University of Calgary Student Newspaper Accuses Jews Of “The Ultimate Thievery”

June 16, 2023

While there remain many elements of disagreement between Israel and the Palestinians which remain as obstacles to any final status peace agreement, there is one fundamental sticking point beyond all others: the Palestinian refusal to accept Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish nation-state.

Tragically, this obstinacy does not remain the exclusive domain of the Palestinian leadership; commentators outside of the Middle East, including in Canada, often express the view that Israel is in illegitimate state with no historical basis.

A recent opinion column which appeared in The Gauntlet, a student newspaper at the University of Calgary, continues this trend.

In a June 15 column entitled: “To exist without existing: The Palestinian injustice,” Voices Editor Reyam Jamaleddine all but accuses Jews of illegally expropriating Palestinian land based on European Holocaust guilt and religious fundamentalism.

Jamaleddine opens her column by writing that “after Hitler’s tragic take over of Eastern Europe in the 1930s and 40s, the Jewish people of Europe suffered one of history’s worst genocides. After decades of enduring this anti-semitism (sic), Jewish people decided on Zionism…As a means of rectifying this situation, they were given the land of Palestine…”

This assertion is blatantly false, both for recent and historical reasons. Modern Zionism as a political movement did not begin following the Holocaust, but decades before with Theodor Herzl’s writings and political advocacy. The First Zionist Congress was held in 1897, two generations before the Holocaust.

More importantly, while Zionism as a modern political movement began in the late 1800s, Zionism was hardly invented by Theodor Herzl. Zionism, which was the Jewish People’s movement of self-determination in their historic homeland, was the continuation of a two-thousand-year struggle following the Roman Empire’s sacking of Jerusalem and exile of the majority of the Jewish population living in Judea (the land of Israel) at the time, in the first century CE.

Equally important, the Jewish People were not “given the land of Palestine” by anyone, nor was it doled out as a consolation prize for the Holocaust. In 1922 – about 20 years before the Holocaust – the League of Nations, the predecessor to the United Nations (UN), formally granted the United Kingdom the right (or mandate) to administer Palestine, and called for the reconstitution of a Jewish homeland in the land of Israel.

Prior to this, there had never been any sovereign state of Palestine, only a land controlled by successive powers, and which was home to a diverse population, including Jews and Arabs, and which gave the concept of a Jewish homeland additional basis in international law. In 1947, the United Nations formally adopted the Partition Plan for Palestine, which recommended separate Jewish and Arab states, as well as an international zone for Jerusalem. This was accepted by the Jewish delegation but rejected by the Arab delegation.

Following Israel’s proclamation of independence in 1948, it was invaded by neighbouring Arab states, who attempted to destroy the Jewish State.

Not satisfied to rewrite modern history and Zionism, next Jamaleddine’s attempted to frame Israel as being based on theocracy as a basis for its alleged theft of Palestinian land, writing that “Should we all call God and ask him who owns the land? Maybe if we keep ringing him he will pick up and tell us! What an obscure claim — funny. The Jews and the whites have been depending on the silent words of the divine to assist in the ultimate thievery — the robbery of identity.”

Israel’s legitimacy derives from its extensive legal and historical rights to the land, not based on religion. The Jewish People have inhabited the land of Israel for thousands of years, possess contemporary legal title, have widespread international recognition, and have had sovereign nation-status on the land in question. If Jamaleddine denies all these details, then on what basis can she possibly claim that the Palestinians – but not the Jews – have a right to self-determination?

Jamaleddine repeatedly refers, not to Israel being illegitimate, but the Jewish presence itself, later writing that “The Jewish person lives in the same sand dune in the same confines as the Oriental, yet they live a lavishly peaceful and secure life. They are technologically advanced and have mighty armies to defend the land they stole—the Palestinians defend their stolen land with sticks and stone.”

While there can be a reasoned debate over the origins of the Palestinians, there is no doubt whatsoever that the Jewish People, with their three thousand years of uninterrupted history, did not steal the land from any Palestinians, who indisputably came later.

Jamaleddine, who in her column stridently denies the charge of antisemitism, nevertheless apparently sees no issue with accusing “the Jews” of “the ultimate thievery,” and of denying the Jewish People as a collective whole three millennia of history.

Despite Israel’s repeated offers of peace to the Palestinians, today there remains no Palestinian state, primarily because the Palestinian leadership refuses to accept Israel’s right to exist and thus accept its presence in the Middle East, depriving Palestinians of their own country.

Jamaleddine, by engaging in historical revisionism and erasing Jewish history, is not only helping to make Palestinian statehood a flight of fantasy, but is directly helping to spread ugly and hateful disinformation against not only the State of Israel, but indeed Jews in general.


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