A brief history of the ‘Nakba’ in Israel

Israel/Palestine
Palestinian refugees in 1948 leaving the Galilee. (Photo: Fred Csasznik/Wikimedia Commons)

Palestinian refugees in 1948 leaving the Galilee. (Photo: Fred Csasznik/Wikimedia Commons)

This text describes the discourse on the Nakba — mostly the concept but also the historical event — in Israel. When did it appear? When did it decline and was repressed? What caused these changes? The attempt here is to describe historical moments, a periodization, from the founding of the state until today, in order to describe the relation to the term in each period and the changes it went through. This text deals with the attitude towards the Nakba in Hebrew almost exclusively and does not attempt to describe the attitudes and changes it went through in Arabic and in the Arab world.

1948-1952: Early Naiveté

As surprising as it may sound, the first to use the term “Nakba” in reference to the Palestinian’s disaster was the Israeli military. In July 1948, IDF addressed with leaflets to the Arab inhabitants of Tirat Haifa who resisted the occupation. In excellent Arabic, they called on them to surrender: “If you want to be ready for the Nakba, to avoid a disaster and save yourselves from an unavoidable catastrophe, you must surrender”.

A little afterwards, in August 1948, the Syrian intellectual Constantin Zureiq published his essay The Meaning of Disaster. In it he writes, among other things, “the defeat of the Arabs in Palestine is not simply a setback or a temporary atrocity. It is a Nakba in the fullest sense of the word”. Zureiq addresses the Arabs of the Middle East and implores them to respond to the terrible disaster that hit them. For him, then, the Nakba affects the entire Arab world and is not restricted to Palestinians alone.

Towards the end of the same year, in 11.19.1948, Nathan Alterman published his poem Al Zot (“On This”) in the Davar newspaper and Ben Gurion instructed that it be distributed among all of the IDF’s soldiers. The poem describes the massacre of defenseless Palestinians by IDF soldiers, and it is thought to be referring to the war crimes committed in Lod (Lydda). Hannan Hever and Yitzhak Laor claim that Alterman’s criticism of the event is not as clear-cut as might seem at first. Even if they are correct, and despite the poem ending with a clear call to “not fear also ‘Tell it not in Gath’…”, it describes events that, were they publicized today, would have created a huge turmoil among the Israeli public and its leaders, as we can safely assert based on the 2016 Breaking the Silence uproar.

In 1948, S. Yizhar, one of Israel’s leading authors, wrote his book “HaShavuy” (“The Captive”), in which he described the cruel behaviour of the IDF soldiers towards the defeated Palestinians. Several of his other books from those years, “Yemey Ziklag” (“Days of Ziklag”) and “Hkirbet Khizeh”, openly discussed the atrocities committed by IDF soldiers during the Nakba. “Khirbet Khizeh” became part of the official educational curriculum and was read by thousands of students.

In 1948 and in the first years there was a kind of naiveté in the discourse surrounding the Nakba. Even though the term itself wasn’t mentioned, the events, including the atrocities committed by the Zionist soldiers against Palestinians, were delivered in simplicity, taken for granted, without narrative filters or sublimation. This approach matched also Yizhar’s stream of consciousness literary style. The text supposedly is liberated from an author-subject as the author becomes an instrument to deliver experiences without processing them. This is also the way the Nakba events were delivered directly and in plain Hebrew.

The first book on “The Conquest of Jaffa” was thus titled by its author, Haim Lazar in 1951. Years later, the “conquest” would be replaced by “liberation”. Lazar also uses the term “cleansing” to describe what Zionists militia did in Jaffa. Years later, when the same term was used by Meron Benvenisti and later Ilan Pappé, it was perceived as a provocation.

The Palestinians who became Israeli citizens were in shock and trauma and under a military regime which would not allow any expression of protest. The Palestinian refugees waited for justice to come in the form of help from Arab nations and the international community but no such significant help came.

In 1951 the supreme court famously ruled that the displaced residents of the villages of Iqrit and Bir’im were allowed to go back to their villages, as was promised to them on the day they were expelled by the Israeli military. Less known are two other similar supreme court decisions. Also in 1951, it allowed the refugees from Ghabisiyya, not far from Nahariya, to return to their village. And in 1952 the supreme court accepted the appeal of the uprooted residents of Jalame to return there. But the kibbutz members in Lehavot Haviva, who settled on that village’s grounds, demolished its houses with explosives, thus preventing the return. In fact in all four cases the return of refugees was prevented because the stance of the military prevailed the judicial decisions. Since then, no other such court decisions were made.

1952-1967: Decline and Forgetting

As the events became more distant history, and while intensely working towards building the newly formed state, settling newcomers, and preventing the return of Palestinian refugees, the naive attitude addressing the Nakba openly was abandoned. The clear identifier of this change was the fact that the refugees trying to return were suddenly dubbed “infiltrators” (Mistanenim). In Israeli discourse they stopped being indigenous people who were expelled and are trying to return to their homes, but foreign infiltrators: illegal and illegitimate. There is a discursive abyss standing between the figure of the refugee and that of an infiltrator. The former is uprooted from their place, is a victim, defeated, traumatized. The latter is not from here, intending evil, a thief, crossing a geographic boundary. This contradiction was well articulated by Marko Rosio, one of the first settlers in Kerem Ben-Zimra, established in the homes of the refugees of Ras al-Ahmar. He defended his village against Palestinians with weapons, as he told us: “They tried to come back to steal what belonged to them. So we shot them”. Later the “infiltrator” Palestinian became a “Fedayeen”, thus completing a full transformation from a refugee to and illegal immigrant to a terrorist.

The exposure to novels that openly describe what took place in 1948 forced the establishment to create a super-narrative that justified the atrocities committed by “our guys”. It is hard for the new state to continue and describe the wrong-doing by Israelis towards Palestinians without the mediation of a narrative that supports “our side”. The Nakba becomes a “disaster from their perspective” only, and so two stories are created: one ours and one theirs, “which are the result of the same apparatuses of the Jewish state that operated systematically to create a definite separation between Jews and Arabs and set that separation as an objective truth that cannot be questioned”.

The Nakba becomes part of the narrative that attempts to justify the establishment of the Jewish state following the Jewish holocaust. The first “no choice” in the history of the state appears: we had no choice but to do what we did in 1948. And alongside this “no choice”, the idea of “Cleanness of Weapons” (Tohar ha’Neshek), according to which during 1948 our soldiers did not commit atrocities, and if they did, those were the exception. The term was coined already in the 40’s, in reference to battles of the pre-state settlers, and when the State was established it was recirculated to justify its establishment which involved dispossessing the majority of Palestinians.

In physical space many Palestinian villages still stood, abandoned but not destroyed.

The claim that villages were destroyed during the 1948 war is not true. In fact, hundreds were destroyed in a planned and intensive campaign executed by the state between 1965-1969, as exposed by Shai Aharon in his astounding article. In the 50’s, the empty villages received a rare acknowledgment in a series of maps produced by the Israel Mapping Centre. These were maps that Israel inherited from the British Mandate, in English, and that’s why all the villages that existed until 1948 are on it. To make clear that they were now empty, the Israeli mappers added the word “destroyed” in Hebrew (Harus), in purple, under every village whose inhabitants were expelled and not allowed to return. This is the last testimony in Israeli mapping of the Nakba villages. The project of their destruction in the 60’s can be understood in retrospect as an act that erases the gap between the still-existing representation of the villages on the maps, and they’re emptiness in physical space. Their destruction rendered that representation unnecessary: from now on they appear in tracking maps only as “Khirbe” (“ruins”).

1967-1985: Disappearance through Expansion

The pressure inside Israel for a “second round” by Moshe Dayan and others ripened in the ’67 War that brought about the largest expansion of Zionism in the Middle East, making Israel four times its pre-war size. The West Bank and Gaza, the Golan Heights and Sinai peninsula were conquered. The Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza now lived under military regime and a quarter of a million more became refugees, some for the second time (following ’48). They are mainly busy trying to maintain a life under a military occupation.

