Friday, June 07, 2013

Jewish refugees are our 'knockout punch'(updated)

 The Jewish refugees message has been tested in Stavanger, on the west coast of Norway

 Contrary to what you might believe, not every Norwegian takes a dim view of Jews and Israel. The country has a dedicated band of philosemites, Med Israel for Fred (MIFF), trying to change the discourse. And guess what? The plight of Jewish refugees from Arab lands is their 'knock-out punch'. David Weinberg writes about his meeting with MIFF activists in the Jerusalem Post: (with thanks: Gavin)

Update: Evelyn Gordon in her Commentary blog connects Weinberg's article to the visit to Israel of Dr Qanta Ahmed, the daughter of refugees from the 1947 Indian Partition: " While she never says it explicitly, the implication is clear: The Palestinians’ current plight is due less to Israel’s creation than to their own insistence on living in the past, and Arab countries’ insistence on keeping them there."

David Weinberg writes in the Jerusalem Post:

"Believe it or not, Israel really does have many devoted friends out there. I was so impressed.

"I was even more impressed by the sophistication of MIFF’s approach to hasbara (public diplomacy).

"Norwegian MIFF activists have learned that it is simply not enough to explain Israel’s security dilemmas or to revisit Israel’s diplomatic generosity toward the Palestinians. What’s needed is a much more basic restatement of Israel’s cause and purpose: Israel as a grand historic reunion of people and land, as a shelter for the Jewish People, and as a just and moral actor in the medieval and violent Arab Middle East.

"Particularly important in this regard is education of the non-Jewish public about the plight of Jewish refugees from Arab lands. Nobody knows about the hundreds of thousands of Jews who were expelled from Arab lands and absorbed by Israel, and when they learn of this it dramatically changes the discourse. As opposed to a conversation about Palestinian rights vs Israeli security, the conversation becomes a debate about a balance of rights: about Israeli/Jewish rights and Palestinian/Arab rights. (My emphasis - ed)

“This evens out the playing field, and forces people to think about justice for Israel,” says Odd Myrland, MIFF’s erudite, veteran ideologue.

“We’ve extensively tested this messaging over a long period of time in Stavanger [a city on the southwest coast of Norway], and it is a bombshell.

"Jewish refugees from Arab lands is our successful knockout punch. We mustn’t ignore this important issue.”

Read article in full 

Let's reframe the debate


Anonymous said...

Seems an unfortunate turn of phrase to use when it comes to setting the record straight about the Jewish connection to Israel and the broader region.

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

yes, it is. The phrase was used by a Norwegian sympathizer of Israel.