JTA, Unlike The Who, May Get Fooled Again
I’m going to go out on a limb here a little bit but…I think JTA has once again been hoodwinked by some anti-Palestinian propaganda outfit (possible CAMERA or MEMRI). In an unattributed article based on an unspecified media source (nor does it attribute the quotation to any specific person–all of which are warning signs), JTA writes:
Hamas: Jews Out
There is no place for Jews in the Holy Land, Hamas said.
As Israel marked the 60th anniversary of a U.N. vote approving the creation of a Jewish state alongside an Arab state in what was then British Mandate Palestine, Hamas called Thursday for the 1947 General Assembly Resolution 181 to be rescinded.
“Palestine is one indivisible unit and we will not cede one inch of its soil,” the Palestinian Islamist movement said in a statement, referring to what is now Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
“Palestine is an Arab and Muslim land, from its river to its sea, and there is no place in it for the Jews.”
…In an apparent snub to Hamas’s maximalist rhetoric against Israel, [Palestinian President Mahmoud] Abbas [said at Annapolis]: “The time of extravagant promises by one rival trying to outbid another must pass, and not return. Now is a moment of truth, not of illusion.”
Who in Hamas said this? What “statement” does this article refer to? As my friend Sol Salbe wrote to me, this smells of a rodent.
People’s Daily Online reports what may be the same story but the text quoted is quite different. In addition, People’s Daily notes that the statement was distributed as an unsigned “leaflet” distributed to the news media, making it a less than credible representation of the official views of Hamas:
Islamic Hamas movement on Thursday renewed its rejection to United Nations Resolution No. 181 on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of its adoption, calling it a “resolution of partition.”
The resolution, issued in 1947, a year before Israel was born, called for the establishment of two states on the lands of historic Palestine, one Jewish and one Arab.
“Palestine is one unified geographical unit, and can never be partitioned or sliced by resolutions or agreements,” said a Hamas leaflet sent to the press on the occasion of the anniversary, stressing “there is no compromise on the Arab and Islamic characteristics of Palestine.”
The movement, which has been ruling Gaza Strip since June 14, held the UN responsible “for issuing the unfair resolution 181 which divided Palestine and for the suffering and pain our people had passed over the past 60 years.”
“The resolution legalized the partition of the lands of Palestine between its legal residents, who were expelled out of it by force, and the illegal new comers of Jews and Zionists,” said the Hamas leaflet.
To a dyed in the wool anti-Palestinian these statements may appear so similar as to make any distinctions meaningless. But an important point of journalism is to be precise. While I agree with neither Hamas statement, the second version in no way claims there is no room in Palestine for Jews. And in fact, Hamas’ official position has been and continues to be that Jews are welcome to live in a unified Palestinian state. Again, this is not a view I share. But it is a far cry from calling for the elimination of Jews from Palestine or Israel as JTA claims Hamas believes. If we disagree with Hamas can’t we at least do so and quote them accurately? Is it necessary to twist and distort their views to make them appear even more heinous than they are?
Personally, I think JTA is the victim of a faulty MEMRI-type mistranslation (at the least). So I challenge the editors to document this story further or repudiate it. If they cannot document a legitimate source and legitimate translation I’d like to know who was their original source. A few weeks ago they were “had” by Mort Klein who fed them a fake Desmond Tutu “quotation.” I think it’s entirely possible that unlike The Who, who said “we won’t get fooled again,” JTA has been.
11 thoughts on “JTA, Unlike The Who, May Get Fooled Again – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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You sure do give Hamas a lot of credit.
Maariv’s NRG website also reported this: Link http://www.nrg.co.il/online/1/ART1/665/385.html
A news service from Israel reported this to: http://www.infolive.tv/en/infolive.tv-14930-israelnews-hamas-calls-un-rescind-un-resolution-60-years-ago
But I used googles translation service to find stories in Arabic on this too.
If you know someone fluent in Arabic this appears to cover the story for the maan news service I believe they are Palestinian: http://www.maannews.net/ar/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=91458
The first paragraph translated by google appears to support the version provided by the JTA
The Maariv version seems to be closest.
Ironically, Maan has an English version of their news service, but at least I couldn’t find this story in English. Imagine my shock. Do you think the Palestinian Arabs say one thing in English and something else in Arabic?
The full Hamas statement can apparently be found here: http://arabnews.ca/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3064&Itemid=2
and the Google translation here: http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Farabnews.ca%2Findex.php%3Foption%3Dcom_content%26task%3Dview%26id%3D3064%26Itemid%3D2&langpair=ar%7Cen&hl=en&ie=UTF-8
The relevant paragraph is probably
A better translation is needed. A Hebrew translation of the relevant paragraph can be found here: http://www.nrg.co.il/online/1/ART1/665/385.html
It’s very revealing what a lousy job the English language MSM is doing covering the conflict, since a decent English translation of the Hamas statement cannot be found on the web. No wonder you guys are so clueless. Maybe MEMRI will translate this soon.
