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October 31, 2014 / 7 Heshvan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘nakba’

Hamas and Fatah Unite in Judea, Samaria for ‘Nakba’

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

As a sign of continued progress towards “unity” Palestinian Authority officials announced that Hamas terrorists will march together with Fatah to mark the ‘Nakba.”

It is the first time in nearly ten years the two factions will coordinate and appear together at events that lament the “catastrophe” of the rebirth of the State of Israel.

Marches are expected in all Palestinian Authority-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria, and the flags of the Hamas terrorist organization will fly freely together with those of the PA.

This is the first time Hamas will be legally allowed to rally supporters to “the cause” in Judea and Samaria since it seized control of Gaza, ousting the Fatah faction led by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. That came in June 2007 at the end of a months-long bloody militia war between the two groups that followed PA elections in January 2006, when Hamas was swept to a landslide victory in the Palestinian Legislative Council.

Leftist Israeli and foreign activists around Israel have been rallying all week and last week to support the PA and mark the approach of ‘Nakba Day’ — including at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and at Tel Aviv University as well.

The ‘nakba’ an Arabic word for disaster or catastrophe, is used in this context to refer to the rebirth of the State of Israel 66 years ago. It is marked on May 15 each year by anti-Zionist groups in Israel and around the world, as well as in the PA-controlled territories.

One of the themes of the day is the tragedy of the endless, eternal stream of refugees that resulted from the Arab war declared against the newborn Jewish State.

War in Israel is a fight for survival, and our founders and defenders were sometimes forced to choose whose lives to protect — as the IDF does with the civilians that Hamas terrorists use as human shields in their wars with Israel today. Sometimes Arabs were driven from their homes in what quickly became a war zone.

During the conflict, official statistics report that most of the 700,000 Arab residents who ultimately became refugees from the war fled their homes to avoid the battle, believing they could return with their victorious Arab brethren in a few days. Others were driven out by soldiers who perceived a security threat.

Those numbers, however, have now grown to more than five million with the passage of generations. Nearly all are still cooped up in “refugee camps” in neighboring Arab nations by their “brethren” who refuse to accept them as citizens, to this very day. In this way they have become a weapon against Israel for the quiet, decades-long ongoing war of attrition still conducted today by some of its Arab neighbors, albeit through proxy terror groups, and via PA rage.

The key often seen on posters brandished at demonstrations by the angry and despairing Arab protesters symbolizes the homes their ancestors lost in the 1948 War of Independence. It is important to emphasize, however, that not every Arab resident abandoned their home in Israel. Those who did not – and there were many – enjoy a quality of life and civil rights that are clearly the best to be had in the Middle East.

When Does Free Speech Become Sedition?

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

http://fresnozionism.org/2012/06/when-does-free-speech-become-sedition/

In a democratic state where freedom of expression is cherished, can we place limits on expression when the very foundation of that state is attacked? Is there a point at which the state can say “if that’s how you feel, go live somewhere else?”

News item:

Three members of the radical ultra-Orthodox sect Neturei Karta were arrested on Tuesday on suspicion that they had vandalized a Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial earlier this month as well as several additional sites commemorating fallen IDF soldiers in the Jordan Valley.

“Hitler, thank you for the wonderful Holocaust” was one of the slogans spray painted some two weeks ago on the open campus of Yad Vashem, Israel’s main Holocaust memorial site…

Judea and Samaria District Police found spray cans in the suspects’ homes as well as posters inciting against the state and PLO flags, Army Radio reported Tuesday…

The three, aged 18, 26 and 27, call themselves the “Palestine Jews.” They confessed to the crimes and remarked that they had committed the act out of hatred toward the Zionist entity and the state.

There is no doubt that if they are convicted of the crime of vandalism they should be punished. But is the state required to tolerate residents who express hatred of “the Zionist entity” in any form?

In the US, almost all such expression is permitted (there are exceptions). But the population here is almost 312 million people, and only a tiny proportion of those want to overthrow the Constitution. Israel has about 7.6 million, and when you include fanatics like the “Palestine Jews,” Arab nationalists, Islamists, and extreme leftists or anarchists, it becomes a significant proportion of the population.

Consider the extreme academic Left, which literally dominates academic departments in some Israeli universities. They regularly call for a binational state, support boycott-divestment-sanctions, compare Israel to Nazi Germany, sign petitions favoring a right of return for Arab refugees, etc. (details are here).

