Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Aharoni seeks PM approval for 'Jewish Nakba' Day

No doubt you've heard of Palestinian Nakba Day? Now let's have a day to mark the uprooting of Jewish communities from Arab countries. Most would agree that it's a great idea, and long overdue - the only problem being: what do we call it? Any suggestions welcome.

The suggestion comes from Ada Aharoni
(pictured) in a letter she wrote on the eve of Rosh Hashana (the Jewish New Year) to the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Egyptian-born Mrs Aharoni is a professor at Haifa university and peace campaigner.

"A special day to mark 'the uprooting of Jews from Arab countries' can not only spread the word in Israel and abroad, but also leverage the subject to promote understanding and reconciliation between two peoples, and repel the worldwide wave of antisemitism", she writes. "It also might lead researchers, sociologists, historians, media people and educators to research and disseminate information on the displacement of Jews from Arab countries in order to register it as an integral part of the general Jewish heritage and an important, but so far neglected, aspect of the Arab-Israeli conflict."

The date Professor Aharoni suggests is 15 May 2012 - to coincide with next year's Palestinian Nakba Day.

Professor Aharoni resolved to write to Mr Netanyahu following a conference on 15 September in Tel Aviv on the displaced Jewish communities from Arab countries. The conference pointed out that half the narrative of the Israeli people had been swept under the rug to-date, instead of being raised in public discourse.

The letter describes a game-changing episode which Professor Aharoni experienced while teaching at a US university: when she told
students from Arab lands that more Jews were displaced than Arabs, and that Jewish property from those countries was worth a thousand times more, one Arab student representative said: "You have already paid the price of reconciliation, when your property was confiscated in the Arab countries. Why are you hiding this important information away? It can promote reconciliation between us!"

"A special day would ease the feelings of Jews displaced from Arab countries and who live in Israel," professor Aharoni writes. "I turn to you, Mr. Prime Minister, and the Knesset in Israel, to pronounce on this historic injustice by declaring and maintaining a 'Day of uprooted Jewish communities in Arab countries', not only in response to the Nakba Day of the Palestinians, but a most important tool for Israeli hasbara and means of reducing antisemitism in the world."


Common Sense said...

"At the time of the great mass migrations of Jews, xenophobic but secular pan-Arabism was a greater factor [than Islam] in their exodus."

I disagree; the xenophobia was itself based in significant part on religion.

The point is proved by the experiences of Copts, Maronites, and Assyrians, most of whom are certainly Arabic but persecuted noneteheless.

bataween said...

Actually, I left a second comment (on the Harry's Place thread for 'Let my people run')
in response to Alan A, which qualifies my first:

Alan A: “As you say, Jews were persecuted and chased out of the Middle East, not by Islamists, but by Arab nationalists.”

The truth is not that clear-cut, Alan, and you cannot easily separate the two. The predominant ideology was Arabism, much of it pro-Nazi – the Ba’ath party, for instance, was modelled on the German Nazi party. As you rightly point out, a number of these secular nationalists were not Muslim, although it is instructive that Michel Aflaq converted to Islam, as if to assert his nationalist credentials.
There was also a pro-Nazi Islamism: the anti-Jewish riots in Syria and Egypt in the 1940s were started by the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Palestinian mufti, one of the most influential Arab leaders of the period, was a synthesis of pro-Nazi Arabism and Islamism."

Your explanation is too simple. You list non-Muslim persecuted peoples, but what about the Muslim ones (Kurds, Berbers, Turkoman, etc)?

Droid said...

What a stupid idea to use the words of our enemies such as "Nakba", which means the disaster of failing at genocide.

bataween said...

'Nakba' was my word, not Ada's, and was simply a convenient shorthand for what she is proposing.
Have you got any better suggestions?

Anonymous said...

Ada and I were in the same school but in separate classes.
I thank Ada for the work she is doing on our behalf.
suzy vidal

گه‌ڕانه‌وه‌ی ماده‌کان said...

