There's No Such Thing As A Palestinian deserves to be on pro-Israel bookshelves if for no other reason than it shows the Arab/Israel conflict through the eyes of a non-Jew who un-complicates the accepted narrative to reveal a simple story of intractable Jew-hate against a people falsely accused of stealing their own homeland and committing war crimes against innocent people.
The premise of the book's title is that the very word 'Palestine' comes from the Roman's attempt to exterminate the Jewish people and and their history in Judea. Circa AD135, following the Bar Kokhba revolt Roman Emperor Hadrian renamed Judea as 'Syria Palaestina' (after the Jews' arch enemies, the Philistines in Gaza who were not Arabs) which later became 'Palaestina' and eventually, 'Palestine.'
In other words, there were never 'Palestinians'; there were only Jews from Judea whose land was occupied and renamed by invaders until fully liberated by the Israel Defence Forces in 1967.
From the title on the cover to the final recommendation on the last page of the last chapter, the author is relentless in taking on anti-Israel propaganda and the people who create and support it. He addresses issue after issue to show that facts clearly come down on the side of the Jewish state in every instance, that "The "Palestinian narrative is so ridiculous as to defy belief that anyone would take it seriously." The author minces no words about how he feels about the anti-Israel side of the conflict. As I read the pages, I underlined passages like this one:
'Young "radicals" roaming the streets and college campuses, looking like dirtbags and prostitutes, wearing "Palestinian" headscarves...truly believe they are...helping to change the world.' [reviewer's emphasis]
The rest of the paragraph brings some context:
'They are wrong. They represent the establishment view of the Arab-Israeli conflict and Jewish people in general. All that has changed is the wording - and that very slightly. Today, the banners read "Boycott Israel". In the past, they read "Kaufen Sie nicht bei Juden." [Don't Buy From Jews].
The author is clearly trying to convey disgust for today's radical socialists organizing boycotts of Jewish businesses and inciting violence in the worst traditions of the National Socialist German Workers Party (NAZI) forebears they pretend to hate. Unfortunately, the gratuitous insult about their dress distracts from the greater point about their emulation of NAZI methods.
The book is not riven with insults like these, but the reader must come to appreciate the author's uncompromising style in saying things like, "These so-called 'Palestinians' have only one motivation: the destruction of Israel. This is not sufficient to consider them a nation --or anything else--except what they are: a non-people led by street gangs." While some might find this or various other statements in the book discomfiting, it does not necessarily make them untrue or unfair. They must be considered in context of the evidence provided and available facts from other sources.
Edwardsson makes the point that the 'Palestinians' are the same, culturally, as Arabs in the 21 Arab states, and have no meaningful history in the land, something he immediately addresses in the introduction with a list of questions that are unanswerable for proponents of the Arab state of 'Palestine' such as:
- What were the names of the kings of ancient Palestine?
- What was the name of the currency? Choose any date in history and find the exchange rate of the Palestinian monetary unit
- Have the Palestinians left any historic artefacts?
- Can you find a single work of Palestinian literature before 1967?
Detractors will, undoubtedly call the author an 'Arab-hater,' but in addition to thanking Jewish influencers on his thinking, he includes this: "I must also mention several brave and forward-thinking individuals of Arab descent for presenting their insights into the inner psychological and cultural workings and peculiarities of their native society, in particular Dr. Wafa Sultan and Mr. Walid Shoebat." Do not mistake his realism for hate.
The book is conveniently divided into chapters addressing some of the common issues and myths of the conflict such as: Israel's alleged use of 'collective punishment'; the fake Israel 'massacre' of Deir Yassin; the 'occupation' of the 'West Bank'; and the never ending smear of 'apartheid.' In his chapter entitled, The Refugees Who Just Won't Go Away, Edwardsson refers to the United Nations as "utterly diabolical" and a "gruesome absurdity" in part for the corrupt refugee definition it uses only for Arab enemies of Israel that fictitiously increased the number of 'refugees' from 590,000 in 1949 to over 4,000,000 . No other group in the world are allowed to claim descendants as 'refugees,' only the 'Palestinian' Arabs are so privileged.
(This former United Nations peacekeeper (below, 3rd from right) who served with CCUNEFME (Canadian Contingent United Nations Emergency Force Middle East) in 1978 believes the author might be too mild with his criticism of the Jew-hating U.N.)
After pointing out that tiny Israel was able to absorb 800,000 Jews fleeing Arab countries enraged by their failures to destroy the Jewish state, Edwardsson makes a little known, but important observation: he compares Israel's refugee absorption with the 1948 UN partition of the Indian subcontinent into 2 states, one Hindu (India), the other Muslim (Pakistan). Populations exchanged homelands and the refugee situations were resolved.
