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Why won't Israeli peace groups talk about the Nakba?

It’s 2015 and Israeli peace groups still refuse to talk about the mass dispossession of Palestinians in 1948, including those who became Israeli citizens. Tom Mehager says it is time for a real conversation about the right of return.

By Tom Mehager

Representatives of Lubyan refugees place a sign indicating where the school once stood amid the ruins of the destroyed Palestinian village of Lubya, May 1, 2015. (Sarah Levy)

Representatives of Palestinian refugees place a sign indicating where a school once stood amid the ruins of the destroyed Palestinian village of Lubya, May 1, 2015. (Sarah Levy)

Israeli non-profit organizations that strive for a society based on coexistence most often focus on the most pressing issues vis-a-vis Jewish-Arab relations: educating toward democratic values, mutual recognition and teaching the Arabic language; equal allocation of resources and land; integration into the workforce and strengthening economic investment in Arab towns and villages; proper representation in decision-making processes; legitimacy for Arabic in the public sphere; changing state symbols, and more. In this respect, these organizations are making important conversations.

But what those same organizations, which demand equality between Jews and Arabs, do not speak about or deal with is the right of return of Palestinian refugees to their homeland. 1948 is the elephant standing in the center of the room. Many of our Palestinian colleagues in these organizations come from families who were uprooted from their homeland, with much of their nation still living in the diaspora.

I do not want to speak in the name of Palestinians and claim that they want to open up a conversation with us, Jewish Israelis, about the right of return. But I do want to ask why it is that we never raise questions about 1948 when speaking of a life of coexistence or about our vision of equality.

Jews realized and continue to realize their right of return in the wake of several historic events: most of us are here after 2,000 years of exile, as per the Zionist movement’s definition, due to the Law of Return, which allows the Jews of the world to receive Israeli citizenship. Moreover, many young Israelis who are the grandchildren of the victims of World War II have obtained citizenship in their grandparents’ countries of origin in Europe. And let’s not forget that the government of Spain has announced that it will allow the descendants of the victims of the expulsions in the 15th century to apply for Spanish citizenship. Thus, if we believe in true equality between Jews and Arabs, we must support the right of return for Palestinians to their homeland.

In reality, however, these organizations that strive for integration and equality remain silent when it comes to the privileges that Jews enjoy when it comes to immigration to Israel. The ruling by Aharon Barak, the former President of the Supreme Court of Israel, in the appeal by Adal Kaadan and the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) against the Israel Land Administration is a clear example of this (Kaadan tried for years to build a home in the Jewish town of Katzir. His request was denied by Katzir’s admissions committee.)

On the one hand, when it comes to organizations working toward coexistence, the ruling represents an important moment in the relationship between the Jewish majority and the Arab minority, since Barak enshrined the principle of equality and the obligation of the state to treat all citizens equally as constitutional ones. Moreover, at the center of the appeal was the issue of housing and segregation between Jews and Arabs in Israel, and Barak’s ruling against segregation only strengthened the vision of coexistence in this land.

Unfortunately, the High Court of Justice rejected a petition against the Admissions Committees Law, which allows admissions committees in hundreds of communities in Israel to reject housing applicants based on their “social suitability.” Thus, the court ruled that the same mechanism that forbade the Kaadan family from living in the town of Katzir is legal.

Thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel take part in March of Return,in the lands of the destroyed village of Hadatha, near Tiberias, April 23, 2015.

Thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel take part in March of Return,in the lands of the destroyed village of Hadatha, near Tiberias, April 23, 2015.

On the other hand, Barak made sure to mention twice in his ruling that the Law of Return is not being questioned. The first time is when he writes that ACRI itself is not calling the Jewishness of the state into question. The second time is when he mentions the Law of Return, specifically when he states that the key to entering Israel is solely in the hands of Jews, which suits the definition of the state. It is important to notice that Barak, knowingly or unknowingly, chose to use one of the most prominent Palestinian symbols of return to the homeland — the key.

The model for a life of coexistence that stems from Barak’s ruling both suits the agenda of most of these Israeli NGOs and demarcates the borders of the conversation: full equality must be granted to all those inside Israel, but when it comes to the history of Palestinian refugees and the collective rights that Jews enjoy at the expense of those refugees, there is nothing to talk about.

