A Dr. Gabriel Glickman analysis published this week by BESA, the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, criticized politicized historians and commentators having taken post-Six Day War statements, some of them carelessly worded, out of context, making these officials appear to have “seemingly questioned their country’s narrative of the Six Day War.”
Dr. Glickman concluded:
“In the process of sifting through the historiography of the 1967 War, it becomes abundantly clear that carelessly worded statements have provided fodder for the writing of polemical history. Former and current officials beware: words are everlasting, and have the power to irrevocably alter the meaning of the historical events they describe.”
It’s not just a number of Israeli officials whose careless word choices prejudice public perception of momentous Jewish history events they describe. No less damaging to our own cause are careless word choices of ordinary Jews, and our acquiescence in the word choices and perspectives permeating coverage of Israel in the international news. An all-fours case in point is current coverage of the fiftieth anniversary of the Six Day War.
The Los Angeles Times this Thursday (6/8/17) ran an article, “Half a Century After the Euphoria of the Six-Day War, Some Israelis are Wondering If It was a Victory.” It contrasted Netanyahu’s statement that “The Six-Day War returned us to the country from where we had been cut off for generations … This is our land” with that of an MK of “Israel’s pro-peace Meretz party,” who complained, the LA Times reported, that “the celebrations ignored the fact that the West Bank has lived under military rule for 50 years.”
“East Jerusalem Belonged to Jordan”
Beyond having commenced Israel’s “military occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip,” the LA Times included among the Six-Day War’s results Israel’s “controversial annexation of East Jerusalem, which formerly belonged to Jordan” [emphasis added].
How’s that for LA Times ownership equity reporting balance? Jordan’s sole connection to “East” Jerusalem is that it invaded and seized that part of the city in 1948 until evicted by Israel in 1967, but “East” Jerusalem “belonged to Jordan.” But it doesn’t belong to Israel, fifty years after ending that 19-year Jordanian invader presence, not even with the city having had a renewed Jewish majority since 1800’s Ottoman rule, been the capital of three native states in the past 3000 years, all of them Jewish, had a Jewish presence, except during temporary evictions by foreign empire invaders, for all that 3000 years?
“Judea-Samaria are West Bank’s Biblical Names”
The LA Times went on to quote a “settler” using the names “Judea and Samaria,” which the LA Times told readers were “the biblical names for the West Bank,” without telling readers those Hebrew-origin biblical names, “Judea and Samaria,” had remained in use throughout post-biblical history, including by the U.N. in its partition resolution in 1947.
“Settlements and Outposts, not Historical and Legal Connection, Basis of Israeli Claim”
What’s utterly missing from this LA Times article is any reference to historical or legal basis for Jewish connection to “East” Jerusalem and “the West Bank” giving any basis for Netanyahu’s quoted statement “This is our land.” On the contrary, the article said that the 1967 war “opened the door to establishing hundreds of Jewish settlements and outposts in those territories – neighborhoods that many right-wing Israelis, including Netanyahu, now consider an inseparable part of the country” [emphasis added]. Not just now, always.
“Arab land to which Israel had No Legitimate Right Besides Brute Force”
A May 22 book review in the New York Times, “50 Years On, Stories of the Six Day War and What Came After,” went beyond ignoring historical and legal foundations for Israel’s presence beyond the 1949 ceasefire lines, referring to “Israel’s occupation of large swaths of Arab land to which it had no legitimate right besides brute force.” But Judea, Samaria and historic Jerusalem are not uncontestedly “Arab land,” and Jewish “legitimate right besides brute force” includes three-millennia historical presence, San Remo, the Mandate, etc.
“Palestinians’ Central Tragedy 1948 When They were Expelled or Fled Their Homes”
And not just 1967 in this NY Times book review, but even more so 1948. “The Six Day War is not their [Palestinian Arabs’] central tragedy. It always was and still is 1948, when they were either expelled from or fled their homes during what they call the Nakba, the Catastrophe.” That this “Nakba, Catastrophe” was an Arab invasion the Jews’ destruction in which local Arabs participated didn’t get mentioned, nor did Israel’s absorption of more Middle Eastern Jews from vast Arab and Muslim lands than Arabs left tiny Israel.
What’s the Answer?
When we ourselves call Palestine’s Arabs “the Palestinians,” and Jews who live in Judea-Samaria “West Bank Jewish settlers,” when we use the terms “1948 creation and founding of Israel … Israel’s 1967 borders … ‘East’ Jerusalem ….”, when we don’t talk about 3,000 years continuous Jewish homeland presence, Israel being the land’s next native state after Roman-destroyed Jewish Judaea, San Remo and the Mandate, Israel’s absorption of more Middle Eastern Jewish refugees than Arabs left tiny Israel, etc., etc., we open the door to Western public belief in misleading misperceptions such as those appearing in current coverage of the fiftieth anniversary of the Six Day War:
* “East Jerusalem Belonged to Jordan”
* “Judea-Samaria are West Bank’s Biblical Names”
* “Settlements and Outposts, not Historical and Legal Connection, Basis of Israeli Claim”
* “Arab land to which Israel had No Legitimate Right Besides Brute Force”
* “Palestinians’ Central Tragedy 1948 When They were Expelled or Fled Their Homes”