The author then contrasts these successes with the intransigent Arab position:
"Israel absorbed its Jewish refugees, while the Arab states to this day refuse to allow Palestine Arabs to resettle and become integrated into their societies, preferring instead to exploit them in order to serve their own political agendas."
He then makes yet another critical point: the only reason there are any Arab refugees at all is because Arab states made war on Israel and told Arabs to leave their homes to make it easier for them to destroy the Jewish state (On the eve of the 1948 attack, Abdul Rahman Azzam, the Arab League's first secretary-general warned of "a war of extermination and momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacre and the Crusades." ). He has little sympathy with the idea Israel is responsible for their plight. "Those refugees are the responsibility of the Arab states--not Israel." Some Arabs stayed to aid the invaders in killing Jews and their villages were destroyed. "Israel should not be expected to make any apology for this. Those who left their homes in a war that they instigated and lost cannot demand that their would-be victims be responsible for their well-being."
The author calls the Oslo Accords "staggeringly delusional" and its Israeli architects Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Perez "messianic dreamers" with "clouded minds" for believing that peace could be made with terrorists. Edwardsson says what a loyal Israeli/Diaspora Jew might believe and say in private, but not say in public in the name of solidarity.
In The Race Card or Israel As an Apartheid State chapter, Edwardsson includes a useful matrix comparing the racist abuse of Blacks in South Africa to the equal, civilized treatment of Arab citizens of Israel in order to dramatize the utterly silliness of this despicable allegation. Israel advocates have probably seen something similar before, but it and the Palestine 'questions' list are nice to have in one place for quick reference.
The author (who was rejected as a recruit by the IDF for lack of Israeli citizenship) makes his stand forcefully on page after page as he leads up to his conclusion about 'solutions': it is long past time to put clarity, truth and an air of reality before appeasement-minded 'solutions.' His final chapter before the epilogue is entitled, 'Solutions Are No Solution' in which he argues that Arabs, Islam and defensive attitudes and appeasement by Israel are all enemies of a true peace.
His final point is, 'The Arabs Must Leave Israel.' He is referring to the stateless Arabs, not those who are citizens. Edwardsson argues for a long term, "peaceful and orderly" process of repatriating them to Arab countries as a necessity to preserve Israel's long term future.
It might seem that Edwardsson's 'solution' contradicts the very title of of the chapter, but in actuality, I submit that it is not, simply because Israel's enemies are the ones who have decided to implement a 'solution'...of destruction, and any response by Israel is actually a 'choice' made under duress. I will explore this in depth below, but I can say that the many hours invested in trying to understand what I thought was a solution in a chapter called 'Solutions Are No Solution' led me to understanding the fundamental moral difference between 'solutions' and 'choices' in the context of the Arab/Israel conflict.
Let me be clear: I don't endorse solutions whether it is the One-State-Arabs-Go, One-State-Arabs-Stay, or Two-State-Give-Half-Of-Israel-Away variety. Everything I do as a land rights trainer/advocate is based on a core philosophy: Truth Before Solutions. Focusing on solutions is a short term mindset that gets in the way of preserving the Jewish legacy...in my opinion.
My mission is to share Israel's land rights knowledge with the goal of ensuring that any choice of Israel's is implemented only after the world gives the Jewish people the dignity of acknowledging that they are lawful owners of Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, and not occupiers. If Israelis then choose a two-state solution, so be it.
Which brings us to an important aspect of the book that could use an upgrade in future editions: the lack of clarity regarding Israel's modern land rights under international law that evolved from the 1917 Balfour Declaration (the author incorrectly refers to this as the treacherous (reviewer's adjective) "White Paper" of 1936 in the first chapter) to the 1920 San Remo Conference to the codification of those rights in the 1922 League of Nations Mandate For Palestine.
The world, via the Mandate instrument, recognized the ancient Jewish ties to Palestine as justification for "reconstituting...the Jewish national home" on both sides of the Jordan River. Article 6 required Great Britain to assist Jews in returning to rebuild that home. Article 25 set the stage for the original two state solution that resulted in transferring Jewish land east of the Jordan River to Arabs in what would become today's Jordan. This left Jews as the rightful owners, under international law, of all land to the west of the Jordan River, including Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.
Edwardsson tells part of this history, including the betrayal of the British in keeping Jews out of Palestine/Israel before, during and after the Holocaust, but the story is somewhat muddled and scattered throughout the book, losing much of its impact. He refers to the 'mandate' and the 'British mandate (in actuality, it was the world's mandate for which Britain agreed to accept the fiduciary obligation to act in the best interests of its beneficiaries, the Jewish people), but never by its actual name: the Mandate For Palestine. He does not explain the Mandates system, or quote the world's obligations to the Jewish people contained within the document.
