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The Lie about Israel Threatens the Free World

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The Lie about Israel Threatens the Free World

Philip Vander Elst

Philip Vander Elst is a freelance writer and lecturer who lives in England. He writes about England, Britain, and Europe. He is a C. S. Lewis scholar, and a former editor of Freedom Today. He can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

A century ago, Lenin described fellow-travelling Western leftists as “useful idiots” incapable of discerning the aggressive and totalitarian nature of Soviet Communism. Their equivalents today are the “peace campaigners,” Greens, and other leftist activists who have been willing to rub shoulders with Hamas supporters in all those massive pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Britain rightly dubbed “hate marches” by former Home Secretary Suella Braverman.

That Hamas is (and always has been) an evil, bloodthirsty, Jew-hating terrorist organisation dedicated to the political destruction of Israel and the physical extermination of its inhabitants should, by now, be apparent to any even half-sentient human being. What is less widely understood, indeed wilfully ignored by most Western politicians and pundits, is the fundamental cause of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict: Not a bitter quarrel about the division of the land, but the refusal of most of the Arab/Islamic world to accept the very idea of Jewish Statehood — a refusal rooted in Muslim religious anti-Semitism.

The failure of most of the mainstream liberal media to convey this central fact is both extraordinary and shameful, for the evidence for its truthfulness is abundant and overwhelming, and has been so for nearly three-quarters of a century. And that evidence includes revealing personal testimonies from formerly hostile Arab supporters of Israel.

Revealing Testimonies from Formerly Hostile Arabs

To quote one of these, Lebanese-born author and journalist Brigitte Gabriel, addressing an audience at Duke University (USA) in 2004:

“I’m proud and honoured to stand here today as a Lebanese speaking for Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East. As someone who was raised in an Arabic country, I want to give you a glimpse into the heart of the Arab world.

“I was raised in Lebanon, where I was taught that the Jews are evil, Israel is the devil, and the only time we will have peace in the Middle East is when we kill all the Jews and drive them into the sea. When the Muslims and Palestinians declared jihad on the Christians in 1975, they started massacring the Christians in city after city. I ended up living in a bomb shelter underground from age 10 to 17, without electricity, eating grass to live, and crawling under sniper bullets to a spring to get water.

“It was Israel who came to help the Christians in Lebanon. My mother was wounded by a Muslim shell and was taken into an Israeli hospital for treatment. When we entered the emergency room, I was shocked by what I saw. There were hundreds of people wounded, Muslims, Palestinians, Lebanese Christians, and Israeli soldiers lying on the floor. The doctors treated everyone according to their injury. . . . They didn’t see religion, they didn’t see political affiliation, they saw people in need and they helped.

“For the first time in my life, I experienced a human quality that I know my culture would not have shown to their enemy. . . . I spent 22 days at that hospital; those days changed my life. . . . I realised that I was sold a fabricated lie by my government about the Jews and Israel, which was so far from reality. I knew for a fact that if I were a Jew standing in an Arab hospital, I would be lynched and thrown to the ground as shouts of joy of ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is great) echoed through the hospital and the surrounding streets.”

The testimony of Nonie Darwish, Egyptian-born writer and human rights activist, whose father was head of the Egyptian Army Intelligence in Gaza between 1951 and 1956 when Egypt ruled the Gaza Strip, is equally compelling. Brought up from infancy to hate Jews and Israel, she eventually abandoned her anti-Semitic views, emigrated to America, and became the founding president of Arabs for Israel.

In a 2009 interview explaining this change of perspective, Nonie Darwish described her early education in Gaza:

“I was taught hate. . . . For instance, we used to play songs: ‘Arabs are our friends, Jews are our dogs. . . . We heard incredible stories such as ‘Jews baked cookies with blood of Arab children.’ We were told: ‘Don’t take candy from a stranger. He could be a Jew trying to poison you.’”

Only after a series of positive personal encounters with individual Jews did Nonie Darwish begin to question what she had been taught: “I then read books about Jews and their history. I realised everything that Arab kids were taught about Jews were lies.” After describing the illiberal and intolerant nature of Sharia law and Arab Muslim culture, she concluded, in response to a question about it from her interviewer, that the Arab/Israeli conflict “is a religious holy war against a non-Muslim country. It is the Muslim world against Israel.”

Islamic Mainstream Relentlessly Hostile to Jews

It is true, of course, that Egypt and Jordan recognise the existence of Israel, and there are (and have been) brave Muslim writers, scholars, and activists wedded to a more liberal interpretation of Islam and critical of anti-Semitism, but theirs has been a small minority voice. The Islamic mainstream has usually been relentlessly hostile to Jewish identity, culture, and aspirations.