In my eyes, this dynamic is not in line with the desire to live in a country based on coexistence and full citizenship. It is obvious that the vast majority of Palestinian citizens in Israel opposes it. After all, why should a Palestinian citizen pay taxes to a state that invests much of its resources in bringing in new Jewish immigrants, while it rejects her and her family’s right to return? The State of Israel, which disconnects the Palestinian minority from its wider political community and prevents it from realizing their identity and history, grants every Jew in the world the opportunity to do just that.

The explanation for ignoring the right of return lies, I believe, in the political roots of the Jewish Left in Israel, and specifically those who founded the organizations that strive for coexistence and civil rights. Those founders are the ideological descendants of the same political and ethnic group that is viewed in Israeli politics as “left wing,” despite being bearing a great deal of responsibility for the Nakba — both during and after the 1948 War — when they blocked the return of Palestinian refugees and settled on their land. Between the Jewish “founders’ generation” of 1948 and the organizations of today came those same groups that spoke of “coexistence,” but established that there are some things that are to be excluded from the political discourse between Jews and Palestinian citizens, among them the Nakba.

It is important to notice that this comes up in the Kaadan ruling, and in Barak’s agreement with the appellants:

“This appeal is primarily intended for future purposes. The appellants do not intend to criticize the long-standing policy, according to which settlements — kibbutzim, moshavim and mitzpim — were established across the country (with the aid of settlement institutions) and have and continue to be almost entirely populated by Jews (emphasis mine, T.M.). The appellants do not focus their complaints on the legitimacy of the policy that has prevailed vis-a-vis this issue in the period before the establishment of the state and during the years after its establishment. Furthermore, they do not undermine the crucial role played by the Jewish Agency in settling Jews across the country during this century.”

Here’s a relevant example: the Supreme Court ruled just two weeks that the state’s plan to expel the residents of Atir/Um al-Hiran and establish a Jewish town (named “Hiran”) in its place, is legal. Today, Kibbutz Shoval sits atop the land that once belonged to the tribe, which was expelled from its land in 1948.

The entrance to Umm el-Hiran. (Photo courtesy of Adalah)

The entrance to Umm el-Hiran. (Photo courtesy of Adalah)

As a Mizrahi activist, this dynamic upsets me, since it places the blame squarely on the public that I come from, while ignoring the political roots of the state and the circumstances of its establishment. We saw an example of this in Shatil’s anti-racism campaign: from the campaign, one gleans that the average Israeli racist is a dark-skinned, Mizrahi man who wears Star of David necklaces around his neck and wears “Lehava” (a far-right, anti-miscegenation organization in Israel) shirts.

On the other hand, the man who seeks coexistence is white and Ashkenazi. One must ask whether a kibbutz that sits atop Palestinian land and that accepts very few Mizrahim or Palestinians is not an expression of racism, and are inconsistent with the principles of coexistence. The aforementioned appeal and the subsequent decision by Barak chooses to ignore this question.

Thus, in its current form, the Jewish Left — made up mostly of Ashkenazi activists — gains twice from this political dynamic. On the one hand, the Ashkenazi Left is viewed as an enlightened public that strives for peace and coexistence. On the other hand, the same “Left” decides the boundaries of the discourse in such a way that suits the historical and current interests of the ethnic group that makes it up. In Jerusalem. for example, Jews from the Israeli elite live in the neighborhoods that used to be populated by Palestinians and in homes that once belonged to Palestinians. However, they will refrain from mentioning this fact, and will intentionally talk about Pisgat Ze’ev or Har Homa as settlements that impede peace.

A brave and honest attempt by all sides involved to form a collective understanding of the roots of the conflict is one of the critical steps on the way to reconciliation. The wholesale denial of 1948 as a critical event in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, especially among those who are working toward equality and coexistence, teaches us about the need for a real conversation about the Palestinian Nakba.

Tom Mehager previously worked for Physicians for Human Rights, Worker’s Hotline and The Abraham Fund Initiatives. Today he works for Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. This article was first published in Hebrew on Haokets.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Bar

      Tell you what. Why don’t we all wait until conditions are safe and ripe for Mizrahi Israelis to return to their destroyed communities in Arab and Muslim states, and then we can talk about reversing the population exchanges that took place between Arabs and Jews after the Arabs launched wars in 1947 and 1948? Deal?

      Reply to Comment
      • Ray

        I assume loads of Mizrahis would like to leave Israel for Iraq or Syria or the Gulf States, if they could?

        Reply to Comment
      • Truth

        The vast majority of Israel’s Oriental Jewish population were not expelled from anywhere. Only Egypt and Iraq expelled their Jews, with most of Egypt’s Jews opting to settle in Europe and not Israel. Jews from everywhere else lived well in Arab countries and were not expelled, e.g. Moroccan Jews.

