Shocker: ‘Jewish Advocate’ Publishes Blunt Description of Israel’s ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ in ’48

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 28 Comments

Lucianne Goldberg had a wonderful expression for Bill Clinton’s predicament. She said that when he said, "I did not have sex with that woman," he drank the Strontium-90. After that it was just a question of how long it would take for him to turn to jelly. (Still developing!) In the Israel/Palestine situation the Strontium 90 is the New Historians. Their work in the 80s-90s was utterly staggering; it revealed among other things that members of Ben-Gurion’s inner circle in 47-48 coldly plotted to cleanse the land of Palestinians; and then did so through violence, murder, intimidation…

The New Historians are the Strontium 90 because their truth is just too powerful and well-documented; and Jews here in the U.S. were going to read this stuff and have their minds blown. I got around to reading it in the last year or so. And here is the amazing Hannah Mermelstein, of birthright unplugged, writing in the Jewish Advocate on-line that "The Land Was Theirs." Yes in the Jewish Advocate!

On March 20, 1941, Yosef Weitz of the Jewish National Fund wrote: “The
complete evacuation of the country from its other inhabitants and
handing it over to the Jewish people is the answer.”
… in 1948, almost two months before the first “Arab-Israeli
war” technically began, the 1,125 inhabitants of the Palestinian
village Umm Khalid fled a Haganah military operation. Like their
brethren from more than 500 villages, they likely thought they would
return to their homes within a few weeks, after the fighting blew over
and new political borders were or were not drawn.
Instead, more than 6 million Palestinian people remain refugees to this
day, some in refugee camps not far from their original towns, others in
established communities in Europe and the US, all forbidden from
returning to their homeland for one reason: they are not Jewish

Let us, as Jewish people with a history of oppression and a tradition
of social justice, work for the right of indigenous people to return to
their land. This is our only hope for true peace and security in the
region.

I love you Hannah.  "Can you believe your eyes?" David Bloom writes to me, in sending this along. No I can’t believe my eyes. Don’t you see what is happening!? Jewish identity is changing before our eyes! Militant colonialist Zionism is being questioned by American Jews.  The tide is ours.

P.S. Note the related petition from a group called  No Time To Celebrate: Jews Remember the Nakba.  These are Jews like me and Mermelstein who are trying to do what is utterly essential to any movement forward historically: acknowledge, honor, apologize for the Nakba (which some of our own grandparents and parents helped to foster). And then do something about it!

28 Responses

  1. Richard Witty
    March 26, 2008, 10:29 am

    "P.S. Note the related petition from a group called No Time To Celebrate: Jews Remember the Nakba. These are Jews like me and Mermelstein who are trying to do what is utterly essential to any movement forward historically: acknowledge, honor, apologize for the Nakba (which some of our own grandparents and parents helped to foster). And then do something about it! "

    !!!! (That is hear, hear).

    The thing not to do is the carelessly interpret the conclusions of the New Historians. Pappe's interpretations of the same set of facts are different than Zimmerling or Morris's (which are different from each other).

    Pappe concludes that Zionism is invalid. Morris concluded that the VARYING actions of Irgun, Stern Gang, Haganah (NOT the same in method or goal, by any reasoning) were probably necessary, and that because Zionism was both desirable and necessary, and that war was already occurring (some with Zionist land-grabbing to blame, some with Palestinian already dispossessed to blame, some with land-grabbing new Arab states to blame), that the actions were strategically justifiable.

    Our Monday morning quaterbacking (the interpretations, not the data itself), is opportunistic prejudicial in itself.

    As a parent, I know that there are painful, even borderline unconsciounable actions that I had to do to protect my children from danger, that I still must do (without political rationalization).

    Its UNKNOWN.

    Phil diminishes the importance of threats or fear (or experience), and concludes "ALL this is wrong".

    When, he could validate the fears and by validating them and respectfully naming them, participate in unraveling them.

  2. Richard Witty
    March 26, 2008, 10:32 am

    In addition to acknowledge, honor, apologize for (I'm not sure what Phil has to apologize for. He's not even the beneficiary of anything. Is it collective guilt?),

    It would be BETTER still to actively inform of the Nakba, in a non-polemic manner.

