Palestinian distortion: “If I forget thee, oh Jerusalem” was Crusader expression usurped by Zionists

Jun 10, 2011 No Comments by

by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook (www.palwatch.org)

As part of the continuing Palestinian denial of Jewish history in Jerusalem, a Palestinian researcher and specialist on Jerusalem has claimed that the well-known verse of the Hebrew psalm, “If I forget thee, oh Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill,” is not a Jewish source at all. He said that the words were uttered by a Christian Crusader, and have only recently been “borrowed” by Jews and “falsified in the name of Zionism.”

The verse is in fact from Psalm 137 of the Hebrew Bible, which opens with the words: “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.” The psalm mourns the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonian army in 586 BCE, is part of Jewish tradition and liturgy and has appeared in Jewish sources for thousands of years.

Palestinian Media Watch has documented the Palestinian Authority policy of denying Israel’s history as the basis for its denial of Israel’s right to exist. The PA often denies the existence of the Temple in Jerusalem, calling it “the alleged Temple.”

The following are the words of Palestinian researcher Dr. Hayel Sanduqa on PA TV, claiming that the Hebrew Bible’s psalm was actually first said by a Crusader:

“[The Israelis] have acted to change Jerusalem’s character. Even the expression (Psalm 137:5) ‘If I forget thee, oh Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember thee.’
This statement, said by the Frankish [Crusader] ruler of Acre shortly before he left, was borrowed by the Zionist movement, which falsified it in the name of Zionism.”
[PA TV (Fatah), June 2, 2011]

The following is the beginning of Psalm 137 of the Hebrew Bible:

“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.
Upon the willows in the midst thereof we hanged up our harps.
For there they that led us captive asked of us words of song, and our tormentors asked of us mirth: ‘Sing us one of the songs of Zion.’
How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?
If I forget thee, oh Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill.
May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember thee, if I set not Jerusalem above my greatest joy.”

RON: Go to www.palwatch.org to see more examples from PMW’s website of the Palestinian Authority’s denial of Jewish history.

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About the author

Ron Ross worked as the first Sports Editor at WINTV. In Wollongong. He ran The Hamburger Hut an outreach and discipleship program for youth. He served with Youth With a Mission in Hawaii, Philippines and Australia. He was senior pastor of the Noosa Baptist Church, Queensland for 9 years. He reported news from Jerusalem for five years and is now the Middle East correspondent for United Christian Broadcasters and travels regularly preaching and teaching.
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