        Furthermore, it was the Jews that launched war on Arabs by claiming a majority of Palestine’s land for their state despite owning just 6% of it and when all the Jewish population were immigrants. Haganah and other terrorist groups were also emptying Palestinian cities such as Haifa of their Arab populations before even one Arab army set foot in Palestine.

        The creation of Israel was an act of evil that needs to be recognised.

        Reply to Comment
        • ha-baghdadi

          Dear “Truth”

          I think if you look a bit further, you will discover that although Egyptian and Iraqi Jews did face a greater deal of violence in their expulsion, you will find that Jews in Arab countries from the Maghreb to the Mashreq often faced a great deal of harassment, bigotry, social exclusion, etc, from Arab nationalists (and their sympathizers, a large percentage of many Arab countries during the 1900s -1950s). And yes, even prior to the creation of Israel.

          Nobody ever had any right to take the land from the Hebrew people, no matter how long ago, be they Roman or Arab imperialist.

          And lest we forget, here are just a few friendly incidents between Arab majorities and Jewish minorities (As what you are advocating is turning Israel into an Arab-majority state):

          622 – 627: ethnic cleansing of Jews from Mecca and Medina,
          629: 1st Alexandria Massacres, Egypt
          622 – 234: extermination of the 14 Arabian Jewish tribes
          822 – 861: Islamic empire passes law that Jews must wear yellow stars, (a lot like Nazi Germany), Caliph al-Mutawakkil
          1033: 1st Fez Pogrom, Morocco
          1066: Granada Massacre, Muslim occupied Spain
          1165 – 1178: Jews nation wide were given the choice (under new constitution) convert to Islam or die, Yemen
          1220: 10s of thousands of Jews killed by Muslims after being blamed for Mongol invasion, Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Egypt
          1276: 2nd Fez Pogrom, Morocco
          1385: Khorasan Massacres, Iran
          1465, 3rd Fez Pogrom, Morocco
          1517: 1st Safed Pogrom, Ottoman Palestine
          1517: 1st Hebron Pogrom, Ottoman Palestine
          Marsa ibn Ghazi Massacre, Ottoman Libya
          1577: Passover Massacre, Ottoman empire
          1588 – 1629: Mahalay Pogroms, Iran
          1660: 2nd Safed Pogrom, Ottoman Palestine
          1679 – 1680: Sanaa Massacres, Yemen
          1747: Mashhad Masacres, Iran
          1785: Tripoli Porom, Ottoman Libya
          1790-92: Tetouan Pogrom. Morocco
          1805: 1st Algeris Pogrom, Ottoman Algeria
          1815: 2nd Algeris Pogrom, Ottoman Algeria
          1820: Sahalu Lobiant Massacres, Ottoman Syria
          1828: Baghdad Pogrom, Ottoman Iraq
          1830: 3rd Algeris Pogrom, Ottoman Algeria
          1830: ethnic cleansing of Jews in Tabriz, Iran
          1834: 2nd Hebron Pogrom, Ottoman Palestine
          1834: Safed Pogrom, Ottoman Palestne
          1839: Massacre of the Mashadi Jews, Iran
          1840: Damascus, ritual killings (Muslims, along with french Christians kidnapped, tortured, and killed Jewish Children for entertainment), Ottoman Syria
          1840: blood libels introduced to the Muslim world from Europe.
          1844: 1st Cairo Massacres, Ottoman Egypt
          1847: Dayr al-Qamar Pogrom, Ottoman Lebanon
          1847: ethnic cleansing of the Jews in Jerusalem, Ottoman Palestine
          1848: 1st Damascus Pogrom, Syria
          1850: 1st Aleppo Pogrom, Ottoman Syria
          1860: 2nd Damascus Pogrom, Ottoman Syria
          1862: 1st Beirut Pogrom, Ottoman Lebanon
          1866: Kuzguncuk Pogrom, Ottoman Turkey
          1867: Barfurush Massacre, Ottoman Turkey
          1868: Eyub Pogrom, Ottoman Turkey
          1869: Tunis Massacre, Ottoman Tunisia
          1869: Sfax Massacre, Ottoman Tunisia
          1864-1880: Marrakesh Massacre, Morocco
          1870: 2nd Alexandria Massacres, Ottoman Egypt
          1870: 1st Istanbul Pogrom, Ottoman Turkey
