The State of Israel: A Brief History of Jewish Roots in the Middle East and the Arab-Refugee Crisis

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the former president of Iran has claimed, “Israel has no roots there [Middle East] in history.” BBC News in their article, “Obstacles to Arab-Israeli peace: Palestinian refugees,” essentially casts blame on Israel for causing the Arab-refugee crisis. Gideon Levy, a columnist at Hareetz, in his article, “Ethnic Cleaning of Palestinians, Or, Democratic Israel at Work,” charges the State of Israel as being an ethnic cleanser because after her official establishment, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled from their homes and lands due to fear of the Israeli Defense Force and countless others were “expelled by force.”

Does the State of Israel have any historic roots in the Middle East? Did Israel cause the Arab-refugee crisis? Let’s briefly recount the history of Israel and see if these charges against Israel are warranted.

The late Barry Rubin, who served as director of the Global Research in International Affairs Center at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, Israel wrote,

The existence of the modern state of Israel is the culmination of a long process going back almost 4,000 years to the formation of a distinct Jewish people. Jews established a kingdom east of the Mediterranean Sea about 3,000 years ago, regained independence after the Maccabean revolt against Greek-Syrian control 2,100 years ago, and survived the final destruction of ancient Israel’s autonomy by the Romans 1,900 years ago.

The State of Israel was established in May 14, 1948. This doesn’t mean that there were no Jews living in this land prior to her official establishment. Alan Dershowitz, Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus at Harvard Law School writes, “There has always been a Jewish presence in Israel, particularly in the holy cities of Jerusalem, Hebron, and Safad.” After the destruction of Jerusalem and the Second Temple in 70 C.E by the Romans, Jews were forced into exile, “hundreds of thousands perished,” and many others were sold into slavery. Nevertheless, Jewish presence continued and persisted after the Roman conquest, culminating in the production of the Mishnah and the Jewish Talmud. Rubin says, “As late as 1100 [C.E.], fifty Jewish communities could be found in the Land of Israel, with an especially large one in Jerusalem.”

In the fourteenth century Jews were blamed for the Black Death in Europe, and as a result thousands of Jews were “butchered and burnt.” Countless of other Jews were subsequently expelled from their homes. Under Alexander III, Emperor of Russia, who assumed his position in May 14, 1881, the living conditions for Jewish people were terrible. Many harsh laws were imposed unto the Jewish people and many had their homes destroyed. As a result of Alexander III’s restrictions and policies, Jews abandoned Russia and went to the United States and Palestine. After World War I, by October 1918, Britain began occupying Palestine. Judea, which is now a land that is part of the West Bank, was “renamed Palaestina (in the Latin) by the Romans” in order to de-Judaize it, says Benny Morris, professor of history in the Middle East Studies Department of Ben-Gurion University. Historian Shlomo Ben-Ami writes in his book, “Scars of War, Wounds of Peace: The Israeli-Arab Tragedy,”

A clearly defined national consciousness did not exist among the Palestinian Arabs at the time of the arrival of the first Zionist settlers in Palestine. The local Arab population had of course an urban component, but it mostly consisted of fellahin, peasants who toiled on the land of absentee landlords. Tribal and local loyalties more than a defined national identity with a clear notion of its territorial horizons characterised the Palestinian population that the first Zionist pioneers encountered. Palestine was not even considered a distinct province of the Ottoman Empire. It was part of the provinces of Syria; and indeed the Palestinians regarded themselves as part of Southern Syria.

According to Dershowitz, Palestine was no “political entity in any meaningful sense.” Palestine was divided into many districts called sanjaks, and these districts were part of vilayets, or administrative units. In the area that became Israel in 1948 there had never been a Palestinian state nor was there a Palestinian language, much the less a Palestinian-identity. When Israel became an official state it didn’t become so out of a preexisting Palestinian state. Dershowitz says, “It is thus unclear what it would mean to say that the Palestinians were the people who originally populated the ‘nation’ of Palestine.”