The author recommends the great Leon Uris page-turner, Exodus, as a fictional but worthwhile account of post-Holocaust attempts by Jews to immigrate, but he makes the same mistake Uris does in his book by not holding up the Mandate For Palestine as a nuclear weapon to expose the full depth of the despicable British betrayal of the Jewish people.
I watched the movie before reading the book and was quite puzzled as to why Jews were killing the nice British soldiers who had just won World War II and liberated concentration camps. Exodus, the book, was equally unclear. It was not until many years later when I read the Mandate document that I finally understood: the British betrayal of Article 6 (obligation to facilitate Jewish immigration) was, arguably, a crime against humanity for which she has never apologized.
In the author's defence, while he does skip over vital clauses and history, he does convey the concepts of Jews being promised land that was given to Arabs in appeasement, and their later exclusion by Britain from immigrating to their own land. He reserves a special sub-section to mention the 'British mandate' as a 'living document that was incorporated by the United Nations,' however, the details are vague. Still, Edwardsson is leaps and bounds ahead of the vast majority of the public. To illustrate, I once had a chance meeting with well-known anti-Israel commentator Peter Beinart who did not know about Article 80 of the U.N. Charter, so credit is owed to the author for the details he has included.
With all due fairness, very few pro-Israel commentators, NGO leaders or politicians have ever read the incredible words of Israel's modern, secular land title deed and the attached Note re Trans-Jordan that includes a metes and bounds description of Jewish Palestine/Israel's eastern border (Jordan River). I know this because only about 2% of the 650+ mainly-Zionists I have personally trained had read them before meeting me.
The author, therefore, hardly deserves to be excoriated for not emphasizing clauses like the Mandate's startlingly-clear preamble declaring, 'Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home...."
While the author's case against Israel's enemies would have been much strengthened with a chapter pulling together all the details about her indisputable land rights and their betrayal, this does not make the book insubstantial or less worthy of consideration.
(I trust readers will forgive me for taking the liberty here of recommending my own Liberating Israel training that teaches the clauses and history of the Mandate, and how to use it as a powerful counter-propaganda weapon against the 'occupation' blood libel .)
One of the most common notes I made in the margins was, 'CITATION?' The author has included many facts, figures, quotes and dates but no citations to support them. Aside from the land rights issues that few fully understand, Israel advocates will accept most of the details as written, but someone on the fence attempting to do honest research might be disappointed.
One of the more interesting examples of missing citations was in the chapter about Yasser Arafat whose unseemly sexual appetites are described in great detail, culminating with this final comment of the chapter describing him as "an evil, violent, sexually perverted maniac without whom the world is a slightly better place." While I did find an online source quoting former National Security Agency (NSA) Palestine analyst James Welsh suggesting Arafat enjoyed young boys and died of AIDS , citations provide confirmation that an author's assertions are well-founded and can be trusted, even in an internet age.
The book could use some updating. In the Common Fallacies chapter, for example, the section defending the reputation of the late Prime Minister Ariel Sharon refers to him in the present tense as if he were still alive, and makes no mention of his 1995 unilateral decision to withdraw all Jews from Gaza in an attempt to bring peace. Of course, Hamas terrorists took control, and rained rockets and other terror attacks on Israeli civilians ever since.
Edwardsson's book is about providing hard truths, and one of those truths is that there is not one shred of evidence that land giveaways to people who pay salaries to Jew-killers will bring peace with Arabs in Judea and Samaria.
From the heartbreaking turnover of the Temple Mount to Arab control by Moshe Dyan after Jews fought valiantly to liberate it in 1967 (I saw the flag he ordered taken down at the Ammunition Hill museum) to the 1993 Oslo Accords that created the Palestinian Authority terror regime to the unilateral Gaza withdrawal by Ariel Sharon in 1995 that led to Hamas rockets targeting Israeli civilians to PM Ehud Barak's shocking offer to Arafat in 2000 to give away half of Israel to the Trump Peace Vision of 2020, two things are clear: 1. Israel needs a law forbidding former generals from becoming prime minister; and 2. "No solution can possibly include the Arabs in the decision-making process," which is the author's first point in his final chapter.
He also tells Israel to 'stop apologising; the State of Israel is the offended party, not the aggressor. By all the rules of war Judea and Samaria (the 'West Bank') belong to Israel."