          1871: 1st Damanhur Massacres,Ottoman Egypt
          1872: Edrine Massacres, Ottoman Turkey
          1872: 1st Izmir Pogrom, Ottoman Turkey
          1873: 2nd Damanhur Massacres, Ottoman Egypt
          1874: 2nd Izmir Pogrom, Ottoman Turkey
          1874: 2nd Istanbul Pogrom, Ottoman Turkey
          1874: 2nd Beirut Pogrom,Ottoman Lebanon
          1875: 2nd Aleppo Pogrom, Ottoman Syria
          1875: Jerba Island Massacre, Ottoman Tunisia
          1877: 3rd Damanhur Massacres,Ottoman Egypt
          1877: Mansura Pogrom, Ottoman Egypt
          1882: Homs Massacre, Ottoman Syria
          1882: 3rd Alexandria Massacres, Ottoman Egypt
          1890: 2nd Cairo Massacres, Ottoman Egypt
          1890, 3rd Damascus Pogrom, Ottoman Syria
          1891: 4th Damanahur Massacres, Ottoman Egypt
          1897: Tripolitania killings,Ottoman Libya
          1903&1907: Taza & Settat, pogroms, Morocco
          1890: Tunis Massacres, Ottoman Tunisia
          1903: 1st Port Sa’id Massacres, Ottoman Egypt
          1901 – 1902: 3rd Cairo Massacres, Ottoman Egypt
          1901 – 1907: 4th Alexandria Massacres,Ottoman Egypt
          1907: Casablanca, pogrom, Morocco
          1908: 2nd Port Said Massacres,Ottoman Egypt
          1912: 4th Fez , Pogrom, Morocco
          1917: Baghdadi Jewish Inquisition, Ottoman empire
          1921: 1st Jaffa riots, British mandate Palestine
          1922: Djerba Massacres, Tunisia
          1928: Ikhwan Masacres, Egypt, and british mandate Palestine.
          1928: Jewish orphans sold into slavery, and forced to convert t Islam by Muslim Brotherhood, Yemen
          1929: 3rd Hebron Pogrom British mandate Palestine.
          1929 3rd Safed Pogrom, British mandate Palestine.
          1933: 2nd Jaffa riots, British mandate Palestine.
          1934: Thrace Pogroms, Turkey
          1934: 1st Farhud Massacres, Iraq
          1936: 3rd Jaffa riots, British mandate Palestine
          1936: 2nd Farhud Massacres, Iraq
          1941: 3rd Farhud Massacres, Iraq
          1942: Struma disaster, Turkey
          1942: Nile delta Pogroms, Egypt
          1938 – 1945: Arab collaboration with the Nazis
          1945: 4th Cairo Massacres, Egypt
          1945: Tripolitania Pogrom, Libya
          1947: Aden Pogroms
          1947: 3rd Aleppo Pogrom, Syria
          1948: “emptying” of the Jewish quarter of Damascus, Syria
          1948: 1st Arab Israeli war (1 out of every 100 Jew was killed)
          1948: Oujda & Jerada Pogroms, Morocco
          1948: 1st Libyan Inquisition of Jews
          1951: 2nd Libyan Inquisition of Jews
          1955: 3rd Istanbul Pogrom, Turkey
          1956: 1st Egyptian Inquisition of Jews
          1965: 5th Fez Pogrom, Morocco
          1967: 2nd Egyptian Inquisition of Jews
          1967: Tunis riots, Tunisia

          Just to name a few.

          I would like to suggest to you that being a large Jewish minority in an Arab Muslim country does not always work out too well for Jews. Take it from me, A significant portion of my family was caught up in the Farhud.

          The Nakba was an atrocity, but turning Israel into a Lebanon-type-scenario seems quite short-sighted. I bet just about anything you are not a Jew, and if so, likely a leftist Ashkie diaspora living in metropolitan America.

          Reply to Comment
    2. Pedro X

      What does the Palestinian “Wrong of Return” mean. Left winger historian Benny Morris:

      “The realization of the right of return essentially requires the destruction of the Jewish state.”

      So those who advocate for the Wrong of Return, are advocating for the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state. Since Israel’s independence in 1948, the Arabs have been trying to undo history and eliminate the state of Israel. The PLO was formed for that very purpose and their and Hamas’ Charters explicitly called for the elimination of the Israel state while Hamas’ Charter adds a genocide of the Jews for good measure as if the destruction of Israel was not sufficient.