The First Aliyah, or the first initial immigration of European Jewish refugees to Palestine occurred in 1882. Ben-Ami writes, “…rather than thinking of ways to dispossess by force the local population and exploit the new lands, they [Jews] brought in their own capital in order to buy and settle the land.” Dershowitz also writes, “The Jews of the first Ayilah did not displace local residents by conquest or fear as the Americans and Australians did. They lawfully and openly bought land…from absentee landlords.” John Quigley, President’s Club Professor Emeritus of Law at Ohio State University in his book, “The Case for Palestine: An International Law Perspective,” doesn’t dispute this truth. Quigley writes, “…Zionist immigrants set up agricultural settlements on purchased lands.” Anyone who claims that Jews unlawfully and inhumanely displaced the Arabs living in what became the State of Israel is making an unwarranted claim.

It is true that after the official establishment of the State of Israel there resulted the first Arab refugee crisis, but this isn’t because Israel intended this to happen, as many critics of Israel make it seem. After Britain’s failed attempts of figuring out a plausible solution that would bring harmony between the Arab and Jewish communities in Palestine, they asked the “United Nation secretary-general to convene a special session of the General Assembly,” says Morris. This special assembly then became known as the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine, whose purpose was to provide a solution to the Palestine problem. A few months later, after having spent time in Arab and Jewish villages, and schools, on November 29th, 1947 the United Nations passed a resolution, which proposed the partition of Palestine into an Arab state and a Jewish state. This plan was accepted by Jews but rejected by every Arab state including Palestinians. Dershowitz writes, “As soon as Israel declared its independence, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon attacked it, with help from Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Libya.” Arab armies intentionally targeted civilians even after many had “surrendered.” As the Arab armies attacked Israel with the intention of complete extermination, Israel allowed “Arab civilians to flee to Arab-controlled areas,” while Arabs “proceeded to mow down” surrendered Jews. Because Israel did not intentionally target civilians, whereas the Arab armies did, the “Arab-refugee problem” arose.

The allegation that Israel has no roots in the Middle East is groundless because for three millennia plus, there has always been a Jewish presence in what is now the State of Israel.

The allegation that Israel is an ethnic cleanser because she is responsible for creating the Arab-refugee crisis is also unwarranted and not grounded in history – it is not grounded in reality but is instead a fabrication. Israel allowed Arab civilians to flee as Arab states moved in to attack Israel right after declaring independence. Arabs themselves created the Arab-refugee problem and aren’t willing to admit it. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is complex therefore I challenge the critics of Israel to actually invest some time exploring this issue by reading the best academic sources.



Planned Parenthood and the Sanctity of Life: How is Our Culture Responding?

The Center for Medical Progress (CMP), a “group of citizen journalists dedicated to monitoring and reporting on medical ethics and advances,” has recently released a series of videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s dirty little secret — by dirty, I mean depraved, inhumane, and immoral because they are literally “dismembering murdered children for profit” as an author from The Blaze put it.

Video #1 – Planned Parenthood Uses Partial-Birth Abortions to Sell Baby Parts

The first video released by the CMP is titled, “Planned Parenthood Uses Partial-Birth Abortions to Sell Baby Parts” In this first video, as The Federalist reports,

Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood’s senior director for medical services, is caught on video bragging about how she aborts babies in such a way that their body parts and organs can later be sold for profit.

“We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part,” Nucatola tells actors posing as organ traffickers. “I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.”

Video #2 – Second Planned Parenthood Senior Executive Haggles Over Baby Parts Prices, Changes Abortion Methods

The second video released by the CMP is titled, “Second Planned Parenthood Senior Executive Haggles Over Baby Parts Prices, Changes Abortion Methods” In this second video, CMP says,

A second undercover video shows Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Medical Directors’ Council President, Dr. Mary Gatter, haggling over payments for intact fetal specimens and offering to use a “less crunchy technique” to get more intact body parts.

Video #3 – Human Capital – Episode 1: Planned Parenthood’s Black Market in Baby Parts

The third video released by CMP is titled, “Human Capital – Episode 1: Planned Parenthood’s Black Market in Baby Parts.” This third video as CMP writes,

Episode 1 also shows undercover video featuring the Vice President and Medical Director of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) in Denver, CO, Dr. Savita Ginde. PPRM is one of the largest and wealthiest Planned Parenthood affiliates and operates clinics in Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Nevada. Standing in the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic pathology laboratory, where fetuses are brought after abortions, Ginde concludes that payment per organ removed from a fetus will be the most beneficial to Planned Parenthood: “I think a per-item thing works a little better, just because we can see how much we can get out of it.”