Another example is the Israeli Arab (oops, ‘Palestinian resident of Israel’) organization Adalah. Supported by the US-based New Israel Fund, Adalah is openly anti-Zionist, advocating for a right of return, for Israel to admit its guilt and compensate Arabs for the nakba [disaster] that was the founding of the state, change its flag and national anthem, and give Arabs a veto power over all decisions of the Knesset.

Then there is the Islamic Movement in Israel. The leader of its Northern Branch, Ra’ed Saleh, openly supports Hamas and has incited riots in Jerusalem several times with claims that Israel is trying to destroy the al-Aqsa mosque.

The vandals of Neturei Karta have been around for years, appearing at anti-Israel demonstrations around the world. They were paid by Yasser Arafat and even visited Tehran where they embraced Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. There are other Hareidi extremists that are less well-known, but also oppose the Jewish state, while accepting its charity and protection.

When does this become too much for a small state which does not lack for external threats?

There is a word for the behavior of the groups described here — sedition — and a surprising number of liberal democracies have laws against it. Perhaps Israel should as well?

Israeli Police Arrest 5 Suspected of Rock Attacks

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Israeli police arrested five Arabs from Silwan accused of being members of a local gang that has been attacking police with rocks.

According to police, the self-proclaimed Milad Ayyish Battalion threw rocks and firecrackers at Israeli police and border patrol in scores of incidents over the past year and a half, causing damage to police jeeps and patrol cars. Milad Ayyish was a 17-year-old gang-member killed during the Nakba Day riots last May.

Three of the five suspects  are under 18.

 

Enabling Mahmoud Abbas’s Lies: An Open Letter To The New York Times Public Editor

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Dear Mr. Brisbane,

Your newspaper recently published an op-ed written by Mahmoud Abbas, the unelected president of the Palestinian Authority.

In it, he claims that in 1948 he was forced to flee as a thirteen-year-old from Safed in what is now Israel and was forced to live in a tent city in Syria as a poor refugee.

He further claims the Palestinians were victims of what he refers to as “our expulsion” and that “Zionist forces expelled Palestinian Arabs to ensure a decisive Jewish majority in the future state of Israel,” which was why “Arab armies intervened. War and further expulsions ensued.”

What’s unusual here is not only that this is a blatant falsehood, but that it was contradicted publicly by Abbas himself.

A 2003 Wall Street Journal article, titled “Abu Mazen Charges that the Arab States are the Cause of the Palestinian Refugee Problem,” noted that Abbas had authored an article in March 1976 (in the official journal of the PLO in Beirut) that said, “The Arab armies entered Palestine to protect the Palestinians from the Zionist tyranny, but instead they abandoned them, forced them to emigrate and to leave their homeland, imposed upon them a political and ideological blockade and threw them into prisons similar to the ghettos in which the Jews used to live in Eastern Europe.”

Not only that, but in an interview with Al-Palestinia TV in 2009, Abbas admitted that his family was not expelled or driven out, but rather left voluntarily out of fear that the Jews might take revenge for the slaughter of 20 Jews in the city during the Arab pogroms of 19 years earlier:

“I am among those who were born in the city of Safed. We were a family of means. I studied in elementary school, and then came the nakba [calamity, namely, the founding of the State of Israel - ed.]. At night, we left by foot from Safed to the Jordan River, where we remained for a month. Then we went to Damascus, and then to our relatives in Jordan, and then we settled in Damascus.

“My father had money, and he spent his money systematically, and after a year, the money ran out and we began to work.”

So much for those moving claims of being reduced to living in a tent as poverty stricken refugee.

As always, there’s more.

From the Jordan daily newspaper Falastin, February 19, 1949:

“The Arab states, which had encouraged the Palestine Arabs to leave their homes temporarily in order to be out of the way of the Arab invasion armies, have failed to keep their promise to help these refugees.”

From the Cairo daily Akhbar El-Yom, October 12, 1963:

“May 15, 1948 arrived; on that very day the mufti of Jerusalem appealed to the Arabs of Palestine to leave the country because the Arab armies were about to enter and fight in their stead.”

From a memorandum by the Arab National Committee to the Arab League governments on their refusal to sign a truce, April 27, 1948:

“When the Arab delegation entered the conference room, it proudly refused to sign the truce and asked that the evacuation of the Arab population and their transfer to neighboring Arab countries be facilitated. The Jewish representatives expressed their profound regret. The mayor of Haifa adjourned the meeting with a passionate appeal to the Arab population to reconsider its decision…”

Abbas’s claim that the Arab armies intervened only after the Israelis supposedly expelled the Arab inhabitants en masse is also a falsehood. The Arab states had publicly declared their intention to murder every Jew living in Israel if statehood were declared and had begun organizing their forces to do so even before the UN vote took place. That is a matter of historical record.