The Koran, for instance, describes Jews as unbelievers who spread evil (Sura [meaning “chapter”] 5:64) and are enemies of Allah, His Prophet [Mohammed], and the angels (Sura 2:97-8). As a result, there has, with some notable exceptions, been a long tradition of Arab hostility to Judaism, often expressed in language reminiscent of past Christian anti-Semitism. Here below are three typical examples of this.

On 23 November 1937, King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia told British Colonel H. R. P. Dickson:

“Our hatred for the Jews dates from God’s condemnation of them for their persecution and rejection of Isa [Jesus] and their subsequent rejection of His chosen Prophet [Mohammed]. . . . For a Muslim to kill a Jew, or for him to be killed by a Jew, ensures him an immediate entry into Heaven and into the august presence of God Almighty.”

After the Six-Day War in 1967, the Israelis found that school textbooks used to educate Arab children in the West Bank were full of racist and negative portrayals of Jews. For instance:

“The Jews are scattered to the ends of the earth, where they live exiled and despised, since by their nature they are vile, greedy, and enemies of mankind. . . .” (The Religious Ordinances Reader, Syrian Ministry of Education, 1963-4, p. 138).

On October 13, 2000, the day after the barbaric lynching of two Israeli soldiers whose murder was caught on camera by the world’s media, Ahmad Abu Halabiya, former Acting Rector of the Islamic University in Gaza, declared in a televised sermon on the official Palestinian Authority TV Channel:

“Have no mercy on the Jews, no matter where they are, in any country. Fight them, wherever you are. Wherever you meet them, kill them. Wherever you are, kill those Jews and those Americans who are like them and those who stand by them.”

Zionism Was Never a Threat to Legitimate Arab Aspirations

Religious hatred, not legitimate grievance, is the principal driver of Palestinian and Muslim hostility toward Israel, for Zionism was never a threat to the legitimate political aspirations of Arab nationalism, as Prince Feisal, the original and famous leader of the Arab nationalist movement, explicitly acknowledged nearly a century ago. As he put it in a letter dated 3 March 1919 to Felix Frankfurter, a leading member of the American Zionist delegation to the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, he saw no conflict between the Zionist goal of re-establishing a Jewish homeland in Palestine and Arab aspirations towards self-government in the Middle East: “We Arabs” he wrote:

“Especially the educated among us, look with the deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement. . . . We will wish the Jews a hearty welcome home. . . . We are working together for a reformed and revived Near East, and our two movements complete one another. The Jewish movement is nationalist and not imperialist. And there is room in Syria [which then included Lebanon and Palestine under the Ottomans] for us both.”

And “room enough” there was, for in 1922, in fulfilment of Britain’s wartime promises to the Arabs, Churchill, as Colonial Secretary, made Feisal (who had been expelled from Syria by the French), King of Iraq, and created another Arab State, Transjordan [now Jordan], to be ruled over by Feisal’s brother, Abdullah.

Because the creation of the Arab State of Transjordan swallowed up three quarters of the territory originally set aside by the 1922 League of Nations Palestine Mandate for “reconstituting” a “Jewish National Home,” the Zionists had every right — in terms of both morality and international law — to set up a Jewish State within the remaining 25 percent of the land of Palestine.

Thus, the oft-repeated claim that Jewish Statehood necessarily involved the sacrifice of Palestinian Arab self-determination is an outright falsehood. So, too, is the claim that the return of the Jews to their ancestral home displaced the local Arab population and infringed their human rights.

To begin with, a Jewish remnant always remained in Palestine between the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD and the rebirth of Israel in 1948, maintaining an unbroken link with the land stretching back 3,700 years. Secondly, the whole area of what had once been ancient Israel was never an independent Palestinian Arab state, but became a neglected and under-populated provincial backwater ruled by a succession of foreign imperial conquerors, and with an ethnically mixed population. Though Arabs formed the majority of that population in the 19th century, they were very few in numbers and many were relatively recent immigrants. Thirdly, the Zionist resettlement of Palestine was a peaceful, non-coercive process. Analyses of land purchases from 1880 to 1948 show that 73 percent of Jewish plots were purchased from rich Arab landowners, not poor Arab peasants. The few Arab tenant farmers displaced by the sale of their land to Jews were given a year’s notice and fully compensated in cash or other land. Far from dispossessing the local Arabs, Jewish immigration and development brought a rapid increase in the Arab population as the Jews created jobs, drained malarial swamps, and brought improved sanitation and health care to the region.