Video #4 – Planned Parenthood VP Says Fetuses May Come Out Intact, Agrees Payments Specific to the Specimen

The fourth video, which is CMP’s most recently released video is titled, “Planned Parenthood VP Says Fetuses May Come Out Intact, Agrees Payments Specific to the Specimen,” and as CMP writes,

In the video, actors posing as representatives from a human biologics company meet with Ginde at the abortion-clinic headquarters of PPRM in Denver to discuss a potential partnership to harvest fetal organs. When the actors request intact fetal specimens, Ginde reveals that in PPRM’s abortion practice, “Sometimes, if we get, if someone delivers before we get to see them for a procedure, then we are intact.

This last video is also, I think, the most graphic video because not only can you see an assistant crush an aborted baby’s skull, but you can also see the assistant go through the remaining body parts, such as legs, arms, brain, and eyes. Towards the end of the video, the assistant who is going through the aborted baby’s remains, exclaims, “Another boy!”

On Human Dignity

What has happened to our culture? Why are we becoming deaf to facts and choose to think with our feelings and emotions, rather than engage ideas and views with our minds? Why can’t we value human life in its earliest stages of development? What, indeed has happened to humanity? Human beings, at any developmental stage of life, possess intrinsic worth and value by virtue of who they are as human beings, dignity is not ascribed to humans based on any performative activity. Christopher Kaczor writes in his book, A Defense of Dignity: Creating Life, Destroying Life, and Protecting the Rights of Conscience, “Because all human beings are endowed with the same nature as members of the same kind–Homo Sapiens–they all share equally basic rights and dignity.”

The Psychology Behind Defending Planned Parenthood

A Planned Parenthood official has further added, “Anti-abortion extremists are willing to do anything to stop women from accessing the reproductive health care they are seeking.” The typical argument in defense of Planned Parenthood is thus, the supposed fact that they provide health care to women, especially those from low-income households, which explains why most Planned Parenthood clinics are in minority communities. I used to volunteer at a pregnancy clinic where women would receive free healthcare services. Moreover, presidential nominee, Dr. Ben Carson, responded to this argument too: “I thought that they were supposed to be able to get all those things [healthcare services] based on Obamacare. Why do we need Planned Parenthood?”

A YouTube video called, “Planned Parenthood is Not Selling Baby Parts, You F***** Idiots,” clearly ignores all the content in the videos that have been released by CMP. This video does not at all engage with anything that has been exposed by CMP. Moreover, this video seems to assume that women cannot get or receive free healthcare services anywhere else apart from Planned Parenthood clinics, which is obviously not true. How can someone claim that Planned Parenthood is not selling baby parts when the Vice President and Medical Director of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) in Denver, CO, Dr. Savita Ginde, not only negotiates fetal parts, but also suggests ways to avoid prosecution? (See CMP’s fourth released video).

President Obama’s top healthcare official, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell defended federal funding for Planned Parenthood in light of the released videos by CMP.  Burwell argued,

What I think is important is that our HHS funding is focused on issues of preventative care for women, things like mammograms and cancer prevention screenings.

Also, the White House spokesman Josh Earnest called the videos released by CMP “fraudulent,” even though he has not watched the videos. The White House relies on the claim that the videos released by CMP are highly edited therefore fraudulent. However, CMP has indeed released the full versions of the videos.

How is it that some people can clearly see the evidence and still hold that Planned Parenthood is not selling baby parts? Cognitive dissonance.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines cognitive dissonance as:

An uncomfortable feeling that comes from believing or thinking two different things that cannot both be right. This feeling might be caused, for example, when someone wants to or has to do something that they believe to be wrong.

It seems that some die hard pro-choicers are in a state of conflict within themselves, so the easiest thing to do is ignore the evidence at hand. Defending a non-profit organization whose doctors and officials admit to be in the business of “dismembering murdered children for profit” is morally unjustifiable; it is barbaric; it is repugnant; it is pure savagery; it is evil.

Being Pro-Life

Being pro-life does not mean that we are “waging war” on women. It also does not mean that we want to deprive women of their rights. Being pro-life is about valuing and respecting life from the moment of conception and onward. Being pro-life means speaking up for those who can’t speak for themselves, yet. Being pro-life is recognizing that human life matters and our public policies should protect that truth.