A Jewish State in North Africa

"Palestinians" and "Kosovars", but no "Atlasians"?

Gerald A. Honigman,

OpEds Honigman
What would you do if your national group already had almost two dozen states on over six million square miles of territory, wanted one more, but another people's sole, tiny, resurrected state stood in the way?

Please look at the answer through the oft-quoted words of PLO executive member Zuheir Mohsen, on March 31,
How could Arabs demand twenty-two states while denying Jews one?
1977, in the Dutch newspaper Trouw:

The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese.... Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct 'Palestinian people' to oppose Zionism....

Before having to deal with sensitivities of at least some in the West, Arabs simply gave no thought to Mohsen's tactics.

Native peoples were simply conquered and forcibly Arabized in the name of the Arab Nation and the spread of its Dar ul-Islam - imperialism and colonialism, pure and simple. Millions of native Egyptian Copts, Black Africans, Kurds, Imazighen (Berbers), Jews and others still suffer the consequences of this murderous subjugation.

In a post-Holocaust age, however, in the struggle to win over hearts and minds, how could Arabs demand twenty-two states while denying Jews one?

The answer, as Mohsen stated above - reinvent yourselves.

From now on, you're "Palestinians." Then depend on the ignorance of most of the world to back your claim, "If Jews have a state, why not Palestinians?" And don't you know, "Palestinians" are the new formerly stateless Jews.

Forget the facts. Like the fact that most Arabs never saw the land of the Jews - Judaea - until their own imperial conquests brought them out of the Arabian Peninsula in the 7th century CE, when they spread out in all directions.

Or the fact that the very name "Palestine" was dubbed over Judaea by Emperor Hadrian after the Jews' second revolt for freedom. To pour salt into their wound, he renamed the Jews' land after their historic enemies, the Philistines, a non-Semitic sea people (i.e., not Arab) from the area around Crete. Tacitus, Dio Cassius and other Roman historians wrote about Judaea and Judaeans, not about "Palestine" or "Palestinians." Check out a favorite, telling quote in Vol. II, Book V, The Works of Tacitus:

Vespasian... succeeded to the command... inflamed his resentment that the Jews were the only nation that had not yet submitted.... Titus, appointed by his father to complete the subjugation of Judaea... commanded three legions in Judaea itself.... To these he added the twelfth from Syria and third and twenty-second from Alexandria.... [Amongst] his allies were bands of Arabs, formidable and harboring towards Jews the bitter animosity usually subsisting between neighboring nations.

Or the fact that so many Arabs were newcomers to the Mandate of Palestine after the breakup of the Ottoman
Roman historians wrote about Judaea and Judaeans, not about "Palestine" or "Palestinians."
Turkish Empire, which had controlled the land for over four centuries. When UNRWA was set up to assist Arab refugees (after a half-dozen Arab states invaded a nascent Israel in 1948 and their attempt backfired), the very word "refugee" had to be redefined from its prior meaning of "persons normally and traditionally resident" to those who lived in the Mandate for a minimum of only two years prior to 1948. Hamas' own patron saint, for whom its terror brigade and rockets are named for, Sheikh Izzadin al-Qassam, was from Latakia, Syria.

And so forth.

Using this same tactic, Serbs have been similarly shafted.

Albania is an independent nation southwest of the former Yugoslavia. Serbs fought their first major battle for Kosovo against the spread of the Dar ul-Islam (this time led by Turkish imperialism) in 1389. Albania became at least nominally converted to Islam via the Ottoman conquest. Over the centuries, ethnic Albanians encroached upon traditionally Serbian lands.

In the late 20th century, everyone knew that, with the death of Tito, the artificially glued together state of Yugoslavia would fall apart. If you're an Albanian in Serbia and you already have one ethnic Albanian state in existence (so you can't claim "statelessness"), how do you stake your claim for additional territory at another people's (the Serbs) expense?

Follow Zuheir Mohsen's advice. Rename yourselves Kosovars and then get assorted jihadis from the rest of the Arab and Muslim worlds to assist you - along with NATO. Too much of the conflict over the breakup of Yugoslavia was deliberately biased against the Serbs. Atrocities occurred (as they had for centuries), but on both sides, with Serbs often the victims - victims the American State Department ignored as it sought Muslims it could point to as championing while America was fighting others elsewhere. American bombers led the final dismemberment.

Hitler played a somewhat similar game with the large population of ethnic Germans in Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland. World War II soon followed, as his sights were set far beyond the Czechs' and Slovaks' domain.

There's a lesson here for Jews, Kurds, Imazighen and others. Instead of demanding just the rebirth of their one state, Jews need to demand others as well.

For example, Jews have a long history in Morocco - centuries before Arabs invaded. Over 600,000 Moroccan Jews now live in Israel, part of the other side of the Middle East refugee problem few ever talk about. That's more Moroccan Jews than there were Arabs who got their own nation states in Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, etc. Additionally, many more Moroccan Jews live in America, France and elsewhere today, including Morocco.

Why multiple states for Arabs and not for Jews?

As early as Roman times, Judaeans fleeing the Roman wars began to travel inland in North Africa and forged ties with the Imazighen, especially in the Atlas Mountains. Across the Atlas Mountains, Queen Dahlia al Kahina (whom the famed Muslim scholar, Ibn Khaldun, called "the Jewess") led both Jews and Imazighen in battle against invading Arabs, who would later massacre and subjugate both peoples.
If Kurds played the Arab game, trading "Arab" for "Palestinian," then how many Kurdish states might they be entitled to?

Why not states for the Atlasians - at least one for Jews and one for the Imazighen - in North Africa?

Why "Palestinians" and "Kosovars", but not "Atlasians"?

While we're at it, some thirty-five million stateless Kurds need to jump aboard as well. Kurds predate Arabs in both "Arab" Syria and Iraq, and in "Turkish" Turkey. But we all know what happens when Kurds try to assert their rights there. Their best hope right now is in the place where they were indeed promised independence after World War I - in northern Mesopotamia, part of today's Iraq. If Kurds played the Arab game, trading "Arab" for "Palestinian," then how many Kurdish states might they be entitled to?

While I don't really expect that much of the above will happen, it's worth asking those academics, State Department folks and other hypocritical practitioners of the double standard: Why not?

The reality, of course, is that all of these peoples are still struggling to maintain or obtain basic political and human rights in what Arabs call "purely Arab patrimony." That others buy into their subjugating mindset is the real travesty.