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Monday, March 15, 2010

Goldberg slams Sullivan on PalArab propaganda map

Andrew Sullivan, in his Atlantic blog, reproduces a map used by rabidly anti-Jewish Palestinian Arabs (courtesy of Juan Cole!) to prove Israel's hunger for Arab land:
Jeffrey Goldberg answers him nicely:
Andrew Sullivan should be thankful that The Atlantic's fact-checking department has no purview over the magazine's website. The magazine's fact-checkers vet each word that appears in the print magazine for accuracy and context, but because they have no authority over blogs (or anything else produced for the web), Andrew is free to publish malicious nonsense, such as the series of maps he published yesterday, maps which purport to show how Jews stole Palestinian land. Andrew does not tell us the source of these maps (in a magazine with standards, the source would be identified), but they were drawn to cast Jews in the most terrible light possible.

The first map in the series of four is most egregious. It suggests that, in 1946, nearly all of the land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean was "Palestinian." Land designated as "Jewish" in this map constitutes maybe five percent of the total. This map is ridiculous, not only because the term "Palestinian" in 1946 referred, generally speaking, to the Jews who lived in Palestine, not the Arabs, but because there was no Palestine in 1946 (nor was there an Israel.) There was only the British Mandate. Jews lived throughout the territory then occupied by the British, including, by the way, on land that today constitutes the West Bank (though in 1946 Jews did not live in Hebron; they were expelled in 1929, after an Arab massacre of Jewish religious scholars). The intent of this propaganda map is to suggest that an Arab country called "Palestine" existed in 1946 and was driven from existence by Jewish imperialists. Not only was there no such country as "Palestine" in 1946, there has never been a country called Palestine. Before the British conquered Jerusalem, Palestine was a sub-province of the Ottoman Empire. (And after the British left, of course, Jordan and Egypt moved in to occupy Gaza and the West Bank.)
Goldberg could have pointed out that even if the map was relabeled "Jewish" and "Arab" land, it would still be a lie. The white parts show only the privately owned Jewish land, but the green part does not represent privately owned Arab land - it simply shows everything else. In fact, over 75% of the land in 1946 was publicly owned, and all of that land within the Green Line became Israeli after the War of Independence.

The next map in the series is a rendering of the U.N. Partition Plan, which would have divided the British mandate into two equal parts, one part for Arabs and one part for Jews. But Andrew neglects to mention that the Jews accepted this partition of Palestine, and that the Arabs rejected it. When Israel declared independence, the Arabs sought to physically eliminate the U.N.-supported Jewish state, but, to their chagrin, they failed. All that happens today flows from the original Arab decision to reject totally the idea that Jews are deserving of a state in part of their historic homeland.
And, although Goldberg mentions it in passing, the green sections of the third map do not show "Palestinian" land at all either, as there was no Palestine and the West Bank was annexed by Jordan - with full approval of the leaders of Palestinian Arabs - and Gaza was controlled by Egypt.

I'm pretty sure the fourth map is equally false, but I cannot claim to know the geographic details of the areas controlled by the PA.