In recent years, the Palestinian movement has tried to hijack the American civil rights movement by drawing false and historical parallels. Yet, there is a striking similarity between the two movements that has largely been ignored.
In the Jim Crow South, the southern oligarchy maintained its position of oppression and exploitation by setting poor white sharecroppers against poor blacks, both of whose economic deprivation was a consequence of the very same corrupt social, economic, and political system.
As long as poor whites could be socialized to believe that blacks, not an entrenched system of elite oppression, were the cause of their poverty, then all the elite had to do to stay in power was to pit the two groups against each other.
A number of scholarly works delineated the problem, most prominent among them, V. O. Key, Southern Politics in State and Nation and W. J. Cash, The Mind of the South.
The Palestinians are the white sharecroppers of the Middle East. They have been taught to hate the Jews, and that all their problems stem from the Jews. Yet, the Palestinians’ real problem is the oligarchy that exploits them for its own benefit. The American taxpayer has helped make the Palestinians the highest per capita recipient of the world’s foreign aid, but little of it actually goes to the Palestinian people. And the Palestinian elite keeps Palestinians refugees out of foreign-financed construction projects, preferring to hire labor based on traditional systems of nepotism and corruption. This is one of the reasons the PA was voted out of Gaza.
Since Arafat and his terrorists were returned to the West Bank under the Oslo Accords, America alone has dumped over $20 billion into the Palestinian Authority.
Palestinians are the only people in the world who have their own refugee organization. Despite the world’s refugee crisis, there is one refugee organization for the entire world and one devoted solely to the Palestinians, whose primary function, after three generations, is to keep the Palestinian refugee problem alive and well.
Some 850,000 Jews were driven from their homes in the Islamic world. There was no United Nations refugee organization to assist them. Israel took them in even though there was not sufficient food in the country for everyone to have three meals a day. In a matter of years, these refugees were absorbed and became productive members of Israeli society. So, why are Palestinians still living as second-class citizens in refugee camps scattered over the Arab world three generations later?
The answer is obvious. There is an economic benefit to an elite kleptocracy that perpetuates the refugee problem for economic gain—its own economic gain.
Yasser Arafat controlled a financial empire worth $10 billion of which billions were diverted surreptitiously to a private investment portfolio and to pay for military operations against Israel. This money came from an international community that sought to help poor, suffering Palestinians, a community that was either unconcerned or incapable of asking why generations later there were still Palestinian refugees, a status no other group in recorded history experienced for that long.
Ironically, some of this money came from the value-added tax (VAT) that Israel collects on Palestinian goods sold in Israel and which it returns to the Palestinian Authority. That money also did not go to the Palestinian people.
Imagine if the billions that the international community spent on the Palestinians went toward the creation of schools, hospitals, and industry instead of toward war materiel and personal wealth. There would be a society where people had something to live for rather than die for.
Outside Ramallah, Mahmoud Abbas, unelected Palestinian president, is building a $13 million mansion, with American taxpayer support, while another generation of Palestinians is condemned to live in refugee camps.
When Palestinians compare themselves to the American civil rights movement, they do indeed have a point. Just as the southern oligarchy pitted hapless white sharecroppers against oppressed blacks to keep both sides from understanding who their real enemies were, so too the Palestinian elite creates a cycle of hate and violence that enables them to live in luxury while their people live in hopeless poverty from one generation to the next.