As it turns out, the facts supporting his argument that Jews are owners of Judea and Samaria, and not occupiers are immeasurably more favourable to the Jews than even he conveys in the final quote above. Unfortunately, the muddled information about Israel's land rights lets the reader down in the vital closing chapter: Israel doesn't have a claim to Judea and Samaria merely by virtue of the rules of war; she has rightful, deeded title to the land from both the Torah/Bible and from the international law made at the San Remo Conference codified in the Mandate For Palestine and Note re Trans-Jordan.
The author is also frustrated at Israel's leaders refusal to acknowledge that the Arab/Jew conflict is not a political conflict, but a religious one that cannot be resolved due to religious fanaticism:
"Islam cannot tolerate the existence of any independent Jewish state of any size whatsoever in any part of any land once dominated by Islam. There is no escaping the fact that this is a religious conflict and that is the reason the Arabs hate Israel. It is an affront to their religious sensibilities."
I wondered if the author has been influenced by Mosab Hassan Yousef, the 'Palestinian' Arab author of Son of Hamas, who once made a similar comment to us at an event in Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada: "The problem with the West is that it is looking for a political solution to a religious problem.' Yousef was the son of a senior Hamas founder, and he eventually converted to Christianity and went on to assist the Israeli Shin Bet security service in countering Hamas terror plots .
Article 11 of the Hamas Charter explicitly states why the group calls for the destruction of Israel, the killing of Jews, and the rejection of all peaceful solutions: "The legal status of Palestine according to Islamic law...is like any other land that the Muslims have conquered by force, [reviewer's emphasis] because the Muslims consecrated it at the time of the conquest as religious endowment for all generations of Muslims..."
Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have made it beyond clear that they want ALL of Israel, and it is counter-productive and intellectually dishonest to pretend Islamic doctrine is not a major factor in justifying the killing of Jews and the re-conquest of their land.
Edwardsson's work is a vigorous case for Israel stripped of wishful thinking, historical revisionism, and skewed morality imposed by her enemies' propaganda. The author's position about non-citizen Arabs taking up new lives in Arab countries raises a stark question that deserves to be asked: what is the alternative? Those who feel it 'extreme' should explain why giving half of Israel away to appease Arab terrorists is somehow more 'moderate' than convincing Arab states to peaceably welcome their cultural and ancestral brethren (Yasser Arafat, for example, was born in Cairo, Egypt).
This book led me to the conclusion that defenders of Israel need to understand that the word 'solution' as applied to Israel's options is one that plays within her enemies' narrative. Consider: If a violent gang of criminals acting out of fanatical religious zealotry slanders you as a thief, attacks your home, and threatens to kill you and your family after massacring your neighbours, which side has implemented a 'solution' and which side has been forced to make a 'choice' under duress? Is it fair and just to say that you exercised your free will to formulate a 'solution' by calling police to remove a threat not of your own making? It sounds silly because it is silly. You didn't implement a 'solution,' you made a choice...to stay alive and keep what is yours.
In the end, Edwardsson is not proposing a 'solution; he is re-assuring Israel that it is honourable and moral to make the choice to live in peace and keep what is hers as guardians of the Jewish people and their legacy, if they wish.If the reader decides he is right, then how could it be accomplished?
Believe it or not, every choice open to Israel in responding to the 'solution' of her enemies to destroy her will forever stain the Jewish legacy with false accusations of 'occupation' and 'ethnic cleansing' unless...unless there is a way...a 'solution' if you prefer...to implementing whatever that choice might be.
There is such a solution, and the author provides a clue that leads into my own work:
"Nothing is more destructive to the image of Israel than the fact that Israel has itself incorporated the "Palestinian Narrative" in its understanding of the conflict."
In the margin I wrote 'YES!' because this may be one of the most important statements in the book. For years, I have been saying that it is only by confronting and breaking the 'occupation' narrative which is the foundation of today's antisemitism that Israel can effect a dramatic turnaround of world opinion and make a long term solution possible with the least amount of pain.
No meaningful solution is possible until the world acknowledges that Jews are owners, not occupiers. As the value of 'Palestinian' propaganda goes down, the likelihood of peace goes up because new options will be put on the table. There is is no alternative to destroying the 'stolen land' blood libel, no matter what solution you favour.
If I were running Israel's counter-propaganda campaign the first thing I would do is have the prime minister hold an highly-publicized press conference to announce a brand new direction towards peace: a moratorium on all solutions. Fortunately, in 2017 I wrote an imaginary speech for just such an event to dramatize the power of a strategic, Mandate-based moral narrative .
