Two recent articles in The Forward about the Six Day War illustrate how poisonous the false Palestinian narrative has been.
The Forward unearthed a wonderful essay by Elie Wiesel written right after the war. Excerpts:
Future generations will probably never believe it. Teachers will have a hard time convincing their students that what sounds legendary actually occurred. The children will naturally swallow each word, but later on, as adults, they’ll nod their heads and smile, remarking that these were fantasies of history.
They won’t believe that this small state, surrounded by hatred, fire and murder, had so quickly managed a miracle. It will be hard to describe how, amid a sea of hatred, a tiny army drove off and humiliated several well-equipped military hordes of who knows how many Arab countries.
How does acclaimed scholar and Talmudic genius Shaul Lieberman put it? In another 2,000 years, people will consider these events the way we think of descriptions of the Maccabees and their victories.
Did I say another 2,000 years? No, make that: in another year, or even tomorrow.
Last Sunday, the Arabs and their allies were boastfully threatening Israel that if she dared to make another move, she’d pay with her existence. And several hours later, our Jewish heroes advanced, and the entire world, holding its breath, followed their every movement.
You’ll recall the radio broadcasts at the beginning of the week that sounded practically Job-like. Every hour, another Arab government declared war against Israel. Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia. And then: Morocco, Tunisia, Algiers. In Tunisia, an incited mob led a pogrom in the Jewish Quarter. Other Muslim — or part Muslim — countries rushed to sign up in [Egyptian president Gamal Abdul] Nasser’s “holy war.” Malaysia, Sudan, Mali, Guinea and more.
We bit our lips, cracked our knuckles and could find no comfortable spot for ourselves. Quietly, we asked if the test was too hard this time. Was too much being demanded from the Jewish people and from their land? How could we expect to be redeemed, knowing that the enemy numbered tens of millions, even hundreds of millions of people, against a mere 2 million Jews in Israel?
And then, between Passover and Shavuot, the Hanukkah miracle occurred. It didn’t take long before the supposedly mighty enemy was rendered speechless and lost its nerve. Even the Soviet Ambassador to the UN, Nikolai Fedorenko, suddenly changed his tone. Instead of worrying about whether Nasser would finally curb his appetite for power, world leaders began looking for ways to make amends to Israeli Premier Levi Eshkol.
It was as though a theater director, unfamiliar with his cast, suddenly switched the parts of his actors: those who had stubbornly opposed us now asked for mercy, as their former protectors now distanced themselves from them. Overnight, the mood at the UN Security Council seemed unrecognizable.
Compare this to the Forward's editor Jane Eisner writing about her conflicted feelings towards the Six Day War today:
I approach this half-century mark with a confusing mixture of wonderment and dread, joy and despair, pride and embarrassment. The crushing military victory that expanded Israel threefold and brought Jerusalem back to the Jewish people has also turned the Israel I love into a sometimes-brutal occupier of an estimated 2.9 million Palestinians, with no end in sight.
I believe many others share this painful ambiguity. The temptation is to turn away, because it feels too damn hard to reconcile, but that shirks our responsibility as Jews.
Why does she feel this way? Because of the major lie that has permeated the world since 1967:
“From the get-go we didn’t view them as Israelis. We coveted their land. We did not covet them,” Danny Seidemann, one of the nation’s top experts on Jerusalem, told me a few months ago. “And they didn’t view themselves as Israeli. Everything derives from that.”At the time, the Arabs in Judea and Samaria weren't considered "Palestinians." They were Jordanians. They expressed loyalty to Jordan, they were Jordanian citizens, and the word "Palestinians" was hardly ever used to refer to them; at best they were "Palestinian Arabs," even in the Fatah 1964 charter.
It was a historic victory for Israel, absolutely. It was also a disaster for another people.
Their recent transformation into a people - and I agree they are a people today - was a political decision by the Arab leadership to keep them stateless and miserable.
The entire reason the Palestinian people exist today is to destroy Israel.
This is the fundamental truth that too few dare to mention. It seems cruel. And it is. But the cruelty is from the Arab world and Palestinian leaders, their cynical and systematic use of human lives as cannon and propaganda fodder against Israel, within and without the territories.
Every single political or military move by the Arab world and the Palestinian leadership vis a vis the Palestinian Arabs is to ultimately destroy Israel. Some are meant to do it sooner and some to do it in stages, but this is the one consistent fact that illuminates the otherwise nonsensical history of the past fifty and 69 years.
Why did Jordan choose to turn millions of people stateless in 1988? Why did Arafat sign the Oslo Accords and claim to renounce terror? Why has the Arab world refused to allow Palestinians, and only Palestinians, to become citizens? Why did the Palestinians reject statehood in 2000 and 2001 and start a terror war instead? Why do they spend so much time on symbolic victories at the UN rather than doing anything to actually help their people? Why do Palestinian leaders refuse to accept European initiatives for grassroots peace initiatives like youth soccer games between them and Israeli kids? Why haven't there been any significant new universities or hospitals built under PA rule despite huge monetary support from the West? Why are there still "refugee" camps in areas under Palestinian control? Why does UNRWA still exist? Why do Palestinians insist that Jerusalem, a city that was largely ignored under a thousand years of Muslim rule, must be their capital?
Surveys that bother to ask the proper questions uncover the answers: the "Palestinian state" that the world thinks the Palestinians desire is only meant as a stage to destroy Israel, and Palestinians themselves admit it. This is why the "right to return" is still left as an open issue outside of statehood. This is why Hamas "accepts" a state in the territories. This is why there is such resistance to compromise in any negotiations - becausewhile waiting for the world to provide 100% of Phase 1 means that there will be a Phase 2.
The sad fact is that every Palestinian with false "refugee" status, within and without the territories, is a pawn. This was recognized since the 1950s but the desire to eventually destroy Israel is what keeps this issue alive today, not "justice." What kind of justice is it to artificially keep people in misery and to pretend that it is being done for their own good?
50 years of propaganda and lies have had a huge effect. The end of Elie Wiesel's essay is now depressing, because the antisemites of the world have managed to spread their propaganda so thoroughly that it sounds like it was written in a different era:
Do you remember how thousands of Jewish youth besieged the Israeli Consulates, pleading to be sent as volunteers to Israel? Do you recall the mass demonstrations in the streets? And the countless Jews, including the poorest of the poor, donating their meager savings to the pushkes [charity boxes] of the United Jewish Appeal?Unfortunately, over fifty years, they have to an extent succeeded, as too many Jews have drunk the Palestinian State Kool-Aid and regard Israel as not a liberal bastion trying to protect the Jewish state in the Jewish ancestral homeland but as a cruel colonial occupier of "Palestinian land" - a phrase that no one ever uttered in 1967.
This new Jewish awakening is part of that miracle, a part of the Jewish victory. Those who thought Jews were frightened by huge armies were mistaken, and those who thought you could separate the Jewish state from the Jewish people around the world clearly underestimated us.
If Palestinians wanted a state and peace, they would have a state and peace. It is their desire to use such a state as a launching pad to destroy Israel that has left them stateless.
That is the only thread of consistency to explain the entire past fifty years of propaganda, lies, false "moderation" and terror.