Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son Yair has been criticised after publishing several tweets denying the existence of Palestine because there is no “P” in the Arabic language.
Yair, who is known to be active on Twitter, initiated the discussion after sharing pictures from a Palestinian village that was ethnically cleansed of its inhabitants by Haganah, Irgun and Lehi – Zionist groups that are widely considered terrorist organisations – during the Nakba (Catastrophe) in 1948.
Lifta, Jerusalem 🇮🇱 pic.twitter.com/xrcF5yL5Re
— Yair Netanyahu 🇮🇱 (@YairNetanyahu) April 20, 2019
The provocative tweet drew several replies from users pointed out the bloody history of the village and the fate of the Palestinians who had lived there.
In response, Yair claimed that the idea of Palestine was a myth, presenting as proof the fact that the letter “P” does not exist in Arabic, ignoring the fact that the Arabic name of the region is Falasteen.
He went on to claim that Arabs belong to Arabia due to linguistic similarity, the same way Jews ought to belong to Judea.
Unfortunately for Yair, users were quick to point out that the letter “J” does not exist in Hebrew, and so by his own logic, Jews should have no connection to the region considered Judea.
There is no J in Hebrew, do you think Jews don't exist? https://t.co/Np3GY0R8v3
— The Afrikomen (@aptly_engineerd) April 23, 2019
Israeli-American pro-Palestine activist Miko Peled further questioned whether the lack of “J” in Hebrew meant Jerusalem also did not exist.
Speaking of idiots, there is no “J” in Hebrew so Jerusalem cannot be part of #Israel – nor Judea or Jews at all…
— Miko Peled, (@mikopeled) April 23, 2019
Some highlighted that if such comments had been made by non-Jews, it would have been considered anti-Semitism.
According to Deborah Lipstadt and the IHRA definition of anti-antisemitism, if someone would say the same about the Jews, he/she would be a Jew-hater. Does this make Yair Netanyahu a Palestinian-hater?
cc: @deborahlipstadt pic.twitter.com/Q5mLlQoOhB
— mihai martoiu ticu (@martoiu) April 23, 2019
Other users sought to educate Yair on Palestine’s history, drawing upon old Ottoman maps that clearly identified the region as Falasteen, later replacing the “F” with the Turkish “P”, even prior to the British Mandate and the division of the Levant by imperial powers.
Now this is a much older, Ottoman map, probably early 17th c. And as we could see, the region called "#Judea" by Netanyahu is actually called Filisṭīn. Again, it's the same region, roughly from Rafaḥ to the Līṭānī River and from the sea to the #Jordan. pic.twitter.com/5SJmZpChhM
— MENA Symbolism (@MENAsymbolism) April 23, 2019
Yair continued to justify his comments, pointing out the similarity between the national flags of Jordan and Palestine.
— Yair Netanyahu 🇮🇱 (@YairNetanyahu) April 22, 2019
Yet his point was further undermined when users pointed out similarities between numerous flags in other parts of the world.
I, too, love to think about flags. pic.twitter.com/DpQc9eLAJ0
— Charles Ellis (@HamledOnLine) April 23, 2019
Do you surprised by that? So check It out Luxembourg and Netherlands flags. pic.twitter.com/Rmi1o3HFmb
— Maicon Wazowski (@Maicon_Wazowski) April 24, 2019
Israeli politicians have frequently attempted to manipulate history in order to justify the establishment of Israel and denounce any claims made by the Palestinian inhabitants.
Yair Netanyahu has attained a reputation for crass and offensive behaviour on social media. Last month, he was slammed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after accusing Turkey of occupying Constantinople. Last year, he sparked a diplomatic between Ankara and Tel Aviv after he posted publishing an image on Instagram reading “Fuck Turkey”, following condemnations of Israel’s attack on protesters at the Gaza Strip.
In December Facebook banned him for 24 hours after he posted a series of anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian posts which the social network said broke its rules on hate speech.
In 2017 he posted a status deriding American left-wing groups as more dangerous that neo-Nazis, less than a week after the white supremacist terrorist attack in Charlottesville, which left one person dead.
He came under fire again a month later after he posted an anti-Semitic caricature suggesting a conspiracy was behind his family’s growing legal issues. The image was shared by former leader of the Ku Klux Klan David Duke and neo-Nazi news websites.