  3. Jim Haygood
    March 26, 2008, 10:34 am

    "I love you Hannah." – Phil

    Me too!

    "Birthright Unplugged" — talk about an in-your-face name. Maybe something really is changing. For the better.

  4. Jim Haygood
    March 26, 2008, 10:49 am

    .

    "because Zionism was both desirable and necessary … the actions were strategically justifiable … Monday morning quaterbacking … interpretations … opportunistic … prejudicial … Its UNKNOWN."

    Witty's "great cloud of unknowing" expands to obscure all certainty. In the pervasive primordial soup of his gaseous semantic perfusions, we can know and conclude nothing … except that zionism was desirable and necessary.

    "Can we actually 'know' the universe? My God, it's hard enough finding your way around Chinatown. The point, however, is: Is there anything out there? And why? And must they be so noisy?" — Woody Allen

  5. Charles Keating
    March 26, 2008, 11:14 am

    What would a Monday morning quarterback say about the fear many Germans had about the red menace and its nature?

  6. the Sword of Gideon
    March 26, 2008, 11:32 am

    I thought it was a man in the picture, ugh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Richard Witty
    March 26, 2008, 11:33 am

    Its a judgement call.

    Being uninformed of the reality of the situation, of the actual history (not just Pappe's interpretation) is not the means to apply concise judgement.

    Do you disagree that Zionism was necessary for the million Jewish European refugees that were denied entry elsewhere, and continued to be persecuted at "home".

  8. Richard Witty
    March 26, 2008, 12:02 pm

    Do you understand the sequence of very fast-moving events in 45 – 49 (and later)?

    1945 – refugees

    1945-47 Illegal immigration (but no or insignificant dispossession)

    1947 – British and then UN mandate proposal of very small sliver of land for Jewish state (accepted by Zionists)

    1947 – Civil war, first between Palestinians and Zionists

    1948 – Adoption of larger mandate proposed and affirmed by UN general assembly

    1948 – Rejection of UN mandate by all Arab and Muslim states, invasion of land by Arab states (mostly in land grab, more than "solidarity" for then non-existent Palestinian national consciousness)

    1948-49 Nakba dispossession by combination of Zionist, Arab "solidarity", and general war zone emigration

    1949-1952 Implementation of laws prohibiting return and filing of title claims for temporarily abandoned property and residences (title based on residency rather than registration)

  9. Jim Haygood
    March 26, 2008, 12:12 pm

    .

    "laws prohibiting … filing of title claims for temporarily abandoned property and residences (title based on residency rather than registration)"

    So if I can expel you from your home and live in it awhile, the title becomes mine? Even though it's registered to Richard Witty at the county courthouse?

    Kindly post your address; I'll be right over.

    Seriously, this 'law' wouldn't pass muster here. Why is it OK in Israel?

  10. LeaNder
    March 26, 2008, 12:16 pm

    Richard, don't you think it's somehow ironic that the best that could happen to Zionism were Hitler and the Nazis?

    For quite some time now I am fascinated by what feels like a constant series of paradoxes that arise out of your parallel text to Philipp's. (I am very fond of paradoxes, admittedly!)

    How about this one:

    You keep insisting that the Israel/Palestine history is so difficult that it can hardly be understood correctly and most of the time is distorted by bias; but above you show us that obviously you are able to summarize e.g. the view of Benny Morris in 2-3 short sentences.

    The last book by Benny Morris I read had 800 pages. May I say: I am wondering.

  11. Richard Witty
    March 26, 2008, 2:19 pm

    I've only read "Righteous Victims", but also subsequent interviews, including last year in which he described that MAYBE, the Zionists should have continued in 1948 to remove the Palestinians from the West Bank as well.

    So, as not to leave the status as half-done, limbo.

    Contreversial.

    His premise is that leaving things half done, is what causes states of conflict. So, if Israelis were a very small minority, then that would have been a done deal, or if Palestinians were a very small minority, that would have been a done deal.

    Israel/Palestine history is complex with a finite number of key periods. Mostly though, partisans (pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli) opportunistically or negligently select what proves their point only.

    The divide between the narratives was oil and water up until recently. Only those with deep commitment to integrity and accepting bearing very conflicting accounts and interpretations, could pull it off, without becoming radically partisan themselves.