That’s what the so-called nakba really commemorates: a failed attempt at genocide a mere three years after Auschwitz had been liberated – an attempt in which a significant number of the Arab inhabitants of what was then the Palestine Mandate took part.

I was able to find these references after a cursory search. I find it difficult to believe that The New York Times, with its professional researchers, fact checkers and other resources, was unable to do the same and more.

Litmus Test For Nakba Law Opponents

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

            The Israeli media and the Israeli Left (but I repeat myself) have been hysterical in recent weeks over a proposed bill that would make it illegal to hold anti-Israel “mourning” events on Israel’s Independence Day, events that would declare Israel’s very existence a “nakba” (or catastrophe in Arabic).
 
            Nakba commemorations are in essence events during which Jewish leftists and Arabs call for Israel to be annihilated. The anti-nakba bill would, if passed, ban these, and has triggered hysterical opposition. 
 
            There are two groups of people posturing their outrage at the proposed law. One group consists of free speech absolutists; the other of anti-democratic haters of Israel, many of them people with a neo-fascist disdain for freedom of speech. The first group truly believes in freedom of speech, even for radicals, traitors, and extremists. The second group agrees with Israel’s enemies that the very existence of the Jewish state is a catastrophe.
 
            There is a very easy litmus test to distinguish between these two groups. If the opponent of the law is someone who spoke out clearly in the 1990s against the “anti-incitement” campaign, aimed primarily at the Right, that person is part of the first group, the free speech absolutists. But if the person endorsed that campaign against “incitement” or simply kept quiet and failed to speak up against it, he belongs to the second group.
 
            Immediately after the murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in November 1995, the Israeli political establishment launched a broadside assault against freedom of speech in Israel. It repeated endlessly the idea that Rabin had in effect been killed by the exercise of free speech on the part anti-Oslo dissidents. Hundreds of people were investigated and interrogated on suspicion of “incitement.” The “judicial activists” in Israel’s legal system failed to protect the victims of the anti-democratic witch-hunt.
 
            In the anti-democratic hysteria after the assassination, Israelis were carted off by the busload to be interrogated for “incitement.” In some cases the circumstances were comically absurd. A man was arrested for cracking a joke in a bank: when the clerk had asked, “Who’s next in line?” the man responded, “Peres.” A Zionist Federation employee was arrested for “incitement” while drinking at a caf? because an eavesdropper claimed he was “inciting.” Moshe Feiglin was convicted of “sedition” because he dared to hold anti-Oslo protests that blocked a traffic artery.
 
            The notion that Rabin was killed by freedom of speech was repeated endlessly by the political elite and assumed the status of revealed truth. The government approved a decision to make a growing list of organizations on the Israeli Right illegal. Kahanists were criminalized and denied freedom of speech under Israel’s arbitrary “anti-racism laws,” which have never been used to prosecute leftist or Arab anti-Semites.
 
            A series of aggressive measures designed to prosecute those engaging in “incitement and agitation” was instituted. Right-wing protesters of various stripes were arrested and prosecuted for various charges.
 
            In this atmosphere, countless legitimate exercises of freedom of speech were persecuted and suppressed. A faculty member wearing a pro-settlement button at the Weizmann Institute was threatened with expulsion. A Haifa teacher-rabbi was fired by his school for expressing the opinion that Rabin’s political ideology should not be taught as theology in schools. Rabbis writing scholarly articles on rabbinic law were arrested for “racism” and “incitement.” Police were ordered to tear down posters on public billboards placed by anti-Oslo protesters. Israelis wearing shirts with politically incorrect slogans and those with rightist bumper stickers on their cars were harassed and interrogated by the authorities.
 
            The assertion that Rabin was killed by the exercise of freedom of speech was absurd and false. There is no reason to think Yigal Amir would have behaved any differently if opponents of Rabin’s policies had all spoken in gentle, calm tones rather than shouting angrily.
 
            And if “vile speech” causes assassination, Israel would have witnessed an endless slaughter of its political leaders going back to independence (if not beforehand). Israeli political discourse has always been characterized by rhetorical overkill, ad hominem slander and high-decibel shrieking.
 
            Vile speech is not a monopoly of hotheads of the Israeli Right, as the anti-Begin demonstrators in 1982-83 proved during Israel’s Peace in Galilee campaign in Lebanon. Their slogan was “Begin and Sharon are Murderers and War Criminals.” No one was prosecuted for voicing those sentiments.
 