In Israel, along an economic boom, arrogance, and euphoria following the big military victory over the Arab legions within six days, a debate emerged on whether to control and remain in the occupied territories. From our perspective today it can be claimed that this debate was never a substantial one, and that in fact there was no real chance for withdrawal from the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. But in those days there was a sense the debate between the proponents of settlement and its objectors was real. In any case, it made the discussion of the Nakba irrelevant or even inappropriate.

With this in mind, one can understand the objection to the screening of the film Khirbet Khizeh, produced in the 70’s by Israeli television. Towards its airing in 1978, a dispute erupted culminating in the Minister of Education instructing to ban it from being screened. Eventually it was screened once, as decided by the Israeli Broadcasting Authority, and then shelved for twenty years. Showing a film describing the expulsion of Palestinians from their village in 1948, in the single television channel that existed then, was something Israel has a difficult time handling in those years.

With the vast colonial expansion the Nakba disappeared completely in Israel. The geographical expansion created new geopolitical fronts, and the Nakba and refugees awaiting their return have no place in them. The occupation and expulsions of 1948 have been effaced from public memory since the new conquests. “The Occupation”, becomes a term and concept associated only with the 1967 expansion, an approach that the Israeli left, in its entirety almost, accepts still today. The Zionist left still marks 48 — soon 50 — years of occupation, although the actual number of years is higher by almost twenty. The military expansion and Israeli settlement of the West Bank that began in the 70’s create new conflicts that repress the Nakba away from Israeli consciousness.

1985-1993: A New History

Towards the end of the 80’s historian Benny Morris coined the term “The New Historians”, describing himself and his colleagues who have largely revised Israeli historiography of 1948. His book titled “The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem” is an important milestone in this excavation of the Israeli narrative. It is important to also mention the work of Simha Flapan, Avi Shlaim, Tom Segev as well as others. Their work exposed that which was silenced in Israel with regards to 1948: the “Palestinian narrative”. In a nutshell, Morris’s approach is that there was no choice but to establish a Jewish state in 1948, the unavoidable price for which Palestinians had to pay and that yes, immoral atrocities were also committed by the Zionist forces.

The new historian’s revisions created a lively debate within Israeli academia (and world wide), with critical responses as well as a continuation of their project. But outside of academia this discussion found a place almost exclusively within the daily newspaper Ha’aretz and did not make it into the Israeli mainstream. In civil society and Israeli culture the Nakba had only a minor presence.

1993-2000: The Return of the (Palestinian Refugee) Repressed

The Oslo Accords were a low point for Palestinian refugees. The peace agreement signed by Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat stated that two states will be established along the “green line”. The discussion of a solution for the refugee issue was postponed until after this stage.

These were unacceptable terms for the refugees, and several organizations were established in response. BADIL in Bethlehem and ADRID in Israel are important examples. ADRID politicized the question of the internally displaced Palestinians. Until that time, the internally displaced commemorated the Nakba in their communities and families in relative privacy. Family visits to destroyed villages, especially during the Israeli Independence Day, were their main activities.

In 1997 ADRID organized the first “Return Parade” at the Israeli Independence Day. This event became a tradition and the most important and visible acknowledgement of the Nakba within Israel. Every year during that day, thousands of Israel’s Palestinian citizens marched in the large parade, waving Palestinian flags, claiming their right to return. The parade takes place every year in one of the villages Israel destroyed in 1948. Under the military regime, Independence Day was the only time during which Palestinians in Israel could freely move with no need for permission from the military governor. They used this limited freedom to visit their destroyed villages, and that solidified the tradition of commemorating the Nakba during the Israeli Independence day. The charged meaning of “Independence for them, and Nakba for us” was added only later.

This parade grew from year to year, making it difficult for Israeli media to ignore. Commemorating the Nakba during Independence Day reinforced the polarized discourse around it. In mainstream Israeli discourse, the Nakba is a Palestinian disaster, a Palestinian narrative, a Palestinian history. We Israelis on the other hand, have Independence. Even within most of the Israeli left today, the Nakba is understood as a disaster for only a fifth of the Israeli population.

The Anthology 50 was published by Van Leer Institute. Along side many moments that are silenced in this thick book, the Nakba is represented in an unprecedented way for Israeli non-fiction writing: as a main event in the “zero hour” of the establishment of the
state.

The same period sees a proliferation of political and academic conferences — mostly abroad but also in Israel — tackling the issue of the right of return of Palestinian refugees. In Israel the stance denying that right is not destabilized, but the voices from outside are heard loudly and clearly.

2000-2011: The Nakba Rears Its Head

October 2000, the eruption of the second Intifada, was a low point in the relationship of Jews and Arabs in Israel. 13 Palestinian citizens of the state were killed by security forces while protesting in solidarity with the Palestinians killed in the Temple Mount and the West Bank. Most Israeli Jews (including the Israeli left) adopted the regime’s version of the events, according to which shooting the protesters was the result of an immanent life threat to the security forces. Most Israelis, including many who live neighboring Arabs, were deeply disappointed from the demonstrations that blocked roads and disrupted their lives. The denial by Palestinians, as well as the official government investigation (“Or”) that concluded there was no case of immanent life threat three years later, did not alter that general impression.

With these events in the background, thousands of Israeli Jews understood the essence of the Jewish state: Arabs, by definition, cannot be full citizens in it. These Jews removed themselves to an extent from the Zionist ideology that was ingrained in them from childhood as a matter of fact. Since then, quite a few Israeli Jews declared publicly and unashamedly that they are non/anti-Zionists.

For the first time an organization is set to challenge the basic premises of the Jewish state, with the intention of promoting the awareness of the Nakba among the Hebrew speaking civil society in Israel. Zochrot (“Remembering”) promotes the acknowledgment of the Nakba by Israelis and support for the Palestinian refugee’s right of return. It is the first organization that is founded by Israelis who came from within the privileged milieu of society — former kibbutz members, IDF soldiers — who went through a deep identity transformation. During that time, in 2002, searching google for the word Nakba (in Hebrew) would have given very few results.

At first, Zochrot was disregarded. For example, when the organization addressed the Jewish National Fund in 2004, demanding that a sign will be placed in the Canada Park to mark the villages that were occupied in 1967, it got a negative response very quickly. That is because it was then still unknown, and there was no way of assessing its potential to change anything in Israeli discourse. After the organization won the supreme court case on the same question, this and other correspondences became much more difficult because the potential for change this organization had, became clear.

Alongside Zochrot hundreds of Israelis joined the Return Parade and a Hebrew speaker was included among the speakers each year. The organization changed the discourse surrounding the Nakba in Israel. Its effectiveness was acknowledged even by those who are opposing it. The tours Zochrot held to the Palestinian villages that Israel destroyed during the Nakba affected the perception of those spaces to such a degree that it was impossible to erase those villages, or leave them as mere landscape exotica. In 2008 it held the first conference in Tel Aviv on the right of return. Professor Adi Ophir, a veteran of the Israeli left and prominent philosopher, wrote that “it is hard to exaggerate the part Zochrot had in changing the discourse and consciousness surrounding the Nakba”.

There are more and more references to the Nakba in Hebrew, while best selling novels dealing openly with the Nakba and the Israeli responsibility for it are written with Zochrot’s help (“The House of Dajani” and “Four Houses and Yearning”, for example). In addition, Andalus Publishing published in 2002 an important novel about the Nakba by Elias Khoury. Even if “Bab al-Shams” did not become a bestseller in the Hebrew language it was widely acknowledged and discussed in writing.

