Sunday, September 06, 2009

Old anti-Zionist lies never die

In the middle of a predictably anti-Israel article in the Gulf News, written by Stuart Reigeluth, "a Middle East specialist based in Madrid," comes this little factoid:
One cannot help but wonder if Israel is permitting these colonies to continue to flourish to support the dream of a 'Greater Israel'. A map of this Zionist dream can be found on the 10 agorot national coin - which is used most often, ironically, as change on the Palestinian mini-buses that bounce along the windy roads of the West Bank.
This idea that the obverse of the 10 agorot coin portrays a map of Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates was first floated by Yasir Arafat in a press conference in 1988, and was immediately proven to be a lie - the design was based on one issued by the last Hasmonean king around 40 BCE. It is curious that this "Middle East specialist" accepted it as absolute truth. (Then again, his article has equally nonsensical things to say about demography.)

Sometimes, these little asides are more pernicious than the actual stories themselves. People reading the article might have an idea that it is biased, but they have no reason to believe that the throwaway "facts" are complete fabrications; they enter one's subconscious and they contribute to a web of deceit that surrounds people's perceptions of the Middle East.