Rashida Tlaib
Rashida Tlaib Reuters
On May 20, 2020 Arutz 7reported "Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib came under fire Wednesday for her claims that Israel’s establishment constituted an act of “ethnic cleansing” of “indigenous Palestine”.

"Last Friday, the Michigan Democrat tweeted a special “Nakba Day” message on the day after the 72nd anniversary of the establishment of Israel, marking what she called the 'ethnic cleansing of indigenous Palestine'"

In an interview in TOI, Indigenous activist Ryan Bellerose from Alberta said "I feel compelled to fight the idea that Israel is a colonialist state, that the Jews are colonizers from Europe and the entire invalid and false Arab narrative that has been spread since the 1960s. This ridiculous inversion of history has been accepted because nobody really stands up and fights it. And I believe coming from an Indian from Canada, who has lived through actual apartheid (two laws, one state for two peoples), I have a unique perspective. I have lived through colonization, and Israel is not even remotely colonialist."

"I also do not like people who tell lies to Indians or who use our naivete and ignorance of the world to weaponize us. You are Jews from Judea. Your entire history is in the earth you walk on. Some of you were displaced and you fought for 2,000 years to return to the land of your forefathers. You do not need to be apologetic for doing something that is the goal of every indigenous people. You need to be celebratory. You need to be proud...

"Israel needs to be more assertive about its ancestral lands, that it cannot be ambiguous and that the people as well as the government need to understand that it’s not about your “religion or spirituality.” It’s about your very identity. Your connection to your ancestral lands is not only spiritual but physical. Israel itself needs to take a larger role in stopping lies and false assertions because they really do cause issues. I believe that you need to become better at telling your story, which really is an amazing story. I think that once Jewish people start seeing themselves through a Jewish and not European lens, once they understand themselves as indigenous people, they will be stronger in their identity and will become what they are meant to be, which is a light unto the nations.

"...You are a great example to my people and to all indigenous people of what indigenous peoples are capable of. You were a damaged fractured people who had the entire world against you, yet you not only regained your ancestral lands, you rebuilt them and you built a thriving powerful nation without losing touch with your ancestral roots. Tell me that’s not a powerful story and example."

Until 1948 Jews were a majority of the population in Jerusalem. On December 11, 2017 Amb. Dore Gold wrote in the Jerusalem Center of Public Affairs:

"By the mid-19th century, the British Consulate in Jerusalem made the following determination, according to this report, which I found in the Public Record Office in Kew, it states that Jews were a majority in Jerusalem, when? already in 1863 – that’s long before Theodor Herzl, before the Britt’s arrived, or Lord Balfour.

"See the guy on the right, William Seward, he was Secretary of State of the United States during the American Civil War (1861-65), under President Abraham Lincoln.

"When Seward’s term ended, he visited the holy land, he visited Jerusalem. And he wrote a memoir. And in his memoir, it is written: There is a Jewish majority in Jerusalem."

The Jewish Virtual Library reports “Before the United Nations voted in favor of the Patition Plan on November 29, 1947, the Arab Legion of Jordan attacked Jerusalem."

Their forces blocked Jerusalem’s roads and cut off the city’s access to water.

"After bitter fighting, the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City fell to the vastly superior arms and numbers of the Arab Legion. The surviving Jewish inhabitants, from infants to the elderly, fled to the New City, the four-fifths of the capital that Israel successfully held.

"The Old City, including the Jewish Quarter, officially fell to Jordan on May 27, 1948.

"Nearly twenty years later, during the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel’s army liberated Jerusalem’s Old City, finding the area completely neglected and virtually destroyed.

" … All but one of the thirty five synagogues within the Old City were destroyed; those not completely devastated had been used as hen houses and stables filled with dung-heaps, garbage and carcasses.

"The revered Jewish graveyard on the Mount of Olives was in complete disarray with tens of thousands of tombstones broken into pieces to be used as building materials and large areas of the cemetery leveled to provide a short-cut to a new hotel.

"Hundreds of Torah scrolls and thousands of holy books had been plundered and burned to ashes…”

According to the Palestinian Arabs themselves most "Palestinians" are migrants from other Arab countries. On March 23, 2012 MEMRI reported "Hamas Minister of the Interior and of National Security Fathi Hammad Slams Egypt over Fuel Shortage in Gaza Strip, and Says: "Half of the Palestinians Are Egyptians and the Other Half Are Saudis."

Egyptian historian Bat Ye'or writes in her book, The Dhimmi...

"In the late 1800s/early 1900s there were five million Muslims displaced due to the Austro-Hungarian occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Crimean War, Balkan wars, the Turkish war of independence and World War 1. The Ottoman Empire provided incentives for many of these refugees to settle in the Jewish homeland then under Ottoman rule...."

"...The Muslim rulers not only kept the number of Jews low through discriminatory taxes, they also increased the Muslim population by providing incentives for Muslim colonists to settle in the area. Incentives included free land, 12 years exemption from taxes and exemption from military service."