      So who is Tom Mehager? Although Jewish, in a profile article for Mondoweiss, he described himself as follows:

      “All my family names are Arabic. I’m Arab”

      Mondoweiss called him a post-Zionist Jew. Like Benny Morris he was jailed for refusing military service in the territories. Unlike Morris he harbors delusional visions of a bi-national state where everyone lives in peace. Since the Palestinians will not agree to live in peace with two nations for two people, a bi-national state would be recipe for disaster and massive bloodshed. The Palestinians deny the Jewish connection to the land and history. The Arab goal has always been to destroy Israel and supplant it with another Arab state.

      Benny Morris succinctly stated:

      “The Palestinian people think we can be made extinct.”

      This encapsulates the Palestinian position of extremists and so called moderate Palestinians. Morris:

      “It’s true there’s a difference between the extremists, who say directly that they want to wipe out the State of Israel, and the secular nationalists, who outwardly say they’re ready for a compromise accord. But actually, both of them, if you read their words very carefully, want all of Palestine.”

      Morris also addressed the reality of the Nabqa:

      “As for the refugee situation, I still maintain that it was a requirement of the reality. Since the Palestinians tried and intended to destroy us, and their villages and towns served as bases in wartime, the winning side had to take over villages and expel populations. This situation was built into the nature of the war, even if people from the left have a hard time swallowing it.”

      Once the Arabs fled, either in fear of war, in fear of Arab militant groups and orders to evacuate, or in being expelled, they were not going to be let back in to help make a second attempt to destroy the state of Israel. This is what they attempted by attacks and infiltrations from outside of the Jewish territory held after the 1948 war. Shaul Bartel in his book on the Fedayeen between 1948 and 1956 indicates there were 64,000 acts of infiltration and attacks against Israel from Arab soil between 1950 to 1953 alone. Israel was not going to let these people into Israel to perpetrate their attacks from within Israel. In fact they kept the Arabs who remained in Israel under military rule until 1966 to prevent them from aiding Israel’s enemies.

      In addition the Arabs, in accordance with their promises prior to the partition vote of November 29, 1947 to do harm to the Jewish population of Arab countries, expelled or caused to leave 850,000 Jews of which 600,000 found refuge in Israel. The Arab countries achieved a population transfer. The difference was that Israel incorporated its refugees into its Hebrew society over time and not without pain and suffering. the Arabs refused to incorporate their refugees into either Arab or Palestinian society but kept them disadvantaged for over 67 years telling them a lie called the Wrong of Return.

      Person like Tom Mehager do nothing to advance the cause of peace. He continues to advance the lie of the Arabs that Israel can be destroyed by the return of people who have no personal connection to Israel. His position makes Arabs think that they indeed can make Israel and its people extinct so that Israel can become another Arab state.

      Reply to Comment
      • Bruce Gould

        If you think Benny Morris is, or has ever been, a “left winger”, then you haven’t read him.

        Reply to Comment
        • Pedro X

          Bruce, Benny Morris has always been on the Israeli left. It just took him some time to wake up to the reality of the aims of the Palestinian people.

          In 1991 Benny Morris was writing for the Jerusalem Post. He was recognized as a left wing writer. When the Post was acquired by right wing Canadian conservative Conrad Black and other millionaires, they fired Morris for his left wing views.

          Morris has often been accused of being right wing because after a life time of study of the conflict he has come to express the Israeli consensus of the cause and consequences of the conflict. He does not whitewash Israeli misdeeds but puts them in context. Morris has rejected that he espouses a right wing view. In Haaretz he stated in answer to such a question:

          “All of my writing, both before and after 2000, is faithful to the truth that comes out of the historical documents. I did not change the facts or the way of looking at the past, although I did learn to appreciate the depth of the Arabs’ rejection of Zionism and the idea of territorial compromise. …. In my book I argue that this is essentially their consistent, perpetual line since the dawn of the Palestinian national movement. Just as they rejected the two-state offers in ‘37, ‘47 and ‘77, they rejected the offer in 2000.”

          “What I am doing is describing the history; I’m not demonizing. The book describes the Palestinian position. If there’s demonization in it, it simply derives from the things that they themselves say and do. I’m only letting them express themselves. What they say is what has adhered to their image.” and

          “The book is relevant to the extent that the Palestinian discourse and the Palestinian objectives have not changed, and their actions, i.e. terror, are continuing by means of the rockets that are being launched almost daily, and could also return when circumstances warrant by means of suicide bombers.