    Thanks to the New Historians, even the contreversial ones on both sides of the divide, a concept of post-Zionism is even feasible currently.

    Its probably not all that different with any war, any severe conflict.

    The big shift is how to construct the institutions and the attitude of live and let live.

  12. Joachim Martillo
    March 26, 2008, 5:13 pm

    Here is my timeline:

    link to members.aol.com

    "The big shift is how to construct the institutions and the attitude of live and let live."

    Something that will only be possible once Israeli Jews return what they stole, acknowledge that Zionism was evil, and show some remorse.

    Such is Jewish expections of Germans.

    The standards that Jews apply to non-Jews must be applied to Jews.

    Jewish racists and Nazis like Witty have to stop lying both to themselves and to others.

    The mendacity of far too many Jews makes reasonable dialogue practically impossible.

    See link to eaazi.blogspot.com .

  13. Arie Brand
    March 26, 2008, 5:48 pm

    Witty: "As a parent, I know that there are painful, even borderline unconsciounable actions that I had to do to protect my children from danger, that I still must do (without political rationalization)."

    Witty's persistent attempt to provide a soft front for aggressive Zionism has reached here a new and ridiculous height. The motive behind the brutal expulsion and land grab of 1948 is now compared to a father's tender concern for the safety of his children.

    If there must be a comparison with family matters it seems more appropriate to think of a mafia family where parental concern is limited to letting the offspring share in the 'cosa nostra'.

    Land grabbing is in the 'genetic code' of Zionism (as Avnery has put it). This was most clearly shown after the Six Day War when for a while Israel's self confidence reached absurd heights and there was, for about six years, no sense of danger. Yet land theft (often under some military pretext or other) was then too the order of the day.

  14. Arie Brand
    March 26, 2008, 6:17 pm

    Fatherly concerns:

    The interview Witty refers to, of Benny Morris by Ari Shavit,includes, inter alia, the following statements:

    "Shavit: According to your new findings, how many cases of Israeli rape were there in 1948?

    Morris: "About a dozen. In Acre four soldiers raped a girl and murdered her and her father. In Jaffa, soldiers of the Kiryati Brigade raped one girl and tried to rape several more. At Hunin, which is in the Galilee, two girls were raped and then murdered. There were one or two cases of rape at Tantura, south of Haifa. ( In recent years this village has achieved notoriety because a certain Teddy Katz alleged in an M.A.thesis that in this village 200 Palestinian villagers were shot by members of the Alexandroni brigade after they had surrendered – he was sued for libel, lost the case and was stripped of his M.A.degree). There was one case of rape at Qula, in the center of the country. At the village of Abu Shusha, near Kibbutz Gezer [in the Ramle area] there were four female prisoners, one of whom was raped a number of times. And there were other cases. Usually more than one soldier was involved. Usually there were one or two Palestinian girls. In a large proportion of the cases the event ended with murder. Because neither the victims nor the rapists liked to report these events, we have to assume that the dozen cases of rape that were reported, which I found, are not the whole story. They are just the tip of the iceberg."

    Shavit: According to your findings, how many acts of Israeli massacre were perpetrated in 1948?

    Morris: "Twenty-four. In some cases four or five people were executed, in others the numbers were 70, 80, 100. There was also a great deal of arbitrary killing. Two old men are spotted walking in a field – they are shot. A woman is found in an abandoned village – she is shot. There are cases such as the village of Dawayima [in the Hebron region], in which a column entered the village with all guns blazing and killed anything that moved."
    "The worst cases were Saliha (70-80 killed), Deir Yassin (100-110), Lod (250), Dawayima (hundreds) and perhaps Abu Shusha (70). There is no unequivocal proof of a large-scale massacre at Tantura, but war crimes were perpetrated there. At Jaffa there was a massacre about which nothing had been known until now. The same at Arab al Muwassi, in the north. About half of the acts of massacre were part of Operation Hiram [in the north, in October 1948]: at Safsaf, Saliha, Jish, Eilaboun, Arab al Muwasi, Deir al Asad, Majdal Krum, Sasa. In Operation Hiram there was a unusually high concentration of executions of people against a wall or next to a well in an orderly fashion."
    "That can’t be chance. It’s a pattern. Apparently, various officers who took part in the operation understood that the expulsion order they received permitted them to do these deeds in order to encourage the population to take to the roads. The fact is that no one was punished for these acts of murder. Ben-Gurion silenced the matter. He covered up for the officers who did the massacres."

