“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” (source unknown, but often attributed to Mark Twain).
The ‘success’ of ‘Palestine’-related myths provides excellent examples of how we are surrounded by Orwellian inversions of truth. From the Guardian and the BBC to the Washington Post and NYT, the mainstream media are all likely to promote some elements of the fictional tale of the history of ‘Palestine’. Given how often we see these errors, I am actually left wondering whether today’s journalists actually have access to the archives of the very newspapers that they work for.
Truths that cannot be spoken
There are truths that today cannot be digested in the mainstream. Those that promote them are swiftly labelled ‘extremists’. Push these notions persistently and you will find yourself ‘cancelled’ -‘ no-platformed’ – and silenced, as a ‘racist’, or purveyor of hate.
- Most ‘indigenous’ Palestinians are from families who migrated into the area in the last 170 years.
- ‘Palestine’ has no form, was alien to Muslims, and was kept alive only as a romantic thought in Christian ideology.
- The notion of the Palestinian ‘refugee’ in 2023 is just an absurdity.
It doesn’t matter how these statements may disturb your inner peace – they are either true, or they are not. The modern Palestinian cause is a toxic cocktail that was originally made up from an exercise in denialism, an attempt to deprive Jews of the right to self-determination, western thirst for oil, Christian supersessionism, antisemitism, rising Arab nationalism, Islamist ideology, and political horseplay between the world’s superpowers. If you mix these all together and let the cocktail fester for 100 years, then today’s pro-Palestinian movement, which toxifies everything it touches, becomes the inevitable result.
We are witnessing a concentrated rewrite of history.
It is within this false paradigm that Nur Masalha, a ‘pristorian’ (‘propogandist revisionist historian’) can produce a book like this, suggesting ‘Palestine’ ‘has a four thousand year old’ history:
In his fictional tale, Masalha hysterically tries to grab at every historical mention of the word ‘falastin’ that he could find, putting them all together in a ridiculous attempt to suggest ‘Palestine’ had real meaning outside of a religious Christian concept. The result is a convoluted, pathetic, mess.
As an example, on page 259 Masalha references a Syrian writer’s travelogue from the late 19th century (‘Numan Al Qasatli’) which had the term ‘Palestine’ in the title. Given Al Qasatli was employed by the British to help with the Christian funded ‘Palestine Exploration Fund’, I hardly think this is evidence of anything. But Masalha’s book was not written for critical eyes. The very fact Masalha needs to rely upon maps drawn for European Christians (such as by the monk Fra Mauro) in his attempt to prove that ‘Palestine’ existed, just tends to help prove the opposite. It is all far too desperate.
The media’s 19th century Palestine
Reading western media today, you would clearly imagine a history of Palestinian splendour. This is a classic example -an article from the Guardian that romantically describes a late 19th century Jaffa – as ‘the commercial and cultural capital of Palestine’.
And when announcing the death of Rana Kabbasni in 1990, the Guardian statement lets readers known he was born in 1910 in ‘Acre (Akko) Palestine’:
This messaging is easy to find – and everywhere. Take the 2019 NYT description of the history of the clock tower in Yafo (Jaffa).
Or perhaps to put the point across more forcefully, we can use this NYT example of ‘sun and ancient stone‘:
But how can this be? We know that ‘Palestine’ was alien to the Muslim world, and the Ottomans used administrative areas (sanjaks) to control their empire. This meant that an Arab in Acre (Akko) and the Arab in Sur (Tyre, today’s Lebanon) were neighbours, tied into the regional Beirut or Damascus districts (eyelets). The idea that an Arab from Akko would be rejected by the Arab from Sur as a foreigner with a different identity (as happened in 1948/9 when they deliberately stuck them into refugee camps as aliens just to perpetuate a conflict) would have seemed absurd to everyone.
The Guardian in 2015 wrote that Yaffo (Jaffa) had been the cultural and commercial capital of Palestine. In 1909 they wrote that everyone knew that it was a place to avoid:
Nowhere in its many 19th century descriptions of Jaffa did I find anything to support what the Guardian says today. As you will see, the media distortion covers far more than just its ‘splendour’.
