One very important thing that all of us can do is to counter the endless lies and distortions of Israel's history and character that appear in the press, mass media, on the Internet, and even in scholarly journals. These distortions and outright falsehoods are a major reason why is in such deep trouble, and in danger of "going under." Because the entire world has been led to believe an inaccurate, grossly distorted "narrative" of the conflict, the government of Israel feels it has no choice but to make concessions to the demands of its enemies, in order to appease world opinion. But these concessions imperil Israel's existence.
Each of us can help to correct this appalling situation by acting immediately, whenever we encounter such a distortion in the press or mass media, to correct it with a letter to the editor or news manager. We can also actively monitor the mass media on the Internet in order to locate as many distortions as we can and correct them. Further, we can speak up to counter distortions in public lectures and meetings about the Arab-Israel conflict, and even in private conversations. All of this requires work and time, but it really does help. Each of us should devote as much time and energy to these tasks as we possibly can.
But in order to counter the endless flow of lies and distortions about , we must first learn what the true facts of Israel's history are. Before we can answer the chorus of unfair criticisms leveled against and her supporters in the United States and elsewhere, we must first educate ourselves.
The Israelis are not colonialists or alien "settlers" in the Land of Israel with no past connection or relationship to the country; on the contrary, we Jews have lived in for at least 3,200 years if not longer. This is far longer than most peoples have lived in their present national homelands. Our two glorious temples, wonders of the ancient world, were there for a thousand years. King David's kingdom endured for more than four hundred years; later, there was the independent Jewish state of the Maccabees. Jews had lived in the Land of Israel in large numbers for at least 1,800 years before the Arabs conquered it in 635 C.E. Moreover, while hundreds of thousands of Jews were expelled from their land or put to death in it by foreign conquerors, there have been at least some Jews living there almost continuously for 3,200 years.
There has never been a distinctive "Palestinian" Arab people or an Arab "Palestine" state or nation; while it is true that some Arabs have lived in the Land of Israel for many centuries, they have never been ethnically or culturally distinct or different from the Arabs who live in other lands, including the original Arab homeland, the Arabian Peninsula. The Jews, however, are a people who originated in the Land of Israel and never had any other national homeland.
During over a thousand years of Muslim rule, "Palestine" was rarely the name even of an administrative district, let alone a nation. Arabs referred to the entire land that now comprises Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and the "occupied territories" as "al-Shams" (Syria), which they regarded as one country.
While the Land of Israel, also called "Palestine" by Romans and Europeans, was densely populated in ancient times, its population steadily declined during over 1,000 years of Muslim rule. In the nineteenth century, Israel/Palestine was very thinly settled. There was very little agriculture, and extensive abandoned and uninhabited "waste" lands. Most of the population, such as it was, lived in dire poverty. Brigandage was such an established and accepted way of life that it was impossible to travel on the roads without the payment of large bribes to the leading men of each village along the way. The roads themselves were no more than unpaved footpaths. Villages fought wars with each other. Nomadic Bedouin tribes frequently raided villages and even larger towns. The inhabitants of the few larger towns (there were no real cities) had to cower behind thick walls and locked gates every night for security.
The Arab population of Israel/Palestine only began to grow in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, at the same time that Jews began to resettle the land. Jewish immigrants brought with them modernized agriculture, including the growing of oranges, which had been previously unknown; a market for Arab agricultural goods; employment at Jewish farms and factories; modern hospitals and medicine that saved thousands of Arab lives; the draining of swamps that had caused thousands of deaths from malaria and other insect-born diseases; and vastly expanded Arab education funded by Jewish taxes.
The Arab population of Palestine has grown extensively, from under 500,000 in 1891 to over 3,600,000 today, partly because of increased life expectancy brought about by the economic and scientific progress introduced by Jewish immigrants/settlers, but also in part because of extensive immigration to Palestine from many Arab countries.
The Arabs, including and especially the Palestinian Arabs, have been the aggressors throughout the nearly 100 years of the Arab-Israel conflict. This "one long war" began with the communal violence that convulsed Palestine between 1920 and 1948, even before was founded.
Palestinian and other Arabs organized and carried out massive pogroms against the Jews of Palestine in 1920, 1921 and 1929, waged a sustained terrorist campaign against them from 1936 through 1939, and a full-scale against them in 1947-48. Thousands of Palestinian terrorist/guerillas, the regular armies of six Arab states, and "volunteers" from throughout the Arab and Muslim worlds all participated in this aggressive war. Before the 1947-48 Arab attack against the Palestinian/Israeli Jews there had been few if any displaced Palestinian Arabs. The Palestinian Arabs were not innocent bystanders in the war that made them refugees. They initiated the war in which some, although not all, of them fled from parts of in 1948. They killed over two thousand Jews in that war. The six invading Arab states killed over 4,300 more Jews.
The Israelis defended themselves as best they could against these unprovoked attacks. But they did not expel the Palestinian Arabs. Many Arab leaders as well as ordinary Palestinian Arabs have admitted that Arab leaders urged the Arabs living in Palestine to flee, promising them that Arab armies would soon defeat the Jews and allow them to return to their homes. Despite this bad advice, many Palestinian Arabs never left , and became Israeli citizens, with full rights of citizenship. Today there are over one million Arab citizens and residents of -- more than there were in 1947, before was established.