 2022:
…Russia’s invasion of Ukraine isn’t anything like Israel’s security situation. Indeed, there is no legitimate comparison whatsoever.
The Washington Post, however, pretends otherwise. On March 7, the newspaper’s global opinion section published an op-ed titled, “The world of inconsistencies between Ukraine, the Middle East, and beyond,” by Khaled Beydoun. The author is an associate professor at Wayne State University where he specializes in “Islamophobia, national security and anti-terrorism law.” But judging by his Post opinion piece, his real expertise lies in historically illiterate comparisons.
In 810-words [sic], Beydoun glamorizes terrorists, misleads about Israel’s security concerns, and omits important history and facts.
The op-ed hails the Ukrainians who are fighting Russian invaders. They have “powered a global narrative of good against evil, imperialism against sovereignty, of David vs. Goliath.” The author adds: “There’s no doubt the governments and commentators rooting for Ukrainians and campaigning for the isolation of Vladimir Putin have been on the right side of history — this time.”
But then he errs, absurdly comparing Ukrainians fighting Russian invaders to “Palestine [sic].” Palestinians, the author asserts, “have long embodied the very struggle put forward by the Ukrainian people.”…
The Ukrainians are fighting for their own independence. The Palestinians are fighting to destroy the only Jewish state. The Ukrainians are being invaded by the Russian army, that does not hesitate to kill civilians. The Palestinians are quite prepared to target Israeli civilians. Israelis have always had to fight to preserve not just their independence, but their very existence. They have had to fight three wars for their very survival, in 1948, 1967, and 1973, along with many campaigns – the “wars-between-the-wars” –against Palestinian terrorists who have targeted Israeli civilians.
Jews have been living continuously in the Land of Israel since at least 1000 B.C., that is, more than 1600 years before Islam was created, and before a single Muslim Arab appeared in the area that in the Post article is called “the West Bank.” It was the Arabs who arrived from elsewhere; it was they who came swarming out of Arabia to Israel. They were the “invaders” who came to the land the Jews had been living on for a millennium and a half, uninterruptedly.
Ukrainians have been a separate nation since the time of Kievan Rus. Israel has been inhabited by Jews for more than a thousand years. [3000 years.]
The Post’s op-ed is replete with other instances of ahistoricism and egregious comparisons.
Beydoun writes that “regular Palestinians resisting state seizure of their homes in Sheikh Jarrah and other occupied territories are conflated with armed militants, rendering them ‘terrorists.’”
But this, too, is false. As the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA) has documented, Jewish claimants proved their ownership to the land in court, highlighting that they had legally purchased the land. Nor did they try to “seize homes” or evict Palestinian families. Rather, they simply informed them that they would have to pay rent.
Those Palestinians In Sheikh Jarrah who are supposedly being unjustly evicted so the Israeli government can “judaize” east Jerusalem are not brave souls resisting an oppressive government. They are parties to standard property disputes between landlord and tenant. The Arab tenants who have been sued have not been paying rent, and in most cases have never done so to the Jewish owners of the property on which they are now squatting. Those non-paying Arab tenants have claimed to be the owners of the properties in question, but have not produced a single bit of supporting material. One Arab family claimed it had bought the land on which it was living decades ago from a man named “Ismail,” but did not know his last name, and did not have any documents to prove ownership.
Another Arab family produced a single Ottoman Turkish document to support its claim of ownership; that document turned out to be a clumsy forgery. Jewish owners in every case litigated so far have produced proper title. The Israeli judges have not been unceremoniously “evicting” Arab tenants, but have only asked, after meticulous examination of the evidence, that they pay rent – a most modest rent — from now on; the owners of the properties are not even insisting on being paid the back rent they are still owed. Yet those Arab tenants have rejected those generous terms; they instead are letting themselves be used by the Palestinian propagandists as examples of inoffensive innocent Arab property owners being wrongly “evicted” from their property by the Zionist state that is hellbent on “judaizing” east Jerusalem. It’s nonsense. And as for that “judaizing” charge, it is worth noting that when Israel came into possession of east Jerusalem in the Six-Day War, there were 66,000 Arabs in east Jerusalem. Now there are 340,000. If Israel has been trying to “judaize” east Jerusalem, it hasn’t been trying very hard.
To compare a case of squatters refusing to pay rent on land that isn’t legally theirs to Ukrainians facing a Russian military onslaught on their own soil, is both dumb and disgusting.
The author claims that Palestinians “put their very lives on the line against global (and regional) superpowers, some wielding rocks and other makeshift weapons to protect their land, loved ones and way of life.” This, of course, is nonsense.