Why Jews are Hating Humanity?

Please read with open mind and give me feed back in hope will be consteractive, so I can use in my upcoming book abot Arab-Israel conflict

bataween said...

Hello Hamma
I think you are quite wrong.
Jews do not hate Kurds. If people hate Jews, it is their problem, not the Jews'.
Israel supplied the Iraqi Kurds with weapons in the 1970s and had an alliance with Barazani. The Kurds helped smuggle out hundreds of Jews out of Iraq.
Speak to Dawood Baghestani of the Israel-Kurd maagazine and he will tell you of their long history of friendship.
Speak to Jawad Mella of the Syrian Kurds.

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

Common Sense: Neither Copts, nor Maronites nor Assyrians are "Arabic". Up to the 20th century, the Assyrians were NOT speaking Arabic among themselves but Aramaic [sometimes called Syriac]. Some Maronite villages in Lebanon were still speaking Syriac too.

I refer you on this matter to the excellent article by Franck Salama on this blog a few days ago.

Sylvia said...

If that name includes the word "Mizrachim", I'll sue.

Sylvia said...

If it has to be in one word, that is a problem since there are so many countries involved.
For lack of a better word so far, I'll propose "The Tragedy" which has the advantage of being easy to translate:

Tragedy –

For the longer name :
"The Ethnic Cleansing of Jews from Arab Countries"
I'll think about it some more

Sylvia said...

Or rather: "The Ethnic cleansing of Jews from Arab and Muslim Countries

bataween said...

thanks for the suggestions Sylvia. Don't worry, if mizrahim come into it, we'll sue with you!

Anonymous said...

who is this guy who wants to write a book but does not have his facts correct?That is how indoctrination begins.
In Hitler's time, they did a classification of socalled races, and the Jews came last. AFter that, everything crumbled
PS I'll think over a name to replace Nakba.I have very good dictionaies!
sultana vidal
sultana vidal

Independent Patriot said...

I think it should be called Jewish Refugee Day (or some variant) that Jews were forced out and accepted by their brothers and sisters. Remember Nakba not only is the celebration of an attempt at genocide against the Jews its a call to return to country where they claim to be from (Palestine). The Jews from Arab lands don't want to go back to those Arab land-well as far as I can tell.

Ada Aharoni said...

Ada Aharoni said
I warmly thank Point of No Return J for kindly translating part of my open letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Natanyahou, urging him and the Knesset to officially declare a National Day to commemorate: THE UPROOTING OF THE JEWS FROM ARAB COUNTRIES,on 15th May 2012. I am glad that most of the commentators agree that such a Commemorative Day should indeed be officially established, for all the reasons I explained in my letter, and especially as it could promote peace between Israel and its neighbors. For this Commemorative Day to indeed become a reality, I suggest that each person who agrees with this should write to Mr. Natanyahou and urge him that it is crucially necessary to establish and organize this great event, before the people who underwent this terrible tragedy disappear and take their experiences and stories with them. It would be a great loss to history and to the Jewish heritage.”

Ada Aharoni

Anonymous said...

I have checked my "Harrap's" dictionary and found several intersting words but none as striking as Nakba because what we need is a short word that strikes at the heart of this "forced removal"

but none of these satisfy me!!!!
suzy vidal

bataween said...

Thanks for consulting your dictionary, Suzy. I agree with you than none is as striking as Nakba. A non-Jewish pro-Israel friend said that the word Nakba in context of the ethnic cleansing of the Jews made him prick up his ears and take notice.

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

when the Arabs first used nakba they were referring to their humiliating defeat at the hands of the "lowly" Jews in 1948. They could not accept being defeated by those whom they despised most of all. I think that the term Nakba in that meaning was used in an article famous at the time by one Constantine Zurayk, "The Meaning of the Disaster." The first disaster was the defeat, not the plight of the Arab refugees.

I agree that we should not use a term --like nakba-- associated with the enemy. Maybe "Jewish Refugee Day" is better.