Stealing Palestine: A study of historical and cultural theft

A Palestinian boy reads a traditional text (photo:  Palestine Chronicle)
From 2015 a good read about how the cultural appropriation of books, music, art, cuisine and dress have been used by Zionists as a weapon against Palestinians.

By Roger Sheety | Middle East Eye | July 14, 2015

…the theft of Palestine and its culture has two essential and interwoven components, the removal/erasure of Palestinians and a concurrent assumption of nativity or ‘birthright’ in Anglo-European Zionist terms.

Stealing and appropriating the culture and history of indigenous peoples is a typical characteristic of all modern colonial-settler states, but usually accomplished once the indigenous people in question has been eliminated, dispossessed, or otherwise seemingly defeated therefore making it safe to do so. The colonial-settler state of “Israel,” established on the ruins of Palestine and through the expulsion of the majority of its indigenous population in 1948 and after, is no different.

The Israeli theft of all things Palestinian, however, does not simply come from misguided notions of nationalism or childish pride as is often argued by Western apologists, but is rather a conscious political policy of the state that seeks to erase Palestine from historical memory, particularly within Western discourse. Indeed, the continuing ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their historic homeland goes hand in hand with the theft of Palestinian land, homes, history, and culture. It is an essential part of the larger, long-term Zionist project of eradicating the Palestinian nation altogether, literally writing it out of history while simultaneously assuming its place.

This erasure has been correctly termed as memoricide by historian Ilan Pappe in The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. Nur Masalha, elaborating further, writes: “The founding myths of Israel have dictated the conceptual removal of Palestinians before, during and after their physical removal in 1948… The de-Arabisation of Palestine, the erasure of Palestinian history and the elimination of the Palestinian’s collective memory by the Israeli state are no less violent than the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians in 1948 and the destruction of historic Palestine: this elimination is central to the construction of a hegemonic collective Israeli-Zionist-Jewish identity in the State of Israel” (The Palestine Nakba, 89).

Thus, the theft of Palestine and its culture has two essential and interwoven components, the removal/erasure of Palestinians and a concurrent assumption of nativity or “birthright” in Anglo-European Zionist terms. Over the last six and a half decades, this brazen erasure and theft has been achieved mainly through two methods: brutal violence (that is, terrorism) and mass media propaganda.

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