    Morris seems to have lost his moral bearings (possibly under the influence of the increasingly more rightist hue the Israeli po;litical scene has acquired) when, after having stated all this, he regrets that the expulsion was not radical enough. This seems to be the part of the interview Witty approves of.

  15. Arie Brand
    March 26, 2008, 6:42 pm

    The bit between brackets in the interview above with Morris, about Teddy Katz and the alleged massacre at Tantura, was put in by me. The letters A.B. unfortunately disappeared with the shortening of the text.

  16. the Sword of Gideon
    March 26, 2008, 7:22 pm

    Arie:
    It's a little rich to have a kraut making moral judgements on Jews. Perhaps you should wait until 2933. The end of the thousand year reich I believe.

  17. Arie Brand
    March 26, 2008, 7:40 pm

    I have to deprive you of that cheapest of arguments. You are as mistaken about the nationality I had by birth as well as the one I have opted for, as you are about just anything else.

    No doubt unlike you I have vivid memories of a German occupation. Also, unlike what you would certainly do, I wouldn't refer to these in a debate with Germans – unless the topic was this very occupation.

    Incidentally, why don't you take your blasted sword to Israel? They can use people of your mentality there.

  18. nitwit
    March 26, 2008, 8:07 pm

    Ari: here is the link.

    link to logosjournal.com

    Richard, I read Righteous Victims too, I think you are distorting his view.

    Give me the passages, pages of Righteous Victims you base this reading on:

    "His premise is that leaving things half done, is what causes states of conflict. So, if Israelis were a very small minority, then that would have been a done deal, or if Palestinians were a very small minority, that would have been a done deal."

  19. LeaNder
    March 26, 2008, 8:14 pm

    Sorry: Ari*e*, seems I am tired.

  20. Arie Brand
    March 26, 2008, 8:28 pm

    It's in the Haaretz interview with Shavit.

  21. Glenn Condell
    March 26, 2008, 8:29 pm

    'Do you disagree that Zionism was necessary for the million Jewish European refugees that were denied entry elsewhere, and continued to be persecuted at "home".'

    Two wrongs don't make a right Richard. Your frantically evasive hair-splitting and obfuscation would be amusing if it wasn't so upsetting, and potentially dangerous. It's contemptible to piously prattle away about respect and give and take and tolerance et al, when your baseline position favours one party over the other on the basis of blood being thicker than water.

    'It would be BETTER still to actively inform of the Nakba, in a non-polemic manner.'

    How exactly do you propose this could be done, without offending the radars of sensitive new Age Zionists like yourself? Do you object to this statement – 'the founders of Israel ethnically cleansed the land of it's Palestinian inhabitants in order to establish the Jewish state'. Would you call that polemic? If so, how could it be altered to your satisfaction? Would it still be true once you'd finished with it?

    'His premise is that leaving things half done, is what causes states of conflict.'

    Which is eerily similar to an antisemitic trope of yore – that Hitler should have 'finished the job'. You can characterise it as mere common sense but it is a racist maximalism, whoever utters it.

    'Morris seems to have lost his moral bearings (possibly under the influence of the increasingly more rightist hue the Israeli po;litical scene has acquired) when, after having stated all this, he regrets that the expulsion was not radical enough. This seems to be the part of the interview Witty approves of.'

    I saw the same strange co-existence in Martin van Creveld in an interview on Australian TV years ago – one the one hand, Creveld was honest about Palestinian disposession but when the interviewer asked what Creveld thought Palestinian reaction might be to his idea that they should all move to Jordan, he said 'Who cares?'

    'It's a little rich to have a kraut making moral judgements on Jews'

    No one can, not even other Jews like Phil, eh Butter Knife?

  22. Joachim Martillo
    March 26, 2008, 8:35 pm

    From link to eaazi.blogspot.com

    Biur Hametz was the name of the operation for the ethnic cleansing of Haifa during the Holoexaleipsis (the Great Erasing of Palestinians from their homeland — called Nakba or Catastrophe in Arabic). Obviously, the Zionist leadership had intended the complete obliteration of Haifa-area Palestinians, and to their credit the militia members, who had not been fully indoctrinated in Zionist genocidalism, were unwilling to go all the way.