2011-2016: Taking Center Stage, Courtesy of the Government

Upon seeing that discussions of the Nakba were spinning out of control, the regime decided to use legislation to take care of this new state of affairs. The first draft of the “Nakba Law” was so draconian that members of the ruling party such as Benny Begin joined the protest against it. In March 2011 the law passed in a more moderate version, but clearly its purpose is to prevent the study and acknowledgment of the Nakba in Israel. Its vocabulary was greatly reduced. It threatened organizations that are supported by the state that they will lose some of that funding, should they commemorate the Nakba during Independence Day. Still, its chilling effect is clear. It becomes even more clear when ministers of the government led by Miri Regev expand the reading of the law to threaten a complete denial of funding from any institution that supports or hosts an event marking the Nakba in Israel.

At the same time, and in coordination with the legislative efforts, Im Tirzu starts a campaign to restore the Israeli complete denial of the Nakba. The organization wrote a pamphlet titled “Nakba Kharta” (“Nakba Bullshit”), reconstructing all of the Israeli arguments regarding the “lie” of the Nakba: it didn’t take place but was a result of a war in which all Arabs wanted to expel us in 1948, and that’s why they have to pay the price. In addition, the writers made an effort to dispel the new, revised historiography. Paradoxically, Im Tirzu members sang the catchy anthem “We Brought Nakba Upon You”, thus publicly acknowledging Israeli responsibility for the disaster.

The law and campaign put a spotlight on the issue. In Hebrew media the word Nakba became commonly used. Politicians and others use it to describe different disasters or conflictual events. Somewhat amusingly, it is also used in sports. A fan of Hapoel Tel Aviv said on the day of demolition of Ussishkin Hall that “today is the Nakba day for Hapoel Tel Aviv fans”. On a different sports show on the radio one commentator described the grievances of a particular group’s players as a “Nakba in the locker room”.

Traces of the Nakba appear also in the struggles of the Israeli Mizrahim, many of whom were sent to live in the homes of Palestinians in the early days to prevent their return. Decades later, their descendants acknowledge that. Yoni Yochanan in Lifta and Menashe Halif in Givat Amal (established on top of al-Jammasin al-Gharbi) are fighting against their own dispossession by the state and the capital, and in that context they remind everyone why they live where they do.

As is evident from the following graph, the year 2011 saw a leap in googling the word “Nakba” in Hebrew. Between 1999-2010 the searches constantly increased and in 2011 there was a leap in the absolute number of results, as well as in comparison to 2010. It seems like every searchable word increases over the years because of the expansion of usage of the internet, but exactly for that reason it is interesting to compare the continuous growth in the number of appearances of searches for the word Nakba between 2011 and 2015 in comparison with the decline in the searches for “Nakba+Zochrot” in Hebrew. This combination continuously rises from the year 2000, and in 2011 more than doubles. But the decline since 2011 until 2015 in the combination of Nakba and Zochrot reinforces the claim that rise of the Nakba in Hebrew is stable, even after a decline in the prominence of the main agent in Israeli society of Nakba acknowledgment.

Graph Nakba in Hebrew 1999 - 2015

Graph Nakba in Hebrew 1999 – 2015

Together with the proliferation of tackling the Nakba in Israel, it is important also to mention that the Nakba Law did create fear. Teachers are afraid their careers may be jeopardized if they participate in doing so.

A survey conducted by De-Colonizer among 500 Jews found that the majority knew the Nakba is a term tied to something negative, a conflict with Palestinians. This state of affairs would have been unimaginable fifteen years ago. And yet, most Israelis do not know exactly what the term means.

Today the term Nakba represents the polarization in Israeli society and discourse. In the non-zionist left there is a full understanding of its centrality in the construction of the conflict and its possible solution. In addition, information about the Nakba exists and it manifests itself increasingly.

On the other hand, there exists a raging battle led by the Israeli regime to repress these discussions as much as possible. Paradoxically these attempts to silence the discourse leaves the Nakba as a burning question that demands answers, an open wound constantly oozing pus.

Israeli Jews who wish to promote the Nakba discourse in Israel are facing two tests: alongside the continued actions to acknowledge the Nakba, the first is planning for the refugees’ return so that this issue is not relegated to the Palestinians alone, and educating Israelis about what took place during the Nakba and what it means today for them. In both points not much has been done yet, save the preliminary first steps.

Translation: Amit Gilutz

Many thanks to Eleonore Merza Bronstein, Norma Musih, Yehuda Shenhav, Ariella Azoulay who read the text and helped to improve it.

About Eitan Bronstein Aparicio

Eitan Bronstein Aparicio founded Zochrot in 2001 and he is the co-founder of De-Colonizer, together with Dr. Eleonore Merza Bronstein. It is a research and art laboratory for social change, working to challenge the colonialist nature of the Israeli regime. To learn more please visit www.de-colonizer.org.

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56 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    May 16, 2016, 11:50 am

    Thanks so much for this wonderful essay on Nakba “historiography”, that is, on the history of history-telling about the Nakba. (I don’t know if the naively honest early Hebrew books and articles referred to are available today, that is, have not been “book-burned”. I hope they too can be translated.)

    You write: “Towards the end of the 80’s historian Benny Morris coined the term “The New Historians”, describing himself and his colleagues who have largely revised Israeli historiography of 1948.” They certainly wrote history a different way from the We-Did-No-Wrong Israeli governmental hasbara, but — did they do “historiography” ? Did they review a thread of different manners of telling the history of the same events, as you have so well done here? Or just tell the new history without comparisons? Perhaps this doesn’t matter.

    BTW, you write: “As is evident from the following graph, the year 2011 saw a leap in googling the word “Nakba” in Hebrew.” But the “following graph” is missing in this translation. Editors: Maybe it can be put back in?

  2. gamal
    May 16, 2016, 12:35 pm

    Rola Abu Zeid ONiell

    writes

    Living between Memory War and Daily Life

    http://publish.ucc.ie/boolean/pdf/2011/00/39-ONeill-2011-00-en.pdf

    • just
      May 16, 2016, 3:01 pm

      Superb, gamal. Many thanks for sharing that.

      Thanks so much for this valuable and rich resource, Eitan. Thanks also for Zochrot.

  3. Bumblebye
    May 16, 2016, 2:55 pm

    This is good:

    • xanadou
      May 16, 2016, 7:20 pm

      It gives me no pleasure to say that I was right in a recent comment to a different MW article wherein I had stated exactly what the authority on ME and Palestine, such as prof. Ilan Pappe, is saying in this video.

      The Palestinians do not have a coherent leadership that the world can work with. This state of affairs is also reflected in the futile chaos on the ground in Palestine that only serves to perpetuate Israeli genocidal policies. The zionists are hoping that this catastrophic state of affairs will continue until they render the native people, their history and culture, into a passing curiosity for future students of the ME. The Palestinians would do well to study the history of zionism, the use of the Jewish holocaust and efforts by racist bigots such as Balfour, et al, and learn how to work with the world to remain a viable living population, and not history’s forgetable footnote. Preferably tout de suite than any time later.

      • Mooser
        May 17, 2016, 11:39 am

        “The Palestinians would do well to study the history of zionism, the use of the Jewish holocaust and efforts by racist bigots such as Balfour, et al, and learn how to work with the world”

        Yeah, okay. Why do you want the Palestinians to sink to that level?

      • Citizen
        May 17, 2016, 1:51 pm

        @ Mooser
        Interesting interpretation of what xanadou wrote.

  4. JWalters
    May 16, 2016, 7:31 pm

    My thanks to the editors at Mondoweiss for the recent series of articles focused on the Nakba. This is a tremendous service to justice.

  5. bettyberenson
    May 16, 2016, 8:15 pm

    While about 600,000 Arabs left their homes in Israel, over 800,000 Jews left their homes all over the Arab world. That is a “transfer of populations.” Add to that the continued manipulation of “refugee” status on the part of UNWRA, and there are too many generations of Arabs claiming refugee status, and an entire Arab world that inhumanely connived and refused citizenship to Arabs who left Israel. The need for justice has to come from Arab countries, not from Israel.

