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Netanyahu uses DNA claim to deny Palestinian right to homeland

Image of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on 11 February 2017 [Facebok]
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on 11 February 2017 [Facebook]

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday tweeted that the Palestinians’ connection to the Land of Israel is nothing compared to the 4,000 year connection that the Jewish people have with the land. He cited a recent article stating that Biblical Philistines had come from Europe, according to DNA uncovered in the coastal city of Ashkelon.

 

 

His attempt to delegitimise the Palestinians’ right to their homeland was criticised by many as “race science”, which is often promoted by extreme right-wingers to justify ethno-nationalist policies.

 

 

One Twitter user questioned the validity of Netanyahu’s “scientific” argument, comparing it to phrenology, the pseudoscience which involves measuring bumps on the skull to predict mental traits and has since been entirely discredited by scientific research.

Another challenged Netanyahu on Israel’s policies towards Ethiopian Jews. Last week, an unarmed Ethiopian Jewish teenager was killed by an off-duty police officer, sparking protests by the community accusing the Israeli police of racism.

Yet another Twitter user drew a historical parallel with apartheid South Africa, when white settlers would use similar arguments to justify the apartheid policies of forced population transfer and segregation. Others looked to Nazi Germany as a historical parallel, where eugenics and race science were used to justify the genocide of the Jewish people.

READ: Years after the blood dumping scandal, Ethiopians are still resisting racism in Israel

Writing no doubt with tongue planted firmly in her cheek, another Twitter user suggested the absurdity of Netanyahu’s argument by comparing it with the “connection” that Mongolians have to Hungarian territory because they lived there in the 1200s.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu’s son Yair was filmed speaking at an event for devout Christians in Alabama this weekend, trying to erase Palestinians’ identity by saying that they had originally migrated from other parts of the Middle East, as proven by such surnames as those which mean “Egyptian” and “from Aleppo”. Netanyahu Junior also faced criticism, and was compared to his father because of his extreme rhetoric.

 

 

He is known for his offensive behaviour on social media. Last December, Facebook banned him for 24 hours after he posted a series of anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian posts which broke the social network’s rules on hate speech.

In April, he claimed that Palestine never existed because there is no “P” in the Arabic language, leading many people to criticise and mock him for his ignorance. In Arabic, of course, Palestine is pronounced “Filisteen”. And yes, there is an “f” in the Arabic language.

READ: Netanyahu’s son mocked after claiming Palestine never existed

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