    In the subsequent history of the Jewish violence against non-Jews in the Middle East, not only has such reluctance to commit mass murder of non-Jewish civilians (Kafr Qasem) and protected non-combatants (POWs during the 1956 and 1967 wars) quickly vanished among the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces, but it never existed among the settler militias that terrorize non-Jews in the Occupied Territories and whose members have often been trained at Yeshivat Merkaz haRav and associated institutions.

    The Israeli Jewish civilian leadership has had no reluctance to issue explicit orders to soldiers to create maximum non-Jewish casualties or suffering

    * at Qibya,

    * with the recent cluster-bombing of Lebanon,

    * during the siege of Gaza, and

    * in a practically uncountable number of other military situations.

    Israeli bombings of civilian neighborhoods are intended to maximize non-Jewish civilian deaths as part of the dirty Zionist demographic war against native and surrounding non-Jewish populations.

  23. Richard Witty
    March 27, 2008, 4:34 am

    "Richard, I read Righteous Victims too, I think you are distorting his view.

    Give me the passages, pages of Righteous Victims you base this reading on:

    "His premise is that leaving things half done, is what causes states of conflict. So, if Israelis were a very small minority, then that would have been a done deal, or if Palestinians were a very small minority, that would have been a done deal.""

    That wasn't the thesis of Righteous Victims perse, but also not contradicted there. But, it was the thesis of the 2006 interviews. I didn't hear a conclusion in those interviews, but "possibly".

    "Possibly" was very very different from what the left and Palestinian solidarity expected of him.

    Morris' historical candor should not be equated to advocacy. He'd have to make statements equivalent to "I advocate" rather than "I discovered" to conclude that.

    I DOUBT that Morris is apologizing for rapes or massacres, in describing them. On the contrary, they are more likely to occur and disappear from scrutiny if not reported.

    It then pushes politics to the next step, of the "banality" of evil.

    'If you knew that was occurring and could do something about it, how could you emphasize your strategic objective to the extent that it effectively allowed the brutalities.'

    Then the next question, 'How could you NOT pursue the strategy if you sincerely thought that would result in less evil?'

    Similar logic applies to Phil's statements here, though for a journalist, an advocacy journalist, the distinctions are more dicey than even for a candid historian.

    Our job would be to change the math that is applied in next decision-making, not Monday morning quarterbacking, for either the vanity of "I told you so" or less subtley opportunistic ends.

  24. LeaNder
    March 27, 2008, 7:41 am

    Richard, this is the most amazing document I have ever read.

    Admittedly till yesterday I was still hesitant concerning the reality of an apocalyptic/Armageddon/nuclear countdown/Samson Option confrontational mindset. [my Thomas problem, in Christian metaphorics]

    I had to read this article twice. And thanks again, Arie, for putting my nose on it.

    But Richard, finally I understand the basis for your confusion, the moral dilemma you find yourself in.

    link to logosjournal.com
    Survival of the Fittest? An Interview with Benny Morris, with Ari Shavit

    Seems I have to take a closer look at the psychology in this hall of mirrors:

    link to books.google.com

  25. ellen
    March 27, 2008, 7:52 am

    Thanks for the Jewish advocate article (surprising!) and for the link to the Petition- I am circulating them widely.

    ellen

  26. ellen
    March 27, 2008, 7:53 am

    Thanks for the Jewish advocate article (surprising!) and for the link to the Petition- I am circulating them widely.

    ellen

  27. hlmeankin
    March 27, 2008, 9:28 am

    Richard Witty writes: "As a parent, I know that there are painful, even borderline unconsciounable actions that I had to do to protect my children from danger, that I still must do (without political rationalization)".
    All I have to say Richard is that the enemies of Israel who have children may also use that rationalization for their choice of terror tactics.
    Do you believe its ok for Jews to use it but not Palestinians??. (Putting aside political questions of cost/benefit)

  28. jim byers
    March 27, 2008, 10:04 pm

    It seems unfortunate that the zionists didn't accept Uganda that the British were pushing instead of Palestine. Then the zionists wouldn't have had to ship the Uzis, maybe just sell them around in the neighborhood.