    • Brewer
      May 16, 2016, 10:50 pm

      Sorry betty. That kite don’t fly.
      In the first place, it is simply not feasible to cite a future event in justification of a past injustice. Even if Arab States had introduced transfer policies in response to the Nakba they would be able to claim some justification. In fact fact they did not, which brings me to the second fallacy.
      Not even the “Jews from Arab lands” agree that there is a shred of similarity between the two events.
      Yehouda Shenhav deals with this topic at length here (pdf):
      http://people.socsci.tau.ac.il/mu/yshenhav/files/2013/07/The-Jews-of-Iraq-Zionist-Ideology-and-the-Property-of-the-Palestinian-Refugees-of-1948.pdf

      For those with short attention spans, his Haaretz article here:

      “An intensive campaign to secure official political and legal recognition of Jews from Arab lands as refugees has been going on for the past three years. This campaign has tried to create an analogy between Palestinian refugees and Mizrahi Jews, whose origins are in Middle Eastern countries – depicting both groups as victims of the 1948 War of Independence. The campaign’s proponents hope their efforts will prevent conferral of what is called a “right of return” on Palestinians, and reduce the size of the compensation Israel is liable to be asked to pay in exchange for Palestinian property appropriated by the state guardian of “lost” assets.

      The idea of drawing this analogy constitutes a mistaken reading of history, imprudent politics, and moral injustice…………
      Knesset speaker Yisrael Yeshayahu declared: “We are not refugees. [Some of us] came to this country before the state was born. We had messianic aspirations.”

      Shlomo Hillel, a government minister and an active Zionist in Iraq, adamantly opposed the analogy: “I don’t regard the departure of Jews from Arab lands as that of refugees. They came here because they wanted to, as Zionists.”

      In a Knesset hearing, Ran Cohen stated emphatically: “I have this to say: I am not a refugee.” He added: “I came at the behest of Zionism, due to the pull that this land exerts, and due to the idea of redemption. Nobody is going to define me as a refugee.”

      The opposition was so vociferous that Ora Schweitzer, chair of WOJAC’s political department, asked the organization’s secretariat to end its campaign. She reported that members of Strasburg’s Jewish community were so offended that they threatened to boycott organization meetings should the topic of “Sephardi Jews as refugees” ever come up again.
      read more: http://www.haaretz.com/hitching-a-ride-on-the-magic-carpet-1.97357

      Historian (and Iraqi Jew) Avi Schlaim:
      “I was five years old in 1950 when my family reluctantly moved from Baghdad to Ramat Gan. We were Arab Jews, we spoke Arabic, our roots went back to the Babylonian exile two and a half millennia ago and my parents did not have the slightest sympathy with Zionism. We were not persecuted but opted to leave because we felt insecure. So, unlike the Palestinians who were driven out of their homes, we were not refugees in the proper sense of the word. But we were truly victims of the Arab-Israeli conflict.”

      Naem Giladi:
      I write this article for the same reason I wrote my book: to tell the American people, and especially American Jews, that Jews from Islamic lands did not emigrate willingly to Israel; that, to force them to leave, Jews killed Jews; and that, to buy time to confiscate ever more Arab lands, Jews on numerous occasions rejected genuine peace initiatives from their Arab neighbors.
      I write about what the first prime minister of Israel called “cruel Zionism.”
      I write about it because I was part of it.
      http://www.inminds.co.uk/jews-of-iraq.html

      • Brewer
        May 16, 2016, 11:15 pm

        I should add that there is a World of difference between migrating due to economic or social pressures and fleeing when your kind are being raped, massacred and expelled at gunpoint. The excuse you offer puts you in collusion with the perpetrators. Let Zionist Historian Benny Morris inform you as to who you are siding with:
        According to your new findings, how many cases of Israeli rape were there in 1948?

        “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. 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.”

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

        “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.”
        read more: http://www.haaretz.com/survival-of-the-fittest-1.61345

        Recent findings indicate that Morris is being modest:
        http://mondoweiss.net/2016/02/barbarism-by-an-educated-and-cultured-people-dawayima-massacre-was-worse-than-deir-yassin/

      • Mooser
        May 17, 2016, 11:43 am

        “That kite don’t fly.”

        Neither does this one. I will not get on an airplane.

      • Misterioso
        May 17, 2016, 3:12 pm

        Well and truly stated.

    • talknic
      May 17, 2016, 12:13 am

      @ bettyberenson May 16, 2016, 8:15 pm

      “While about 600,000 Arabs left their homes in Israel, over 800,000 Jews left their homes all over the Arab world. That is a “transfer of populations.” “

      No it isn’t. It’s NORMAL for countries at war to either intern or expel possible allies of ones enemies. The US, UK, Australia interned or expelled their German and Japanese US,UK, Aus citizens and froze their assets.

      Its also NORMAL to release them, allow their return and to unfreeze their assets at the end of hostilities unless of course they have taken up permanent citizenship in a country other than that of return, whereby they are no longer refugees. There are now no Jewish refugees as far as I am aware

      ” Add to that the continued manipulation of “refugee” status on the part of UNWRA”

      Bullsh*t! The UNRWA definition has nothing to do with final status. It is only to determine who is due assistance while they are refugees. It included Jewish refugees until 1952 when Israel finally took over responsibility for Arab and German Jews folk in Israel’s Jew only refugee camps.

      Idiotic apologists for Israeli war crimes can’t even figure chronological order in years. UNGA res 194 was adopted in 1948, the Palestinian claim of RoR was under UN res 194 of 1948. UNRWA wasn’t formed until 1949.

      “and there are too many generations of Arabs claiming refugee status, and an entire Arab world that inhumanely connived and refused citizenship to Arabs who left Israel”

      Uh? The Arab states have generously afforded them refuge. Even to non-Jewish Israeli citizens who’d been cleansed from Israel. They are not legally, ethically or morally bound to give them citizenship when the refugees wish to return to their own countries

      “The need for justice has to come from Arab countries, not from Israel”

      The Arab countries didn’t expel them.

    • eljay
      May 17, 2016, 7:15 am

      || bettyberenson: … The need for justice has to come from Arab countries, not from Israel. ||

      Arab countries are responsible for “Arab country” refugees, if any exist. Israel is responsible for Israeli refugees, who exist and have been waiting for decades to return to their homes and lands in Israel.

    • Misterioso
      May 17, 2016, 3:17 pm

      Bettyberenson

      Nonsense.

      To be brief:

      While over one million Palestinians were dispossessed and expelled by Jewish forces and the IDF between late 1947 and 1967 by force of arms, mass rape, several massacres and intimidation, Palestinians had nothing whatsoever to do with the exodus of Jews from Arab lands, i.e., apples and oranges.

      • MHughes976
        May 18, 2016, 3:26 am

        I’m sure that all you say is true, Misterioso. However, if people decide to leave their homes because they are in or too near a war zone, they act rationally even if there have been no spectacular atrocities. And since these were their homes they had an absolute right to come and go without permission. Yet their doing so is portrayed as some kind of crime and the vast majority of western opinion seems to treat this outrageous and lying portrait as reasonable. Such wilful blindness.

    • straightline
      May 17, 2016, 6:39 pm

      Great couple of responses Brewer. I’ve been searching for the Ran Cohen quote for a while – knew about it but searching on the web didn’t find it. Thanks for setting the record straight so well. But I notice you didn’t mention the various Zionist false flag operations such as the Lavon affair.

      • Brewer
        May 17, 2016, 10:44 pm

        So many crimes, so little time!!
        Lavon is a good case in point. It is instructive to follow the progression from complete denial and vilification of the whistleblowers through “mistakes were made” to “OK we did it, waddaboudit?” You will find this repeated over and over. I believe Tantura will be the next to be admitted, vindicating poor Teddy Katz.
        Iraq (the Baghdad Bombings) remains a bit shrouded but there are credible voices (besides Naem Giladi) alleging false flag operations – from memory a British diplomat and CIA Station Chief Wilbur Crane Eveland. Here’s the Wikipedia starter:
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1950%E2%80%9351_Baghdad_bombings#Claims_for_Israeli_or_Iraqi_Zionist_involvement
        Further research needed, the British Embassy papers would be a good place to nosy if they have been released – its been 50 years so they might be available.

