Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Randa Farah's Smear Article

Did you know that the Huffington Post suffers from an appalling lack of anti-Israel bloggers? Even though the ratio of pro-Israel to anti-Israel stands at approximately 1:15, the Huffington Post editors decided  that wasn't good enough and it was time to bring on one more. But this time we don't have a Jew trying to speak for a Palestinian, we have an actual Palestinian named Randa Farah. Her bio for the Huffington Post says that she is an Associate Professor at the University of Western Ottawa (classic Huffington Post credentials) but it doesn't contain the follow. Fortunately Ms. Farah was honest enough to include it at the end:
"Randa Farah is a policy advisor of Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network."
Well isn't that informative. But you don't have to know Ms. Farah's background to know that she is less than an objective source for information about the Arab-Israeli issue, all you have to do is read her article. It's hard to know exactly where to start since the entire thing is one long propaganda piece, so instead I'll focus on the really problematic sections.

Ms. Farah begins by telling us that she was born in 1954 and that her family was not part of what she called the "ethnic cleansing" carried out by Israel. The fact that her family was still there proves it was not ethnic cleansing does not appear to have crossed her mind. Her source for this claim is the discredited pseudo-historian Ilan Pappe. Anyway after complaining about how hard life is under the Israelis while not appearing to be aware of what was happening to the other Arabs, including her fellow Palestinians, we get this informative remark:
"In 1965 my family crossed the Mandelbaum Gate into the West Bank, then under Jordan's rule. We had hardly settled when the Israeli military occupied the West Bank and Gaza along with other Arab territories. Once again we became occupied natives and confronted Israeli tanks, checkpoints and a military regime. "
Wait, what? Hold on. Ms. Farah is saying that her family intentionally left Israel and went into an occupied territory, presumably to live there forever. Why exactly did they do that? I'm sure Ms. Farah would say that it was because Israel was oh so mean to them, but why would she intentionally make herself become a refugee? I have a feeling that there is more to this story but I can't say I am surprised that Ms. Farah is leaving out any inconvenient facts. This seems to be confirmed as the story moves on.

After going to high school in Jerusalem (which is shocking considering I thought she was a Palestinian with no rights) she left to go to America (?!) and then her family relocated to Lebanon just in time for the first war there. A war which according to Ms. Farah just formed on its own like a spontaneous combustion and was not brought on by PLO rocket fire and terrorist attacks. I don't want to get too personal but it sure seems to me like Ms. Farah's family comes from wealth if they could afford to pack up and move around at their own discretion and not at the whims of fate. Perhaps the Huffington Post should have chosen a better representative of the poor helpless Palestinian than Ms. Farah but I'm sure they will soon enough. Anyway the disingenuousness continues:
"The presence of freedom fighters or Fedayeen [in Lebanon] signaled that the Palestinian refugees refused to disappear as the Zionist movement had hoped. Indeed, the right of return was central to the Palestine Liberation Organization's recruitment efforts."
There is a lot of dishonesty contained in these two little sentences. For starters, the Palestinian refugees only continue to be refugees because the Arab states force them to stay that way. I am highly doubtful that Ms. Farah is not aware of this she simply chooses not to tell us. Which for those of you keeping track at home, is a perfect example of a lie by omission.

Secondly, Fedayeen doesn't mean freedom fighters, it means "those who sacrifices themselves for God." Which also can include "martyrs," though it doesn't matter what word you use for it the goal is the same: to cover for terrorism. As I have said before the Palestinian devotion to freedom only extends so far as it is an excuse for fighting Israel. Just ask Walid Husayin if you don't believe me.

Thirdly, Ms. Farah does a good job of pretending the PLO is not about destroying Israel. But as before if she was halfway as informed about the PLO as she should be she would know that that is exactly what they want:
“In demanding the return of the Palestinian refugees the Arabs mean their return as masters, not slaves, or to put it more clearly – the intention is the extermination of Israel.”- Salah al-Din, Egyptian Foreign Minister
I just wish that Ms. Farah was honest enough to take these problems head on instead of avoiding them and hoping no one would call them out. If she had just said, "yes the PLO wanted to destroy Israel but have since changed their minds," it would still be misleading but it would also be closer to the truth.

