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Ilan Pappe offers a reminder that the ‘ongoing Nakba’ implicates many of us in Israel’s history

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Ilan Pappe’s October 25 lecture in Chicago, “The Ongoing Nakba,” promoting his new book, The Idea of Israel: A History of Power and Knowledge, emphasized two things that stood out to me in particular: Israel’s importing of European pine trees and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. [1]  Though these issues are not new to the discourse on Palestine, Pappe reminds his audience that the land is as alive as the indigenous people who inhabited it.  The mind, body, and spirit of both land and people are still victims to Israel’s current goal of de-Arabizing Palestine, “which has gotten worse for the Palestinians every year since 1882.”

The lecture, at the Church of Our Savior in Lincoln Park, was packed.  As I looked around, I saw some familiar faces: Jewish activists, Episcopalians active in the Divestment movement, students from local colleges.  The pews we sat in were so old that if someone moved his or her leg, everyone sitting on the long bench could feel it.  It was an unseasonably warm October night in Chicago and the crispy fall leaves I walked on from the train to the church indicated that the city’s winter chill was coming soon.

Though the lecture was several weeks ago, one phrase that I haven’t been able to get out of my mind was when Pappe said that Israel’s goal since the 1882 First Zionist Congress was–and still is–“to have as much of Palestine as possible with as few Palestinians as possible.”  This wasn’t new to me.  But when I heard him repeat this sentence several times throughout the evening, I thought about my own connection to the land as dictated to me by the Jewish Zionist narrative.

I was so entrenched in this Zionist narrative that I didn’t know until years later that I was an active participant in these land politics.  Using Israel as a playground–which so many American Jews did (and still do)–I was a Jew in Palestine playing in an absurd theater of colonization and appropriation.  Unbeknownst to me, my love for the land was designed and scripted out as a larger plan to rid Palestine of Palestinians.  Without thinking about it, we just simply called that land Israel and went on summer programs designed for us to fall in love with it–the land as a backdrop for our play.

Reading Pappe’s The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine was the beginning of my transformation from Zionist to anti-Zionist.  It took me a year to get through the book.  Many nights I’d stare at it on my night-stand, pretend to ignore it looking back at me, and grab for the New Yorker instead.  I’d return to it the next night, though, and pick up where I had left off, trying–painfully–to reconcile what I was reading with the Israeli propaganda I had absorbed as an ardent Zionist.

Pine trees in the Yatir Forest which is being used to displace the Bedouin residents of the unrecognized village of Atir. The original caption on the photo from the website israeltoday.co.il read, "Since the formation of the State of Israel, tree planters have been busy creating forests in the holy land, which was a barren wasteland for centuries."

Pine trees in the Yatir Forest planted by the Jewish National Fund which is being used to displace the Bedouin residents of the unrecognized village of Atir. The original caption on this photo from the website israeltoday.co.il read, “Since the formation of the State of Israel, tree planters have been busy creating forests in the holy land, which was a barren wasteland for centuries.”

I remember my first trip to Israel at age 16 in the 1980’s, driving past the pine tree “forests” that Pappe writes about in his book.  As a teenager, I didn’t know that pine trees were not native to the Middle East.  I saw the forest, and I felt satisfaction that I had helped to “make the desert bloom.”  As a child, I filled out the form that so many Jews filled out to plant a tree in Israel.  I planted trees for my birthday and for others’ birthdays.  I even planted a tree for Elie Wiesel when he had sent me a letter, responding to the one I had written him–during my phase as a teenager when I was obsessed with everything he wrote about the Holocaust–where I told him how much I loved his books.  “Read as much as you can,” his letter began to me, “it is important to learn as much as possible.”

In his book, Pappe personifies the land as an organism that rejects the imported European pine trees–they are, to the land, as out of place as the white European Jewish settlers who set out to create a white European colony in the heart of Palestine.  Like a splinter in a child’s finger that slowly on its own gravitates to the surface as though it knows it doesn’t belong, so too the European pine trees and Israeli efforts to colonize are rejected by the Palestinian land:

At times, the original flora manages to return in surprising ways.  Pine trees were planted not only bulldozed houses, but also over fields and olive groves.  In the new development town of Migdal Ha-Emek, for example, the JNF did its utmost to try and cover the ruins of the Palestinian village of Mujaydil …But this particular species failed to adapt to the local soil, and despite repeated treatment, disease kept afflicting the trees.  Later visits by relatives of some of Mujaydial’s original villagers revealed that some of the pine trees had literally split in two, and how, in the middle of their broken trunks, olive trees had popped up in defiance of the alien flora planted over them fifty years ago. (227-228)

The land of Palestine feels and recognizes foreign bodies.  During subsequent trips to Israel, driving past the forests, I saw some of those trees bought with my allowance money as a child.  I didn’t see the indigenous earth and plants beneath, of course, rejecting efforts to colonize it, the land itself personified before me now in Pappe’s book.

I remember, as a little girl, the pride I felt when I received the certificates for planting trees.  When the certificate for the tree I planted for Elie Wiesel arrived in the mail, I sent it to him at Boston University.  Now, my JUF certificates for planting trees sit next to a certificate I received from Daoud Nassar’s Tent of Nations when I planted an olive tree at his home in the West Bank.  The certificate says, “The Tent of Nations seeks to bring people of various cultures together to build bridges of understanding, reconciliation, and peace.”  Looking at them side-by-side, I don’t feel any better.  Pappe’s lecture reminded me that I’m not supposed to.

At the end of his talk, Pappe reiterated that the only thing that can come out of Zionism is racism.  Then he went on to say–no easy task–that Zionism nevertheless produced great achievements.  “It saved my family.  It revived the Hebrew language,”  he said solemnly, while reminding us–for the last time this evening–of Zionism’s main goal: to have as much of Palestine as possible, with few Palestinians as possible.

Notes

1. Pappe spoke as the keynote speaker at the annual conference of the Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Liz Rose

Liz Rose is a Chicago teacher.

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55 Responses

  1. amigo on November 13, 2014, 3:16 pm

    “Later visits by relatives of some of Mujaydial’s original villagers revealed that some of the pine trees had literally split in two, and how, in the middle of their broken trunks, olive trees had popped up in defiance of the alien flora planted over them fifty years ago. (227-228)”

    Mother nature protecting herself from unnatural intrusions.These images would make great posters on America,s railway platforms , educating people on just how ” Out of place” zionist incursions are in Palestine.

    Pamela Geller would surely have a hissy fit trying to come up with a response.

    Thanks for this article.One of the best I have seen here.