    • K Renner
      May 18, 2016, 11:26 am

      @hasbara cretin:

      It’s always fun to deal with and dispel the lies of the hasbarat camp, for sure!

      ” While about 600,000 Arabs left their homes in Israel, over 800,000 Jews left their homes all over the Arab world.”

      Firstly, you try to strip the Palestinians of their national identity by referring to them generically as “Arabs”.

      For the slow– a Palestinian is a kind of Arab, but Palestinians aren’t interchangeable with Peninsula Arabs, much in the same way Maghrebi Arabs aren’t.

      You take one of the lower estimates. Per Palestinian historians, at least 750,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed and expelled in 1947-40.

      “That is a “transfer of populations.” ”

      Wrong. That’s an idiotic term applied by those who seek to de-legitimize the Palestinian right of return while endorsing the farcical “Jewish right of return”.

      ” Add to that the continued manipulation of “refugee” status on the part of UNWRA”

      Hilarious. Absolutely hilarious and pathetic to see someone who accepts the Jewish manipulation of who’s a “refugee” who can “return” to Israel, whining about UNWRA and their classification of who is a Palestinian refugee.

      For the slow: If all the Jews of the world are “refugees” from the “Jewish homeland”, then it goes without saying that all of the Palestinian diaspora are in effect a refugee population with a right to return to historic Palestine also.

      ” and an entire Arab world that inhumanely connived and refused citizenship to Arabs who left Israel. ”

      Yawn. Typical hasbarat– attempting to absolve the original and dire sins of the Jews and Israel by pointing fingers to the lesser sins of the surrounding Arab states; who only engage in that sort of behaviour under the principle that the Palestinians ought to be allowed a right of return to Palestine.

      The primary arbiter of inhumane behaviour in this scenario is, of course, Israel. Is of course the pro-Israel Jew who denies the Palestinian right of return and pretends that Israel is morally absolved in blocking that Palestinian initiative.

      “The need for justice has to come from Arab countries, not from Israel. ”

      Yawn. A statement with absolutely no substance, outside of the typical attempt to baby that stupid, spoiled child of a nation– Israel.

      Israel has not once shown the Palestinians anything resembling justice or equal treatment or a fair deal.

      Your whining and wailing aside– Israel must do right by the Palestinians, or be held to account.

      End of discussion.

  6. Brewer
    May 16, 2016, 9:19 pm

    Starting the Nakba timeline in 1948 is, in my view, inaccurate and gives rise to exculpatory tropes. In fact there is ample evidence of planning at least a decade before:

    “Nearly all the founding fathers of the Israeli state advocated transfer in one form or another, including Theodor Herzl, Leon Motzkin, Nahman Syrkin, Menahem Ussishkin, Chaim Weizmann, David Ben-Gurion, Yitzhak Tabenkin, Avraham Granovsky, Israel Zangwill, Yitzhak Ben-Tzvi, Pinhas Rutenberg, Aaron Aaronson, Zeev Jabotinsky and Berl Katznelson.”

    JNF director Yoseph Weitz in his diary entry for 20 December 1940:
    “Amongst ourselves it must be clear that there is no room for both peoples in this country … After the Arabs are transferred, the country will be wide open for us; with the Arabs staying the country will remain narrow and restricted … There is no room for compromise on this point … land purchasing … will not bring about the state … The only way is to transfer the Arabs from here to neighbouring countries, all of them, except perhaps Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Old Jerusalem. Not a single village or a single tribe must be left.”
    http://worlddialogue.org/content.php?id=236
    The History of 1947 is, so far, rather neglected but I suspect expulsions had begun during that year. What we do know is that at least 250,000 had been evicted before 15 May 1948.
    This is a very important fact as it utterly refutes the tropes “Fog of War”, “Ordered to leave by Arab leaders” etc.
    That it was planned and executed with extreme, deliberate cruelty is not yet sufficiently well known.

    • just
      May 16, 2016, 10:26 pm

      A very good point. Many thanks for your important contribution, Brewer.

    • diasp0ra
      May 17, 2016, 10:27 am

      Thank you very much.

      Exactly what I wanted to post. Much ethnic cleansing happened before 1948, and on a smaller scale years before that through economic means.

      I believe any view of the Nakba that doesn’t take into account the very first beginnings of Zionist settlement in Palestine is incomplete.

      • Misterioso
        May 17, 2016, 3:20 pm

        diaspora

        For the record: According to historian Rosemarie M. Esber, “Zionist Jewish military organizations forced more than 400,000 Palestinian Arab inhabitants from their homes in about 225 villages, towns and cities in Palestine” before 14 May 1948 (Under the Cover of War: The Zionist Expulsion of the Palestinians, Arabicus Books & Media, LLC, 2009)

      • Brewer
        May 17, 2016, 10:51 pm

        @Mysterioso.
        Yes, I believe the figure is probably of that magnitude. I stick with “at least 250,000” as that is documented in the Arab League declaration to the U.N. and is indisputable. Haven’t read Esber yet but will be very interested to find out where she gets her figure.
        Just did a quick search. She looks very interesting:
        “With example after example, Esber exposes the miscalculation of Israeli historian Benny Morris’ research, who considers the Palestinian refugee issue nothing more than a result of war and not done by design. Esber’s findings prove this theory very wrong.

        Dr. Esber’s extensive research, which she conducted for her Ph.D. dissertation in history from the University of London, is a welcomed addition to the work being done to shed light on what actually happened to the people of Palestine during the hostilities leading up to the founding of the state of Israel.”
        http://www.wrmea.org/2009-april/under-the-cover-of-war.html

      • Annie Robbins
        May 20, 2016, 12:22 pm

        regarding the expulsions before may 15, i was reminded of walid khalidi’s Plan Dalet: Master Plan which gamal linked to the other day. >>> http://www.jmcc.org/documents/Plan-Dalet-Master-Plan-for-the-Conquest-of-Palestine-by-Walid-Khalidi.pdf

        if you scroll down to “the real problem” on pg 14 (sorry i can’t copy paste it) it explains that the zionists determined they needed to “dislodged” palestinians before the british left the country and the arab armies entered (which they [zionists] anticipated would happen on the same day may 15) which they [arab armies] would be able to do with legal immunity because the british had left leaving a “juridicial vacuum”. and if the arab armies entered palestine and the palestinians were still “in situ” the forces “in support of the status quo in the country (ie: against the UN partitian decision) would be over whelming”

        therefore the most urgent problem was to “dislodge” palestinians before may 15th and to do it with the british still in the country. then it goes on to list the “operations”.

        and i think the zionists used this to their advantage in their ongoing propaganda because they knew when the british left the arab armies would enter given the flood of refugees and the obviousness of what was going on so timing the declaration of state on the same day (may 15) and then claiming the arab armies “invaded” because of the declaration of state (vs when the british left and in response to the expulsion/ethnic cleansing). and to this very day they make this bs claim. and it’s emphasized by the changing of the name of the ongoing war on that day, when there was no break. it was the same war.

        it was a stroke of (pr) genius changing the name of the war beginning on may 15th which perpetuates the myth the war began when the arab armies entered palestine and that they did it because israel declared statehood.

    • Pixel
      May 17, 2016, 11:38 am

      This is critically important.

      • MHughes976
        May 17, 2016, 12:22 pm

        It’s not possible or imaginable, is it, for immigrants to arrive in any populated place with the intention of making that place ‘the state of their people’ and in numbers sufficient to make this happen without having a large number of the existing people move out? Zionism never had a chance of avoiding extreme cruelty. The message of the ever-expanding settlements is that nothing basic has changed.

