The Coalition for Jewish Values, representing over 1000 traditional rabbis in matters of public policy, is demanding a public apology from activist Linda Sarsour for “peddling in anti-Semitic falsehoods” in order to attack an observant Jewish New York City Councilman, Kalman Yeger. Yeger observed on Twitter that “Palestine does not exist” while condemning the anti-Semitic statements of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. Sarsour responded by calling his statement “this kind of hate” and “bigoted,” and demanding that Yeger “apologize publicly to Palestinian New Yorkers.”
“There has never been a country called Palestine,” said Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, Eastern Regional Vice President of the CJV. “Jews have been connected to the land of Israel continuously for 37 centuries. Find a ‘Palestinian’ writer from the 6th, 16th or 19th Century, and you will find a Jew. In 1948, the Palestine Post became the Jerusalem Post. ‘Palestinian Arabs’ are a late 20th Century creation, concocted for the sole purpose of thwarting the national state of the Jewish people.”
Rabbi Dov Fischer, Rabbi Pruzansky’s Western Regional counterpart, added that “when Ahmed Shukairy launched the PLO in 1964, the ‘Palestine’ he sought to ‘liberate’ was Tel Aviv and Haifa. It was a ploy — they used the name Palestine because it was too ridiculous to call for the ‘liberation’ of Judea from Jews.”
The CJV further noted that although what was called “Palestine” under the British Mandate includes all of modern-day Jordan, the “Palestine” described by the Palestinian Authority, left-wing groups and terror organizations traces only the borders of Israel’s portion. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas described Jordanian and Palestinian Arabs as “one people living in two states” during a speech in 2015, expressly refuting the notion of a “Palestinian” people separate from Jordanians. Jordan is four times the size of Israel, with a population only 10% larger.
“The name Palestine was coined by Greek and Roman colonialists anxious to disenfranchise the natives,” Rabbi Yaakov Menken, Managing Director of the CJV, observed, “and that has been its meaning and intent ever since. It is no coincidence that this came up during a discussion of the classic anti-Semitic falsehoods expressed by Rep. Ilhan Omar. ”
“Israel absorbed the vast majority of the 99% of Jews ethnically cleansed from the Arab world since 1948, while ‘Palestinians’ have been horribly mistreated by their Arab brethren, kept in camps and as second-class citizens as a weapon against Israel, instead of being permitted to resettle. Achieving peace requires we address the reality — and to claim that Arabs have a ‘right’ to take more land from the Jews of Israel inverts reality, in a classically anti-Semitic fashion.”