Joan Peters, former White House advisor on the Middle East under Carter and author of “From Time Immemorial,” the classic work on the real situation in the Middle East and the history of Palestine (Israel) talks with Zola Levitt about how the Palestinians have scored a public relations coup by appropriating the identity of the Jews in Israel.
She explains how language has been transformed by turnspeak, a concept similar to the newspeak described in George Orwell’s book, “1984” so that the press now attributes the right to the land and and historic possession of it to Arabs, when from 1948 and before the term Palestinian actually applied to the Jewish inhabitants. Only recently has the term been transferred to the Arabs, who until lately refused to be identified with the label “Palestinian,” because of its identification with the Jews.
She documents how the “Palestinians” of today actually are Arabs from Syria, etc.most of whom moved to the land only a few years after the defeat of the Ottoman Turks and just before the establishment of the Israeli state, looking for work in the burgeoning Jewish economy. Rather than Arabs who lived on the land for centuries, the real natives are Jews who had always maintained a presence there and who, aided by the immigration that began in the early 20th century, transformed the land from a barren waste capable of supporting few people into the flourishing state of today. This transformation of history and identity is the myth behind the “right of return” spoken of in the recent peace talks. Falsehoods and indoctrinated hatred of Arab children are used to keep the situation volatile as each new generation is more fully convinced that something has been stolen from them and that only the complete destruction of the Jewish state can restore their honor and their fortunes.
My good friend, the author, television producer and lioness of Judah Joan Peters passed away yesterday at her home in Chicago.
Joan, who in the 1970s served as foreign policy advisor to President Jimmy Carter, rose to fame with her groundbreaking, essential history of the Palestinian conflict with Israel, From Time Immemorial which was first published in 1984.
In From Time Immemorial, Joan exposed the fraud at the heart of the Palestinian national narrative — the claim of indigenous status in the land of Israel. As Joan showed, most of those who now refer to themselves as Palestinians were migrants from surrounding Arab lands who came to Israel as economic migrants beginning in the mid-19th century, and mainly during the period of the British Mandate in the land of Israel. That is, they came the same time the Jews did.
Joan’s book, of course caused fits of rage in the far Left that was busily propagating the myth that Jews are stateless nobodies with no history or claim to the land of Israel to which we came as nothing more than malevolent European colonialists, while the Palestinians were the real Jews.
The usual suspects, Edward Said, Norman Finklestein and Noam Chomsky, with the able assistance of Anthony Lewis at the New York Times worked overtime to discredit her book.
But truth is a stubborn thing, and today, serious scholars acknowledge the truth of Joan’s groundbreaking book.
Joan lived in Chicago with her beloved husband Dr. William A. Caro. During my visits over the years with my family in Chicago, she and I became good friends and when she and Bill visited Israel, we were always happy to spend time with them. For my children, they are Aunt Joan and Uncle Bill.
Joan was a pillar of support for me during my long sojourn in the US last year during my book tour. She always encouraged me and was available for pep talks every time I started running out of steam.
As many of you know, I am on a brief pause from my writing at the Jerusalem Post – just one more week to go – as I complete the Hebrew manuscript of my book which is set to be published next month.
Joan played a key role in enabling me to move forward with the Hebrew edition. Over the summer, as Joan and I were sitting down at a restaurant for lunch, I received a call from my Israeli publisher. He told me that he needed funding to pay for the translation. Even before we ordered our meal, Joan was on the phone with her friends asking them to help fund the project. By the time dessert arrived, I had already emailed my publisher and told him that the funds had been secured.
That was Joan. When she believed in something, she went with it with all her heart. And when it came to Israel, she was there with her whole heart.
Joan never shirked. She never wavered in the face of opposition and criticism. She loved what she loved with all her heart.
And she loved her daughter Lori and her husband Bill, most of all.
I am richer personally, and the Jewish people are richer as a whole for having Joan. She was a courageous, wonderful, kind and loving woman who I was proud to call my friend.
I mourn her deeply on a personal level, and along with the rest of the Jewish people, I mourn her loss as a champion of our rights and of the truth and justice of our national rebirth.
If you are in Chicago, Joan’s funeral will take place tomorrow at 10am at Congregation Anshe Emet.
Baruch Dayan Emet.