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Emet m'Tsiyon

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Edward Said Falsifies History -- But You're Not Surprised, are you?

Lying seems to have come naturally and comfortably to the late Professor Edward Said, a prof of comparative lit at Columbia University, who was somehow able, with the help of the organized American communications media, to change how Americans, especially would-be intellectuals saw Islam and the Arab-Israeli Conflict. Here is one of his gems:

p56 ". . . . both [Zionism & Judaism] speak of Palestine as the land of Israel. . . . Zionism sees itself as redeeming the land whose natives [Said means the Arabs] have called it 'Palestine' for over a millenium." [emphasis added, seeEdward Said, Peace and Its Discontents (New York: Vintage Books 1995), p 56]

Said was a professor so he could get away with a Big Lie as long as he delivered it in a very Authoritative manner, allowing no contradiction or nuance. In fact, Jews have traditionally called the Land the Land of Israel. This usage appears in the Christian New Testament [Book of Matthew, chap. 2, vv. 20-22]. So Christians have been aware of the name Land of Israel since the New Testament circulated among them in the first centuries of the Common Era. Indeed, Said was right about what Jews called the Land, and this usage was maintained by Zionists. However, Jews were not the only ones to be aware of it. Christians who read the New Testament were too. The New Testament also calls the country Judea, which was the usual Greek and Roman/Latin name for the whole country up to the Bar Kokhba Revolt [approx 131-135 BCE]. So Said is not lying as to the name that Jews and Zionists used for the country -- Land of Israel. Watch out for the usage in the New Testament. In some places in the NT Judea refers to the whole country. This is the broad Greco-Latin usage. However, in some passages in the NT, the term "Judea and Samaria" is used. In these passages, Judea refers only to the south of the country, including Jerusalem. That is, the former kingdom of Judah. This is the narrow Jewish usage of the term Judea [and Judah], whereas  Greek and Latin writers used the broader meaning of the name.

His lie has to do with what the Arabs and Muslims in the country and beyond generally called it.  After the Crusades, the Mamluk and Ottoman Empires saw the country as an undefined, indistinct part of bilad ash-Sham [variously translated as Levant, Syria, Greater Syria]. The Muslim Arab majority did not call the land Palestine.

Few except for the rare scholars among them [and illiteracy was very high] even knew that once, before the Crusades, the Arab and Muslim rulers had used the term Filastin for the southern part --roughly speaking-- of the country, of the Land of Israel. Filastin did not mean the whole country but only what today we call southern Samaria, Judah [not Judea but Judah, the territory of the southern Israelite kingdom], and the southern and middle coastal plain and coast. The Arabs took the term Filastin from the Roman district of Palaestina Prima which had roughly speaking the same borders. Palaestina Secunda, northern Samaria, the Galilee and Golan as well as territory east of the Jordan River was called Urdunn by the early Arab conquerors.

Judea was in fact in Roman usage the name for --roughly speaking-- what the Jews called the Land of Israel. See an authentic Roman document, a metal military discharge certificate [called a diploma] which attests to a veteran of the Roman legions having served in Judea [IVDAEA in Latin]

Another of Said's lies was calling the Arabs in the country the "natives." The Jews were the indigenous population of the Land, inhabiting it long before the Arab invasion of the 7th century. The Jews were reduced by the Crusader massacres to a small fraction of the population but Jews have always lived in the country since ancient times, for more than 3000 years. So out of three assertions that Said makes in this short excerpt, two are false.

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Historical sketch of the land  and its name [here]

Jewish exile from Jerusalem [here]

The usage of the name Judea or PROVINCIA IVDAEA by Rome [here]

My assertion that the Arabs generally did not call what is today Israel by the name "Palestine"  or "Filastin" is acknowledged by one of Said's professorial Arab friends, none other than Rashid al-Khalidi, who just so happens to be a good buddy of one Barack Hussein Obama, the previous president of the United States. Khalidi acknowledged this, for instance, in an article in the journal International Journal of Middle East Studies in the year 1988 or about then. I do not now have the exact citation but you can check the journal for the years 1988, 1987, and 1989.

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