Where was Palestine?
To prove this let us look at the Guardian and NYT archives. After all, isn’t this exactly where Guardian and NYT journalists would turn to first when referencing a historical point? And we find that back in the 19th century, these media outlets viewed the world a little differently:
This is how the NYT (left) and Guardian (right) actually described Akko in the 19th century (Acre):
As being part of ‘Syria’. And this is also how the New York Times described Yafo (Jaffa) in 1840:
The Guardian on the ‘development of Syria’ from Akko (Akka) to Haifa in 1892:
And it is not just the NYT and Guardian. It is everywhere. There is not a journalist alive who will not be left scratching his head if they ever dare to look in their own newspaper archives. Here is an 1891 report on a railroad from Joppa (Yafo) to Jerusalem *in Syria*:
These two, Bethlehem and Nazareth -two of ‘Palestine’s’ key historical towns, are particularly notable:
Searching for the Indigenous people of Palestine
On the subject of the indigenous people of Palestine – who have apparently resided in these lands for 1000s of years, today’s media is also quite adamant. They call them the indigenous population. Examples from both the Guardian and NYT:
And yet again we find that inside easily accessible newspaper archives there is evidence of a very different history:
This is from a description of the population of Jaffa in 1875:
A Jewish person today living in the land of his ancestors is treated by much of the media as a colonial invader, while the ‘Palestinians’ – a mixture of immigrants from North Africa, Bosnia, Sudan, Arabia, Circassia, Greece, and Turkey, standing alongside the descendants of 1000s of Christian missionaries and the remnants of some Egyptian and Turkish soldiers that never left – are treated as an ‘indigenous’ population?
Even worse? When the tide turned and the descendants of these Egyptians and Syrians went home, they were called ‘refugees’ and locked away into camps.
It is time to just scratch our heads in wonderment at just how easily we are all being duped.
The butchers of history
When these Christians used the term ‘Palestine’ – they meant ‘Holy Land’ – which in turn referred specifically to the Jewish homeland. That is what the historical resurrection of ‘Palestine’ was all about. It was the Christian funded ‘Palestine Exploration Fund‘ that literally put ‘Palestine’ back onto the map in the latter part of the 1800s – fuelled by a Christian ideology that had an interest in the Jews returning home. When you see ‘ancient maps‘ of Palestine spread around online as ‘proof’ Palestine existed – this is often what they are based on.
But it gets worse. If Ramallah and Jerusalem are in their ‘Palestine’, how are Amman and Irbid not in their ‘Palestine’? They used to be as much ‘Palestine’ in the eyes of the Christian west as Nazareth and Capernaum:
I highly doubt the Times or Guardian would ever dream of describing Irbid or Amman as cities in ‘Palestine’ today. A BBC report on ‘historical Jordan‘, does not even contain the word ‘Palestine’. Can you imagine the BBC doing a piece on Akko without referencing the fictional place? Remember this from the Guardian?
But Akko was nothing to do with Palestine. Nor ancient Philistia. Akko was in Syria, or Lebanon. The Guardian’s own archives will tell them this over and over again;
Which raises serious questions about the non-factual, ahistorical, and spiteful misuse of ‘Palestine’ as a description throughout mainstream media. And if Palestine is based on the Christian Holy Land’ then the Palestine they reference is just the western part of it. The ‘PEF’ survey of Palestine often erroneously presented as a map of all of Palestine was just the result of surveys into ‘Western Palestine’:
Which means of course that there was also an ‘Eastern Palestine’. The survey of ‘Eastern Palestine’, also produced maps, which include Amman and its neighbouring towns:
The newspapers all knew it back then but appear to have forgotten it for some reason. Say ‘Jordan is Palestine’ today – another simple fact based on historical truth – and you will certainly find yourself cancelled.