According to official statistics, the Arab population of Palestine more than doubled between 1922 and 1947, with Arab migrants flooding into Palestine from the neighbouring Arab states in order to take advantage of the higher standard of living the Jews had made possible, a fact acknowledged in the Peel [Royal] Commission Report of 1937.

Pro-Hitler Grand Mufti’s Arab Terror Gangs Began Conflict

The fuse of the now century-old Israeli/Palestinian conflict was first lit in the 1920s by the pro-Hitler, Jew-hating Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, whose Arab terror gangs launched unprovoked attacks on peaceful Jewish settlements and organised the systematic destruction of Arab moderates, 1,000 of whom were brutally murdered during the 1930s. This deliberate reawakening of traditional Arab and Muslim anti-Semitism under extremist leadership aborted the original vision of peaceful coexistence between Jew and Arab enunciated by Prince Feisal in 1919, with the self-destructive consequences we’ve seen ever since.

By refusing to be satisfied with the creation of Transjordan, or to accept the principle of Partition for the remaining Palestine Mandate territory, the principle finally enshrined in the UN Partition Plan of 1947 that created Israel, the Arab world effectively rejected not one, but two attempts at that “two-state solution” constantly demanded by Israel’s naïve Western critics. Instead of compromise, it attempted genocide.

To quote the words of then-Secretary-General of the Arab League Azzam Pasha, describing the war aims of the five Arab States whose armies invaded Israel the day after its birth on 14 May 1948:

“This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades.”

And in the process of trying to achieve this terrible objective, they created the Palestinian refugee problem by telling the Arab population within Israel to leave their homes temporarily so as not to get in the way of the invaders.

The Israeli authorities, by contrast, did their utmost to persuade their Arab neighbours to remain in Israel as full and equal citizens of the new Jewish State. Israel’s Proclamation of Independence of 14 May 1948 declared:

“In the midst of wanton [Arab] aggression, we yet call upon the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to return to the ways of peace and to play their part in the development of the state, with full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its bodies and institutions. . . .”

To quote, in addition, an official report by A. J. Bridmead, British chief of police in Haifa, dated 26 April 1948: “Every effort is being made by the Jews to persuade the Arab populace to stay and carry on with their normal lives. . . . ”

Arab Testimony about Origin of Palestinian Refugee Problem

Testimony from Arab sources also confirms this truth about the real origins of the Palestinian refugee problem. In February 1962, for example, Salim Joubran, an Israeli Arab citizen, told an American audience:

“The Arab High Command asked us to leave the country for two weeks to make the battle easier for them. They told us: ‘A cannon cannot differentiate between a Jew and an Arab. Leave the country for two weeks and you will come back victorious.’ . . . I heard the Haganah [Israel’s citizen army] microphone asking the Arabs to remain and live peacefully with their Jewish brethren. The late Jewish Mayor of Haifa also asked us to go back to our homes. The Histadrut [Israel Federation of Labour], our trade union, was distributing leaflets asking the Arabs to come back. I still have that leaflet.”

As Haled al Azm, Syria’s Prime Minister in 1948-9 admitted in his 1973 memoirs:

“Since 1948 it is we who demanded the return of the refugees . . . while it is we who made them leave. . . . We have rendered them dispossessed. . . . We have accustomed them to begging. . . . We have participated in lowering their moral and social level. . . . Then we exploited them in executing crimes of murder, arson, and throwing bombs upon men, women and children — all this in the service of political purposes.”

Not only were the Arab states responsible for creating the Palestinian refugee problem in 1948; they also dispossessed and expelled over 800,000 Jews from their own countries during the 1950s. But whereas Israel, with only a fraction of Arab land and wealth, had absorbed all her refugees by 1960, “the Arab states,” to quote British historian, Paul Johnson:

“. . . preferred to keep the refugees in the camps, where they and their descendants remained, as human title deeds to a Palestinian reconquest, and the justification for further wars in 1956, 1967 and 1973.”

The endlessly repeated charge that Israel is a discriminatory “apartheid state” which systematically oppresses its Arab minority is another outright falsehood. Freedom House, the independent human rights organisation founded by Eleanor Roosevelt and others in 1941, regularly classifies Israel as the only genuinely free country in the Middle East. Its annual global surveys of human rights have classified Hamas-controlled Gaza and the Palestinian Authority-controlled West Bank as “Not Free” and characterised by official corruption, the repression of dissidents, torture, and systematic discrimination against women and religious minorities.

