"Rivers of Babylon" Ban Tops Chart of PA's Israel Denial

ZOA issues list of recent examples of Palestinian de-legitimization of Israel, topped by the PA demand not to sound the song “Rivers of Babylon.”

Contact Editor
Hillel Fendel, | updated: 10:26

Flag at Jericho Synagogue
Flag at Jericho Synagogue
Israel news photo

The Zionist Organization of America has issued a list of recent examples of Palestinian de-legitimization of Israel, topped by the PA demand not to sound the song “Rivers of Babylon.”

Ever since the Palestinian Authority’s inception in 1994, the ZOA states, it “has sought to deny and erase all Jewish connection with the land of Israel, including even Jerusalem.” This was made starkly clear once again with the PA’s recent edict against hearing the song “Rivers of Babylon,” which, based on Psalms 137, sums up the Jewish People’s yearning to return to its homeland, Zion.

The ban was particularly ironic in that the organizers of the Palestinian International Festival had invited well-known disco group Boney M to perform in Ramallah – yet leave out "Rivers of Babylon", one of its top songs.

Recent examples of the PA’s de-legitimization of Israel, denial of Jewish rights and connection to Israel and falsification of Jewish history include these:

** Oft-repeated claims that the Western Wall, the last vestige of the Holy Temples, has no Jewish significance. The official PA website has said that “all historic studies and archeological excavations have failed to find any proof” that the Wall was part of the Temple, and the PA sounded a call that Israeli politicians not be allowed to even touch the Western Wall. A top advisor to PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas said that the Western Wall is “part of Islamic heritage that cannot be given up, and it must be under Muslim control.”

** The pursuit of international boycotts against Israel in various areas, including even entertainment. In recent months, the Pixies and Elvis Costello, among others, have folded in the face of the pressure, canceling scheduled concerts in Israel. Other artists, such as Sir Paul McCartney and Elton John, have ignored calls to boycott Israel.

** Jarid al-Kidwa, a Palestinian historian said in a PA media broadcast, “The stories of the Torah and the Bible did not take place in the Land of Israel – they occurred in the Arabian peninsula, primarily in Yemen.”

** Walid M. Awad, Director of Foreign Publications for the PLO’s Palestine Ministry of Information: “Jerusalem was never a Jewish city.”

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein summed up the issue, saying, “The Palestinian eliminationist ideology demands that the truth of Jewish history be utterly erased from the biblical land of Israel, in order to further demonize Israel as illegal interlopers... Thus, while speaking to Western audiences, Mahmoud Abbas and Salaam Fayyad might rarely – and only rarely – go through the motions of claiming to acknowledge the rights of Jews to live in Israel within the pre-1967 borders or in a future Palestinian state – they have pointedly refused ever to accept Israel as a Jewish state, and daily tell their people that Jews are usurpers. This message is relentlessly reiterated in the PA, media, mosques, schools and youth camps. It is a major factor in continuing Palestinian non-acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state and thus in the absence of peace… It is vital that the U.S. and Israel both insist on an end to this Palestinian propaganda of denial and falsification and make further aid and negotiations to the PA conditional on its termination. To do otherwise is to ensure the prolongation of the Arab war on Israel.”