Falsifying History to Hebraize Palestinians

By  Khalid Amayreh
“The claim that there are Jewish genes is ridiculous and unscientific,” asserts professor Katalo.
RAMALLAH — Experts are refuting an Israeli researcher’s claim that Palestinians are “ethnically Jewish” as a fundamentally flawed theory that contradicts both science and history, while Palestinians slammed it as part of a larger scheme to erase their identity.

“The claim that there are Jewish genes is ridiculous and unscientific,” Kamel Katalo, professor of Sociology at Al-Khalil University, told

Tsvi Misinai, an associate with Israel’s Ariel Center for Policy Research (ACPR), has come up with a thesis claiming that many Palestinians are “genetically Jewish”.

He alleges that the ancestors of today’s Palestinians are decedents of the Hebrews who did not leave after the Romans sent the people into exile and were converted to Islam during the Ottoman era.

“After reading his booklet, I got the impression that the man makes strident generalizations and reaches spurious and completely erroneous conclusions based on questionable premises,” insists Katalo.

He said one central flaw in Misinai’s theory is that it has never been established that there are what he called “Jewish genes.”

“Indeed, if there was something like that, there would have been a unified definition of being Jewish.

“If there were indeed unique Jewish geneses, then what would explain the fact that there are Jews of all races?”

Ismail El-Shindi, professor of Islamic Jurisprudence at Al-Quds Open University, dismisses Misinai’s claims as far-fetched.

“It is historically established that the Jewish population in Palestine under the Ottoman rule, especially in the early period, was very small.”

He also refuted the claim that the Ottomans compelled people to embrace Islam.

“This is a totally mendacious claim. There is no compulsion in Islam, and Jews and Christians as well as others were granted complete religious freedom under past Islamic states.”

Falsifying History

“They want to give an impression that Jews had always maintained a sizeable presence in Palestine, which is not true,” Shindi insists.
Professor Shindi describes Misinai’s “totally concocted” theory as the latest chapter in an Israeli scheme to rewrite Palestinian history.

“They want to give an impression that Jews had always maintained a sizeable presence in Palestine, which is not true,” he insists.

“These people are the greatest falsifiers of history.”

Muhammed Masalmeh, a resident of the southern West Bank town of Dura, bushes off the Israeli author’s theory as non-issue.

“This entire issue about people having Jewish roots makes no sense to me,” Masalmeh, who hails from a large Palestinian clan which Misinai says has Jewish roots, told IOL.

The 60-year-old Palestinian stressed that even if he had Jewish roots as Misinai claimed, it would mean nothing to him.

“Islam shapes a person’s entire identity. A Muslim can’t have conflicting identities.”

Muhammed Yousef Makhamra, an Arabic teacher, hails from the Makhamara clan living in southern Al-Khalil, another community Misinai claims has Jewish roots.

“I don’t think that my clan ever had any other identity besides the Palestinian-Arab-Muslim identity.”

The clan has roots in both Palestine and Jordan and was always an integral part of the Palestinian Arab Muslim community.

“We never maintained an esoteric, cultic or insular presence as Jews do.”

Makhamra believes Misinai’s theory is nothing but a new plot to fabricate history to justifying the creation of Israel in 1948 on the rubble of Palestine.

“Those standing behind him are trying to falsify history and give legitimacy to the Israeli Jewish occupation of our homeland.”

On April 18, 1948, Palestinian Tiberius was captured by Menachem Begin’s Irgun militant group, putting its 5,500 Palestinian residents in flight. On April 22, Haifa fell to the Zionist militants and 70,000 Palestinians fled.

On April 25, Irgun began bombarding civilian sectors of Jaffa, terrifying the 750,000 inhabitants into panicky flight.

On May 14, Jaffa completely surrendered to the much better-equipped Zionist militants and only about 4,500 of its population remained, and Israel was created on the rubble of Palestine.

“Having failed to liquidate the Palestinian cause and dislodge us from our ancestral homeland, they are now trying to invent stories and narratives to achieve their old goals,” contends Makhamra.


  1. Luis said,

    July 17, 2009 at 13:10

    Actually what lies behind this debate is more an issue of Jewish identity than something that would directly affect Palestinians.

    According to Jewish and particularly Zionist mythology Jews through the World are descendants of the historical Jews or Hebrews that lived in Palestine some 2000 years ago. This claim largely fails to scrutiny, both historical and genetic. In Antiquity and even as late as the Middle Ages, Judaism was often proselytist (Christianity is in fact nothing but the most successful of such proselytizing Judaist sects but there were also way too many cases of converts and even converted kingdoms to Rabbinic Judaism as well). While it’s possible that many Jews have some ancient Palestinian (Jewish) ancestry, it is also very likely that the bulk comes from other origins like Hellenistic Asia Minor (today’s Turkey), Khazars, etc.

    Most of the diaspora was already out of Palestine when the Roman genocide took place, and Asia Minor was the main area of Jewish settlement (and therefore is no wonder that it was also the core of the original Christian sect). They had migrated out of economic reasons mostly.

