In two weeks, the Washington DC Jewish Community Center is holding an event about the new history of the creation of Israel:
Embracing Democracy: Examining the History of 1948
The creation of the State of Israel and its subsequent victory over the assembled Arab armies arrayed against it was widely regarded as a modern miracle in 1948. The War of Independence, coming after the trauma of the Shoah and fulfilling an ancient longing for a return to Zion, made for a heroic moment in Israeli and Jewish consciousness. In the years since, different historians have helped to uncover the more complex history of the war and its aftermath, even as that history has become an object of political debate. Our panel will discuss the developments in the historical research of 1948, the uses of that history and its impact on contemporary political discussions.
The historical research the community center refers to is the work of the new historians, and the growing awareness in the west that 750,000 Palestinians were ethnically-cleansed during the Nakba. Those Palestinians fled or were expelled, then were not allowed to return to their homes in the new country of Israel lest they dilute the nation’s Jewish majority.
Here’s the panel:
Moderator, Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor at Slate
Professor Donna Robinson Divine, Morningstar Family Foundation Professor of Government and Director of Middle East Studies at Smith College
Shay Hazkani, Visiting Scholar at Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israeli Law, Economy and Society
Dr. Yehuda Kurtzer, President of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America
Lithwick lately went to Israel on a celebrate-Israel tour. Donna Robinson Divine is a serious scholar, and very pro-Israel; see this post deriding Israeli apartheid week and bragging about Brandeis University’s support for Israel. Hazkani is an Israeli, per Berkeley. Kurtzer’s institute is a pro-Israel organization that works with the Israeli army.
And that’s your panel, to address ethnic cleansing of Palestinians before a Washington DC audience? Hazkani is impressive, but do the victims get to narrate?
One of our big themes on this site is that the requirement to support Israel has made American Jews stupid. This is further evidence. It’s almost worth paying the $15, to hear how they deal with the Nakba.
P.S. Speaking of the Jewish cocoon, the night before the Nakba event, Ari Shavit, author of My Promised Land, will be at a Washington, DC, synagogue for a conversation with Leon Wieseltier, who is somewhat to Shavit’s right. Shavit’s book has gained attention because he discusses the Nakba (The New Yorker published that chapter). But again, expect no real openness to the victims’ perspective.