Apr. 2, 2019
- Kalman Yeger, a member of the New York City Council, is in trouble for denying the existence of a country named “Palestine.” Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Mayor Bill De Blasio asserted that if Yeger didn’t retract his comments, he should be booted off the council’s Committee on Immigration.
- Prior to 1948 and the birth of Israel, the only group that answered to the name “Palestinians” were Jewish residents of the British Mandate for Palestine.
- Non-Jews who lived there considered themselves Arabs, not Palestinians, because there had never in history been a separate Palestinian Arab political entity or, prior to the birth of modern Zionism, a national movement that represented the ambitions of such a group. It was only after the birth of Israel that the Arabs embraced the name “Palestinian” and claimed that the country was “Palestine.”
- The reason why “Palestine” isn’t a country is that Palestinian identity has been inextricably tied to denying the right of the Jews to a state in the same country.
- When people like Rep. Ilhan Omar, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, and the BDS movement they support say “Palestine,” they are not referring to a separate state next door to a secure Jewish state. They are, instead, referring to their hope of replacing the State of Israel with a Palestinian state that will deny the right of the Jews to self-determination.
- Opposing that ambition is not Islamophobic or even necessarily rooted in hate against Palestinians.