  2. Kay24 on November 13, 2014, 3:27 pm

    This is how these terrorists operate. They have no regard for other religions or Holy places of worship. They are the scum of the earth and they keep getting away with it:

    “Ten torched mosques, zero indictments
    Since June 2011, 10 mosques in Israel and the West Bank have been set on fire by presumed right-wing Jewish extremists. No charges have been filed.

    Wednesday’s torching of a mosque in the Palestinian village of al-Mughayyir brings to 10 the number of Muslim houses of worship in Israel and the territories that have been targeted in arson attacks in less than three and a half years. No one has been charged in any of these incidents.”
    Haaretz

    Racists. Evil….Israel’s terrorists.

    • bilal a on November 16, 2014, 5:36 am

      there are terrorists in hollywood as well:

      Defendant, BRYAN JAY SINGER, manipulated his power, wealth, and position in the entertainment industry to sexually abuse and exploit the underage Plaintiff through the use of drugs, alcohol, threats, and inducements which resulted in Plaintiff suffering catastrophic psychological and emotional injuries. Defendant Singer did so as part of a group of adult males similarly positioned in the entertainment industry that maintained and exploited boys in a sordid sex ring. A Hollywood mogul must not use his position to sexually exploit underage actors.

      http://www.thewrap.com/bryan-singer-accused-sexually-abusing-underage-boy/

  3. annie on November 13, 2014, 4:24 pm

    thank you so much liz.

  4. Maximus Decimus Meridius on November 13, 2014, 4:51 pm

    I’ve just come back from listening to Prof. Pappe give a talk in Dublin.

    I even got him to sign my copy of his book.

    That made my day!

  5. Clif Brown on November 13, 2014, 6:42 pm

    A very moving essay.

    FYI – the Tent of Nations is no more. I read that the IDF arrived and cleared the site. Here is what it was like two years ago.

    For a more comprehensive and personal look at the Tent of Nations, Diana Alzeer paid a visit in 2010 as part of the Sleepless in Gaza and Jerusalem series. Go to 3:30 in.

    I attended Pappe’s lecture as well and what struck me was his insistence that there are no chapters in Zionism, that what is going on today is a logical progression from the very first efforts of Zionists in the 19th century.

  6. Horizontal on November 13, 2014, 8:20 pm

    I’ve heard from another Mondoweisser, amego, that he’s going to hear Ilan Pappe speak in Dublin, and now here he is, coming to us. I feel very fortunate to have discovered this valuable site, with so many great posters.

    Wonderful perspective and analogy with the trees. Trees. Even Zionism can’t get that right, and can’t really go anywhere except to racism. That seems to be the heart of the matter.

    The more people who can get this simple message, the better.

    Thanks for sharing it.

    • Mooser on November 14, 2014, 1:40 pm

      Norman, you are so right. Now, if we can get the birth-rate up, and the out-marriage and walk-away rate down, we’ll have it made! Watch out, world!

      • Mooser on November 14, 2014, 1:41 pm

        Everything is coming up charoset!

  7. NormanF on November 13, 2014, 8:51 pm

    I keep thinking about Ilan Pappe’s grudging concessions about the justice of Zionism.

    It created the world’s first and only Jewish State – provided a persecuted people with a new life in their ancient homeland, it revived the language of the Bible, enriched Jewish culture, gave body to a dynamic and advanced economy and it defied the logic of Middle Eastern tyrannies by establishing a free and democratic state. Above all, it reclaimed a vast wasteland and transformed it into a beautiful country sustained by innovative green technology like drip irrigation and water reclamation that is recognized the world over.

    Pretty impressive list of achievements. The Arab response was and is negative, rooted in hatred and contempt. The Palestinian Arabs have no true national consciousness, no sense of the future and no desire to do anything other than destroy the patrimony of the land’s native people. There are a lot of reasons why the two state solution won’t happen in our lifetime but basically it boils down to the fact they and anti-Zionists who support them can’t articulate one reason why a putative Palestinian Arab state would be different from the states that now populate the vast expanses of the Arab World – many of them, it might be added – are failed states.

    Zionism to be sure, had its shortcomings. But nothing has been so disastrous to the Arabs as the wreckage of Arab nationalism that has resulted in entire cultures that today find themselves locked into a death spiral. Its safe to say Israel will outlive them and the land will remain Jewish forever – a fact that both Israel’s friends and enemies will have to come to terms with.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius on November 14, 2014, 11:36 am

      ”It created the world’s first and only Jewish State – provided a persecuted people with a new life in their ancient homeland, it revived the language of the Bible, enriched Jewish culture, gave body to a dynamic and advanced economy and it defied the logic of Middle Eastern tyrannies by establishing a free and democratic state. Above all, it reclaimed a vast wasteland and transformed it into a beautiful country sustained by innovative green technology like drip irrigation and water reclamation that is recognized the world over.”

      You forgot to add:

      Created hundreds of thousands of refugees,
      Bombed every one of its neighbours several times,
      Murdered tens of thousands of civilians
      Spread instability and violence throughout the region.

      Oh, and invented the cherry tomato. Or so they say.

      • seafoid on November 15, 2014, 4:56 am

        “provided a persecuted people with a new life in their ancient homeland ”

        This is also a reference to what the bots did to the Palestinians. The new life is a nightmare.

    • amigo on November 14, 2014, 1:37 pm

      “Its safe to say Israel will outlive them and the land will remain Jewish forever “nf

      Now where did we hear that claim before.

      Why would blatant racists like you be allowed to continue to perpetrate your murderous ans criminal actions “Forever”.

      You are proof positive that zionists are crazy.

      • NormanF on November 14, 2014, 2:06 pm

        What I do see on this board is anti-Zionists who blame everything on Israel treat Arabs like invalids.

        I simply hold them to a higher standard of behavior – the same standards Jews make superhuman efforts to surpass.

        And Zionists get called crazy because Israel is a peaceful and civilized country.

        People are so blinded by hate they can’t see the forest around the tree is on fire.

      • lysias on November 14, 2014, 3:25 pm

        And Zionists get called crazy because Israel is a peaceful and civilized country.

        “Peaceful and civilized” in the sense South Africa was peaceful and civilized in the apartheid days.

      • seafoid on November 15, 2014, 4:57 am

        “the land will remain Jewish forever”

        That’s like traders in Wall St predicting permagrowth. The Dow will eventually reach 100,000 if we all concentrate real hard.

        History sez the land will remain Jewish until someone stronger comes along.

    • eljay on November 14, 2014, 1:51 pm

      >> NormanFeee: Zionism to be sure, had its shortcomings.

      The rapist kidnaps, imprisons and sadistically rapes women…but he’s a successful small businessman, he gives to charity and he coaches the local hockey team. Like Zionism, he has his “shortcomings”.

