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Friday, October 20, 2023

Just the Facts, Part 2

My very first lesson in tzedakah: When I was a little girl, George Steinberg, a member of our shul, was fundraising for a local charity in my quaint New England town. He went up and down Main Street asking the merchants to donate.  He got to a shop that was owned by one of the few Jews in town. The Jewish shopkeeper started to give him $100, which was a lot of money back then. Mr. Steinberg said, “Hold on, Leonard.  Give me $25 for this charity.  Give $100 to UJA.  Everyone in town supports this charity, but only the Jews take care of the Jews.”

I have remembered that all my life, not only in terms of tzedakah but on a larger scale.  That’s not to say there weren’t non-Jews who helped and/or hid Jews in the Holocaust. But in general, we Jews are on our own.  Never has that been more apparent to me than watching the news and scrolling through social media this past week.

The amount of misinformation (my polite way of saying “lies”) that is accepted as fact blows my mind. People are so ready to believe anything against Israel.

A few days ago I posted “Just The Facts” about the history of the Two-State Solution.  Here now are the 

Facts about Palestinians:

Fact #1. The name “Palestine” originally referred mainly to the land, not to any specific people residing within.

Fact #2. It was named by the Romans in order to erase any Jewish claim to the land, hitherto known as “Judea.”

Fact #3. It was named “Palestine” after the Philistines, an ancient tribe that had lived in the land in the very distant past and no longer existed at that point.

Fact #4. (and this one I never knew!) During the Mandatory period and the Ottoman era that preceded it, the term “Palestinian” was understood to refer to the Jewish residents of the region, as the Arabs considered themselves to be part of a greater Arab nation. To refer to them at that time as “Palestinians” would have been considered a grave insult.

Fact #5. At no time in history was there ever a sovereign entity known as “Palestine” nor were there people known as “Palestinians” other than Jews.

By the way, for centuries, Arabs and Jews lived together in that land. Most of the area was desolate and uninhabited, and the major urban centres had mixed population, Arab and Jewish. And throughout the rest of the land, Jews and Arabs were scattered in villages and rural areas.

Why do you need to know this?  Because people will tell you that the “Palestinians” were there first, that Israel took their land. Hogwash! Knowledge is power, my friends.  And right now we need as much power as we can muster!