Martin Indyk’s references to Nakba represent denial of atrocities

US Politics
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Martin Indyk is a powerful man in the Israel lobby. He worked for Bill Clinton and George Bush and now heads the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution, the thinktank funded by Haim Saban who declares that his bottom line is affecting policy on Israel. Last year Indyk published a lively book on his years in the peace process, called Innocent Abroad. It includes two or three references to the Nakba, in the context of the second intifada:

The first indication of their [Palestinian] inclination to violence came on May 15, 2000… Palestinians call that particular day the Naqba, or disaster, because it commemorates the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.

I think this is a form of Nakba denial. My understanding of the Nakba is that Palestinians are commemorating not just the establishment of the state of Israel but a tremendous catastrophe, the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians during the war of Israeli independence. Limiting the description in the manner that Indyk does makes the Palestinians out as pure rejectionists who hate the idea of a Jewish state, rather than as people who experienced a significant trauma, losing their homes and way of life during the Nakba. Many were massacred and/or raped.

If you watch Lia Tarachansky’s interviews (with Zochrot) of Israelis in Tel Aviv about what Nakba means, you will see that a couple of the Israelis have some understanding of what befell the Palestinians with Israeli independence– they lost their homes– while others expose their ignorance or callousness, or even undertake some form of denial. Like Martin Indyk. 

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