In Israel, by contrast, in addition to enjoying all the freedoms of a liberal democracy, “there are Arab legislators in the Knesset [Israel’s parliament], Arab diplomats in the Foreign Ministry, Arab generals in the Israel Defence Forces, and also Arab judges. In fact, it was an Arab District Court judge (George Karra) who recently sentenced former Israeli President Moshe Katzav to jail, and an Arab Supreme Court Justice (Salim Joubran) who upheld the sentence.” (“Deconstructing ‘Israeli Apartheid’,” a CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) study by Alex Safian, Ph.D., 1 March 2012).

Left-wing critics of Israel should also check their facts by reading The Case for Israel by Alan Dershowitz (USA: Wiley, 2003) — a detailed and well documented refutation of 32 separate accusations commonly levelled against the Jewish State, written by a liberal Harvard Law Professor who is one of America’s most distinguished defenders of civil liberties.

To quote one particularly relevant and revealing passage from his book:

“Israel is a tiny nation, with few natural resources and little natural wealth, that has had to devote an enormous percentage of its gross national product to defending itself against external and internal enemies. Yet it has not only created a good life for its Jewish citizens, it has helped its Arab citizens live better lives — as measured by income, health, longevity, and other accepted criteria — than the Arabs of any neighbouring countries. It should not be surprising that a poll of the Arab-Israeli paper, Kul Al-Arab, in 2000 showed a striking 83 percent opposed to including their city in a Palestinian state. The reason given by a majority of those opposed was that they wanted to remain under democratic rule and they enjoyed a good quality of life.”

Israel, like other liberal democracies, is far from perfect, but the almost universal opprobrium in which she is now held by so-called “liberals” and “progressives” in the West, is both astonishing and reprehensible against the background of an Arab and Muslim world almost universally hostile to human rights and genuine liberal values — a fact repeatedly confirmed by Freedom House’s annual Freedom in the World Surveys, as well as by the testimonies of brave Muslim and former Muslim writers and intellectuals.

Extent of Violence and Tyranny in the Arab and Muslim World

To emphasise the enormity of this double standard, look at the extent of violence and tyranny within the Arab and Muslim world. According to one scholarly study, The Dagger of Islam (Sphere Books, 1981), by John Laffin, 25 heads of state and prime ministers, and 20 former prime ministers and senior ministers of Islamic countries were assassinated between 1948 and 1979. In the same thirty-year period, there were 22 inter-Muslim wars and civil wars.

A more recent 2007 study by Daniel Pipes and Professor Gunnar Heinsohn of the University of Bremen (where he heads the Raphael-Lemkin Institute for Comparative Genocide Research), estimates that:

“. . . some 11,000,000 Muslims have been violently killed since 1948, of which 35,000, or 0.3 percent, died during the 60 years of fighting Israel, or just 1 out of every 315 Muslim fatalities. In contrast, over 90 percent of the 11 million who perished were killed by fellow Muslims.”

Not surprisingly when you consider these facts, in March 2007 a brave group of liberal Muslim writers and intellectuals came together at a “Secular Muslim Summit” in St. Petersburg, Florida, USA, and issued a freedom manifesto, The St. Petersburg Declaration, which declared, amongst other things:

“We are secular Muslims, and secular persons of Muslim societies. We are believers, doubters, and unbelievers, brought together by a great struggle, not between the West and Islam, but between the free and the un-free. . . . We find traditions of liberty, rationality, and tolerance in the rich histories of pre-Islamic and Islamic societies. These values do not belong to the West or the East; they are the common moral heritage of humankind. We see no colonialism, racism, or so-called “Islamaphobia” in submitting Islamic practices to criticism or condemnation when they violate human reason or rights. . . . We demand the release of Islam from its captivity to the totalitarian ambitions of power-hungry men and the rigid strictures of orthodoxy. . . .”

War Against Israel Part of Global Threat to All Free Societies

It should therefore be clear to all but the wilfully blind that the murderous vendetta against Israel, and the lies which excuse and sustain it, threaten us all, not just Jews, because it is part of a wider Islamist war against political and religious freedom — a global war spearheaded by Iran and conducted by a plethora of terrorist movements in nearly every continent. According to the calculations of the ironically named Religion of Peace website, based on official statistics and other publicly available evidence, there have been over 44,297 terrorist attacks carried out by Islamic extremists throughout the world since the 9/11 assault on the USA.

Moreover, the fact that 9/11 occasioned street celebrations by Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, and that America is regarded as “the Great Satan” by the Iranian regime and millions of Muslim fanatics throughout the world, further underlines the Islamist threat to all free societies. To quote Hamas Commander Mahmoud al-Zahar, speaking in December 2022: “Israel is only the first target. The entire planet will be under our law.”     *

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Philip Vander Elst

Philip Vander Elst is a freelance writer, lecturer, and C. S. Lewis scholar, and a former editor of Freedom Today. He can be contacted at

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