When you write a progressive blog about the Israeli-Palestinian confilct, you’re going to draw lots of nutty, nattering comments from those who disagree with you. I’d like to take a few moments to highlight some penetrating insights I’ve received from my readers lately.
You’ve heard, no doubt, of Holocaust deniers like David Irving. Now, there are right-wingers who I call Palestine Deniers. Perhaps their delusion is less insidious than the David Irving variety, but no less irritating.
Joseph Norland, the author of Israpundit wrote:
“Palestinian” is an anti-Israel fiction, concocted after the 1967 Arab assault on Israel. Did you ever ask yourself why the Partition Plan of November 1947 never mentions “Palestinians”? Even Resolution 242 doesn’t, and that was in 1967!
When I refused to rise to the debate, he attempted to goad me into conducting a graduate seminar on right-wing interpretations of Zionism:
If your thesis is that a “Palestinian people” exist, please use Western rules of logic and discourse to prove your statement. I hope you don’t need me to elaborate on what these rules are, but let us start with the historical background to your thesis.
These type of lexicological debates about Zionism are, of course, fruitless. More than that, they are perverse and insidious because they contend that the conflcit can be reduced to theoretical concepts and arguments (in which they win every time, of course).
I replied to him that neither I nor the Palestinians themselves needed to prove their existence to him nor anyone else. Besides, what did it matter whether this document or the other neglected to mention the term “Palestine?” Since I live in Seattle, I tacked on this cogent (at least I thought so) analogy: Mount Rainier didn’t exist 100 million years ago (I’m no geologist, so the actual age may be different, but you get my point). Does that mean that the volcano needs to prove its existence before Norland will accept that it does? As its lava flows down the mountain racing to engulf downtown Seattle (as it will invariably do sometime in the next tens of millions of years), does it need to prove it exists?
To me, the Palestinians are a volcano in the midst of the Mideast. Pretend they don’t exist and they will explode (as they have in the last two Intifadas). Accept that they exist and attempt to co-exist with them–then you have a chance to live and not die.
…to be continued…