Monday, May 04, 2015

The two faces of the Nakba

 Supporters of the Arab Nakba protest

As 14 May approaches - the date which Arabs mark their Nakba Day 67 years since Israel declared its independence, Zvi Gabay writing in News 1 draws attention to the other Nakba - the Jewish flight and dispossession from Arab countries. Whereas EU governments and churches are happy to fund organisations which promote awareness of the Arab Nakba (and the Israeli public purse even funds the Nakba agitationby Arab MKs) no such finance is forthcoming for those groups representing Jews displaced from Arab countries.

While many Israelis celebrated the 67 th year of independence of the country, which was bought with much blood, hundreds of Israeli Arabs, led by their leaders, came out to protest against the celebrations, namely to demonstrate against Israel. Including the  Arab MKs' Joint List,  they carried the slogan "your independence day (the Jews) is our Nakba (catastrophe)." NGOs such as Balada, Zochrot and Adalah financed by foreign governments,  have adopted the Palestinian narrative that includes the "right of return" - that is, the destruction of Israel. It was amazing to hear the demonstrators crying out: "Nakba" - a disaster. The disaster was in 1948.  Arabs, but also many Jews, paid with their lives. The two sides fought each other until they reached an impasse.

But who brought this disaster on the world?

Apparently, with the passage of time we have to go back and remind them that   the sole culprits of the Palestinian Nakba are the predecessors of the current Arab leaders. They, who in 1947 rejected the UN proposal to divide the land of Israel, which was under British mandate into two states - Jewish and Arab. This is in contrast to the leaders of the Yishuv, who were willing to compromise and accept the division. Not only the Arab leaders rejected the proposed partition, they also misled their people into a bloody war against the Jewish community, in order to obtain all of Palestine. They harnessed the Arab states to the chariot of war, spread a conflagration throughout the Middle East, and eventually led to the permanent Arab refugee problem we see today.

You would have expected from Arab leaders, living in security and democracy in Israel to recognize the errors of their predecessors, led by Haj Amin al-Husseini for causing the Nakba, for turning some 600,000  Arabs who lived here into refugees. These leaders have also caused a large-scale human tragedy for the Jews who lived in Arab countries for thousands of years. Those Arab leaders encouraged the Arab governments, through the Arab League, to conduct a campaign of hatred, incitement, dispossession of property and deportation of their Jewish citizens, most of whom came to Israel as refugees. Newspapers of the time indicate the extent of hatred directed at Jews even before the establishment of Israel. Riots of great cruelty occurred in Iraq in 1941 (the Farhud); there were riots in Libya and Aden in 1945 - 1947. After the establishment of the State of Israel, Jews continued to suffer severel  in all Arab countries; Egypt expelled Jews from their homes in the dead of night. Of 900 thousand Jews living in Arab countries in 1948, today there are only about 4,000 today.

The tragedy of the Jewish refugees from Arab countriesremained almost only in the memories of the refugee families, it has been forgotten in public discourse and is missing fromthe history books. Jews from Arab countries were not financed like Palestinian Arab organizations by foreign governments to tell their tragedy and to support their claims for compensation for the property they left. The time has come for Israel to mark the legacy of our refugees, to get internationally recognized the human tragedy which the Palestinian Arabs, with the active assistance of the Arab countries, have caused.

Read article in full (Hebrew) 


Ian said...

The Annual Commemoration of Jewish Refugees from Arab Land was passed by the Knesset in 2014 and started with the First official Commemoration day on 30th November 2014

The next official Commemoration day will be 30th November 2015

by Davsil said...

Remembering the expulsion of Jews from Arab lands is important but only if that includes the expulsions of centuries-old Palestinian Jewish communities. Otherwise, the Jewish Nakba commemoration doesn't really mean much.

bataween said...

There was an exchange of populations between Israel and the Arabs. We must not forget the Jews expelled from Judea and Jerusalem, however, you are right.

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

Davsil apparently means Hebron, 1929, Gaza city, 1929, Shfar`am, Sh'khem/Nablus, etc. During the Israeli war of independence, 1947-49, Jews were driven from neighborhoods in what became Arab-occupied "east Jerusalem" starting in December 1947, and from Neveh Ya`aqov, `Atarot, Gush Etsion, Kfar Darom, etc. in 1948. These Jews could not return until 1967, although Jews driven from parts of south Tel Aviv and Haifa could return when combat ended in 1948.