Gerald A. Honigman
A Lesson from
Kosovars & Palestinians for Atlasians
November 19, 2008
With a new President with a long
list of anti-Israel friends and supporters about to take office, a few
key issues need to be placed into their proper perspectives...
Now tell me, what would you do in the age of nationalism--which came
relatively late to the Middle East--if your national group already had
almost two dozen states on over six million square miles of territory
(conquered mostly from other national groups), wanted to create
at least one more, but another people’s sole, tiny, resurrected nation
state stood in the way?
Well, please take a look--like many of us have over the decades--at the
answer through the oft-quoted words of a spokesman for that above
national group itself, PLO executive committee member Zuheir Mohsen, on
March 31, 1977, in the Dutch newspaper Trouw.
The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian
state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of
Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference
between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese... Only for
political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of
a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit
the existence of a distinct 'Palestinian people' to oppose Zionism...
Before having to deal with the politics and sensitivities of at least
some in the West, Arabs simply gave no thought to Mohsen’s tactics.
As I deliberately like to reemphasize time and again (for those who like
to place Israel under the high power lens of moral scrutiny while
playing deaf, dumb, and blind to what surrounds it), millions of native
peoples were simply conquered and forcibly Arabized in the name of the
Arab Nation and the spread of its Dar ul-Islam--imperialism and
colonialism, pure and simple--and millions of native Egyptian Copts,
black Africans, Kurds, Imazighen (Berbers), Jews, and others are still
suffering the consequences of this murderous subjugation.
In a post-Holocaust age, however, in the struggle to win over hearts and
minds from abroad, how could Arabs demand twenty-two states while
denying Jews their one?
The answer--as Mohsen so correctly stated above: Reinvent yourselves.
From now on, you’re "Palestinians.” And then depend on the ignorance of
most of the rest of the world to back your claim, "If Jews can have a
state, why not Palestinians?” And, don’t you know, "Palestinians” are
the new formerly stateless Jews.
Forget the facts…
Like most Arabs never saw the land of the Jews--Judaea--until
their own murderous imperial conquests brought them out of the Arabian
Peninsula in the 7th century C.E. when they spread out in all
Or that the very name "Palestine” was dubbed upon Judaea by the Roman
Emperor Hadrian after the Jews’ costly second revolt for freedom.
To pour salt onto their wound, he renamed the Jews’ land after their
historic enemies, the Philistines--a non-Semitic sea people (i.e.
not Arab) from the area around Crete. Tacitus, Dio Cassius, and other
contemporary Roman historians wrote all about Judaea and Judaeans--not
"Palestine” or "Palestinians.” Listen to one of my favorite telling
quotes about the Jews' first revolt in Vol. II, Book V, The
Works of Tacitus:
Vespasian... succeeded to the command.... it inflamed his resentment
that the Jews were the only nation that had not yet submitted…Titus was
appointed by his father to complete the subjugation of Judaea... he
commanded three legions in Judaea itself... To these he added the
twelfth from Syria and the third and twenty-second from Alexandria...
amongst his allies were a band of Arabs, formidable in themselves and
harboring towards the Jews the bitter animosity usually subsisting
between neighboring nations.
Or that, not having endured the forced exile and diaspora of many (but
not all--many still remained in the hill country and elsewhere clear up
to the Arab conquest) of the Jews, still...so many Arabs were newcomers
themselves to the Mandate of Palestine after World War I and the breakup
of the Ottoman Turkish Empire which had controlled the land for over
four centuries, that when the United Nations Relief Works
Agency--UNRWA--was set up to assist Arab refugees (after a half dozen
Arab states invaded a nascent Israel in 1948 to nip it in the bud and
their attempt backfired), the very word "refugee" had to be redefined
from its prior meaning of persons normally and traditionally resident
to those who lived in the Mandate for a minimum of only two years
prior to 1948 to assist these people. Hamas's own patron saint, for whom
its terror brigade and rockets are named for, Sheikh Izzadin-al-Qassam,
was born in Latakia, Syria. Arafat was from Egypt. And both "native
Palestinians" had plenty of company, pouring into the Mandate because of
the economic development going on due to the Jews.
