Turning History on its Head, Iran’s Supreme Leader Calls Israel a ‘Fabricated’ Nation

Patrick Goodenough | May 14, 2014 | 10:43pm EDT
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Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addresses members of the Basij militia in Tehran in November 2013. (Photo: Office of the supreme leader)

(CNSNews.com) – Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday lashed out at the U.S. for supporting Israel – which he labeled a “terrorist” state – and charged that the modern-day state of Israel established in 1948 was a “fake nation” made up of people from Europe and America.

In a series of Twitter messages marking the so-called “Naqba” (“catastrophe”) – the Palestinian view of the anniversary of the establishment of the state of Israel 66 years ago – Khamenei repeatedly used the term “fake” to describe Israel:

“Palestinians’ homes & land were given by force to ppl [people] from Europe, U.S. etc. & they fabricated a fake nation in #Palestine.”

“#Israel was initially established thru oppression, massacre & lie; an invader aided by UK expelled #Palestinians out of their homes.”

“During the over half a century since the existence of #fake Israeli state, suppression, lies & deception have been central to Israel’s survival.”

“Then the U.S. president shamelessly says that: to prevent terrorism we cooperate with Israel!”

“Which terrorists?! The Palestinian who’s been driven out of his homeland?! No! The most wicked #terrorists of the world is fake Israeli govt.”

Khamenei’s tweets are in line with a narrative popular among some Muslims, disputing the Jews’ 3,500-year link with the land of Israel notwithstanding historical, archeological and biblical evidence.

An editorial Wednesday in Kayhan, a hardline publication whose editor is appointed by and serves as an advisor to Khamenei, spelled it out – and added the regime’s customary denial of the Nazi Holocaust.

The editorial asserted that there was no link between European Jews who migrated to Israel in the early 20th century “and the ancient Israelite tribes, the overwhelming majority of whose members have long ceased to practice Judaism, and are mostly Muslim or Christian today.”

Its version of the events of 1948 was that the illegally-settled European Jews “brutally attacked the sons of the soil, the Palestinians, killing many of them and driving out over seven hundred thousand men, women, and children to neighboring lands.”

“This was the real holocaust that was carried out on the flimsy basis of the myth of the holocaust in Europe, allegedly perpetrated by the Nazis during World War 2,” it continued. “Why were the peaceful Muslims of Palestinian [sic] made to pay with their homeland and life for an imaginary bloodbath?”

As a corollary to denials of Jews’ claims to a connection with the land – dating back to the biblical patriarchs and King David’s kingdom more than 3,000 years ago – some Palestinian Authority (P.A.) leaders claim their forebears go back to the ancient Canaanites.

“I am the proud son of the Natufians and the Canaanites. I’ve been there 5,500 years before Joshua bin Nun came and burned my hometown, Jericho,” P.A. chief negotiator Saeb Erekat declared last January at the Munich Security Conference.

The claim raised eyebrows since the Erekat family, according to its own Facebook page (in Arabic), traces its origins to the Huwaitat region of present-day Saudi Arabia.

‘An invented Palestinian people’

Some scholars contend that if a nation has been “fabricated” in the Middle East over the past century it is the Palestinians.

“Several leading scholars of Middle Eastern studies and Islamic history have confirmed that the Palestinians do not have ancient roots in the area and are trying to invent origins for themselves that predate the Jewish people's presence,” Alan Baker, a former legal advisor and deputy director-general of the Israeli foreign ministry wrote in the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs article last March.

“They explain that most of the Palestinians arrived as part of the waves of immigration that began in the nineteenth century at the time of the emergence of Zionism, attracted by employment opportunities and economic benefits.”

In this photo taken Dec. 3, 2013, a giant Palestinian national flag flutters from the highest point of Rawabi, a new city being built north of Ramallah. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser, File)

Before 1948, the term “Palestinian” was used a demonym for the inhabitants of the land then under a British mandate (Palestinian Arabs, Palestinian Jews) and also an adjective (Palestinian towns, Palestinian rivers). There had never been a Palestinian nation, state, self-governing administration or capital.

The Palestine Liberation Organization’s own charter, adopted in 1964, says the Palestinians Arabs “are an inseparable part of the Arab nation.” The document refers to the “Palestinian people” but not once to a “Palestinian nation.”  Instead it contains six references to the “Arab nation.”

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich caused a stir during his 2012 presidential primary campaign when he said in an interview, “There was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire. And I think that we’ve had an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs and who are historically part of the Arab community.”

In 1947 the U.N. adopted a resolution, also known as the Partition Plan, divided the territory between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River into a Jewish state and an Arab one.

Jewish leaders accepted the proposal, but Arab leaders rejected it.

Violence erupted after the resolution was passed, and immediately after Jewish leaders declared statehood in May 1948 five Arab armies attacked the new state, in what then-Arab League head Azzam Pasha described as “a war of annihilation.”

The ensuing war ended with Israel’s territory larger than envisaged by the Partition Plan, but the West Bank and Gaza Strip under Jordanian and Egyptian control respectively. The 1967 Six-Day War ended with the West Bank, Gaza, Sinai peninsula and Golan Heights under Israeli control.

Israel returned the Sinai to Egypt in the early 1980s following the Israel-Egypt peace agreement. It surrendered most of Gaza and parts of the West Bank to the P.A. as an outcome of the 1993 Oslo accords, and withdrew from Gaza altogether in 2005.

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