Yuval Noah Harari extract: ‘Humans are a post-truth species’

Yuval Noah Harari in The Guardian:

A cursory look at history reveals that propaganda and disinformation are nothing new, and even the habit of denying entire nations and creating fake countries has a long pedigree. In 1931 the Japanese army staged mock attacks on itself to justify its invasion of China, and then created the fake country of Manchukuo to legitimise its conquests. China itself has long denied that Tibet ever existed as an independent country. British settlement in Australia was justified by the legal doctrine of terra nullius (“nobody’s land”), which effectively erased 50,000 years of Aboriginal history. In the early 20th century, a favourite Zionist slogan spoke of the return of “a people without a land [the Jews] to a land without a people [Palestine]”. The existence of the local Arab population was conveniently ignored.

In 1969 Israeli prime minister Golda Meir famously said that there is no Palestinian people and never was. Such views are very common in Israel even today, despite decades of armed conflicts against something that doesn’t exist. For example, in February 2016 MP Anat Berko gave a speech in the Israeli parliament in which she doubted the reality and history of the Palestinian people. Her proof? The letter “p” does not even exist in Arabic, so how can there be a Palestinian people? (In Arabic, “F” stands for “P”, and the Arabic name for Palestine is Falastin.)

In fact, humans have always lived in the age of post-truth.

More here.