      • inbound39
        May 20, 2016, 4:13 pm

        I cannot remember now where I read it but when Jewish Terrorist like Irgun etc started expelling Palestinians before 181 was implemented and the so called War of Independence started, the Arabs neighbouring Palestine lodged a Declaration of a Defensive war against the Jewish Provisional Government and its Jewish Terrorists so they could go to the defence of Palestinians under attack. So contrary to the Zionist Dialogue Arabs did not attack offensively……they attacked defensively because their brothers and sisters were under attack by the Zionist Entity. Maybe Talknic has the ability to shed light on it. It is never mentioned.

      • talknic
        May 20, 2016, 10:08 pm

        @ inbound39 May 20, 2016, 4:13 pm

        At precisely 00:01 May 15th 1948 (ME time) Israel was independent of Palestine according to the Provisional Israeli Government http://www.trumanlibrary.org/whistlestop/study_collections/israe/large/documents/newPDF/49.pdf

        Under Plan Dalet http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/Plan_Dalet.html , Jewish forces were already outside of Israel’s proclaimed and recognized sovereign extent at the time Israel’s borders were proclaimed

        There are no UNSC resolutions condemning the Arab States actions in attempting to expel Israeli forces from what remained of Palestine after Israel proclaimed its borders effective. The Arab Regional Powers and as UN Members (except Transjordan) had a right and a sacred duty (UN Charter Chapt XI) to protect Palestine. (The Declaration on the Invasion of Palestine, lodged with the UNSC May 15th 1948 was, as far as I know, the last declaration of war ever lodged with the the UNSC. )

        http://mfa.gov.il/MFA/ForeignPolicy/MFADocuments/Yearbook1/Pages/5%20Arab%20League%20declaration%20on%20the%20invasion%20of%20Pales.aspx In the lede (1st paragraph) the Israeli Government tells us “Palestine” was invaded. Not Israel.

        Israel’s War of Independence ended when Israel proclaimed its independence effective at 00:01 May 15th 1948, it then became a war by the independent State of Israel on what remained of Palestine, in territories the Israeli Government itself claimed on May 22nd 1948 were “outside the State of Israel” … “in Palestine”

        There were according to the UN approximately 711,000 refugees from Israeli controlled territories. http://unispal.un.org/DPA/DPR/unispal.nsf/b792301807650d6685256cef0073cb80/93037e3b939746de8525610200567883?OpenDocument

        They were non-Jewish Israeli citizensfrom within Israel’s proclaimed borders and non-Jews from the territories Israel controlled “outside the State of Israel” … “in Palestine”

        3 Jun 1948 in the Knesset – Report to the Provisional Government of Israel by Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Ben-Gurion 3 Jun 1948
        “The entire expanse of the State of Israel allocated to us under the terms of the UN resolution is in our hands, and we have conquered several important districts outside those boundaries“.
        and;
        “To the greatest possible extent, we will remain constantly on the offensive, which will not be confined to the borders of the Jewish State

        Nothing has changed. Israel has never shown “respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;” http://wp.me/PDB7k-6r#unscresolution242

    • Citizen
      May 17, 2016, 1:59 pm

      I’ve read in many places that the 750,000 expelled began no later than November, 1947.

  7. yonah fredman
    May 16, 2016, 11:20 pm

    This is an op ed piece from Haaretz by Steven Klein that decries the timing of Nakba day.

    Nakba Day, commemorating the Palestinian catastrophe of 1948, came and went on Sunday with the usual marches with demonstrators holding real or symbolic keys, maps depicting all of mandatory Palestine and, this time, the number 68 being displayed for the years since the tragedy. 
    But for most of the world, it was just another May 15. This day fails to resonate with many potential partners to the Palestinian cause because it represents a fixation with the past that prevents Palestinians from moving on and securing a future state.
    Why was May 15 chosen and why does it matter? A young Israeli Arab diplomat from Jaffa called George Deek framed the problem well.
    “The Nakba Day is not April 9th – the day of the Deir Yassin massacre, or July 13th – the day of the expulsion from Lod,” Deek, Israel’s then-deputy ambassador to Norway said in a speech in November 2014. “The Nakba Day was set on May 15th – the day after Israel proclaimed its independence. By that the Palestinian leadership declared that the disaster of the Nakba is not the expulsion, the abandoned villages or the exile – the Nakba in their eyes is the creation of Israel.” 
    For Deek, whose grandfather had fled Jaffa in 1948 but returned to Israel with the help of Jewish friends, the choice of May 15 means that Palestinian leaders mourn more the fact that he is Israeli than that his cousins are Jordanians: they mourn Jewish statehood more than Palestinian statelessness.
     “The Palestinians have become slaves to the past, held captive by the chains of resentment, prisoners in the world of frustration and hate,” he concluded. 
     
    Long before I heard this speech, I had sympathized with the Palestinians’ fate, accepted Israel’s contribution to the tragic outcome of the War of Independence and advocated a two-state solution. Yet Deek articulated why marking Nakba Day on the 15th May makes even those sympathetic to the Palestinian cause too uncomfortable to join marking the day.
    Choosing this date turns the conflict into a zero-sum game, in which the only way to right the Nakba is to undo Israel through the full exercise of the right of return: to turn back the clock. Indeed, BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti, who opposes a two-state solution, has stated unequivocally that Israel ending the occupation would not end the boycott movement because there would still be Palestinian refugees.  
    Associating the Nakba with Israel’s creation also prevents Palestinians from being able to move on. Saeb Erekat admitted as much when he wrote in Haaretz this week, “For the Palestinian people, the Nakba is a collective tragedy whose wounds have yet to heal 68 years later….The two-part makeup of the Nakba was borne through the destruction of Palestine and the construction of Israel.” He demands, “Israel must recognizing what it has done to the Palestinian people” without recognizing that many Israelis, unrestricted by a single narrative, already have done just that.
    The problem, perhaps for Palestinians like Erekat, is that Israelis are unwilling to accept the most extreme narrative of the Nakba imposed en masse on Palestinians, just as Palestinians don’t accept extreme Israeli versions of the War of Independence narrative. 
    But Israelis are free to develop several – often competing – narratives of that war, allowing many to embrace the idea of a Palestinian state, even including notions of an Israeli “original sin.” 
    In contrast, the Palestinian leadership demands one narrative, which allows no reconciliation with even moderate Israeli versions of events, closing off the path to the genuine acceptance of a two-state solution. Because that’s what’s at stake here: Without mutual recognition of both peoples’ rights to self-determination there can be no peace negotiations predicated on a two-state solution. While Israeli leaders have made two-state solution offers, even if they fell short of Palestinian demands, the Palestinian leadership despite having expressed support for the idea nix its viability in their insistence on the right of return.
    This problem goes back nearly a century, and in that sense there is a symbolic connection between the Nakba and the 100th anniversary of Sykes-Picot, which is marked this week.
    While the Zionist movement’s aspirations were excluded from Sykes-Picot, it had the political wherewithal to position itself to obtain an independent Jewish state. David Ben-Gurion was not fixated on how much land he was being offered but rather on getting something to form a base for a state. 
    In contrast, the Arab national movement was unable to overcome Sykes-Picot. It became obsessed with one injustice after another, from the Balfour Declaration and the British Mandate to the partition plans of the Peel Commission in 1937 and the UN in 1947. Internecine killing of Arabs in Palestine who “collaborated” with the Jews helped decimate Palestinian Arab society before 1948, making the Nakba more likely, as the Arabs tried to resist the creation of Israel without any organized political or military strategy. This self-destructive behavior continued through two intifadas up to the present-day anti-normalization movement.
    A century of political failure should be a kickstart for the Palestinian national movement to review its strategies and tactics that have allowed successive Israeli governments to push Palestinians’ national aspirations ever more further away from being realized.
    Changing the date the Nakba is marked won’t bring Palestinians palpably closer to statehood, but it would signal a shift: It would say – let’s look at the universal issue of civilian suffering and how best to address it in as wide a coalition as possible. These are dates that the entire pro-peace camp can identify with. The challenge is, who will take the lead, and how will they avoid being branded “collaborators”?
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.719819

    I think the tone is too negative, but he raises some decent questions particularly the zero sum game question.

