Wash. Post's Palestinian propaganda falsifies history and the Bible

Leo Rennert
At first blush, it seems a fairly innocent tale - even an inspiring one.

In its Feb. 29 edition, the Washington Post runs an article by Jerusalem correspondent Joel Greenberg about Tel Aviv naming a square in memory of an Arab physician who treated both Arabs and Jews before Israel's War of Independence in 1948.  The occasion also marked a homecoming for a daughter and a son of Fouad Dajani to their ancestral neighborhood of Jaffa ("In Israel, a square for a Palestinian doctor" page A11).

But Greenberg badly misuses the dedication ceremony to inject his piece with anti-Israel poison pills in an attempt to undermine the very legitimacy of Israel's nationhood.

Greenberg reports that the physician's daughter Najwa Dajani, 75, arrived from her current home in Jordan.  She "had not been back since she left for Cairo with her mother and siblings in January 1948 as fighting raged between Arabs and Jews in the war that accompanied the creation of Israel," Greenberg writes.

This, of course, stands history on its head.  It makes it seem that Israel's creation prompted the 1948 war, when it actually was a concerted aggression against the nascent Jewish state by half a dozen Arab armies intent on its destruction.  Israel was on solid, internationally sanctioned legal ground to plant its flag on Tel Aviv and Jaffa under the 1947 UN partition plan.  The UN called for creation of two states -- one Jewish, one Arab.  Israel accepted partition; the Arabs flouted the UN mandate and went to war against the Jewish state.

Greenberg's formulation of 1948 as a "war that accompanied the creation of Israel," is in sync with Palestinian propaganda that this was a Naqba -- a Palestinian catastrophe due to Jews  claiming their nationhood -- a myth that ignores the historic fact that it was Arab rejection of the two-state UN mandate that fostered the 1948 war.

In the same propagandistic vein, Greenberg  misreads and misrepresents history when he writes that the Dajani family's decision to leave in January, 1948, four months before Israel's Declaration of Independence, was "part of a mass Palestinian exodus, supposed to be temporary until the hostilities died down, but became a lifelong exile."

Again, Greenberg jettisons factual history by failing to tell readers that the family left  before Israel's creation because, with many thousands of other Arabs, they were urged in Arab radio broadcasts to decamp and get out of the way of an Arab military offensive to wipe out the Jewish state and then return to an Arab-ruled single state in what had been British Mandate Palestine -- despite repeated pleas by Israeli leaders to stay put and become citizens with full civil and political rights in the new Israel.

With Greenberg, the sad tale of the Dajani family is turned into Palestinian victimhood rather than the outcome of massive self-inflicted wounds by Arab leaders.  The 1948 debacle was caused entirely by Arab rejectionism, not by Israel's creation.

Not content to engage in revisionist history, Greenberg goes on to revise the Bible as well -- again to suit Palestinian mythology.

He quotes Omar, the surviving family son, as remarking at the dedication of the square, while "choking back tears, that he hoped the day's events would be "an example to the two peoples, descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael, to whom God promised this land."

Sorry, Omar, but God did NOT promise "this land" equally to Isaac, the son of Abraham and Sarah, and to Ishmael, the son of Abraham and  his concubine, Hagar.  The Bible couldn't be clearer that "this land," i.e. Israel, was solely the inheritance of Isaac and his descendants.

As is told in Chapter 25 of Genesis, verses 5 and 6:  When Abraham neared death, he "gave all that he had unto Isaac. But unto the sons of the concubines (including Hagar), that Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and he sent them away from Isaac, his son, while he yet lived, eastward unto the east country (i.e. Arabia).

In other words, the Biblical Holy Land was promised exclusively to Isaac and his descendants.  At the same time, Ishmael was given great gifts, including inheritance of lands elsewhere for "12 princes according to their nations," as we read in verse 15 of Chapter 25.

The Bible couldn't be clearer about the political separation of Abraham's two sons.  Each was to reign over his own nation.  Call it the Biblical version of the two-state solution.

Thus, Omar Dajani was flat wrong in asserting co-equal divine claims by the descendants of Isaac and Ishmael to "this land."  Isaac's descendants, and only his descendants, are given Biblical title to "this land." 

Which poses a familiar challenge to journalists.  Do you run with a quote which is demonstrably a lie, but is an integral part of the story?  The answer is yes, but if you do, you have a concurrent responsibility to point out to readers that son Omar was engaged in Biblical revisionism to suit a Palestinian agenda.  Without such a cautionary signal, Greenberg becomes an enabler of Biblical falsification.

One last comment about Greenberg's unfortunate misuse of a worthy example of Arab-Jewish co-existence:  The Dajani pater familias deserves kudos for treating Arabs and Jews alike.  But so does Hadassah Hospital in Ein Kerem and many other top-of-the line Israeli hospitals, which continue to treat without distinction Arab and Jewish patients, including many  ailing Palestinians from Hamas-ruled Gaza.

Shouldn't their remarkable example also prompt equal coverage in the Washington Post?  Of course, it should.  But sadly, such exemplary Israeli medical stories go unreported by Greenberg and the Washington Post.

A journalistic selectivity which tells worlds about the paper's anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian bias in its news columns.

Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington  ureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers 

At first blush, it seems a fairly innocent tale - even an inspiring one.

In its Feb. 29 edition, the Washington Post runs an article by Jerusalem correspondent Joel Greenberg about Tel Aviv naming a square in memory of an Arab physician who treated both Arabs and Jews before Israel's War of Independence in 1948.  The occasion also marked a homecoming for a daughter and a son of Fouad Dajani to their ancestral neighborhood of Jaffa ("In Israel, a square for a Palestinian doctor" page A11).

But Greenberg badly misuses the dedication ceremony to inject his piece with anti-Israel poison pills in an attempt to undermine the very legitimacy of Israel's nationhood.

Greenberg reports that the physician's daughter Najwa Dajani, 75, arrived from her current home in Jordan.  She "had not been back since she left for Cairo with her mother and siblings in January 1948 as fighting raged between Arabs and Jews in the war that accompanied the creation of Israel," Greenberg writes.

This, of course, stands history on its head.  It makes it seem that Israel's creation prompted the 1948 war, when it actually was a concerted aggression against the nascent Jewish state by half a dozen Arab armies intent on its destruction.  Israel was on solid, internationally sanctioned legal ground to plant its flag on Tel Aviv and Jaffa under the 1947 UN partition plan.  The UN called for creation of two states -- one Jewish, one Arab.  Israel accepted partition; the Arabs flouted the UN mandate and went to war against the Jewish state.

Greenberg's formulation of 1948 as a "war that accompanied the creation of Israel," is in sync with Palestinian propaganda that this was a Naqba -- a Palestinian catastrophe due to Jews  claiming their nationhood -- a myth that ignores the historic fact that it was Arab rejection of the two-state UN mandate that fostered the 1948 war.

In the same propagandistic vein, Greenberg  misreads and misrepresents history when he writes that the Dajani family's decision to leave in January, 1948, four months before Israel's Declaration of Independence, was "part of a mass Palestinian exodus, supposed to be temporary until the hostilities died down, but became a lifelong exile."

Again, Greenberg jettisons factual history by failing to tell readers that the family left  before Israel's creation because, with many thousands of other Arabs, they were urged in Arab radio broadcasts to decamp and get out of the way of an Arab military offensive to wipe out the Jewish state and then return to an Arab-ruled single state in what had been British Mandate Palestine -- despite repeated pleas by Israeli leaders to stay put and become citizens with full civil and political rights in the new Israel.

With Greenberg, the sad tale of the Dajani family is turned into Palestinian victimhood rather than the outcome of massive self-inflicted wounds by Arab leaders.  The 1948 debacle was caused entirely by Arab rejectionism, not by Israel's creation.

Not content to engage in revisionist history, Greenberg goes on to revise the Bible as well -- again to suit Palestinian mythology.

He quotes Omar, the surviving family son, as remarking at the dedication of the square, while "choking back tears, that he hoped the day's events would be "an example to the two peoples, descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael, to whom God promised this land."

Sorry, Omar, but God did NOT promise "this land" equally to Isaac, the son of Abraham and Sarah, and to Ishmael, the son of Abraham and  his concubine, Hagar.  The Bible couldn't be clearer that "this land," i.e. Israel, was solely the inheritance of Isaac and his descendants.

As is told in Chapter 25 of Genesis, verses 5 and 6:  When Abraham neared death, he "gave all that he had unto Isaac. But unto the sons of the concubines (including Hagar), that Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and he sent them away from Isaac, his son, while he yet lived, eastward unto the east country (i.e. Arabia).

In other words, the Biblical Holy Land was promised exclusively to Isaac and his descendants.  At the same time, Ishmael was given great gifts, including inheritance of lands elsewhere for "12 princes according to their nations," as we read in verse 15 of Chapter 25.

The Bible couldn't be clearer about the political separation of Abraham's two sons.  Each was to reign over his own nation.  Call it the Biblical version of the two-state solution.

Thus, Omar Dajani was flat wrong in asserting co-equal divine claims by the descendants of Isaac and Ishmael to "this land."  Isaac's descendants, and only his descendants, are given Biblical title to "this land." 

Which poses a familiar challenge to journalists.  Do you run with a quote which is demonstrably a lie, but is an integral part of the story?  The answer is yes, but if you do, you have a concurrent responsibility to point out to readers that son Omar was engaged in Biblical revisionism to suit a Palestinian agenda.  Without such a cautionary signal, Greenberg becomes an enabler of Biblical falsification.

One last comment about Greenberg's unfortunate misuse of a worthy example of Arab-Jewish co-existence:  The Dajani pater familias deserves kudos for treating Arabs and Jews alike.  But so does Hadassah Hospital in Ein Kerem and many other top-of-the line Israeli hospitals, which continue to treat without distinction Arab and Jewish patients, including many  ailing Palestinians from Hamas-ruled Gaza.

Shouldn't their remarkable example also prompt equal coverage in the Washington Post?  Of course, it should.  But sadly, such exemplary Israeli medical stories go unreported by Greenberg and the Washington Post.

A journalistic selectivity which tells worlds about the paper's anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian bias in its news columns.

Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington  ureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers