These are the fans of the Palestine Football (Soccer) Club in Santiago. They call themselves Baisanos, instead of Paisanos, because their Arab ancestors could not pronounce the letter P.
They wave Palestinian Flags and sport their colors.
The club was founded in 1920 by Palestinian immigrants and their sons. This sort of shows that some sense of Palestinian identity predated 1964 – giving a rebuke to the claim that no Palestinian identity pre-existed the formation of the PLO.
The team and the fans have gotten radicalized. They will often spout Pro-Palestinian slogans, and hold up signs which deny Israel’s existence.
My point here is not to glorify their radicalism, but to point out that the Palestinian community is well embedded in Chile.
We will start off this category with a rather interesting video made by Palestinian-Chilean students in 2007. They seem to take an almost militant Palestinian line.
NOTE:I do NOT agree with its anti-Zionist views, but I wanted to translate the video accurately.
A Palestinian-Chilean version of the Jewish Birthright tours
Original Chilean Source: (Click Here) Keep in mind, Chilean Palestinians are Christian
NOTE:I have been told the background music is by a Sunni Lebanese which calls on Arabs to fight Israel.
To see the Arabic music with English subtitles: (Click Here)
I want you to look at that video above.
That first video above was made by some Chilean Students from Santiago, Chile in 2007. These were the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of Christian-Palestinian immigrants to Chile. They are Christians. They are totally assimilated Chileans. Most Palestinian-Chileans have ancestors that arrived before 1930; before the present imbroglios. Some of these kids might be 4th or 5th generation Chilean. Yet, they put Sunni war music as the background for the pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
WHY ARE CHRISTIAN KIDS USING MUSLIM WAR SONGS?
Chile has about half of the Palestinian-Christians on the planet, even more than in the contested areas of the Mideast. It was as if Muslims were strained out, and only Christians made it to Chile. They are 99% or more Christian. They now form a middle to elite class in Chile. A good portion of them are intermarried now, and part-Spanish, part-Italian, part-Basque, part-German, etc. In other words, well-integrated and upscale Chileans; fortunate to be in a Latin American democracy that is now considered first world. They are thoroughly Westernized one would think.
Yet, like Jews in America, who are discovering their Jewish roots, these children are re-discovering their Palestinian roots.
SO, WHAT IS GOING ON?!
A part of this is ethnic pride, though in most Western Countries ethnic pride tapers off after 2 generations. This is running against the usual trend of assimilation, and seems to mirror Jewish identity politics. Both groups hang on to their roots. Competing Semitic identities.
Clearly, there is some outside meddling to reinforce this. Saudi and Iranian money are all over South America; but other factors are at work. Factors which cannot be explained by outside meddling.
The history of Palestinian identity politics go back long in Chilean history, back to the first major wave of immigrants in 18901, when the Chilean government, which was subsidizing European immigration, was met with waves of Arabs who were definitely not expected nor appreciated.
At first, they were savagely looked down on2; but within one generation, and with continuing immigration, they had started the social climb, and were on their way to real power.
By 1920, they had established a Chilean soccer team called the Palestinos.3, which would later become a major league soccer franchise in Chile. This sort of puts to death the claim that Palestinian identity was invented in 1964, by the PLO. The Palestinians in Chile were obviously calling themselves Palestinians by 1920 and probably before then.
By 1938, they set up Club Palestino, a prestigious social club in Santiago which is now a seat of power in Chile4.
In 1947 – long before the era of Muslim Oil Wealth, Chile’s Palestinians – by that time – had enough clout to have Chile’s pro-Zionist president change his ambassador’s vote to Abstain in the UN Partition Vote for Palestine. That is real power.
The Arabs were a joke elsewhere on the planet. By the 1940s, they were becoming an elite in Chile.
By the 1960s, some of the richest men in Chile were Palestinians and no one was laughing at them any more. They commanded respect, awe, and power.5
In many ways, they had mirrored the Jewish rise to power in America, and in much the same way and time frame.
By the 1970s, these formerly scorned were now looked up to as magnates of wealth and power.
The Pinochet dictatorship put a halt to much of this, but the Palestinian-Chilean power base re-emerged after the democracy was re-established; just in time for the First Intifada which was making world headlines. Chilean Palestinians were now jolted back to their beginnings.
However, their historical memory was being filtered rather selectively. The original Christian immigrants from Palestine had fled Turkish Muslim rule. They were terrified of their sons being drafted into a Turkish Army where it was not safe to be a dhimmi. One would have thought that alone would have diminished their enthusiasm for a cause which was getting more and more Islamic in nature. However, 100 years of safety in Chile seems to have fogged over that memory.
Immigrants who trickled in after 1948 and 1967 added to this (mis)focus6. These might only remember as far back as the Mandate era when the Muslims were held in check by the British. The refugees of ’67 could remember Zionist, and maybe British outrages, but usually had no experience of the greater Muslim outrages before the Mandate.
As the ancient memories of old Islamic terrors wafted away, the more pressing recent outrages of Zionists became the focus of attention.
Adding to the mess, TV brought images of Israeli-Palestinian clashes in the West Bank and suddenly Palestinian-Chilean interest was piqued.
Like an earlier generation of Jews, they did not remember that the tolerance of Muslim neighbors that grandfathr had spoken of was the consequence of either European rule which protected Christians, or European threats to intervene if Christians were attacked. They obviously forget the reason why the first wave of their ancestors had fled in 1890. It was to escape Islamic Turkish tyranny.
Humans being myopic, today’s Jewish misdemeanors angered the Palestinian-Chileans more than earlier Islamic felonies.
So Chile’s Palestinians have joined and seem to lead, the South American branch of the political Intifada.
The first two parts of the matter can be traced to two facts.
1) The Palestinian-Chileans have a strong ethnic pride
2) Palestinian-Chileans have a short-range historic memory
Neither is unusual. Palestinian-Chileans are not to be condemned for doing what everyone else does. Japanese-Americans will often send their children to Japanese school, so that the language will live on. Catholic children in New York City, of an earlier generation, went to Wednesday afternoon Catholic Catechisms. Jews, of course, still go to Hebrew School. So we can’t condemn the Palestinian-Chileans for wanting to maintain their heritage; but the only way we can explain their political involvement is if a Palestinian analog of Zionist organizations has arisen among them. This in itself would not be troubling; but it has started to exhibit Islamic overtones, which indicates that outside agendas, foreign to a Christian people, are being pressed into play.
There are two other factors at play.
3) Increasing Saudi and Iranian influence in South America
4) A myopic Israeli establishment which refuses to work out a deal of equality and enfranchisement with Arab Christians – in a divide and conquer strategy – and doesn’t try to use Chile’s Palestinians as a bridge betweem the Ummah and the West.
1There is evidence of individual immgrants going back to the 1850s, but 1890 was the start of large scale Palestinian immigration.
2The paper El Mercurio would write in 1911, “Whether they are Mahometans or Buddhists, what one can see and smell from far, is that they are more dirty than the dogs of Constantinople…” Source Wikipedia: Palestinian Community in Chile.
4Apparently, from their own website (Click Here) (in Spanish), they entered in an arrangement with the British Mandate, via the British Embassy in Chile. The list of founders indicates that even at this early date, they had become Chileanized, and were sporting Latin first names. The club has become quite prestigious over the years as this Wikipedia article claims (Click Here).
5At one point, the Yarur family controlled 60% of Chile’s textile industry. Now, they are heavily involved in banking.
6A similar thing happened to Jewish ethnic memory, which after the horrors of the European Holocast, tended to glamorize the tolerance of Islam over Europe. They brought up memories of Arab tolerance of Jews, forgetting that this Arab tolerance was the consequence of European colonial rule. Before colonial rule over the Arabs, which extended European rights and liberty to Sepharic Jews in Araby, the life of a Jew was horrific. But in 1945, very few living Jews could remember back that far, and the myth of Islamic tolerance was born. Recent scholarship has rooted out that error and re-discovered the brutality of Muslim and Berber regimes. It has been settled that it was not Islamic tolerance, but the standard colonial practice of extending protection to Sephardic Jews in the colonies which was the source of the tolerance, enforced by colonial rifles. Oddly enough, Muslim tolerance was really European tolerance; but after 1945, for obvious reasons, Jews were not thrilled with European tolerance.
This was particularly true in French-held Algeria where Sephardic Jews were awarded French citizenship in 1870; but the Arab had to renounce Islamic mores and adopt Western practices. This was considered apostasy and few Arabs went through the process.
To get a sense of what Jews had to endure in pre-colonial North Africa, the execution of Sol Huachel is instructive (Click Here). But after World War 2, such tyranny was overshadowed by the recent Holocaust, and the myth arose of tolerance.
Jewish Academics are starting to re-examine the whole era in a more unbiased light, and the myth of Islamic tolerance is crumbling. The Europeans did not so much as export anti-semitism to Araby; rather they exported a racialized variety of anti-Semitism to reinforce an already existing Islamic prejudice. No doubt the continued struggle with Islam has forced this re-assessment of Muslim tolerance among Jewish academics. It would be nice if more Christian academics followed suit.
This is from the Club Palestino (Palestinian Club) in Santiago, Chile.
This is called Dabke de Beit Sahour. Beit Sahour is one of the 4 Christian towns (Bethlehem, Beit Shahour, Beit Jala, and Beit Safafa (now annexed into Jerusalem)) from which many of the Christian Palestinian in Chile are descended.