A History of the Palestinian People From Ancient Times to the Modern Era
Assaf A. Voll
Translated and adapted from the Hebrew by Alan Slater
Vollume Publishing; undated
This new book by the Israeli “publicist, editor and creative specialist” Assaf A. Voll, reduces three thousand years of Palestinian history and achievement to 132 bank pages — blank, except for a printed watermark of a Palestinian flag superimposed over Palestinian/Roman pillars.
The book caused an avalanche of five-star ‘reviews’ on Amazon by gleeful Zionists, and outrage among others for its obvious intent as racist weaponry. When Amazon, responding to complaints, removed the book, there was new outrage at Amazon’s selectiveness. As the JewishPress.com put it,
Hypocrisy: Amazon Removes ‘Palestinian History’ Book, Keeps Selling ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’
Indeed the headline’s claim is correct: the infamous Protocols is readily available through Amazon. One might further argue that whereas a private, independent bookseller with a specific inventory must decide which books fit the shop’s criteria and deserve to occupy shelf space, Amazon is in reality a common utility, a portal for anything published and available.
Amazon might instead have responded by placing a disclaimer on the book’s listing: Notice: In conflict with the publisher’s description, this book consists of 132 blank pages. There is no text. But instead it pulled the book while, as critics point out, selling acknowledged hate forgeries.
The gimmick behind this blank ‘history’ book is not new. Most recently, in February a blank book entitled Reasons To Vote For Democrats: A Comprehensive Guide was smash hit, reaching the single-digits on Amazon’s sales ranking. The 2011 blank book Everything Obama Knows About the Economy was another big seller. On quite a different level, there is for example mention of a book conceived in the 1960s by the surrealist playwright H.M. Koutoukas, entitled The Great Book of Lesbian Humor, consisting of 7 blank pages — if it was ever made.
If these four examples are identical in gimmick, they are vastly different in their human chemistry. The Democrats and Obama tomes can be easily dismissed as political cartoons, offensive only in their boringness. With Koutoukas’ apocryphal book, the intent of the author and the changing sensibilities of the audience and of society are at issue.
But History of the Palestinian People is explicitly intended to reinforce the dehumanization of an entire people in order to grease the machinery of subjugation and ethnic cleansing. That it seeks to erase the history of a vibrant, ancient civilization is however, only its second-worse crime; foremost is its implicit mentality that the grandeur of one’s forebears’ history determines one’s ‘right’ to live one’s own life on one’s own land.
Dehumanization has of course been a standard tactic of racial settler-colonialism for centuries — indeed, one can safely say, millennia — and has been an every-present feature of Zionism. It can take subtle-but-insidious form, like Ben-Gurion referring to the Palestinians as “Arabs who happen to be in Palestine,”* overtly grotesque forms, like this 1948 cartoon by the noted illustrator and political caricaturist Arthur Szyk — and allegedly benign, humorous, form, like the book at issue, likely to be defended by cries against ‘political correctness’, but in truth a gear in a brutal seventy year military campaign waged by a century-plus racial-nationalist movement.
(* see Suárez, State of Terror, page 238)