Roni Goldberg's eloquent piece in Guysen International News (Spanish) 'La Nakba de los judios de los paises arabes' contrasts the two sets of refugees created by the Arab-Israeli conflict - the Palestinians, 'living propaganda'; the Jews, putting the past behind them. It marks a departure from the hitherto 'pusillanimous' approach of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, to a more assertive, rights-based message. At least, we hope it is a harbinger of change. Roni Goldberg is vice-consul at the Israeli embassy in Uruguay.
"The establishment of Israel in 1948 brought with it two migratory movements : the so-called Nakba ( "tragedy") of the Palestinian people, during which some 650,000 Palestinians, according to UNRWA, abandoned their properties and lands to head into exile, and the - no less tragic - exodus of 850,000 Jews who had lived until then in the Arab world, and had to leave everything in their flight toward the Jewish state.
"As is well known, the Palestinian exile over 62 years does not make it a more tragic historical event than the forced exile suffered by Jews in the Arab world.
"The Palestinians left their land in the heat of battle, in which many of them actively participated, although most were told to stay away for a few days or weeks until the nascent Jewish state was swept away and the Jews driven into the sea, then they would be allowed to return, and "all will be yours. " Unfortunately for them, the end was very different. The Jews, however, had to flee en masse from their country leaving everything to escape the pogroms, the unpunished murders and institutional discrimination to which they were subjected by the Arab rulers since even before the institution of the Jewish state, making a peace settlement and their loyal subjects hostage to what happened in distant Palestine. Ancient Jewish communities were condemned to disappear in a short time almost without trace.
"The difference between Jewish and Arab refugees lies not so much in their origin, but in their purpose since: the Palestinians have been converted into living propaganda, deliberately discriminated against by the leaders of their own people and the Arab rulers hosting them, perpetuating their poverty, generation after generation. They are unique in the world: grandchildren and great grandchildren are still classified as refugees - with their own relief agency, the aforementioned UNRWA -that continues to maintain them as such after more than six decades.
"The Arab countries deny them until today the most basic rights, prevent them from applying for naturalization, work independently or even marry their citizens, in case the flame of their cause be extinguished, without offering the slightest palliative for their unwarranted suffering.
"The Palestinians left their land to the heat of battle, from which many of them actively participated, although most did so chastened by the Arab attackers: "please sheltered for a few days or weeks-recommended-up sweeping the emerging State and drove the Jews into the sea and then allowed to return, and all will be yours. "
Unfortunately for them, the end was very different.The Jews, however, had to flee en masse from their country leaving behind everything to escape the pogroms, the unpunished murders and institutional discrimination to which they were subjected by the Arab rulers since even before the establishment of the Jewish state, making their peaceful and loyal subjects hostage to what happened in distant Palestine." Ancient Jewish communities were condemned to disappear in a short time almost without trace.
"Jewish emigres who fled from Arab states, however, never gave a name to their own misfortune nor pursued propaganda objectives, nor demanded a return to their countries of origin, and only recently defended their right to fair compensation for property confiscated, private and communal.Instead of donning sackcloth and ashes, they made an enormous effort to put behind them their illegal flight and, the terrible conditions and privations with which their new resource-starved homeland welcomed them. They tried to look forward to the future: to a Jewish state, a beacon of modernity and freedom and to children and grandchildren liberated from the tragedy of their parents."
Google translation from Spanish here