Today’s media have engaged in a massive revisionist campaign that suggests a prosperous nation called Palestine, really existed – yet *exclusively* in the area in which Israel exists today. It is utter, ahistorical, bunkum – that has been explicitly designed to undermine the Jewish homeland.
Look at this explicit lie about ‘Palestine’ from the Guardian in 2003 – deliberately written to undermine the Jewish Home:
How many more times – IT WAS NOT PALESTINE -so why do you say that it was? To undermine the Jews. There can be no other reason for it.
The truth is obvious. You only need to open your eyes and your mind – and then find the courage to speak it.
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24 thoughts on “Just where on earth was ‘Palestine’?”
Interesting piece this.
Whenever I ask the question of historians and academics about how Palestine was mentioned and reported over the last 500 odd years I get the vague answer that yes it ‘was’ mentioned before they walz off to talk with others about less challenging subjects. They never seem to have conclusive evidence to back their assertions
The only time ‘Palestine’ seems to be mentioned is in connection to western Christian groups and modern literature. Palestine seems to have always been a Christian/western construct/idea.
Pappe in one of his first books went so far as to say that the ‘Mandate of Palestine’ under British rule was the first time that ‘Palestine’ ever had properly designated borders (including the now Kingdom of Jordan), because previously it was just a geographic area
At no point in the whole of recorded history has there ever been an independent country called Palestine
It has never existed
My understanding is there is not even a “P” sound in Arabic so, if there was an Arabic country in the area of Israel, it would have been Falestine.
It would be good to mention and explain this to defuse the argument ahead of time.
I will answer this – although not as directly as you may have wished, in an article I am doing to cover people’s responses to my piece.
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is “palestine”
and resides solely on the EAST bank of the Jordan River
and Israel resides solely on the WEST bank of the Jordan River.
Great piece, David!
Laughingly described as research, another concoction of ‘I don’t believe this or I don’t accept that’ from David the Zionist in order to try and deny Palestinians their right to their homes and land.
“A Jewish person today living in the land of his ancestors is treated by much of the media as a colonial invader,”
There you go again David, trying to piggy-back the Zionists’ colonisation strategy onto indigenous Jews from Palestine. Since when was the Holy Land the ancestral land of the European Zionists who made it their intention to colonise Palestine and expel, with force and murder, those who disagreed with them? The answer is NEVER.
Palestinians and indigenous Jews have much more in common with each other than European Zionists will ever have. Zionism is a corruption of Judaism.
that is just silly. What you refer to as the corruption of Judaism, is simply the national element of the Jewish people. Most western folk make tragic mistakes when analysing Judaism or Islam – using Christianity as the benchmark and viewing it through a ‘Jesus lens’ – thus making mistakes like drawing parallels (Jesus = Mohammed and the Bible = the Quran). This tragically turns everything up on its head and leads to awful – and dangerous misconceptions that misread the warning signs. For example, the Qu’ran is far more comparable to Jesus than the bible. And the Jewish people are not just tied together through the belief system – but also through the nation. Zionism is not a corruption – it is part of the essence. Think of it like this. The Judaism you recognise as ‘pure’ was just the suitcase in which the Jewish people traveled – a means of keeping them together whilst they needed to survive in foreign lands. Zionism lets the Jewish people out of the suitcase. It lets them be free people once more. Now you may prefer the ghettoised subservient, scared Jew – and see that as the norm. I don’t. Those days – thankfully – are behind us. That people in the west do not understand the religion as clan concept, because well, they turned Jesus into something he wasn’t and bastardised what he was saying – is not my problem – its yours.
David, it may pacify your belief system to think that I see everything through religious eyes, but you are wrong. As an atheist, unlike yourself, I have the ability to see things as they are, unencumbered by religious stories and myths. The fact is that Zionists from Europe preached a language of hate against those in Palestine who did not want their lives up-ended by colonists from Europe. Your ‘suitcase’ analogy is a good one. Zionists decry Jews who won’t jump into their suitcase. However, Zionist zealots are losing, and as young Jews grow and mature, they realise that we are all humans and should treat each other with respect.