      >> Its safe to say Israel will outlive them and the land will remain Jewish forever …

      “All hail the Thousand-Year Jewish Reich”, eh?

    • Mooser on November 14, 2014, 1:52 pm

      It created the world’s first and only Aryan State – provided a persecuted people with a new life in their ancient homeland, it revived the language of the ancient Teutonic myths, enriched German culture, gave body to a dynamic and advanced economy and it defied the logic of Middle European tyrannies by establishing a free and democratic state. Above all, it reclaimed a vast wasteland and transformed it into a beautiful country sustained by innovative green technology like drip irrigation and water reclamation that is recognized the world over.

      Pretty impressive list of achievements. The Jewish response was and is negative, rooted in hatred and contempt. The Jews have no true national consciousness, no sense of the future and no desire to do anything other than destroy the patrimony of the land’s native people. There are a lot of reasons why the two state solution won’t happen in our lifetime but basically it boils down to the fact they and Bolsheviks who support them can’t articulate one reason why a putative Jewish state would be different from the states that now populate the vast expanses of the Slavic world – many of them, it might be added – are failed states.

      National Socialism to be sure, had its shortcomings. But nothing has been so disastrous to the Jews as the wreckage of Jewish nationalism that has resulted in the Dolschstoss. Its safe to say the Reich will outlive them and the land will remain Aryan forever – a fact that both Germany’s friends and enemies will have to come to terms with!

      Gosh, that was easy!
      – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2014/11/reminder-implicates-history/comment-page-1#comment-722583

      • lysias on November 14, 2014, 2:31 pm

        Its safe to say Israel will outlive them and the land will remain Jewish forever.

        Reminds me of the somewhat premature prediction that Nazi Germany would be a tausendjähriges Reich.

      • seafoid on November 14, 2014, 3:33 pm

        The news that the first Jewish kingdom came about because of a collapse in the local power structure following several decades of drought was very interesting.

        The latest Jewish kingdom only works because of American power.

        Predictions of eternal Zionism are the far side of fanciful.

    • seafoid on November 14, 2014, 3:45 pm

      “ancient homeland” is such a crock of shit

      Imagine transferring the notion to the area of relationship.s

      Where are you going, honey?
      I’m off to reclaim my rights to my ancient girlfriend, darling. She’s a real goer.

    • Misterioso on November 25, 2014, 11:13 pm

      Dream on NormanF.

      As predicted, Zionism and Israel are rotting from within.

      Prophetic comments by 4 eminent Jews:

      Senator Henry Morgenthau Sr., renowned Jewish American and former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, 1919: “Zionism is the most stupendous fallacy in Jewish history….The very fervour of my feeling for the oppressed of every race and every land, especially for the Jews, those of my own blood and faith, to whom I am bound by every tender tie, impels me to fight with all the greater force against this scheme, which my intelligence tells me can only lead them deeper into the mire of the past, while it professes to be leading them to the heights. Zionism is… a retrogression into the blackest error, and not progress toward the light.”

      Asked to sign a petition supporting settlement of Jews in Palestine, Sigmund Freud declined: “I cannot…I do not think that Palestine could ever become a Jewish state….It would have seemed more sensible to me to establish a Jewish homeland on a less historically-burdened land….I can raise no sympathy at all for the misdirected piety which transforms a piece of a Herodian wall into a national relic, thereby offending the feelings of the natives.” (Letter to Dr. Chaim Koffler Keren HaYassod, Vienna: 2/26/30)

      Albert Einstein, 1939: “There could be no greater calamity than a permanent discord between us and the Arab people…. Let us recall that in former times no people lived in greater friendship with us than the ancestors of these Arabs.”

      Lessing J. Rosenwald, president of the American Council for Judaism, 1944: “The concept of a racial state – the Hitlerian concept- is repugnant to the civilized world, as witness the fearful global war in which we are involved. . . , I urge that we do nothing to set us back on the road to the past. To project at this time the creation of a Jewish state or commonwealth is to launch a singular innovation in world affairs which might well have incalculable consequences.”

      • Bornajoo on November 26, 2014, 4:36 am

        @Misterioso
        +1!
        As in my previous reply to him I just find it disgraceful and unbelievable that these hasbarists like NormanF can just spread these false myths, but then again this is what these people are actually really good at aren’t they?
        My family lived in Iraq for generations. The entirety of their culture to this day is 100% iraqi/Arab ; food, language, music, film.
        Walid sent me some more information about how the zionist were responsible for forcing a large number of Iraqi Jews to leave Iraq. I’d always heard from my family members how they felt they were tricked and forced to leave with nothing so that they would end up as ostensibly labourers and workers in the new zionist state
        In fact one of our old family friends who is now in London has a cousin who is part of a legal action group in Ramat Gan trying to sue the Israeli government for tricking them to leave Iraq including all their property and money. It’s being going on for decades. In my mind, after all the research and discussions with those that lived through it, there is no doubt that the whole process was planned by the zionists

      • Walid on November 26, 2014, 5:51 am

        From +972 a couple of years back, more of the same:

        “Spineless bookkeeping: The use of Mizrahi Jews as pawns against Palestinian refugees

        Calls to define Jews from Arab countries as refugees were silenced in the past by Israeli governments. The change of policy has to do with the relatively new recognition that Israel will not be able to escape its responsibility for the Nakba. But leaders of the new campaign should first learn the history of their unfounded idea.

        By Yehouda Shenhav

        In the last three years, we have witnessed an intensive campaign aimed at winning political and legal recognition of Arab Jews as “refugees.” The aim of this campaign is to create symmetry in public opinion between the Palestinian refugees and the “Oriental” Jews who arrived to Israeli in the 50s and 60s, presenting both populations as victims of the 1948 war. The Foreign Ministry, under the leadership of Deputy Minister Danny Ayalon, is intensively collecting evidence which would offset – as if it were an algebra equation – the testimonies of Palestinians regarding expulsion, looting and killings.

        A couple of years ago, the Knesset passed a law ordering every Israeli government that deals with Arab representatives (i.e. Palestinians) to treat the Jews of Arab origin as refugees. Several weeks ago, the National Security Council published a paper recommending the government “create a linkage between the Palestinian refugees and the Jews of Arab origin.” Former head of the NSC Uzi Arad decided upon his appointment to lead a special team that would come up with the official Israeli policy on “the Jewish refugees of Arab counties.”