Which “global powers” have made the Palestinians “put their very lives on the line”? Certainly not Russia or China, which have been steady supporters of the Palestinians at the U.N. and at all other international gatherings. Nor has the U.S., under the Bidenites, been pressuring the Palestinians. The Bidenites have returned to the pre-Trump period, where Washington is again providing hundreds of millions of dollars annually, both to the P.A., and to UNRWA, as it did for many years before Trump was president.
Palestinian leaders, be it Hamas in the Gaza Strip or Fatah in the Palestinian Authority (PA)-ruled areas, actively encourage terrorist attacks on Jews. Sometimes they use rocks — and other times they use vehicles, knives, guns, or suicide bombers. And their leaders offer incentives for them to kill civilians.
The Palestinians are not bravely resisting Israeli “invaders” with only “rocks and other makeshift weapons.” They, like the Russians in Ukraine, have been the invaders Into territory belonging to others. To wit, the Palestinians are trying to drive the Jews out of the land that Jews have inhabited since at least 1000 B.C. The League of Nations recognized that historic connection between the People of Israel and the Land of Israel when it assigned for inclusion in the Mandate for Palestine all the land “from the (Jordan) river to the (Mediterranean) sea.” That land was to again become the Jewish National Home which, in time, would become the State of Israel. It is the Arabs who tried to snuff out the young life of the nascent Jewish state In 1948, and tried to so again in 1967 and 1973. Palestinian Arabs have carried on terrorist attacks on Jewish men, women, and children, both those living within the 1948 armistice lines, and those Jews living In the historic heartland of the Jewish people — Judea and Samaria. Those terrorists do not use just “rocks,” as Khaled Beydoun wants us to believe, but have used far more deadly weapons — guns, knives, vehicles, and suicide bombers wearing explosive vests.
How are the Palestinians like the Ukrainians? Do the Ukrainians shoot or stab or send suicide bombers to blow up Russian civilians, the way the Palestinians do to Israelis? Aren’t the Palestinians more like the Russians? Don’t they insist that all of Israel, “from the river to the sea,” belongs to them, the Palestinian Arabs, just as the Russians claim that Ukraine belongs to them? Aren’t the Palestinians akin, in their terror bombing of Israeli cities, just like the Russians who have been pulverizing Ukrainian cities?
The PA’s “pay-to-slay” program offers tax-deductible salaries to those who murder and maim Jews, or American veterans like Taylor Force, who was murdered after being mistaken for a Jew while he was visiting Israel.
Do the Ukrainians have a Pay-For-Slay program, as the P.A. does, which provides generous monthly stipends to imprisoned terrorists or to the families of terrorists who died while committing their attacks? Of course not. No, the Ukrainians have nothing in common with the Palestinians, but a great deal in common with the Israelis. For both Israelis and Ukrainians are, threatened by enemies who would take away not just their independence, but their very existence.
Both the PA and Hamas name schools, roads, and sports tournaments after slain terrorists. The PA has also planted trees to honor terrorists like Muhannad Shafeq Halabi. On October 8, 2015, Halabi murdered two Israelis, Rabbi Nehemiah Lavi and Aharon Bennett, and stabbed Bennett’s wife and two-year old child in Jerusalem’s Old City before he was killed by Israeli police.…
The Palestinians not only reward past, and incentivize future terrorism with large sums, but also celebrate terrorists as figures to be emulated, honoring them by naming streets, squares, and schools after them. In such a way, young Palestinians are encouraged to become terrorists themselves. In what way are the Ukrainians like that? When have they engaged in acts of terrorism, or held up terrorists as national heroes?
The Palestinians routinely target Israeli civilians, not just in attacks by lone terrorists or groups of terrorists, but by much larger armed units, as during the May war between Hamas and Israel, when the terror group lobbed 4,000 missiles and rockets into civilian centers. Those attacks on Israeli cities are, on a much smaller scale what the Russians have been doing In Mariupol, Kherson, Odessa, and Kharkiv.
Further, Israel’s attempts to defend itself from terrorist attacks while limiting civilian casualties have been hailed by former-US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, who has noted that Israel has gone to “extraordinary lengths” to prevent civilian casualties. Indeed, as CAMERA has documented, no other nation faced with a terrorist group using human shields, such as the US-led campaign to fight ISIS, has been able to replicate the Jewish state’s efforts.
The IDF does more to limit civilian casualties than any other military, according to British Colonel Richard Kemp, who has fought in six wars and led the British forces in Afghanistan. It is a difficult task. Hamas routinely hides its weapons, rocket launchers, and fighters in schools, hospitals, apartment houses, and other civilian structures. When the IDF targets weapons or fighters that are in or near a civilian structure, it does everything it can to warn civilians to leave, by telephoning, emailing, and making use of the “knock on the roof” technique, thus giving not only civilians but also Hamas members time to escape. For the IDF, it is more important to make sure civilians are spared, to the greatest extent possible in such difficult conditions, where Hamas is using them as human shields.
