Asheville Citizen Times Publishes Anti-Israel Letter

The Hasbara Project, brought to you by Michael Hess, the editor of BBSNews.

War Industry in Britain during the First World War The Minister of Munitions Winston Churchill meets female workers at Georgetown's filling works near Glasgow during a visit on 9 October 1918.

War Industry in Britain during the First World War The Minister of Munitions Winston Churchill meets female workers at Georgetown’s filling works near Glasgow during a visit on 9 October 1918.

In the Citizen Times from Asheville, North Carolina, the editors let-by an anti-Israel letter by a person calling herself “Nancy Silver” in a letter-to-the-editor containing egregious errors, which in effect calls into question Israel’s legitimacy.

While purporting to be a defense of Israel, she somehow does not know where Israel came from, or how it came to be in Palestine, and whereupon came its legitimacy. Her clearly false suppositions implies that she is not really an interested observer, the well-worn extremist Hasbara technique is in evidence here.

The ‘Times has done a disservice to its readers in letting this one get by, because as much as it sounds like a defense of Israel, in reality writing like this has a specific meaning, and that is to undermine the legal basis for the internationally recognized borders of the state of Israel.

She wrote the following unsupported nonsense:

“Another letter in need of a history lesson (Nov. 9) refers to ‘colonial occupation of historically Palestinian lands.’ There has never been a country called Palestine. Roman conquerors renamed the Jewish kingdom of Judea in 70 CE, using the Roman word for Philistines, Israel’s ancient enemy. Except for Iran, none of the Middle East countries existed until the 20th century. The Palestinian Mandate was the last, larger area controlled by Great Britain after WWI. In the 1940s it was divided into two countries, Israel for the Jewish population and Jordan for the Arab population. What is now Israel was barren and sparsely populated until an increase in Jews in the 1920s irrigated the desert, making it bloom. It was only then that there was an influx of Arabs, mostly from Egypt and Jordan.

The Arab populations did not even call themselves Palestinian until 1967. Not only was Jordan meant as the Arab (Palestinian) country, they received a far larger land portion than Israel, yet the world seems to begrudge even that.”

Let’s take these Hasbara 101 falsehoods in turn shall we?

Leaving aside the bedrock international legal principle that ‘territory acquired by war is inadmissible’ – when is territory up for grabs? Was there really some sort of free-for-all as Ms. Silver implies that no one showed up until Jews “made the desert bloom?” What about 1967? We know that Israel was the aggressor here, so does Ms. Silver and the Citizen Times mean to imply that Israel has the right to conquer territory and take it for it’s own? The UN Charter has something to say about that and its verboten.

Israel was created in Palestine. It is a mystery why so many anti-Semites would claim otherwise, particularly during the month of November, the anniversary month of the Balfour Declaration, this year is the 98th anniversary of Balfour from 1917.

The Balfour Declaration of 1917 is widely known as the birth certificate for a Jewish national home, it was the first time that serious thought had been given to actually realizing this long held dream of Jews everywhere, and Ms. Silver here apparently would like to write it out of history. In this excerpt from the Balfour Declaration, it is quite clear that there was indeed a Palestine, after all, that was where Israel was created and the world knew it as such in 1917. It did not just spring up out of nothing, no, Israel was created in a land called Palestine and wonder of wonders, there were Palestinians there. Arthur James Balfour on November 2nd, 1917:

“His Majesty’s Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine…”

Ms. Silver goes on to claim that the Romans renamed the “Jewish kingdom of Judea in 70 CE” perhaps, but it was no longer so. 70 AD was the time of the fall of the Second Temple, there was no longer a “kingdom of Judea.” That’s the way things went a couple of thousand years ago. She also adds insult to injury and claims that “none of the Middle East countries existed until the 20th century” without acknowledging that Palestine most certainly existed since 70 AD since she brought it up, and the state of Israel did not exist until May 14th, 1948 so where is the relevance?

Ms. Silver intimates that the land was “barren” which is propaganda lifted from Joan Peters’ Time Immemorial that has long been debunked as anti-historical extremist Hasbara propaganda. It’s bunk. This theory that Ms. Silver has latched onto is like the rest of her comment at the Citizen Times, completely non-factual propaganda.

Perhaps she missed the most basic of logic classes in high school. The land could have been sitting there barren with hardly a person on it and that still would not give Israel any right to it whatsoever, that did not happen until UN General Assembly resolution 181 gave Israel a legal basis for sovereignty over part of Palestine and they formally accepted that. That is what President Truman recognized as the new state of Israel.

Which brings us to the next egregious factual error that Ms. Silver makes in her propaganda screed, and that is that there was no such thing as Palestinians prior to 1967. Leaving aside that this is such an obvious logical fallacy that it should not need pointing out, that Palestine had been there since 70 AD as Ms. Silver admits, but we are to believe that there were no Palestinians there. Let’s take a look at a piece of hard evidence from the last century and see if we can get to the bottom of Silver’s erroneous claim.