  8. olive52
    May 17, 2016, 7:59 am

    Many Israelis know what Nakba is and many sympathize with the existence the Palestinians as well as other Arabs have been brought to bear as a result of faulty leadership, lack of unity and disregard from other Muslim nations and all around international neglect. Israel has made overtures of peace but it seems that it is never what Palestinians have been allowed to want even if in the end it would have been their best choice . Violence, BDS, dreaming of the right of return en masse has called attention but offers no solution. Both sides needs to recognize they are here to stay. Palestinians need to realize the Jewish state is a permanent fixture. To dream of liquidating the state of Israel from Jews is futile, as does living in the past as a means of seeing the future which is exactly what Palestinians have been taught to do. The blame game is always easier to play. Self-realization, self improvement with dare I say looking away from Israel might give Palestinians better hope.

    • eljay
      May 17, 2016, 8:58 am

      || olive52: … Israel has made overtures of peace … ||

      That’s nice. But what Israel has never done, what it should be doing and what it adamantly refuses to do is:
      – end its on-going occupation and colonization of Palestine (i.e., territory outside of its / Partition borders);
      – withdraw to within its / Partition borders; and
      – honour its obligations under international law (including RoR of refugees).

      || … Palestinians need to realize the Jewish state is a permanent fixture. … ||

      No they don’t. “Jewish State” is a religion-supremacist construct. It has no right to exist, never mind be a “permanent fixture”. And no-one – not even the Palestinians – should be expected or required to recognize or accept the existence of any type of supremacist state, not even a religion-supremacist “Jewish State”.

      Israel, however, exists and should continue to exist as a secular and democratic Israeli state of and for all of its Israeli citizens, immigrants, expats and refugees, equally, until such time as they democratically decide otherwise.

      || … The blame game is always easier to play. … ||

      Yup, and you Zio-supremacists are experts at it.

      • olive52
        May 17, 2016, 10:15 am

        “Palestinians need to realize the Jewish state is a permanent fixture”

        I’m actually going to correct myself, the post should have stated Israel rather than the Jewish state.

        “And no-one – not even the Palestinians – should be expected or required to recognize or accept the existence of any type of supremacist state, not even a religion-supremacist “Jewish State”. –

        I hope you say the same for the supremacist Muslim countries.

      • eljay
        May 17, 2016, 2:08 pm

        || olive52: “Palestinians need to realize the Jewish state is a permanent fixture”

        I’m actually going to correct myself, the post should have stated Israel rather than the Jewish state. … ||

        I agree that Israel is a permanent fixture until such time as its Israeli population democratically (self-)determines otherwise.

        || … “And no-one – not even the Palestinians – should be expected or required to recognize or accept the existence of any type of supremacist state, not even a religion-supremacist “Jewish State”. –

        I hope you say the same for the supremacist Muslim countries. ||

        I do. No-one should be expected or required to recognize or accept any country as a “Muslim State” or “Islamic State”. IMO all countries should be the secular and democratic states of and for their respective citizens, immigrant, expats and refugees, equally.

    • talknic
      May 17, 2016, 9:27 am

      @ olive52 May 17, 2016, 7:59 am

      “Many Israelis know what Nakba is and many sympathize with the existence the Palestinians as well as other Arabs have been brought to bear as a result of faulty leadership, lack of unity and disregard from other Muslim nations and all around international neglect…”

      You forgot to add over a hundred years of Zionist colonization and 68 years of Israel occupation

      ” Israel has made overtures of peace…”

      Israel has only offered to swap occupied non-Israeli territory for occupied non-Israeli territory so Israel can keep occupied non-Israeli territory. Not at all conducive to peace

      “Violence, BDS, dreaming of the right of return en masse has called attention but offers no solution.”

      Israel has never offered a solution in accordance with its legal obligations to the UN Charter, International Law or ratified conventions or numerous UNSC resolutions I.e., withdrawal from all non-Israeli territories it violently occupied

      “Palestinians need to realize the Jewish state is a permanent fixture”

      Wonderful, now give one good reason the Jewish State should not withdraw from all non-Israeli territories

      ” To dream of liquidating the state of Israel from Jews is futile, as does living in the past as a means of seeing the future which is exactly what Palestinians have been taught to do”

      Interesting theory. However facts on the ground show us it has been Israel and Israelis who have been slowly liquidating what remained of Palestine after Israel proclaimed its borders in order to be recognized.

      em>”The blame game is always easier to play”

      As you have amply demonstrated.

      “Self-realization, self improvement with dare I say looking away from Israel might give Palestinians better hope”

      Ending the occupation and ongoing colonization of Palestine would be a far better source of hope.

    • just
      May 17, 2016, 9:51 am

      “… as does living in the past as a means of seeing the future which is exactly what Palestinians have been taught to do. …”

      That’s rich indeed! The creation of Israel is entirely predicated on “the past”! Some folks even go back thousands of years and insist that God Him/Herself gave it to them even though His other children (the Palestinians) were living and thriving there when the Zionists began to plan the expulsion/ruination of these children.

      Why else have Holocaust Remembrance Day, followed by Memorial Day, followed by Independence Day all in one long month of May looking backward? And some, like Steve Klein in yonah’s quoted piece above, cannot possibly absorb reality and bring themselves to “mark Nakba Day”.

      The Nakba is ONGOING. It’s not only in “the past”.

    • Mooser
      May 17, 2016, 12:18 pm

      “To dream of liquidating the state of Israel from Jews is futile,”

      Oh, feh, The stupid fad and fashion for Zionism among Western Jews, especially Americans, will pass. And Israel will become, as the Torah says: “A Grossinger’s among the nations”.

    • inbound39
      May 20, 2016, 4:21 pm

      The very least the International Community could do is require Israel to withdraw to within its legitimately declared borders of 1948. That way Gaza would not be disconnected from the West Bank. Who cares if Israel claims they cannot remove their settlers. Let them stay in The Palestinian State but demand they take out Palestinian Citizenship and demand they comply with Palestinian Law. Those that do not want to become Palestinian can return to Israel at their own cost. Place a multi national force along the borders to ensure respect of said borders and to deter trouble makers.

  9. James Michie
    May 17, 2016, 9:53 am

    For starters, Eitan, the “Nakba” was in Palestine, not in Israel. Your headline should have read: A Brief History of the ‘Nakba’ in Palestine.

    You also apparently did your best to not use terms that accurately describe how the armed Zionists practiced barbarism, brutality, racism, genocide, ethnic cleansing and other fascist tactics in the Zionist grand theft and takeover of Palestine, a nation at peace prior to Zionist invasion.

    An example of your artful soft-pedaling of Zionist treachery and terrorism: “As the events became more distant history, and while intensely working towards building the newly formed state, settling newcomers, and preventing the return of Palestinian refugees, the naive attitude addressing the Nakba openly was abandoned.”

    “As the events became more distant history . .” “Events”? Really, Eitan? Truly a nebulous term to move past the telling of hideous Zionist massacres and destruction of hundreds of entire villages that continues to this day, especially in besieged and war-torn Gaza; racism in today’s Zionist Israel and in what little remains of Palestine subjected to six decades of grand theft of Palestinian lands, and brutal (and sometimes barbaric), racist, genocidal, ethnic cleansing, fascist Zionist military occupation and rule of the defenseless Palestinians.

    Indeed, Eitan, your soft-pedaling of what Zionists have done to Palestine in no way advocates freedom, justice and equality for Palestinians, especially for those living in Gaza, Zionist Israel’s concentration camp and testing ground for new weapons, as well as for the millions of Palestinian refugees forced at gunpoint out of their homes and country with no right of return.

    You even failed to cite that the Zionist military occupation and rule of Palestine violates international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention:

    Illegal occupation: U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 of November 22, 1967 emphasizes “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” and called for withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from the Palestinian territories occupied [by Israel] in the 1967 conflict.

