The Israeli Right has been waging a war on history in recent years, using extreme measures to remove evidence of the Nakba from the national discourse. It failed.
Yedioth Hakibbutz is the weekly magazine of the United Kibbutz Movement. It is delivered every week to hundreds of Kibbutzim as part of the weekend edition of Yedioth Ahronoth, the best selling paper in Israel. Even at a time of diminishing political influence – there is not a single representative of the United Kibbutz Movement in the current Knesset – the Kibbutzim remain both a symbol and a stronghold of conservative Zionism, and the mainstream tone of Yedioth suits them well.
Three months ago, there was an unusual story on the cover of Yedioth Hakibbutz. The front page read: “We expelled, blew up and killed.” Inside the magazine was a three-page interview with Kibbutz Degania member Yerachmiel Kahanovich, a former fighter in the Palmach (the Jewish underground that preceded the IDF), in which Kahanovic confessed to his part in the expulsion and murder of Palestinians during the war of 1948.
Several months earlier, Kahanovich was interviewed as part of a project by Zochrot (“remembering”), a non-profit that deals with the Nakba from an Israeli perspective (an English translation of his testimony can be found here), and his testimony drew the attention of Yedioth reporters. Zochrot exists mostly in the margins of the Israeli discourse. Getting such a follow-up in the Kibbutz magazine was unique but not unheard of: in October 2012 the same paper ran a story on a Nakba tour book published by Zochrot.
Kahanovich’s testimony touched on one of the most awful events of 1948 – the intentional murder of Palestinian civilians who sought refuge from...Read More