Bat Ye'or continues:

Demographer Sergio DellaPergola: As the demographic data shows, most Muslims living in Palestine in 1948 when the State of Israel was created had been living there for fewer than 60 years...
"By the early 1800s the Arab population in Palestine was very little... it was in the late 1800s and early 1900s that most Muslim Colonists settled in Palestine because of incentives by the Ottoman Government to resettle displaced Muslim populations because of events such as the Austro-Hungarian Occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Crimean War and World War 1. Those events created a great quantity of Muslim Refugees that were resettled somewhere else in the Ottoman Empire...

In 1878 an Ottoman law granted lands in Palestine to Muslim colonists. Muslim colonists from Crimea and the Balkans settled in Anatolia, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria and Palestine."

Justin McCarthy, a professor of history at the University of Louisville, writing in his Annotated Map, "Forced Migration and Mortality in the Ottoman Empire," also notes that there were about five million Muslims displaced due to the Austro-Hungarian occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Crimean War, Balkan wars, the Turkish war of independence and World War I.

Demographer Sergio DellaPergola, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in his paper "Demography in Israel/Palestine: Trends, Prospects and Policy Implications," provides estimates of the population of Palestine in different periods. As the demographic data below shows, most Muslims living in Palestine in 1948 when the State of Israel was created had been living there for fewer than 60 years:

1890: Arab Population 432,000
1947: Arab Population 1,181,000
Growth in Arab population from 1890 to 1947: 800,000..."

Muslims not only settled the Jewish Homeland during Ottoman times, during British Mandate Palestine there were also waves of Muslim immigrants. Daniel Pipes explains in his book review, quoted extensively below, of Joan Peter's "From Time Immemorial" that "Joan Peters came across a "seemingly casual" discrepancy between the standard definition of a refugee and the definition used for the Palestinian Arabs.

"In other cases, a refugee is someone forced to leave a permanent or habitual home. In this case, however, it is someone who had lived in British Mandate Palestine for just two years before the flight that began in 1948...

"...Miss Peters came across a statement by Winston Churchill that she says opened her eyes to the situation in Palestine.

"In 1939 Churchill challenged the common notion that Jewish immigration into Palestine had uprooted its Arab residents.

"To the contrary, according to him, 'So far from being persecuted, the Arabs have crowded into the country and multiplied till their population has increased more than even all world Jewry could lift up the Jewish population...'

Arabs crowded into Palestine?

As Miss Peters pursued this angle she found a fund of obscure information that confirmed Churchill's observation.

Drawing on census statistics and a great number of contemporary accounts, she pieced together the dimensions of Arab immigration into Palestine before 1948...

What took hundreds of thousands of Arabs to Palestine? Economic opportunity. The Zionists brought the skills and resources of Europe.
"Miss Peters concludes that "the Arab population appears to have increased in direct proportion to the Jewish presence...Although the Jews alone moved to Palestine for ideological reasons, they were not alone in emigrating there. Arabs joined them in large numbers..."

"...Non-Jewish immigrants came from all parts of the Middle East, including Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Transjordan (as Jordan was once known), Saudi Arabia, the Yemens, Egypt, Sudan, and Libya."

"Thanks to British unconcern, Arab immigrants were generally left alone and allowed to settle in Mandatory Palestine."

So many Arabs came, Miss Peters estimates, that "if all those Jews and all those Arabs who arrived in ... Palestine between 1893 and 1948 had remained, and if they were forced to leave now, a dual exodus of at least equal proportion would in all probability take place. Palestine would be depopulated once again."

"...What took hundreds of thousands of Arabs to Palestine?

"Economic opportunity. The Zionists brought the skills and resources of Europe.

Like other Europeans settling scarcely populated areas in recent times—in Australia, Southern Africa, or the American West—the Jews in Palestine initiated economic activities that created jobs and wealth on a level far beyond that of the indigenous peoples. In response, large numbers of Arabs moved toward the settlers to find employment.

"The conventional picture has it that Jewish immigrants bought up Arab properties, forcing the former owners into unemployment.

"Miss Peters argues exactly the contrary, that the Jews created new opportunities, which attracted emigrants from distant places. To the extent that there was unemployment among the Arabs, it was mostly among the recent arrivals.

"This reversal of the usual interpretation implies a wholly different way of seeing the Arab position in Mandatory Palestine...

" As C. S.Jarvis, governor of the Sinai in 1923-36, observed, 'It is very difficult to make a case out for the misery of the Arabs if at the same time their compatriots from adjoining states could not be kept from going in to share that misery.'

"The data unearthed by Joan Peters indicate that Arabs benefited economically so much by the presence of Jewish settlers from Europe that they traveled hundreds of miles to get closer to them.

"In turn, this explains why the definition of a refugee from Palestine in 1948 is a person who lived there for just two years: because many Arab residents in 1948 had barely arrived there. The usual definition would have cut out a substantial portion of the persons who later claimed to be refugees from Palestine."

Facts are facts. And baseless antisemitic accusations are just that, Ms. Tliab.

Daniel Pipes ends his review with a clear summary of the situation: "The 'Palestinian problem' lacks firm grounding. Many of those who now consider themselves Palestinian refugees were either immigrants themselves before 1948 or the children of immigrants. This historical fact reduces their claim to the land of Israel; it also reinforces the point that the real problem in the Middle East has little to do with Palestinian-Arab rights."

Ezequiel Doiny, an engineer and writer, is author of "Obama's assault on Jerusalem's Western Wall."