            (Likud is just as capable – and culpable – as Labor when it comes to jumping on the anti-democratic bandwagon. It was Likud that closed down the rightist radio station Arutz 7. And it was Likud Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who told his cabinet on February 13, 2005, “Anyone who speaks or writes against the [Gaza] Disengagement Plan is guilty of incitement.”)
 
            Many of the people now outraged at the idea of an anti-nakba law cheered on the 1990s campaign against the Right. The far-left Israeli daily Haaretz, leading the campaign against the anti-nakba law, led the effort in the 1990s to suppress “incitement” and the exercise of free speech by those opposed to the Left’s political agenda.
 
            So here is the test: You do not like the proposed anti-nakba law? Then prove to us you are opposed to other infringements of freedom of speech in Israel. Show us what you said or wrote against the 1990s campaign against “incitement” and freedom of expression on the Right. Let us know what you have done to fight other measures designed to suppress freedom of speech, including the infamous anti-democratic SLAPP suit filed by the ultra-leftist academic Neve Gordon.
 

            If you can’t, or won’t, do that, your hypocrisy stands exposed in all its stunning ugliness.

 

 

            Steven Plaut, a frequent contributor to The Jewish Press, is a professor at Haifa University. His book “The Scout” is available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at steveneplaut@yahoo.com.

How ‘Nakba’ Proves There’s No Palestinian Nation

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

      Over the past few years, the term nakba (also spelled naqba) has become the favorite nonsense word of the Anti-Israel Lobby. Meaning “catastrophe” in Arabic, it has been embraced by anti-Semites all over the planet to refer to Israel’s creation, which supposedly imposed a “catastrophe” upon the “disenfranchised Palestinian Arabs.”

 
      Of course, the real catastrophe that befell the Arabs in 1948-49 was that they failed in their attempt to annihilate Israel and exterminate its population, and for that they paid a price.
 
      Meanwhile, Nakba Nonsense has been spreading. Google finds over 85,000 web pages referring to Israel’s creation as a “nakba,” and a Yahoo search finds even more than that. The anti-Israel web magazine Counterpunch cannot mention Israel without using the term. Even Israel’s leftist minister of education, Yuli Tamir, has orderedthat the nakba be taught as partof the curriculum in Israeli schools, where Israel’s schoolchildren can be taught to mourn their own country’s existence.
 
      (Tamir, who was previously a professor of education at Tel Aviv University, is so bizarre that in the summer of 1996 she published an article in the Boston Review defending female circumcision in the Third World and denouncing those who expressed disgust at the practice – see http://bostonreview.net/BR21.3/Tamir.html.)
 
      Nakba ceremonies are now held each year by leftist professors at Israeli universities who mourn the very creation and existence of their country.
 
      The nakba of the late 1940′s and 1950′s that befell large numbers of Jews living in Arab countries who were suddenly expelled, persecuted, and stripped of their property does not interest such people. Those Jewish refugees made new homes in Israel and actually outnumbered the Palestinians who fled.
 
      Meanwhile, an urban legend has been fabricated about the origin of the term “nakba” – a fairy tale that claims the word was a banner waved by Palestinians starting in 1948, and that its very use shows how deep the roots of “Palestinian nationality” go.
 
      So here is a little current events quiz: What is the real origin of the term “nakba” and what is its original meaning?
 
      If you get the answer to the quiz wrong – in other words, if you say it refers to the events of 1948 – you are in very good company. I myself would have flunked the quiz up until a few days ago, when I stumbled on the correct answer. Not only does the bandying about of the “nakba” nonsense word not point to any “depths of roots of Palestinian nationality,” it proves the very opposite: namely, that there is no such thing as a Palestinian nation or nationality at all.
 
      The authoritative source on the origin of “nakba” is none other than George Antonius, supposedly the first “official historian of Palestinian nationalism.” Like so many “Palestinians,” he actually wasn’t – Palestinian, that is. He was a Christian Lebanese-Egyptian who lived for a while in Jerusalem, where he composed his official advocacy/history of Arab nationalism. The Arab Awakening, a highly biased book, was published in 1938 and for years afterward was the official text used at British universities.
 
      Antonius was an “official Palestinian representative” to Britain, trying to argue the cause for creating an Arab state in place of any prospective homeland promised the Jews under the Balfour Declaration of 1917. By the 1930′s Antonius was an active anti-Zionist propagandist, and as such was offered a job at Columbia University (where some things don’t seem to change much).
 
