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PA TV mimics Jewish tradition: “If I forget thee, oh Jerusalem”

Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik  |
PA TV mimics Jewish tradition:
Imitates Psalms 137:5
"If I forget thee, oh Jerusalem"

Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

Official Palestinian Authority TV has produced and broadcast a music video imitating the Jewish tradition regarding Jerusalem, mimicking the Biblical expression "If I forget thee, oh Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill, may my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember thee," [Psalms 137:5]. This verse from the Book of Psalms expresses Jewish longing for Jerusalem after its destruction and the Jewish exile.

The song broadcast on PA TV and performed by an Egyptian singer includes scenes from the markets in the old city of Jerusalem, Arab children playing, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, blended with scenes of riots, stone-throwing, and clashes with Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem. No Jewish holy sites or landmarks are shown and the only Israelis seen are soldiers.

The song, which mimics the Jewish longing for Jerusalem described in the Bible, includes the following lyrics:

"May my right arm forget me, may my left arm forget me.
May the light of my eyes and the openings of songs forget me, if I forget Jerusalem." (See full lyrics below)
Since the Palestinian Authority was established under the Oslo Accords in 1993, the PA has undertaken a rewriting of history which includes the misappropriation of Jewish history, artifacts, traditions, texts, as if they had a Palestinian historical connection. Palestinian Media Watch has documented a number of examples of the PA mimicking and expropriating Jewish tradition, while claiming Jewish history to be a falsification of the "authentic ancient Palestinian" history.

Last week, Palestinian Media Watch reported on the PA's misrepresentation of Hebrew coins minted in 66 CE, four years prior to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by Rome, as Palestinian coins.

The Palestinian claim that Jerusalem has been the "capital" of a "state of Palestine" is another example of this misrepresentation. While historically there never was a Palestinian state and Jerusalem never was an Arab or Muslim capital, the PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash warned in a Friday sermon that "unless Jerusalem will be Palestinian, as it was throughout history, the capital of the Palestinian state... there is no peace."

The purpose of the current PA TV song may be to generate Palestinian feelings for "ancient Palestinian roots" in Jerusalem while denying Jewish history there. PMW reported on a PA TV broadcast of an interview with a Palestinian historian who told the audience that the term "If I forget thee, oh Jerusalem" was not from the Bible, but was a crusader term misappropriated by modern Zionism to falsify a Jewish connection to Jerusalem.

Another video broadcast by PA TV last week also denied Jewish history in the land, claiming it as Palestinian. The video showed "Palestine" symbolized by a woman in white, fleeing four different foreign rulers through history - the Romans, the Crusaders, and the British and finally being liberated from Jewish-Israeli rule by a new Muslim "Saladin" conqueror.

The following are the words of the song produced and broadcast by PA TV:

"May my right arm forget me, may my left arm forget me.
May the light of my eyes and the openings of songs forget me, if I forget Jerusalem.
May the joy in my eyes and the green world, forget me.
May every heart forget me.
May the smile of an infant forget me, if I forget Jerusalem.
May my joys forget me, may my morning forget me.
May the suns forget me and may people deny me,
[with] the stars, the moon, the rain and the trees.
May the streets and the houses forget me.
May I wilt, may I wilt and die if I forget Jerusalem.
May the joy of the day, the shadow of the houses, the sound of strings forget me,
and the laughter of every neighbor, if I forget Jerusalem.
May the smiles of children and the expectation of a meeting forget me,
the joy of a birth and the gates of the entire city,
if I forget Jerusalem."
Text on screen at the end of the video: "Produced by PA TV, 2010"
[PA TV (Fatah), Feb. 25 and March 11, 2012]