    Historical Jewish identity is in fact religious, not merely biological. They eventually had to stop proselytizing because of the pressure of the other neo-Judaic sects (Christianity and Islam) but that happened only late in the Middle Ages. With time this parental transmission of religion became also a sign of identity, and biological and religious elements got fused and confused.

    Genetic studies tend to make Jews, particularly Ashkenazim, who are the best studied, non-Levantine but more akin to Antolian, Balcanic and Black Sea peoples. Some of this also happens with Druzes, who are apparently of Hellenistic Gnostic origins. Hebrews also show variable levels of admixture with the host populations elsewhere: in some cases it’s major and in others minor but still significative. While Orthodox Judaism claims that Jewish indentity is transmitted by mothers, in fact Jews systematically show much more paternal than maternal affinity to West Asia and the Levant, sign that in fact it was mostly Jewish men who transmitted the culture and religion, often taking local women as spouses.

    So Jews are not (to a large extent) the Jews of antiquity. That seems quite clear. And in fact it seems it was rather well known and accepted before Zionism went mainstream. Early Zionists (and many others) acknowledged that peasants seldom abandon their lands and therefore ancient Jewish peasants must have remained where they were 2000 years ago, more or less. But Hasbara eventually came to deny this fact, as it would suppress any legitimacy to the already far-fetched claim on Palestine by the Zionists. So they invented “legends” of very feeble historical basis to support their claim.

    But today, with the advent of population genetics, such claims are shown to be quite false. Zionist scientists will still try to make Jews look more Levantine than they actually are by means of denying the local origins of real locals and fantasizing about the Druzes, who are somewhat closer to real Jews, being more true to ancient genetics (but Druzes are not of local origin for the most part – so…)

    As I see it, it is very possible that Palestinians are, at least in part, directly related to the ancient Jewish peasants. Certainly much more than most Jews. This is nothing that should offend Palestinians because it just means that they have even more right (if that’s possible) to their country and that Zionist Jews have less excuses for their invasion.

    Like other peoples of the area, these Jews or antiquity would have converted to Christianity (Christians were not persecuted by the Romans, as they were opposed to the revolt), which was anyhow just another Judaist sect, and later to Islam. In the meantime they changed their name from Jews to Palestinians, which was more “politically correct” in the Roman Empire and also prevented confusion with those Jews who were still followers of the Orthodox sect.

    This does not mean that there was never any flow from nearby regions. Of course there was some and, through the centuries it must have accumulated to meaningful levels. But not to the point to erase the ancient roots, the same that the Jewish invasion of Canaan did not simply kill all Canaanites but rather assimilated them.

    I think that for an Israeli to acknowledge this reality is a gigantic step forward towards realism and towards the recognition of Palestinians as the real legitimate owners of the land. Of course, you never know what the twisted Zionist mindset can do with that but IMO is a good step in the right direction: the direction of scientific “truth” and the direction of the acknowledgement of Palestinians as the true natives of the country.

  2. Wilbur said,

    July 17, 2009 at 20:13

    I just wish I could get some of the drugs everyone ELSE gets. One minute genetics are BAD and only Nazis engage in such comparisons. Next they were used to “acknowledge” the Fallahahs (whatever) from Ethiopia as true jews. Now this. It’s like an acid trip without the fun music.Go up to Baghdad and test — after all (1) Abraham came from there and (2) The jews that STAYED (the Tribes L-O-S-T to Israel) surely left some genes.

  3. rehmat1 said,

    July 18, 2009 at 01:44

    How for these Zionazi would stoop in their hatred of Arabs and Muslims – can be judged by the latest statement of Zionist entity’s transport minister, Israel Katz that Bibi’s government has decided to Judaize hundreds of Arabic names of cities, roads and commnities in order to erase Palestinian history like their 5,000-year-old country of Palestine. For exmple, Jerusalem (Al-Quds) would be changed to “Yerushalayim”, Jesus’ birth place, Nazreth, would be changed to “Natzrat”, and Jaffa city will become “Yafo” and the city of Nablus could become “Shechem”. Historically, it’s as old scheme as the creation of Zionists’ outlaw state in 1948 – whose first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, told the “Naming Committe”: “We are obliged to remove the Arabic names for reasons of state”.

  4. michael mazur said,

    July 18, 2009 at 04:43

    Dr Shlomo Sand has given the kept historiographers – whether Israeli or Palestinian – a problem, and so without mentioning him, some mischaracterise his thesis by introducing terms Dr Shlomo has not used, like `ethnically Jewish` and `genetically Jewish`, while others, as if on cue, promptly ridicule the mischaracterisation – all very neat, and thus the sediment is stirred in the clearing waters of the ancient past.

    What he actually said was that the Palestinians are the true semitic peoples of this contested region, and are the descendants of the ancient Hebrews who stayed in this one region, and who then with the advent of Islam in the 600s AD had converted.

    But that those citizens of Israel who say they are Jewish, largely had their genetic origins elsewhere; to quote him,`The most significant mass conversion occurred in the 8th century, in the massive Khazar kingdom between the Black and Caspian seas.’ – and so to steer well away from this core fact of Israeli Jewish identity, spurious terms to kick off obfuscating debate like the aforementioned `ethnically Jewish` and `genetically Jewish` are concocted.

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