Amir, are you saying you discern something similar to “there is no place in Palestine for the Jews” hiding in the above paragraph? And you are waiting for MEMRI to confirm it?
You may be right, but I would strongly advise more skepticism.
I do hope Richard pursues this line of investigation. (And I know from past examples that once he sinks his teeth into a subject he doesn’t give up easily.) JTA had to get that translation from SOMEWHERE. It might be very revealing to know just where.
Get me the text and I will get you a translation. I couldn’t find it on the Hamas Arabic website. My “Fusha” isn’t great, but it’s good enough. There is a difference between denying that the Jews had a presence in Palestine and between calling for the forceful elimination of the Jews from a future Islamic Palestine. If that is Hamas’s position, then it differs from the Hamas Charter, which states:
Article Thirty-One: The Members of Other Religions The Hamas is a Humane Movement
Hamas is a humane movement, which cares for human rights and is committed to the tolerance inherent in Islam as regards attitudes towards other religions. It is only hostile to those who are hostile towards it, or stand in its way in order to disturb its moves or to frustrate its efforts. Under the shadow of Islam it is possible for the members of the three religions: Islam, Christianity and Judaism to coexist in safety and security. Safety and security can only prevail under the shadow of Islam, and recent and ancient history is the best witness to that effect.
I am not an expert on Islam, but there seems to be little within Islam that allows it to systematically discriminate against Jews more than other non-Muslims. In so far as Hamas, as a Palestinian national movement, has to assure Christians that their dhimmi status will be respected, I can’t imagine it would differ in its ideology with respect to Jews.
For most Jews, all the above is “pilpul” — most Zionists see no distinction between calling for the elimination of Israel as a Jewish State, and calling for the physical destruction of Jews. They are, of course, wrong, but that is not the point. The point is that the actions of the US, Israel, and Abbas, have forced Hamas into a corner, and I cannot imagine that the Palestinian people, who are pissed off with both Hamas and Fatah, will be the winners. As usual, we are doing all the wrong things. Hamas in the past has sounded more conciliatory (e.g., hudna), but as long as Hamas is a player, they cannot be ignored and demonized. That is what every rational commentator on the subject has said. The strategy of the so-called “peace camp” will fail, even if elections in the PA votes out Hamas.
Jerry Haber, a.k.a Magnes Zionist
All right, thanks to Amir, I have read the Arabic, the Hebrew, and the translation on Hamas’s website.
The phrase about the Jews in Arabic is: وليس لليهود فيها وجود، — lit.: “and the Jews have no presence/existence in it.”
A literal translation of the Hebrew translation: “and there is no place for the Jews in it.”
From the Hamas website: “Hamas affirmed that Palestine is an Arab, Islamic country since time immemorial and Jews have no right whatsoever in the land of Palestine,”
So it all boils down to the meaning of wujud, translated into Hebrew in the twelfth century as metziut — which literally means existence or presence — and not place. This is not how one would say in Arabic that the Jews have no place in it. I don’t have my trusty Arabic dictionary here with me, and the author of the Maariv article knows Arabic better than I do. But he missed the point. What Hamas is claiming is that Jews had no historical presence in Palestine, that Palestine has always been Arab, including its mosques and churches. Hence Jews have no political rights or claims in Palestine. And that is the point.
Time to send this to Juan Cole!
When I wrote, “A literal transltion of the Hebrew translation”, I mean the one that appeared on Maariv’s website
I just received this email from Juan Cole, the man who set the record straight on Ahmadinejad’s “erasing them from the pages of history” quote:
Yes, I think mundhu al-azal actually puts the phrase in the past tense, i.e. it is talking about the pre-1880 Palestine, and just saying there were no Jews therein. It is an exaggeration, since there were a few thousand, but it doesn’t say anything about their not having a right to be there.
Case closed — Thanks, Richard…looks like this will go on the Magnes Zionist blog, and maybe Juan Cole will put it on his blog. And thanks, Amir, for the links.
Under the shadow of Islam it is possible for the members of the three religions: Islam, Christianity and Judaism to coexist in safety and security. Safety and security can only prevail under the shadow of Islam, and recent and ancient history is the best witness to that effect.
I’m guessing that for the average Israeli this is not particularly comforting, but I could be wrong.
Nor may it be particularly comforting for the Bahais living in Israel and the rest of the region, should Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood gain power. I didn’t see them on the list.
I’m thinking that: “not for Jews by the presence, a single unit does not accept the division” means “by the presence of Jews as a single unit does not accept the division [of the land]”
i.e. the presence of one unit of people – Islamic, Christian, Jewish, Israeli, Palestinian, Bedouin, etc – does not mean that the land should be divided accordingly to each unit of people.