Palestinianism, Jihadism, Intifadism, Islamism, plane hijacking and flying planes into buildings, ship hijacking, hanging gays, pushing gays off rooftops in Gaza, stoning girls to death over “family honour”, stabbing, shooting, ramming cars and trucks into people, stabbing writers like Salman Rushdie, murdering filmmakers like Theo Van Gogh, threatening the lives of cartoonists, DC Beltway snipers, massacre of the staff of the humour magazine Charlie Hebdo, assassinating US Senator Robert F. Kennedy by a “palestinian”, massacring people at a music club (Bataclan), using poison gas on the people of Halabja Iraq, Bali massacre, Mumbai India massacre, 8 year Iraq/Fascist Shia Iran war (1M dead), 500K dead in Syrian civil war, Pulse nightclub massacre, Fort Hood Texas massacre, thwarted underwear and sneaker bombing of an in-flight passenger plane, London’s 7/7 transport massacre, ISIS beheading videos, murder of journalist Daniel Pearl, …
are all corruptions of the self-proclaimed “Religion of Peace”.
Apart from your ‘isms’, and where any of those violent acts were committed in the name of religion, I completely agree Edward.
You sound angry Jacky Lad ?
Why is that ?
Is it because Israel exists and Palestine does not ?
Get used to it
Which religion did the 9/11, London’s 7/7, Boston Marthon bombing, Bataclon massacre, 1993 truck bombing of the WTC (“blind” sheik) perpetrators belong to?
Why are passengers subjected to screening of their persons, luggage and cargo at airport all over the world?
What was the nationality of the convicted assassin of US Senator Robert F. Kennedy?
Jack, the TERRORIST Pallies YOU support
are cut from the SAME CLOTH as
TERRORIST Al Qada, TERRORIST ISIS, TERRORIST Boko Haram, TERRORIST Hamass, TERRORIST Hezbola, TERRORIST Iran TERRORIST Jihadis, …
Edward, the IDF is the best equipped TERRORIST force on Earth, whose main purpose is to TERRORISE Palestinians and drive them out of their homes and land.
Jacko, YOUR Imperialist Jihadis, Ultra-Conservative Intifadists,
TERRORIZE the ENTIRE WORLD.
Why are there CHECKPOINTS at EVERY airport in the World?
What are the CHECKPOINTS looking for?
Are the Abraham Accords ANOTHER Nakba for you?
When the West, particularly the USA and Britain attacks and destabilises countries around the world, is it any wonder their citizens react the way they do?
SOCIALISM destabilizes the world.
WW2 was a Socialist (National and Soviet) and Imperialist war against the ENTIRE WORLD.
When Third World Jihadis murder innocent people, ALL OVER WORLD, expect epic Blowback.
Despite all your bleating about Catastrophic Nakbas, remember, the Israelis are NOT the unarmed Jews of WW2, Khaybar, pogroms.
Happy Nakba! 🙂
Jack is the latest in quite a long line of house trolls on this site and is now carrying the baton for those that came, provoked and then inevitably ran out of steam along the way. The shelf life is normally around 18 months until the “Oooh Dave. You lying genocidal ZioNazi apartheid murderer” loses it’s impact and the rot sets in.
For further reference see predecessors, Michael (sometimes Maria) Farmer, Chris Rogers, Stephen Bellamy, Charles Goebbels, The Right Reverend Gabriel Kanta-Banta and someone called Jane (they/them). Apologies to those too insignificant to recall. There will certainly be more.
Hey David, I want ten minutes alone with your daughter who whored herself to the Zionists pigs.
I let this one through because others need to see it.
May the Ayatoolas of the Islamofascist Regime of Iran end up like Haman and his sons. Soon, INSHALLAH!
Happy Eternal Nakba! 🙂
Brucie Levy the fake rabbi and Holocaust revisionist and denigrator.
The only pig in this poke is you
But then you never anything other than an Antisemetic pig to begin with
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