        Arad has received Prime Minister Netanyahu’s blessing for his initiative. He set up a special body inside the NSC and had representatives from the Ministry of Justice, the Finance Ministry and the Foreign Ministry join the discussions. Historians, economists and representatives of Jewish organizations such as WOJAC (World Organization of Jews from Arab Countries) and JJAC (Justice for Jews from Arab Countries) were invited as well. The council recommended that the prime minister make the “Jewish refugees” and their compensations claims an inseparable part of the negotiations over the issue of Palestinian refugees.

        Calls to define Jews from Arab countries as refugees were made in the past, but back then, they were silenced by Israeli governments. Why the change of policy? Partly due to a relatively new recognition that Israel will no longer be able to hide its responsibility for the Nakba.

        The Foreign Ministry’s bookkeeper’s trick betrays the fear of the Palestinian claim of compensation and return – a central tenet of Palestinian demands. It proves that Israeli recognizes that the ’67 paradigm will not bring an end to the conflict, due to its denial of the Nakba. As a result of this recognition, the leaders of the new campaign hope to use the Mizrahi Jews to block the Palestinians from carrying out their “right of return,” and offset the compensation claims might be forced to pay for the Palestinian property that was expropriated by the Custodian of Absentee Property (the Israeli authority that confiscates and manages Palestinian property, most notably real estate). It is an idea that is historically twisted, unwise from a policy perspective and unjust from a moral point of view – as its history demonstrates.

        A miserable history worth reciting

        The campaign for the recognition of Jews from Arab countries as refugees was launched by no other than President Bill Clinton, during an interview he gave to Israeli Channel 1 in July, 2000. Ehud Barak, then the prime minister, declared this “achievement” in an interview to Israeli journalist Dan Margalit a month later.

        Until then, Israeli governments had avoided recognizing Jews from Arab countries as refugees. They did so because (a) of the fear that such a declaration would reawaken what Israel had tried to erase and forget – the right of return; (b) a concern that Jews might submit compensation claims to Arab countries, and as a result – bring about lawsuits by Palestinians against Israel; and (c) because such a decision would have forced the state to update all of its history books, forming a new narrative according to which Mizrahi Jews didn’t come to Israel due to Zionism, but against their will. Any historian raising such a claim would have been labeled a “post-Zionist..”

        Full article on how the Zionists are playing with the Mizrahi in Israel:

        http://972mag.com/spineless-bookkeeping-the-use-of-mizrahi-jews-as-pawns-against-palestinian-refugees/56472/

        The idea to equate Mizrahi Jews with Palestinian refugees was first cooked up by Bobby Brown, government advisor for diaspora affairs, and members of his office, along with representatives of organizations like the World Jewish Congress, the World Sephardi Federation, and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Avi Beker, the secretary general of the Jewish Congress, and Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents, convinced Professor Ervin Cotler, a Canadian member of parliament and expert in international law, to join the campaign. An umbrella organization was established, called “Justice for Jews from Arab Countries.” However, it did not manage to garner much excitement for the campaign, including from among the Jewish world. The campaign failed to enlist a notable declaration from central Israeli politicians until recently. That’s not surprising. This campaign has a miserable history that should be internatlized, because history can come in very handy.

        In the 1980s, the World Organization for Jews from Arab Countries – WOJAC – was established. Yigal Alon, then foreign minister, feared that WOJAC would serve as a greenhouse for what he called “sectorial organizing.” Again, WOJAC wasn’t established in order to help Mizrahi Jews but rather to create a deterrent to block demands from the national Palestinian movement – primarily the demand to compensate refugees, and the right of return. The use of the term “refugees” wasn’t unreasonable, as the term had become central in the historical discourse and in international law, following World War II. UN Security Council Resolution 242, passed in 1967, referred to a “just settlement of the refugee problem” in the Middle East. In the 1970s, Arab states asked to specifically refer to “Arab refugees in the Middle East,” but the U.S. government, through Ambassador to the UN Arthur Goldberg, opposed it.

        In a working paper prepared in 1977 by Cyrus Vance, then the secretary of state, ahead of a possible Geneva Conference meeting, he wrote about the pressure to find a solution to the “refugee problem,” without mentioning which refugees he was referring to. WOJAC, which had tried to put into use the term “Jewish refugees,” had failed. In addition to Arabs, many Zionist Jews all over the world were opposed to the initiative. I recommend that the organizers of the current campaign examine the anatomy of the organization that went from Zionist to post-Zionist in the course of its activities, and to take a page from the laws of political action’s unintended consequences.

        The thinker behind the idea of “Jewish refugees” in WOJAC was Ya’akov Meron, the head of the department for Arab legal affairs in the Justice Ministry. Meron formulated the link in the most extreme thesis regarding the history of the Jews of the Arab world. He claimed that the Jews were expelled from the Arab countries in an act coordinated with Palestinian leaders, and called it “ethnic cleansing.” Meron sharply diverged from the Zionist epos, which he said produced romantic terms like “Magic Carpet” [the operation that brought Yemeni Jews to Israel] or “Operation Ezra and Nehemiah” [the airlift that brought Iraqi Jews], suppressing the “fact” that the departure of the Jews was the fruit of an “Arab policy of expulsion.” In order to complete the analogy between Palestinians and Mizrahis, WOJAC’s people even claimed that the Mizrahis lived in refugee camps during the 1950s (referring to transit camps for Jewish immigrants), just like the Palestinian refugees. This claim sparked angry complaints on the part of figures in the state’s founding institutions, which termed it “treason.”

        Refugees and free will

        The Foreign Ministry, which became alarmed by WOJAC’s tenacity, proposed to put an end to the campaign, claiming that classifying the Mizrahi Jews as refugees was a double-edged sword. At the time, Israel insisted upon maintaining a policy of ambiguity regarding this complex issue. In 1949, the state rejected a joint proposal by Britain and Iraq for a population swap (Iraqi Jews for Palestinian refugees), out of fear that it would have to be responsible for settling “surplus refugees” in Israel. The Foreign Ministry called WOJAC divisive and separatist, asking the organization to cease acting independently in opposition to state interests. In the end, the Foreign Ministry cut off funding to the organization. Justice Minister Yossi Beilin even fired Ya’akov Meron from the Justice Ministry’s department for Arab legal affairs.

        It must be stated that there is no serious researcher in Israel or outside it that adopted the organization’s extreme rhetoric. Moreover, in its attempt to strengthen the Zionist thesis and assist the state in its war against Palestinian nationalists, WOJAC achieved the exact opposite. It presented a confused Zionist stance vis-a-vis the conflict, angered many Mizrahi Jews across the world – as it presented them as lacking motivation to move to Israel – and enslaved the interests of the Mizrahi Jews (especially over the issue of Jewish property in Arab countries) to what he accidentally termed “national interests.” He failed to understand that categorizing Mizrahi Jews as refugees opens a Pandora’s box that hurts both Jews and Arab.