Once the moratorium is announced, and a massive education effort about Israel's land rights is underway, time would then be on Israel's side. She could simply wait for the 'Palestinians' to desperately propose solutions as they watch world opinion slowly turn against their lies.
A world that finally accepts that 'occupation' was a vicious fabrication could open doors to Edwardsson's orderly repatriation of 'Palestinians' to an Arab country, or perhaps a land grant to establish a new state, or some other option we cannot yet conceive. To repeat: I do not endorse 'solutions.' The entire point of not doing so is that we need to focus instead on working to ensure the 'occupation' blood libel is generally accepted as the hoax on humanity it is. This is a very doable endeavour, but I remind my students it will take 5-10 years to turn around world opinion, so forget about 'solutions' for now and focus on truth: Jews are owners, not occupiers. The clock on that timeline, however, starts on the day Israel declares a moratorium on solutions.
There is no doubt as to what Edwardsson sees as the best choice Israel could make, but he leaves the question about how to accomplish it open. He clearly understands that his path is not possible until Israel wins the propaganda war being waged against her. Neither is a Two-State-Give-Half-Of-Israel-Away solution if Israel wishes to preserve the her people's legacy.
Edwardsson takes us to the edge of the cliff and shows us a very hard pill to swallow if Israel's counter-propaganda approach continues. If she does not change, any 'solution' implemented will be remembered as bending the knee in submission to the mob's accusations. In my gentile heart, and in the author's, I am sure, we would rather have Israel's people remembered with the honour and dignity of being recognized as owners, and not occupiers who were forced, under duress, to falsely confess to the terrible crimes of which they have been falsely accused.
Of course, everyone interested in truth about the Arab/Israel conflict can take something away from this book, but There's No Such Thing As A Palestinian is not a book you give to a hard core Israel hater to try to convert them to a state of reality. Too many facts. No, this book preaches to the pro-Israel 'choir' that very much needs to hear the sermon , and it is a short, but punchy sermon at that (I trust my Jewish allies will forgive the Christian metaphor).
The author has packed a lot into the book's 73 pages which makes it more than worth its too-low price. It could be a good teaching tool for adult students with some revisions and updating that could also broaden its appeal into the 'mushy middle' market segment, and I hope the author will take on that challenge. P. L. Edwardsson makes a strong case for the nation of Israel and the Jewish people for whom he 'obviously feels great love and respect. He is not offering a solution; he is offering a realistic assessment of the facts to persuade them not to be slaves to their enemies' narrative and the 'solutions' of their enemies if they desire to safeguard the legacy they have rightly earned.
1. As of the date of review UNWRA claims 750,000 refugees in 1950 have become 5,000,000 today: https://www.unrwa.org/palestine-refugees.
2. Middle East Forum, Fall Edition 2011, Azzam's Genocidal Threat:
3. IsraelTruthWeek.org, Liberating Israel Online Training, Mandate For Palestine training booklet: https://www.israeltruthweek.org/#deed.
4. Free Republic, 050905: Ex-NSA Analyst: Arafat Preyed On Boys; http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1482229/posts, accessed 200802.
5. Amazon.com, Son of Hamas, by Mosab Hassan Yousef, 2010: https://www.amzn.com/1414333080
6. Memri.org translation, The Covenant Of The Islamic Resistance Movement - Hamas: https://www.memri.org/reports/covenant-islamic-resistance-movement-%E2%80%93-hamas
7. IsraelTruthWeek.org, 170120: Tell Bibi...GIVE THIS SPEECH!; https://www.israeltruthweek.org/blog/tell-bibi-give-this-speech.
1. The reviewer received the book at no charge for the purpose of this review.
2. The reviewer was not compensated in any way for this review, directly or indirectly, including by Amazon's affiliate program.
3. The reviewer endorses no 'solutions' other than a moratorium on solutions until the world provides Jews with the dignity of acknowledging the promises it made in the Mandate For Palestine.
WRITTEN & POSTED BY: Mark Vandermaas, Israel Land Rights Trainer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Vandermaas trains Zionist activists to liberate Israel from the ‘occupation’ blood libel via his Israel Truth Week 'Liberating Israel' project. He has been called a ‘Damn Zionist’ by his enemies and an ‘Honorary Jew’ by his allies. He has organized pro-Israel conferences, appeared on Jewish and Christian TV for Israel, and personally trained over 650 Zionists and other pro-Israel people using his 'Jews Are Owners, Not Occupiers' message. His rule-of-law activism during the Caledonia, Canada crisis between 2006 - 2012 has been cited in two books: the bestselling Helpless, by Christie Blatchford, and in Gary McHale’s Victory In The No-Go Zone.
Copyright 2017-2020: Mark Vandermaas