Ben White writes in Middle East Monitor:
...." Schama does not stop there; he also compares the Palestinians expelled in the Nakba to “Jews who were violently uprooted from their homes in the Islamic world.” But as Israeli academic Yehouda Shenhav has written, “any reasonable person, Zionist or non-Zionist, must acknowledge that the analogy drawn between Palestinians and Arab Jews is unfounded.”
Palestinian refugees did not want to leave Palestine. Many Palestinian communities were destroyed in 1948, and some 700,000 Palestinians were expelled, or fled, from the borders of historic Palestine. Those who left did not do so of their own volition. In contrast, Jews from Arab lands came to this country under the initiative of the State of Israel and Jewish organizations. Some came of their own free will; others arrived against their will.As Australian professor - and public Israel supporter - Philip Mendes has also pointed out, “the Jewish exodus from Iraq and other Arab countries took place over many decades, before and after the Palestinian exodus.” So while Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs certainly sees the propaganda value in such an analogy, others are less convinced.
Iraqi-born, former Israeli minister Shlomo Hillel put it like this: “I do not regard the departure of Jews from Arab lands as that of refugees. They came here because they wanted to, as Zionists.” Former Knesset speaker, Yisrael Yeshayahu stated: “We are not refugees. [Some of us] came to this country before the state was born. We had messianic aspirations.”
The fact that Schama includes this paragraph is telling, and his Nakba denial says a lot about his argument as a whole. The ethnic cleansing of Palestine – its massacres, the detonated villages, the killings of refugees harvesting crops – is historical fact. This was how a ‘Jewish majority’ was created."
My comment: Jews did not want to leave Arab countries either, yet they were forced out. The reason why they did not leave all at once is that Arab states often held them as hostages, banning emigration (eg. Morocco). Shlomo Hillel was one of a minority of ideological Zionists, but even he saw the writing was on the wall for the Jews when he learned of the massacre of 600 Assyrians in Iraq in 1933. Ben White suffers from Jewish Nakba denial.