        Out of a desire to find a magic solution to the question of the refugees, the state readopted the formula, and is now promoting it with great enthusiasm all over the world. It will be interesting to hear the position of the Minister of Education regarding the narrative that the Jewish organizations present as part of the campaign. Will he immediately establish a ministerial committee to change the history textbooks so that they match the new post-Zionist genre? Every honest person, whether Zionist or not, must admit that the analogy between the Palestinians and the Mizrahi Jews is baseless. The Palestinian refugees did not ask to leave Palestine. In 1948, many Palestinian villages were destroyed, and nearly 750,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled from the borders of historic Palestine. Those who fled did not leave out of their own free will.

        The depopulated Palestinian village of Suba, west of Jerusalem. (photo: flickr / gnuckx CC BY)
        On the other hand, Jews from Arab countries arrived here through the initiative of the State of Israel, as well as Jewish organizations. Some of them arrived out of free will, some against their will. Some of them lived comfortably in Arab countries, and some lived in fear and under oppression. The history of the Mizrahi immigration is complex and cannot be resigned to one simplistic explanation. Many lost a great deal of property, and there is no doubt that they should be allowed to submit individual property claims against Arab countries, something Israel and WOJAC have rejected until today. For instance, the peace agreement with Egypt does not allow individual property claims against the Egyptian government. Jewish property is seen as the property of the State of Israel, and as important leverage to offset the future claims of Palestinian refugees.

        Another example: During the Gulf War, the property of a Jewish-Iraqi family in Ramat Gan suffered damages. In their compensation claim, a seasoned attorney advised the family to include a house that had been confiscated by the Iraqi government in 1952. Israel’s Foreign Ministry forbade the move, due to the state’s policy of holding onto such property as leverage for future negotiations with the Palestinians.

        The analogy between the Palestinian refugees and the Jewish Mizrahis is thus baseless, not to mention offensive and immoral. It serves to cause friction between Mizrahi Jews and Palestinians, it is an insult to a great number of Mizrahim and harms chances for real reconciliation. More than that: the analogy points to a clear lack of understanding regarding the meaning of the Nakba. The Nakba does not only refer to the events of the war. The Nakba is, at its core, the prevention of those who were expelled from returning to their homes, lands and families after the establishment of the State of Israel. The Nakba is an active and clear policy of the State of Israel – not just the chaos of war.

        The temptation to use this concept of offsetting claims is understandable, but we cannot use scarecrows in order to refute the moral and political demands of the Palestinians. Such manipulation only worsens the crime and increases the psychological gap between Jews and Palestinians. Even if some of the Palestinians give up on realizing the right of return (as, for example, Dr. Khalil Shikaki claims), such tricks are not the way to achieve this end. Every peace agreement must be based on Israeli acknowledgement of past injustices and finding a fair solution. These accounting tricks turn Israel into a morally and politically spineless bookkeeper.

        Prof. Yehouda Shenhav teaches sociology at Tel Aviv University. He was the editor of Theory & Criticism for 10 years, and is currently the senior editor for Organization Studies. Shenhav was a co-founder of The Mizrahi Rainbow Coalition in 1996. This post was originally published in Hebrew in Haoketz.

  8. pabelmont on November 14, 2014, 12:59 pm

    Norman F: If I steal your wallet and give the money (in charity, mind) to my landsmen, do you accuse me as a thief or congratulate me as a philanthropist?

    BTW, I am not sure that “Jewish Culture” was advanced by the Zionist experiment — Yiddish was a vital part of “Jewish Culture” and was pretty much wiped out. deliberately. And the Mizrahi Jews who brought their own “Jewish Culture” to Israel found it disdained as “Arab” (which in a way it was, and in a way they were too if their native language had been Arab).

    So not zero-sum, not by a long chalk.

    • NormanF on November 14, 2014, 2:11 pm

      The Mizrahi were never Arabs. They spoke Arabic because it was forced on them.

      And the majority of Israel’s Jews have no desire to be part of the Middle East that never welcomed them when they were guest there and when they are home now.

      That is part of the Jewish people Israel saved from the fate of the Kurds and the Christians in the Arab World – extinction.

      • annie on November 14, 2014, 2:53 pm

        arabic was forced in them? seriously, where do you come up w/this stuff?

      • just on November 14, 2014, 3:24 pm

        I think that you should be banned, NormanF.

        You are denying the existence of the Palestinian people– Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Palestinians.

      • seafoid on November 14, 2014, 3:34 pm

        “And the majority of Israel’s Jews have no desire to be part of the Middle East ”

        I didn’t realize that so many planned to emigrate, Norman. Will it just be you left behind in your settlement ?

      • Marnie on November 15, 2014, 6:58 am

        Forced? Sure. I remember hearing stories about my great-grandmother when english was being forced down her german-speaking throat like so much spaetzle, das Grauen!

      • Bornajoo on November 15, 2014, 7:58 am

        @NormanF
        My family are Mizrahi Jews. They lived in Iraq and then Bahrain for generations. They were never forced to speak Arabic. It was simply part of the rich culture they lived in for centuries. My family in israel, most of whom are now racist (sorry it’s true) towards Arabs, still maintain their full Arab culture living in israel, just like my own family living here in London. This includes Arabic as a first language, nearly all the cuisine cooked each day, Arabic music, Arabic cinema and everything else that makes up “culture”. If it was forced upon them as you so stupidly and idiotically stated then why have these Jews not dropped this cultural heritage the moment they left those Arab countries and fully adopted the culture of their new hosts? By your definition my mother should have stopped cooking the most amazing cuisine she grew up with because she was no longer forced to eat it and immediately started cooking English grub? Nothing wrong with English grub but I’m afraid you simply can’t compare it to the cuisine my family brought with them from their rich Arab culture along with the language which they still prefer to speak until this day
        Do you just make this stuff up? Do you know any Mizrahi Jews? Have you ever spent time in a Mizrahi Jewish home or eaten with them?
        Facts over hasbara please

      • Walid on November 15, 2014, 9:53 am

        Bornajoo, Iraqi Jews describe how the Zionists expelled the Jews from Iraq:

      • Bornajoo on November 15, 2014, 10:42 am

        Walid. – no link?

      • Mooser on November 18, 2014, 6:40 pm

        “Facts over hasbara please”

        Bornajoo, it’s distressing to watch. As many times as you have reached out to them, and no response from them. Nothing.

