The case that there is no such thing as a “Palestinian” finally got a supporting argument worthy of its intellectual heft last week, when an Israeli parliamentarian named Anat Berko uncovered the Truth about the Arabic language:
“I want to return to history,” she said during a parliamentary debate late Wednesday called by the center-left Zionist Union on the two-state solution. “What exactly is our place here regarding Jerusalem, regarding Palestine? As we have said, there isn’t even a P in Arabic so this borrowed term is also worth scrutinizing.”
As opposition lawmakers heckled Ms. Berko, she retorted, “There is no ‘Pa,’ ” sputtering, “Pa, pa, pa,” for emphasis.
“There’s ‘Fa,’ ” she conceded.
Yes, there is “fa,” and interestingly enough, Arabs refer to the place as Falasteen.
As do, uh, most Hebrew speakers.
This is honestly the dumbest pro-apartheid argument ever advanced by an Israeli lawmaker, which is saying something. Referring back to something that was written down in a book ~2500 years ago is a stronger argument than whatever point Dr. (oh, yes, she has a Ph.D.) Berko thought she was making about the Arabic freaking alphabet.
I remember once reading a description of the Arabic word for “revolution,” thawrah, by Bernard Lewis, the once-great Middle East scholar who slipped deeper into self-parody the longer his career waned on. Lewis traced thawrah back to an original meaning that was something like “the rising up of a camel,” in order to make the tortured-to-death point that them silly Ay-rabs can’t understand a white folk concept like “revolution” without making a reference to a camel. That was a dumb argument based on bad linguistics. This is even dumber. And the problem with making dumb arguments like this is that, almost invariably, the person making them will be hoist by their own petard:
Some noted, existentially, that the Jews themselves were potentially in trouble since there is no J in Hebrew.
“If Palestine and Palestinians don’t exist bc there is no letter P in arabic, then I guess Jews don’t exist bc there’s no letter J in hebrew?” Omar Al Ghazzawi, said in a Twitter post.
Well, if there are no Jews and no Palestinians, I guess that whole little plot of land along the eastern Mediterranean coast is empty. Maybe we can start settling some Pacific Islanders there as their islands start sinking due to rising sea levels.
I need your help to keep this blog going! Please read this and consider contributing something. Also, while you’re out there on the internet tubes, please consider liking this blog’s Facebook page and following me on Twitter! And please share my work with your friends/followers to help me grow the audience around here! Thank you!