    Illegal “settlements”: Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states: “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” Article 85 of the First Protocol to Fourth Geneva Convention further stipulates that “the transfer by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies, or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory, in violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Convention” shall be regarded as one of the “grave breaches of this Protocol” that “shall be regarded as war crimes.”

    As a journalist, by schooling and practice, I sense a common thread running through much, if not most, of the global Jewish community, as well as in Zionist Israel: a deep seated bent toward abject denial and a clinging to cognitive dissonance in accepting the almost seven decades of persecuting the Palestinians. Sad, very, very sad indeed, Eitan.

    • ritzl
      May 17, 2016, 6:35 pm

      I don’t think they even realize they’re doing it, James Michie. I really don’t.

      The Israeli PoV and phrasing which holds that Palestinians are “invented” whiners who need to get a life (with the subtextual assumed condescension of “like we Jews did [but without displacing us]”) is all they know – all they have ever known. Some may be trying to break out of that pattern (arguably like this article), but the rethink and self-awareness required to do that seems to almost always fall well short of enough.

      That’s not a defense.

      Perhaps someone (a Palestinian) could write an article that mirrors the Robert Cohen “How to talk to Zionists” piece which explicitly lays out these many phrasing traps. Hopefully that would help Jews-who-want-to-help – who have been encultured in this dismissive PoV from birth – stop habitually describing Palestinians as some lesser “other” with corresponding lesser issues.

    • tokyobk
      May 18, 2016, 2:13 am

      James Michie,

      You seem not to grasp the intention of the article, and therefore the use of “Israel” and not “Palestine” in the title, which is to write how the nakba has been forgotten, remembered, denied and/or discussed in Israel by Israelis. Its a very informative historiography.

      • tokyobk
        May 20, 2016, 7:23 am

        “Those few people in the West, especially in America, who have learned of what Zionist Israel has done to, not for, Palestinians, in spite of the pro-Zionist Israel “news media” propaganda, do not appreciate at all these academic pieces on “Nakba discourse in Zionist Israel” and couching Zionist Israel’s countless human rights crimes in “softer language”. ”

        Sure, but that is a different criticism than about the title of this article, which is appropriate to the content, whatever its other merits or faults.

    • WH
      May 18, 2016, 3:05 am

      ‘For starters, Eitan, the “Nakba” was in Palestine, not in Israel. Your headline should have read: A Brief History of the ‘Nakba’ in Palestine.’

      You seemed to have missed the entire point of this article, which – as explicitly stated at the beginning – is to show how the Nakba discourse *in Israel* has progressed and changed. It’s not supposed to be a documentation of what happened in Palestine so much as a documentation of how it has been viewed and described in the state of Israel. The use of ‘softer’ language is generally in keeping with the ‘softer’ views being described.

      Edit: oops, looks like tokyobk beat me to it.

      • James Michie
        May 18, 2016, 10:01 am

        “WH” I think you need to be reminded of the fact that Zionist Israel’s six-decade brutal, ruthless, racist, genocidal, ethnic cleansing, fascist military occupation and rule of Palestine needs a bit more than “soft language” which can be construed as longstanding Zionist damage control.

        Relating to your condescending observation, the title of this piece, “A Brief History of the ‘Nakba’ in Israel” is deceptive to the reader who is not as “well read” as you are. My point again: brutal, ruthless, genocidal, ethnic cleansing, fascist Zionists perpetrated the Nakba on Palestine, not Israel. Your excuse for Eitan, that “the use of ‘softer’ language is generally in keeping with the ‘softer’ views being described,” fits right in with continuing Zionist damage control! An all too clumsy, transparent effort, “WH”.

      • James Michie
        May 19, 2016, 11:14 am

        As a footnote to my earlier response:
        Those few people in the West, especially in America, who have learned of what Zionist Israel has done to, not for, Palestinians, in spite of the pro-Zionist Israel “news media” propaganda, do not appreciate at all these academic pieces on “Nakba discourse in Zionist Israel” and couching Zionist Israel’s countless human rights crimes in “softer language”. Zionist Israel’s horrific six-decade brutal, ruthless, racist, genocidal, ethnic cleansing, fascist military occupation and rule of Palestine begs, really cries out, for the Jewish community, in Zionist Israel and worldwide, to admit the ugly raw truth and work diligently to end these egregious crimes against humanity! A high ranking Zionist military officer encapsulates a second “holocaust” perpetrated by Zionists claiming to be Jewish on the Palestinians:

        Why Would That General Compare Israel to 1930s Germany? Hmm…
        http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.719740#article-comments

      • Annie Robbins
        May 20, 2016, 11:55 am

        Relating to your condescending observation

        there was nothing condescending in WH’s comment.

        “A Brief History of the ‘Nakba’ in Israel” is deceptive to the reader who is not as “well read” as you are.

        actually, most of our readers are well read. the headline is accurate (not deceptive) and the first sentence of the article lays out (clearly) what the article addresses, as 2 readers pointed out. furthermore, mondoweiss always reserves the right to write the headlines here. albeit, you’re frequently criticizing the site anyway so this is just par for the course.

        I think you need to be reminded of the fact

        scrolling thru your comments in your archives it appears to me it is you addressing people with a condescending tone — frequently.

        My point again: brutal, ruthless, genocidal, ethnic cleansing, fascist Zionists perpetrated the Nakba on Palestine, not Israel.

        you seem to be ignoring that the article is not about your point, it’s about the discourse surrounding the nakba inside of israel:

        This text deals with the attitude towards the Nakba in Hebrew almost exclusively and does not attempt to describe the attitudes and changes it went through in Arabic and in the Arab world.

        if you do not think that’s a worthy endeavor explain why. others here have made worthy critiques (ie: the nakba began earlier — the author excludes mention of this, as it pertains to hebrew discourse or otherwise ) but your critiques seem to address nitpicking over the use of the term “events”. either way, accusing someone of condescension without addressing their point at all is ad hominem in nature. unless you consider ‘readers are not as well read as you or myself’ a counter argument (which it is not — relying on the idiocy of the masses as cover).

  10. Ossinev
    May 17, 2016, 12:03 pm

    “as does living in the past as a means of seeing the future which is exactly what Palestinians have been taught to do”

    Are you for real ? What a truly absurd statement given that your beloved Jewish State in the Levant is based entirely and completely on a claim to their 2000 – 4000 (whichever range of milleniums floats your Zionist boat ) “ancestral homeland”. And it is the “pathetic” Palestinians who are “living in the past”. And of course Israeli and non Israeli Jews are never taught to live in the past by anyone anywhere.

    FFS get a life .Suggest joining a real non hasbarist library and reading real history books.

  11. NickJOCW
    May 18, 2016, 7:02 am

    If you want to be ready for the Nakba, to avoid a disaster and save yourselves from an unavoidable catastrophe, you must surrender

    Exactly the same ‘argument’ the Athenians had with the Melisians in 416 BC before slaughtering all the men and selling the women and children into slavery, impeccably summarised in Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melian_Dialogue. Was the IDF author familiar with Thucydides?

  12. Ossinev
    May 18, 2016, 10:04 am

    “When strangers are coming…
    They come to your house,
    They kill you all
    and say,
    We’re not guilty
    not guilty. ”

    Opening lyrics to the Ukrainian winning entry for the Eurovision song contest. The song which refers to the forced deportation of the Crimean Tatar population at the end of WW2 on the orders of Comrade Stalin .

    Sound familiar ?

    • Mooser
      May 18, 2016, 11:17 am

      “Sound familiar ?”

      History-based songs win Euro-vision occasionally. There was one about the defeat of Napoleon in the mid 70’s.

    • K Renner
      May 24, 2016, 10:44 am

      Uncannily similar. These people are worse though in the sense that the Stalinist butchers didn’t make up ridiculous fables about how they were the “real victims” as they murdered and ethnically cleansed whole populations.

      At least not to my knowledge. I could be wrong– but from my family history, Poles who were ethnically cleansed and deported to Siberia by the Soviet union, there’s no report of the Soviets claiming anything other then “might makes right”.

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