      • Bornajoo on November 18, 2014, 6:58 pm

        Mooser, all this bashing my head against a brick wall is making my head numb. But as Annie says we need to hope we are reaching out to those others out there who are unaware, misinformed and misled. I think we need to discount and write off the ones who have been through the highly effective washing machine called the “Hasbara pro turbo super washer”. Once that thing washes in the hasbara there’s very little chance of getting any actual facts back in.

      • Mikhael on November 22, 2014, 9:27 pm

        Bornajoo
        November 15, 2014, 7:58 am

        @NormanF
        My family are Mizrahi Jews. They lived in Iraq and then Bahrain for generations. They were never forced to speak Arabic. It was simply part of the rich culture they lived in for centuries.

        I agree that NormanF’s statement that Mizrahi Jews were “forced” to use Arabic was poorly worded, but it is true that most Jews from Arab countries do not self-identify as Arabs, and that “Arab Jew” or “Jewish Arab” is a misnomer and a term of recent vintage that some are using in an attempt to sow divisions between Jews whose families arrived in Israel from different cultures and countries at a time when those distinctions are fading . Also, you should be aware that prior to the 20th century, most Jews in what is now Iraq, as in other Arabic-speaking countries (I should say what is now Iraq for now, it will have different borders once ISIS’s takeover is complete) spoke as their native tongue various Jewish dialects of Arabic that were significantly different from the Arabic spoken by non-Jews, contained much vocabulary of Hebrew origin, and that were written in the Hebrew alphabet–analogous to Yiddish being essentially a Germanic dialect with Hebrew vocabulary and written in the Hebrew alphabet. In a process of assimilation similar to the adoption of standard German by Jewish speakers of Western Yiddish in the 19th century, most Iraqi Jews were switching over to standard Iraqi dialects of Arabic by the 20th century. The same is true for the Jews in North Africa, Egypt and Syria, although in those countries many upwardly mobile Jews preferred to educate their children in French and use it in the home, and use Arabic mostly for communicating with non-Jews. So is sense, standard Arabic was not the original language and culture of Babylonian (aka, “Iraqi”) Jews, Judeo Arabic was (at least for the past 1,000 years) and before that Judeo-Aramic was (and it was still spoken by “Kurdish” Jews until recently) , and before that Hebrew as the language. The present generation of Israeli Jews whose families made aliya from Iraq now mostly use Hebrew, and few of them born in Israel after the 1970s/1980s are fluent in Arabic.

      • Misterioso on November 25, 2014, 11:25 pm

        NormanF

        You are utterly clueless.

        To quote Rabbi Sassoon Kehdouri, Iraq’s Chief Rabbi for 48 years, from a speech he gave before the 1946 Anglo-American Committee of Enquiry on Palestine: “Iraqi Jews will be forever against Zionism. Jews and Arabs have enjoyed the same rights and privileges for a thousand years and do not regard themselves as a distinctive separate part of this nation.”

        Israel’s first president, Chaim Weizmann, while speaking before the Anglo-American Committee of Enquiry: “I would not like to do any injustice. The Muslim world has treated the Jews with considerable tolerance. The Ottoman Empire [of which the Arabs were a major part] received the Jews with open arms when they were driven out of Spain and Europe, and the Jews should never forget that.” The accuracy of Weizmann’s statement is well illustrated by the fact that Palestine’s indigenous Arab Jews were vehemently opposed to Zionism.

      • Walid on November 26, 2014, 6:03 am

        Bornajoo, a little bit more on the manipulation of Mizrahi Jews by Israel. Keep in mind that the only reason they got away with it in Iraq was because of corrupt Iraqi Arabs in the government that were in cahoots with the Zionist. The Zionists ended up tricking a lot of Jews to leave Iraq for Israel and the Arab crooks ended up with a lot of properties that had been abandoned by the Jews.

        From Shenhav a couple of years back in +972 Magazine; it describes more Zionists dirty tricks on the backs of the Mizrahi:

        Spineless bookkeeping: The use of Mizrahi Jews as pawns against Palestinian refugees
        Calls to define Jews from Arab countries as refugees were silenced in the past by Israeli governments. The change of policy has to do with the relatively new recognition that Israel will not be able to escape its responsibility for the Nakba. But leaders of the new campaign should first learn the history of their unfounded idea.

        By Yehouda Shenhav

        In the last three years, we have witnessed an intensive campaign aimed at winning political and legal recognition of Arab Jews as “refugees.” The aim of this campaign is to create symmetry in public opinion between the Palestinian refugees and the “Oriental” Jews who arrived to Israeli in the 50s and 60s, presenting both populations as victims of the 1948 war. The Foreign Ministry, under the leadership of Deputy Minister Danny Ayalon, is intensively collecting evidence which would offset – as if it were an algebra equation – the testimonies of Palestinians regarding expulsion, looting and killings.

        Full article:

        http://972mag.com/spineless-bookkeeping-the-use-of-mizrahi-jews-as-pawns-against-palestinian-refugees/56472/

      • Bornajoo on November 26, 2014, 8:14 am

        @Walid
        Thanks again for the article. Thanks also for the reminder that there were scumbags on both sides of the conspiracy. Yes it definitely was a collaboration!
        It’s incredible that the zionists are trying to turn the Arab Jewish immigration to Israel as a refugee issue in order to counterbalance the claims from the Palestinians.
        Sorry did I say incredible…how silly of me, it’s completely normal behavior for them, nothing incredible about it

      • Walid on November 26, 2014, 8:52 am

        Bornajoo, I seem to have posted the same article in 2 places; sorry, navigating on the new MW is like driving bumping cars.

        About Arab crooks, of course there were some of those in these stories and there were actual expulsions of Jews for no reason and this happened mostly in Egypt. Every time Israel did something nasty, Egypt retaliated by expelling Jews in great numbers. It happened when Israel declared its independence in 1948, it happened after the failed false-flag Israeli “Lavon” operation around 1955 and again in 1956 with the invasion of Suez by Israel and its allies, and in 1967 with Israel’s war on Egypt. This shows that in 1967 (almost 20 years after Israel’s independence) there were still substantial numbers of Jews in Egypt. Egypt was just about the only Arab country where Jews were expelled in great numbers; all other stories being circulated by the Zionists to the contrary are bogus. Other than for Egyptian expellees and a sincere aliyah by some, most Jews from Arab states were not fleeing refugees but people tricked into leaving by the Zionists; this is easily demonstrated by the dates of departure from each country where in some instances, Jews had remained in Arab states for up to 20 years after the Israeli independence. Check out departure dates Lebanon, Yemen, Tunisia, Libya, Morocco and so on.

      • Bornajoo on November 26, 2014, 10:13 am

        @Walid
        You certainly are an encyclopedia of information. Many thanks. It’s fascinating reading
        My mother’s family moved from Iraq to Bahrain during the 40’s during the war. There was one anti Jewish riot in 1947 which resulted in the burning of the synagogue and some Jewish shops. 1 elderly lady (a family friend) died of shock. This caused the majority of the 1500 strong community to leave for israel but 500-600 remained including my mother’s family.
        There was never any issues or problems before that one incident and my mother’s family, friends and relatives always say that the years they spent in bahrain were their golden years
        Until this day nobody knows who those rioters were. They had nothing to do with the local population. In fact it was the local population, neighbours and friends who took the Jews in and protected them. They were a group of outsiders and their sudden appearance and disappearance is a mystery
        My mother remembers that day very well. It’s incredible just how powerful an effect that these incidents can have and it’s not surprising that the vast majority immediately left. In this context, one can understand just how effective the massacre at Deir Yassin was in the expulsion of the Palestinians
        Since then the Bahrain government has apologised regularly and has tried on many occasions to woo the Jews back. The minister for culture is Jewish (Houda Nonoo) and my first cousin works for the Bahrain government (they are all fully aware he is Jewish)

    • Mikhael on November 22, 2014, 9:02 pm

      pabelmont
      November 14, 2014, 12:59 pm
      BTW, I am not sure that “Jewish Culture” was advanced by the Zionist experiment — Yiddish was a vital part of “Jewish Culture” and was pretty much wiped out.

      Secular Yiddish culture is virtually wiped out, although its literature lives on in translation. Religious Yiddish culture thrives in Israel and haredi enclaves like Boro Park and Stamford Hill, however. The replacement of Yiddish and other exilic languages such as Ladino, Tat, and various Jewish dialects of Arabic or Berber with modern Israeli Hebrew can only be regarded as a good thing. Unfortunatey, Hebrew is somewhat under threat from English.

      And the Mizrahi Jews who brought their own “Jewish Culture” to Israel found it disdained as “Arab” (which in a way it was, and in a way they were too if their native language had been Arab).

      And Yekke (German-speaking) Jews had their native language and formal ways disdained too in post-Holocaust Israel. It’s understandable that many people in a country locked in deadly conflict with Arabic-speaking people would try to disassociate themselves from the Arabic language, just as German-speaking Jews in Israel tried to abandonDeutsche Kultur .

  9. pabelmont on November 14, 2014, 1:02 pm

    Liz, did you know that Afif Safieh, a long-time ambassador of the PLO to a variety of countries, often spoke and wrote of Israel’s desire to have “the geography without the demography” of Palestine?

    Actually, Zionism has been trying for 100 years to make correct the suggestion, wrong then adn wrong now, that Palestine was “a land without a people for a people without a land”.

    The ethnic cleansing that Pappe and others write about is the attempt, still under way but slower, to create “a land without a people” (that is without Palestinians).

  10. lysias on November 14, 2014, 2:28 pm

    I’m not sure it’s much of an achievement to have revived Hebrew. In the process, Israel did its best to stifle Yiddish, a language with a genuine sense of humor (as exemplified in Benajmin Blech’s Complete Idiot’s Guide to Learning Yiddish), which I am not sure Modern Hebrew has.

  11. just on November 14, 2014, 3:17 pm

    I happen to mourn the loss of humanity often. Some people think that I expect’ too much’ from others.

    I thank you, Liz. It is treasured testimonies like yours and Ilan’s that will make a difference.

  12. seafoid on November 14, 2014, 3:43 pm

    Those pine forests – European pine- to look like Switzerland – are fireballs traps when they catch fire. Climate change will reduce the rainfall in Israel and make summers warmer.

    http://electronicintifada.net/content/carmel-wildfire-burning-all-illusions-israel/9130

    “Described by Israeli historian Ilan Pappe as “the quintessential Zionist colonialist,” the first director of the JNF, Yossef Weitz, was a ruthless ideologue who helped orchestrate the mass expulsion of Palestinians in 1948. Weitz notoriously declared “It must be clear that there is no room in the country for both peoples … If the Arabs leave it, the country will become wide and spacious for us … The only solution is a Land of Israel … without Arabs … There is no way but to transfer the Arabs from here to the neighboring countries, to transfer all of them, save perhaps for [the Palestinian Arabs of] Bethlehem, Nazareth and the old Jerusalem. Not one village must be left, not one tribe.”

    After Weitz’s wishes were fulfilled, the JNF planted hundreds of thousands of trees over freshly destroyed Palestinian villages like al-Tira, helping to establish the Carmel National Park. An area on the south slope of Mount Carmel so closely resembled the landscape of the Swiss Alps that it was nicknamed “Little Switzerland.” Of course, the nonindigenous trees of the JNF were poorly suited to the environment in Palestine. Most of the saplings the JNF plants at a site near Jerusalem simply do not survive, and require frequent replanting. Elsewhere, needles from the pine trees have killed native plant species and wreaked havoc on the ecosystem. And as we have seen with the Carmel wildfire, the JNF’s trees go up like tinder in the dry heat. “

  13. seafoid on November 14, 2014, 3:48 pm

    ” Later visits by relatives of some of Mujaydial’s original villagers revealed that some of the pine trees had literally split in two, and how, in the middle of their broken trunks, olive trees had popped up in defiance of the alien flora planted over them fifty years ago ”

    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Society_&_Culture/geo/Hula.html

    “The Hula Valley, an agricultural region in northern Israel with abundant fresh water, affords an example of the delicate balance between nature and human development. The past 150 years of human settlement in the valley has been a continuous attempt to impose order upon nature. The drainage of Lake Hula and its surrounding swamps in the 1950s was the epitome of the attempts to alter the environment to suit human needs. Though initially perceived as a great national achievement for the fledgling State of Israel, with time it became evident that the benefits from transforming a “wasteland,” Lake Hula and its swamps, into an agricultural “blessing” were limited. Today, after nearly 50 years of largely unsuccessful struggle to utilize the drained valley’s resources, the State of Israel has finally recognized that successful development can endure only if a balanced compromise between nature and development is achieved. Consequently, a small section of the former lake and swamp region was recently reflooded in an attempt to prevent further soil deterioration and to revive the spirit of an extinct ecosystem.”

    Palestine is still there.