And so forth.
Now, using this same tactic, Serbs have been similarly shafted .
Albania is an independent nation southwest of the former Yugoslavia. The
Serbs fought their first major battle for Kosovo against the spread of
the Dar ul-Islam (this time led by Turkish imperialism) in 1389--over
six centuries ago.
Albania had become at least nominally converted to Islam via the Ottoman
conquest. Over the centuries, ethnic Albanians encroached upon
traditionally Serbian lands.
Enter the late 20th century...
Everyone knew that with the death of Tito, Iraq’s twin, artificially
glued together state of Yugoslavia would fall apart.
Now, if you’re an Albanian in Serbia and you already have
an ethnic Albanian state in existence (so you can't claim
"statelessness"), how do you stake your claim for additional
territory--at another people's (Serbs’) expense?
Hitler played a somewhat similar game with the large population of
ethnic Germans in Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland. World War II soon
followed, as his sights were set far beyond the Czechs’ and Slovaks’
According to this reasoning, America also better watch its own southwest
very carefully--especially since it really was once part of Mexico
anyway. And what’s Russia up to these days, since we’re on this subject?
Think non-Russian peoples’ lands, with Russian ethnic minorities, and
how this game could be played out.
The answer, however, regarding Albanians in Serbia is…You follow
Zuheir Mohsen's advice.
But instead of renaming yourselves "Palestinians,” you, of course, call
yourselves Kosovars instead. And then get assorted Jihadis from
the rest of the Arab/Muslim World to assist you--along with America and
There is no doubt that too much of the conflict regarding the breakup of
Yugoslavia was deliberately biased against the Serbs.
Atrocities occurred (as they had for centuries)--but on both sides, with
Serbs often the victims…victims the American State Department ignored as
it sought Muslims it could point to as championing while America was
fighting others in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. American bombers
led the final dismemberment.
There’s a lesson here…and Jews, Kurds, Imazighen, and others need to pay
Instead of demanding just the rebirth of their one state, Jews need to
demand others as well.
Jews have a long history in Morocco, as just one example--long before
Arabs conquered both Jews and Imazighen alike there.
Over 600,000 Moroccan Jews now live in Israel--part of the other side
of the Middle East refugee problem few ever talk about...more
Moroccan Jews than Arabs who got their own nation states in Kuwait, Abu
Dhabi, etc. when they were created. Additionally, many more Moroccan
Jews live in America, France, and elsewhere today, including Morocco.
Why multiple states for Arabs and not Jews?
As early as Roman times, Jews fleeing the Roman wars in Judaea began to
travel inland in North Africa and forged both economic and cultural ties
with the Imazighen--especially in the Atlas Mountains. Some of the
latter folks even adopted the faith of their Jewish neighbors.
When Arab Muslims invaded, Jews and Imazighen fought them together.
Across the Atlas Mountains, Queen Dahlia al Kahina (whom the famed
Muslim scholar, Ibn Khaldun, called "the Jewess” ) led both Jews and
Imazighen in battle against invading Arabs, who would later massacre and
subjugate both peoples.
Why not states for the Atlasians--at least one for Jews and one
for the Imazighen--in North Africa?
Why "Palestinians” and "Kosovars,” but not "Atlasians?”
While we’re at it, some thirty-five million stateless Kurds need to jump
aboard as well.
Kurds predate Arabs in "Arab” Syria as well as in "Arab” Iraq…and in
"Turkish” Turkey. But we all know what happened/happens when Kurds try
to assert their rights there. Their best hope right now is in the place
where they were indeed promised independence after World War I--in
northern Mesopotamia, part of today’s renamed Iraq.
While I don’t really expect that much of the above will happen, it’s
worth asking those academics, State Department folks, left-wing
know-nothings, and other hypocritical practitioners of the double
standard… Why not?
If Kurds played the Arab game regarding trading "Arab” for
"Palestinian,” how many Kurdish states might they be entitled to?
The reality, of course, is that all of these peoples are still
struggling to maintain or obtain basic political and human rights in
what Arabs call "purely Arab patrimony.”
That others buy into
their subjugating mindset is the real travesty.