Friday, December 24, 2021

Hafez al-Barghouti is a Fatah member who is the former editor of Palestinian Authority newspaper Al Hayat al-Jadida, and a frequent op-ed contributor to various Arab media.

Writing in Jordan's Al Ghad, Barghouti has come up with a completely new example of how Zionists steal everything from Arabs.


In the middle of an article about Israeli cultural appropriation, where he falsely claims that Israelis told Miss Universe contestants that Bedouin culture was Jewish, and goes through the usual litany of how Israelis steal Arab dance, music and cuisine.

Then he says:
Even the current Hebrew language is a modern invention, as it was developed by a Russian Jew who came from Russia to Palestine in 1890 and used Arabic grammar and the Canaanite Aramaic language, and added to it from the Yiddish language and European languages ​​and called it a Hebrew language and written in Aramaic letters similar to ancient Arabic, i.e. separate letters.
Yes, he is claiming that the primary influence on modern Hebrew is not...Hebrew, and that the language was stolen from Arabs.

Of course, even before Eliezer ben-Yehudah worked to standardize modern Hebrew, Hebrew was spoken and used for secular purposes. A simple Hebrew was spoken in the Old Yishuv throughout the 1800s, and there were Hebrew journals and newspapers that pre-dated Ben Yehuda. The earliest examples of periodicals written in Hebrew online at Israel's National Library are Ha-Me'Asef (Poland) from 1783  and Ha-Tzefirah (Ukraine) from 1823. Ben Yehudah based modern Hebrew grammar primarily on Mishnaic Hebrew, not Arabic, although he took some words from modern Arabic and Hebraicized them.

But to some people, Jews are thieves and therefore everything Jewish or Zionist is stolen. Other languages evolve with outside influences, but Jews steal their language. Other cuisines borrow from other cultures, Israeli cuisine steals. 


Barghouti ends off the article with an old Arab joke, although I cannot figure out how it relates to his theme:
It is said that a well-known merchant in Hebron was a friend of an Israeli merchant, and one day the Israeli merchant complained that he had bought a large amount of women's bras and could not sell them because they were too large, so he offered to sell them to the Arab merchant at a cheap price. Months later they met, and the Israeli asked him what happened to the bras?  The Hebronite replied, “They have all been sold.” The Israeli wondered, “Do your women have big breasts?” The Hebron merchant replied, “No, but your heads are big. I have prepared and embroidered them as kippot for religious Jews, and I sold them.”

I've seen variants of that joke elsewhere, but someone who doesn't know that kippot are significantly cheaper than bras is not exactly the right person to act as an expert on Jews, Israelis or Hebrew.

Indeed, Jews have gone in the other direction - to turn kippot into bras.

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