  14. seafoid on November 14, 2014, 3:53 pm

    The Maccabiah games bridge disaster was a classic combination of Zionist contempt for the environment of the land they profess to love and shoddy Israeli engineering

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maccabiah_bridge_collapse

    “As scheduled during the opening ceremony, the participating athletes, teamed with their respective national delegations, began to march across the bridge and into the stadium. The second nation to cross the bridge, following the Austrian team, consisted of the 373 members of the Australian delegation. As the Australian athletes, packed together in parallel rows of six, crossed the river the bridge’s support beams at roughly mid-span suddenly snapped, plunging around 100 of the Australians eight metres into the river below. Several of the fallen were forcibly submerged in the 1.6-metre deep river by the press of falling athletes above them.[5]

    Other athletes, bystanders, event staff, and policemen leapt into the river to rescue the fallen. Inside the stadium, Israeli government officials, including President Ezer Weizman, chose to continue with the opening ceremony, but canceled the remainder of the march of the national teams into the stadium. Israeli television maintained live coverage, switching back and forth between the frantic rescue efforts outside the stadium and the festive dancing and light shows inside.[6]

    The 67 injured were taken to nearby Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva and Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center. One victim, Gregory Small, 37, a bowler from Sydney, was dead on arrival, apparently as a result of injuries suffered during the fall. The remaining 66 victims did not appear to have suffered life-threatening injuries. Their injuries included broken bones and water inhalation.[7]

    Within an hour or two of admission to the hospital, a number of victims began to show signs of asphyxia. Doctors discovered that an unidentified organism was attacking their respiratory systems and pulmonary blood vessels. By the next morning, seven athletes were in critical condition.[8]

    Patrick Surkin, who ran the intensive care unit at Tel Aviv Medical Centre, wondered whether a toxin might be the culprit behind the infections. He contacted David Pargament, chief of the Yarkon River Authority. Pargament explained that 36 hours before the collapse, mosquito larvicide oil, a mixture of jet fuel and oil, had been sprayed on the surface of the Yarkon to suppress mosquitoes. Subsequent lab tests, however, found no traces of the substance in the sick athletes.[9]

    Bowler Yetty Bennett, 50, died later that day from asphyxia. Elizabeth Sawicki, 47, a member of the delegation’s bridge team, died July 26 from complications from infection. Bowler Warren Zines, 54, died on August 10, 1997 of severe respiratory-tract infection at Sheba Medical Center. Zines was the fourth and final fatality from the accident.[10]

    An autopsy of Zines finally identified the source of the infections as Pseudallescheria boydii fungus. The fungus, usually fatal when infecting humans, colonises in the lungs, causing pneumonia and killing cells. The microbes that it spawns often spread infection to the brain, kidneys, heart, and thyroid.[11]

    After Zines’ death, one athlete, Sasha Elterman, 15, remained in critical condition. Elterman, a tennis player, underwent 18 surgeries in the six months after the collapse, 13 of them brain surgeries. Sasha Elterman was hospitalized and treated at the Schneider Children’s Medical Centre of Israel in Petah-Tikva. Elterman ultimately survived her ordeal, but her lungs permanently lost 40% of their capacity and she suffered from periodic convulsions.[12]”

    • seafoid on November 14, 2014, 4:00 pm

      Nobody else in the OECD does shoddy like Israel.

      Irgunit sub-contracted the bridge’s construction to Baruch Karagula and Yehoshua Ben-Ezra (also known as “Ben-Ezra Construction”). The commission found that Karagula and Ezra were not licensed to build bridges, had never attempted to build a bridge, and used substandard materials in the bridge’s construction. Photographs taken after the collapse showed that the bridge was constructed out of rusty metal pipes bound together with wire.[14]

      The commission concluded that the bridge’s engineer, Micha Bar-Ilan, did not submit a blueprint for the bridge, designed a bridge that was inadequate for its intended use, and did not properly supervise or coordinate the bridge’s construction. The commission faulted the Maccabiah Games’ organizers for poor coordination and oversight over the bridge’s assembly.[15]

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Versailles_wedding_hall_disaster

      “The Versailles wedding hall (Hebrew: אולמי ורסאי‎), located in Talpiot, Jerusalem, is the site of the worst civil disaster in Israel’s history. At 22:43 on May 24, 2001, during the wedding of Keren and Asaf Dror, a large portion of the third floor of the four-story building collapsed. As a result, 23 people fell to their deaths through two stories, including the groom’s 80-year-old grandfather and his three-year-old second cousin, the youngest victim. Another 380 were injured, including the bride who suffered serious pelvic injuries that required surgery.[1] Asaf, who escaped serious injury, carried her in his arms from the rubble.[2]

      The disaster shocked the Israeli public not only because it was one of the worst building disasters in the country’s history, but because the event was documented on a camcorder and broadcast on local and international television.[3]

      An investigation of the event concluded that the event was not caused by a terrorist attack. This was based on the testimony provided by many of the wedding guests present in the building during the disaster. Witnesses reported seeing a dangerous sag in the floor moments before the collapse. An initial inquiry blamed the collapse on the Pal-Kal method of constructing light-weight coffered concrete floor systems. Further review pointed to a combination of two alternate causes.

      Initially, the side of the building that failed was designed to be a two story structure, while the other side was designed to be three stories. Late in the construction process, it was decided that both sides of the building should be equal heights, and a third story was added to the shorter side. However, the live load due to occupancy is typically much greater than the design load for a roof. As a result, the structure supporting the new third story was subjected to much greater loading than was originally anticipated. The effect of this error was somewhat mitigated by the construction of partitions on the floor below, which helped redistribute the excess load well such that no damage was incurred.

      A few weeks before the collapse, the wedding hall owners decided to remove the partitions. With the load path eliminated, the floor above began to sag several inches. The owners viewed the sagging floor primarily as a cosmetic problem, and attempted to level it with additional grout and fill. However, their approach not only failed to provide additional structural capacity, it also inadvertently introduced a new and significant dead load at the weakened area.

      During the wedding event in 2001, this significantly overstressed floor section failed, resulting in the catastrophe. The engineer Eli Ron, inventor of the Pal-Kal method of construction, was arrested and subsequently indicted in August 2002 on the charge of manslaughter. Ron had not engaged in any part of the design or construction, but had sold proprietary elements necessary for construction that were installed in a deficient manner.”

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aqHs4jKD5c

      At the time I remember a Haaretz journalist saying Israel was the country of short term thinking and “don’t worry, it’ll be fine” delusions. The settlement project is the ultimate Israeli “don’t worry it’ll be fine” delusion.

      • Marnie on November 16, 2014, 8:13 am

        Or the opposite of the Midas touch, where everything touched turns to shit.

  15. Bornajoo on November 15, 2014, 7:41 am

    Dear Liz Rose
    Thank you for your inspiring article. I hope it encourages many more to seek the truth rather than just accept the standard hasbara narrative.
    Only the truth can set them free

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