      He served as an academic fig leaf for xenophobic Arab nationalists seeking to deny Jews any right to self-determination in or migration to the Land of Israel. And he was closely associated with the Grand Mufti, Hitler’s main Islamic ally, and also with the pro-German regime in Iraq in the early 1940′s.
 
      Antonius was so passionately anti-Zionist that he continues to serve as the hero and mentor of Jewish leftist anti-Zionists everywhere. For example, the late Hebrew University sociology professor Baruch Kimmerling relied on Antonius at length in his own pseudo-history, Palestinians: The Making of a People (Free Press, 1993).
 
      So how does Antonius provide us with the answer to the current-events quiz concerning the origin of “nakba“? The term was not invented in 1948 but rather in 1920. And it was coined not because of Palestinians suddenly getting nationalistic but because Arabs living in Palestine regarded themselves as Syrian and were enraged at being cut off from their Syrian homeland.
 
      Before World War I, the entire Levant – including what is now Israel, the “occupied territories,” Jordan, Lebanon and Syria – was comprised of Ottoman Turkish colonies. When Allied forces drove the Turks out of the Levant, the two main powers, Britain and France, divided the spoils between them. Britain got Palestine, including what is now Jordan, while France got Lebanon and Syria.
 
      The problem was that the Palestinian Arabs saw themselves as Syrians and were seen as such by other Syrians. The Palestinian Arabs were enraged that an artificial barrier was being erected within their Syrian homeland by the infidel colonial powers – one that would divide northern Syrian Arabs from southern Syrian Arabs, the latter being those who were later misnamed “Palestinians.”
 
      The bulk of the Palestinian Arabs had in fact migrated to Palestine from Syria and Lebanon during the previous two generations, largely to benefit from the improving conditions and job opportunities afforded by Zionist immigration and capital flowing into the area. In 1920, both sets of Syrian Arabs, those in Syria and those in Palestine, rioted violently and murderously.
 
      On page 312 of The Arab Awakening, Antonius writes, “The year 1920 has an evil name in Arab annals: it is referred to as the Year of the Catastrophe (Am al-Nakba). It saw the first armed risings that occurred in protest against the post-War settlement imposed by the Allies on the Arab countries. In that year, serious outbreaks took place in Syria, Palestine, and Iraq.”
 
      Yes, the answer to our little quiz is 1920, not 1948. That’s 1920 – when there was no Zionist state, no Jewish sovereignty, no “settlements” in “occupied territories,” no Israel Defense Forces, no Israeli missiles and choppers targeting terror leaders, and no Jewish control over Jerusalem (which had a Jewish demographic majority going back at least to 1850).
 
      The original “nakba” had nothing to do with Jews, and nothing to do with demands by Palestinian Arabs for self-determination, independence and statehood. To the contrary, it had everything to do with the fact that the Palestinian Arabs saw themselves as Syrians. They rioted at this nakba – at this catastrophe- because they found deeply offensive the very idea that they should be independent from Syria and Syrians.
 
      In the 1920′s, the very suggestion that Palestinian Arabs constituted a separate ethnic nationality was enough to send those same Arabs out into the streets to murder and plunder violently in outrage. If they themselves insisted they were simply Syrians who had migrated to the Land of Israel, by what logic are the Palestinian Arabs deemed entitled to their own state today?
 
      Palestinian Arabs are no more a nation and no more entitled to their own state than are the Arabs of Detroit or of Paris. They certainly are not entitled to four different states: Jordan, Hamastan in Gaza, a PLO state in the West Bank, and Israel converted into yet another Arab state via the granting of a “right of return” to Arab refugees.
 
      Speaking of Palestinians as Syrians, it is worth noting what one of the early Syrian nationalists had to say. The following quote comes from the great-grandfather of the current Syrian dictator, Bashar Assad:
 
      “Those good Jews brought civilization and peace to the Arab Muslims, and they dispersed gold and prosperity over Palestine without damage to anyone or taking anything by force. Despite this, the Muslims declared holy war against them and did not hesitate to massacre their children and women. Thus a black fate awaits the Jews and other minorities in case the Mandates are cancelled and Muslim Syria is united with Muslim Palestine.”
 

      That statement is from a letter sent to the French prime minister in June 1936 by six Syrian Alawi notables (the Alawis are the ruling class in Syria today) in support of Zionism. Bashar’s great-grandfather was one of them.

 

 

      Steven Plaut, a frequent contributor to The Jewish Press, is a professor at Haifa University. His book “The Scout” is available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at steveneplaut@yahoo.com.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/how-nakba-proves-theres-no-palestinian-nation/2008/04/30/

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