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Commentary Magazine reports on Palestinian distortion of Jewish history, exposed by PMW

Jonathan S. Tobin  |
In recent decades, some Palestinian Arab intellectuals have engaged in Holocaust denial. This subject was, in fact, the topic of Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas’ doctoral thesis. But apparently some Palestinians aren’t satisfied with denying recent Jewish history. Now they are seeking to erase the literary legacy of Jewish peoplehood and faith. According to one Palestinian “researcher,” the source for the phrase “If I Forget Thee, O Jerusalem,” was not the Bible but a Frankish Crusader.

This comment was broadcast last week on a program run on official Palestinian Authority television. According to Dr. Hayel Sanduqa, the phrase was “borrowed by the Zionist movement, which falsified it in the name of Zionism.” Sanduqa’s comments were discovered by the Palestinian Media Watch group which keeps a close eye on what is being promulgated on outlets controlled by Israel’s PA peace partner.

This is, of course, laughable. “If I Forget Thee, O Jerusalem” is from the 137th Psalm of the Hebrew Bible that immortalized the laments of Jewish exiles from the land of Israel in Babylonian captivity.

But unfortunately, when it comes to Palestinian attempts to deny the Jewish connection to Jerusalem and the entire country, this is not an isolated incident. The PA continues to assert the Temple Mount was not the site of the ancient Holy Temple in Jerusalem and to claim even the Western Wall is not a Jewish site. The Palestinians’ refusal to accept an independent Palestinian state alongside a Jewish state of Israel is the result of such attitudes. This is more than just the product of 100 years of conflict. Since Palestinian nationalism came into being as a reaction to the return of Jews to the country, Palestinian national identity is inextricably linked to a denial of historical links of Jews to the land.

Palestinian programs such as this one are part of a campaign of incitement that, despite contrary quotes given in English to the Western media by Palestinian Authority spokespersons, illustrate the implacable hatred which fuels the conflict. Peace will never come until Palestinian culture rejects such ideas.

Psalm 137

By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. Upon the willows in the midst thereof we hanged up our harps.
For there they that led us captive asked of us words of song, and our tormentors asked of us mirth: ‘Sing us one of the songs of Zion.’
How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?
If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.
Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I remember thee not; if I set not Jerusalem above my chiefest joy.