Sunday, January 11, 2009

Not too late to break Israel's silence on refugees

Israel's celebrated Maariv newspaper columnist Ben Dror Yemini was in the audience for the Tel Aviv screening of The Forgotten Refugees on 29 December. Now that the Gaza conflict has once again pushed refugees back into the forefront of consciousness, Israel's failure to make an issue of the Jewish refugees is more glaring than ever. But it's still not too late to make amends. (With thanks: Linda)

Lately, when the prevarication mills (the “industry of lies”) began working at full steam on the bitter fate of the refugees in the Gaza Strip, who once again were forced to experience violence, the Cinematheque in Tel Aviv screened the film, The Forgotten Refugees, by director Michael Grynszpan. The film has already been shown in many places around the world, including in the U.S. Congress, but not on any channel in Israel.

The film deals with the Jewish communities in Muslim countries, a million people at the end of the second world war who were forced to leave or expelled with an enormous amount of property expropriated. They became refugees, primarily in Israel.

The Nakba occurred because the Arabs rejected the UN proposal, and because they declared a war of annihilation on Israel. The Nakba of the Jews in Islamic countries, in contrast, occurred without a reason. The Jews of Morocco or Yemen or Iraq or Egypt did not declare any war. But despite that, in some cases, in Iraq and in Libya, dozens of Jews were slaughtered.There is no "progressive" academic who does not inflate the Dir Yassin episode. But the slaughter of Jews by Arabs is never mentioned. Most of them arrived with absolutely nothing. They lived in immigrant camps. But they were not perpetuated as an open wound, as refugees, like the Palestinians.

Israel, for reasons that are hard to understand, has never played the card of the Jewish refugees. The story of the forgotten refugees could have been the unequivocal Israeli response to the issue of the Palestinian refugees. After all, the right of the Jewish refugees to reparations is far greater than the right of the Palestinians.The former suffered and were forced out, despite the fact that they started no war and declared no annihilation. The latter did. So the Jews, and only the Jews, have the right to reparations.

Those who do not succeeded in executing their plots of annihilation have no right to reparations. There is no historical precedence for an aggressor who turns himself into a victim. Such an absurdity has never existed, nor will it. Even in this matter, Israel has defeated itself in the propaganda battle. And here, too, it is not too late to rectify the error.

Read article in full (Hebrew)

1 comment:

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

Ben Dror Yemini is one of the few shining lights in the Egyptian darkness [חושך מצרים ] of Israeli journalism because of his integrity and sanity, at least compared with most of the rest. I'm glad he finally got around to this issue.

By the way, his family came from Yemen.I'll have to read the whole long article in Hebrew for which I don't have time now.