Five years after Arthur James Balfour penned the famous declaration in 1917 that set Palestinians teeth on edge (You know, those non-existent Palestinians that Silver opines about), Winston Churchill set Zionists teeth on edge when he clarified the position of Great Britain in the British White Paper of 1922.

This document from 93 years ago, likely before Ms. Silver was born, directly addresses those just like her who believe that there was no Palestine or that it was all just magically bestowed upon the nascent state of Israel. In answer Churchill writes:

“Unauthorized statements have been made to the effect that the purpose in view is to create a wholly Jewish Palestine. Phrases have been used such as that Palestine is to become “as Jewish as England is English.” His Majesty’s Government regard any such expectation as impracticable and have no such aim in view. Nor have they at any time contemplated, as appears to be feared by the Arab delegation, the disappearance or the subordination of the Arabic population, language, or culture in Palestine. They would draw attention to the fact that the terms of the Declaration referred to do not contemplate that Palestine as a whole should be converted into a Jewish National Home, but that such a Home should be founded `in Palestine.’ In this connection it has been observed with satisfaction that at a meeting of the Zionist Congress, the supreme governing body of the Zionist Organization, held at Carlsbad in September, 1921, a resolution was passed expressing as the official statement of Zionist aims ‘the determination of the Jewish people to live with the Arab people on terms of unity and mutual respect, and together with them to make the common home into a flourishing community, the upbuilding of which may assure to each of its peoples an undisturbed national development.'”

These two documents are very famous documents in the history of Israel and how the state was come to be created in part of Palestine. These nonsensical arguments that Palestine was just some “barren” place devoid of indigenous people should be put to rest by this document. It hardly seems necessary for Winston Churchill to address Palestinians if they weren’t around.

Which brings us to the claim by Ms. Silver about Palestinians only just springing into being in 1967. Again this is a logical fallacy as it does not follow that, in a place named Palestine, that there just might not be something called Palestinians; but we also have evidence from the very same document.

Churchill addressed how inhabitants, the citizens of Palestine should be known when he wrote:

“Further, it is contemplated that the status of all citizens of Palestine in the eyes of the law shall be Palestinian, and it has never been intended that they, or any section of them, should possess any other juridical status. So far as the Jewish population of Palestine are concerned it appears that some among them are apprehensive that His Majesty’s Government may depart from the policy embodied in the Declaration of 1917. It is necessary, therefore, once more to affirm that these fears are unfounded, and that that Declaration, re affirmed by the Conference of the Principle Allied Powers at San Remo and again in the Treaty of Sevres, is not susceptible of change.”

This was 1922 in a very famous document referring to other famous documents in the history of Palestine and Israel. San Remo for instance incorporated the Balfour Declaration verbatim. These documents refer to the legal sovereign claim that Israel has now, after all these eventually led to UNGA 181 in 1947.

The editors of the Citizen Times should have caught this, and there’s a reason that the international community including the US Government refers to Palestine on a daily basis and that’s because it’s recognized by 138 nations and the Vatican with a state of Palestine a long-standing US foreign policy goal.

By giving space to crackpots to post well-known antisemitic as well as Islamophobic historical revisionism you have done a disservice to your readers. By giving into historical revisionism with respect to Israel that departs from the official documentation on the legal sovereignty of the state, this directly detracts from Israel’s legitimacy.

It also leads the reader to believe that it is the editorial position of the Citizen Times that Palestinians are a non-people, which desensitizes readers to the thoroughly documented, very real and substantial crimes being committed against Palestinians by both the state of Israel and it’s illegal colonial squatters it has sent outside the state into Palestine.

The Citizen Times in Asheville, North Carolina should distance itself from this letter to the editor because as shown here, it has no basis in fact.

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Editor’s Note to Hasbara trolls. You have had your run all over the Internet with your antisemitic views and lies, but you will not enjoy a free ride here at BBSNews. It’s my view that you have already damaged the Jewish state most likely beyond redemption on the Internet. You get one chance, and one chance only to address the material. If you cannot be an adult, and discuss verifiable, very basic facts as opposed to Hasbara propaganda, you will be banished. The Hasbara Project is news intended for an adult audience for adults that are literate enough to talk about the inevitable future of Israel and Palestine, and reality-based solutions firmly grounded in the rule of law and UN resolutions. Here at BBSNews, you will not be allowed to disrupt a comment thread with tired lies that have been debunked for decades if not a century or more. You Have Been Warned.

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Michael Hess

Michael Hess

I started writing and editing BBSNews in 1990. Before the 'web, back in the Bulletin Board System (BBS) days. My pursuit of factual and reality based information informs my worldview. The ever evolving BBSNews contains New Mexico news, national and international news, politics, space, foreign policy and in particular; news and facts about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. See our About Us page for more details.