The Palestinians are outraged that the Ukrainians are getting so much attention and sympathy, while the poor Palestinians have to wait “for a world of support that may ever come.” In fact, the Palestinians have for decades been the most coddled group of supposed “refugees” In the world. They have received both directly, and through UNRWA, tens of billions of dollars In aid. From cradle to grave, they are raised to expect to be supported by international aid donors, and are outraged when there is any suggestion that conditions be put on such aid, such as being required to stop their Pay-For-Slay program or to revise the antisemitism In their schoolbooks. Of the hundreds of millions of refugees since World War II, only the Palestinians are allowed to pass on their refugee status to their children, grandchildren, and so on, as if it were an inheritable trait. What’s more, the Palestinians have received more sympathetic attention at the U.N. than any other group of refugees anywhere, while their nemesis Israel has become the permanent subject of malicious inquiry as Agenda Item #7 at the U.N. Human Rights Council and, in addition, the U.N. has recently decided to establish an open-ended inquiry into possible war crimes by Israel. The Palestinians are the subject of endless sympathetic articles In the international media. They are supported as well by platoons of BDSers around the world and by all those who are consumed with hate for the Jewish state. Ignored? it is grotesque for Khaled Beydoun to complain about indifference to the most coddled group of people in the world — the Palestinians.
The Nazis supported the acknowledged leader of the Palestinians in the 1930s, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el Husseini, who spent the war years In Berlin, supported by the Nazis, and befriended by, among others, Adolf Eichmann, and even meeting Hitler, whose genocidal “solution” to the “Jewish question” he enthusiastically endorsed. He is believed to have visited Auschwitz with Himmler. The Mufti put his retinue of 60 Palestinian and Iraqi Arabs at the Nazis’ disposal; they did what they could from Berlin to promote pro-Nazi views back home.
The PLO even benefited from Soviet largesse, including aid and training from Vladimir Putin’s former employer, the KGB. As Reuters reported in 2016: “Soviet-era documents show that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas worked in the 1980s for the KGB, the now-defunct intelligence agency where Russian leader Vladimir Putin once served.”
The KGB not only employed Mahmoud Abbas as an agent, but ran training camps for Palestinian terrorists. It also came up with the idea for a newly-invented “Palestinian people” who would change perceptions. No longer would the war on Israel be seen as a gang-up by Arabs on the tiny Jewish state; instead, that war became a struggle by “the Palestinian people to regain their stolen homeland.”
The Palestinians have always had powerful backers – the Nazis, the Communists, the world’s Muslims, the United Nations. For Khaled Beydoun to complain that they are not getting as much support as the Ukrainians is ludicrous.
Far from being ignored, the Palestinians have received more attention at the U.N., and more attention from the international media, than any other group of real or soi-disant refugees. If you search for “Palestinian,” you get 390,000,000 results. The Palestinians have also been the recipients of tens of billions of dollars in aid, while always asking for more from donors. They receive this money even as they refuse to revise their antisemitic schoolbooks, or to end their “Pay-For-Slay” program that rewards past, and incentivizes future, terrorist acts. The Palestinians have been allowed to pass on their refugee status to their children, grandchildren, and so on, treating it as an inheritable trait, something not permitted to any other group of refugees. There are fewer than 30,000 genuine Palestinian refugees still alive – those who left Mandatory Palestine, or Israel between 1947 and 1949 – but with all the subsequent generations also counted, the official account is more than 5 million such refugees. And all of them qualify to receive the copious benefits – housing, education, medical care — of real refugees.
The Palestinians are akin not to the Ukrainians, but to the Russians under Putin. Like the Russians, who want to incorporate the Ukraine into their own territory, the Palestinians want to destroy the Jewish state, in order that their “Palestine” will include the entire area “from the (Jordan) river to the (Mediterranean) sea.”
The Palestinians, like the Russians in Ukraine, have been focused on civilian targets. Like the Russians, they attack civilians in cities, as when they lobbed 4,000 rockets and missiles into southern Israel this past May.
The Palestinians, like the Russians in Ukraine, will not be satisfied with territorial compromise. The Russians, at least under Putin, want to dominate all of Ukraine, and the Palestinians want all of Israel. They have already turned down generous peace offers made by Israel in 2000 and 2008.
And the Palestinians, like the Russians, because of their relentless malevolence and aggression, will turn much of the world, just as they have managed to turn several Arab states – those that joined the Abraham Accords and normalized ties with Israel, to their great good fortune — against them. Or at least, that is what one hopes.