In the interests of space I want to skip ahead a little bit. We get the usual half truths about the Oslo Accords with no mention of the intifadas or the rise of Hamas (too much truth for Ms. Farah) before she really lays on the talking points:
"Since then, there has been little peace and less justice. For Palestinian refugees and exiles, the political and armed conflicts in the region caused further displacement, for example from Jordan in 1970/71, from Lebanon during the civil war and the Israeli invasion, from Libya in the 1990s, and from Gulf countries and Iraq as a consequence of the two US invasions."
Once again we have lies by omission. Everything the Palestinians suffered in Jordan, Lebanon and Kuwait (unmentioned by Ms. Farah) were direct results of the actions of the very PLO that she was praising just a few short sentences ago. I can't imagine why Jordan didn't like it when you tried to over throw their government! Madness. Though it's not the first time the Palestinians have tried to rewrite their own history I expected somewhat better from a professor. Silly me right? But in the next paragraph she gets down to business:
"In most of the Arab countries, Palestinian refugees remain vulnerable to discrimination and many have a precarious legal status. Yet the predicament of the Palestinian refugees is an Israeli responsibility. While refugees struggle for rights in various host states, the blame should not be transferred to them."
Yep that's right. Even though the only reason why the Palestinians refugees are refugees in the first place is because of the Arab states, it is still Israel's problem to solve. This is nothing more or less than Arab propaganda, it is not an enlightened intellectual opinion. There is very little difference between the writing of an "associate professor" and a press release from Ramallah or Tehran.

She declares "we have the right of return" even though she decided to leave in 1954 and that only the Arabs should be allowed to decide the destiny of their own people. This also includes the destiny of the land which she describes as "known as Palestine until 1948," thus skillfully whitewashing Jewish history there. Even though Ms. Farah chose to leave she still considers herself to be a refugee, even though she has a right of return that isn't being denied to her because technically she isn't even a Palestinian! She's an Israeli! She was born in Israel! And if she denies her Israeli citizenship then she has no right in turn to demand it back. The Palestinian cause would really be helped by people who weren't so ridiculous like this.

We have come to the end and it is clear that the Huffington Post has taken another step towards becoming yet another straight up anti-Israel propaganda site. We shall have to see how long Ms. Farah sticks around.


  1. What's the source for the quotation attributed to Salah al-Din? To my knowledge there has not been an Egyptian Foreign Minister by that name in modern times.

    1. Google it:
      “In demanding the return of the Palestinian refugees the Arabs mean their return as masters, not slaves, or to put it more clearly – the intention is the extermination of Israel.”
      - Salah al-Din, Egyptian Foreign Minister
      (Al-Misri, Egypt, October 11, 1949; quoted in Harris O. Schoenberg, A Mandate for Terror: The United Nations and the PLO [Shapolsky Books, 1989], p239)

      It's Pre Republic of Egypt

      A great quote same link
      In his memoirs, Haled al Azm, the Syrian Prime Minister in 1948-49, also admitted the Arab role in persuading the refugees to leave:
      “Since 1948 we have been demanding the return of the refugees to their homes. But we ourselves are the ones who encouraged them to leave. Only a few months separated our call to them to leave and our appeal to the United Nations to resolve on their return.

  2. She's at the University of Western Ontario, not Western Ottawa. (Ottawa is quite large in area but its 2 main universities are somewhat centrally located as are a couple of smaller ones.)

  3. “they stood in front of an Israeli officer -- most likely a new settler from Europe”
    Farah – Iranian Pakistani origin? No mention of a husband.

    All she’s proved is that Palestinian “refugees” (inc. women) have prospered in every country in the world (including Israel), except for the Arab states that keep them perpetual poverty.


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