          In this context, it is vital to show the continuous, historical line of thinking that characterizes the Palestinians − which, at its base, does not give Jews any legitimate right to this place. The first section of the Hamas charter says, ‘In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate … Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it as it had eliminated its predecessors.’ It is important that we recognize who we are facing.”

          Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            Funny is how no amount of argument affects leftist trash.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Pedro, again so much nonsense. On the other side there’s plenty of Jews who seek the destruction of Palestine. Including you by the way. That’s why there needs to be a final status settlement! That’s why agreements are signed. Peace is made between enemies not friends. A recurring ploy here is to psychoanalyze what “they” really want deep inside the inner recesses of their hearts. As if Avri Ran, Eli Ben Dahan, Naftali Bennet, Zeev Friedman aka Hever and thousands like them do not also WANT to destroy a Palestinian state living side by side with Israel in peace. What they want is irrelevant. That’s why we have militaries and police forces and security cooperation between agencies and countries. And ahem, international law, which Israel flouts flagrantly.

            Morris has clearly shifted from an historian to a rhetorician and propagandist, and a peculiarly shifty and inconsistent one at that. An odd duck.

            Reply to Comment
          • Whiplash

            Ben. You have got this wrong. No one is trying to destroy a Palestinian state which does not and has never existed. There are some who are trying to prevent it from coming into existence. But then there have been and are as many Arabs who have being doing their best to make sure a Palestinian Arab state does not come into existence.

            The reason that there is no final settlement agreement and no Arab Palestinian state is because the Arabs have consistently rejected the creation of an Arab Palestinian state, in 1937, 1947, 1948, 1977, 2000, 2001 and 2008. The Palestinian Arabs even turned down the 1939 White paper which would have given them an Arab state over all of Palestine with a minority Jewish population. Even then they could not countenance Jews having any rights in Palestine. Palestinian leaders have continually sabotaged their own state by failing to make even the least compromises at the appropriate moment. They are still trying to fight battles from 1948 which they lost long ago.

            Reply to Comment
    3. Lauren

      Well said and taken. Living in the Negev and working in the Bedouin Sector, puts me face-to-face with this on a daily basis.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Jacob

      Hypocrici is built into left-wing Zionisn. On the one hand they want Jews to have superior rights (the Land is theirs), while on the other hand they want equal rights. The ensuing contradictions can only be solved by hypocrisy.
      And by the way: Ben Gurion master-minded the Nakba.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Jello

      Because they are interested in making peace rather than prolonging this conflict indefinitely?

      There is no denial of the events of 1948. There are different views of what happened. The Arabs tried to destroy the Jews and were defeated. Then the Arabs either ran away or were expelled from many of their villages. They were, for the most parts, not allowed to return. On none of this there is there much argument. The major question that the author wants discussed revolves around whether the Arab attempt to destroy the Jews was justified. The author apparently believes so and wants “peace groups” to also have a serious debate about whether the Arabs were justified in trying to destroy the Jews. Given that the overwhelming majority of Jews would, even out of their most basic self-interest, not agree with the underlying premise it seems absurd to wish to push “peace groups” into a direction that is most likely to push them outside of any consensus and outside of any capacity to influence policy. The moment a “peace group” starts justifying Arab attempts to destroy us I no longer see it as a “peace group”. I see it, justifiably, as a collaborationist group that works with people that are trying to destroy us. No amount of sweet talk about their idealized outcome changes any of that. I would presume the same is the case for most Israelis. As such this sort of “nakba obsession” only minimizes the influence of such groups within Israeli society.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        You’re not interested in peace you’re interested in peaceful total surrender to your dictates. You’ve said so many times. With no end of misleading WWII analogies that show you could not give a fig for historical accuracy. So of course dialogue for you is beside the point. And anyone who dialogues is a “collaborationist.” The proof is that you and others on the extreme right break out in hives and get most angry at precisely those Palestinian leaders who do not aim to destroy Israel but to forge a dignified and lasting two state peace agreement. Your flawed concept of “Israeli society” reflects this because it is inclusive of just one segment of one kind of people.

        Reply to Comment
    6. Whether Israel’s history is presented in terms of the approximately 750,000 Palestinians forced out of the new Israeli state in 1948 or the Palestinian Nakba, the magnitude has never been made clear. In 1948 65% of all Palestinians living in the British mandated area were compelled to flee by the Israelis.

      Is it any wonder that they have hated the Israelis since then. Israel’s narrative places all the blame on
      the Palestinians for the ensuing conflict. It was Israel that detonated the conflict through the cruel
      and ruthless displacement of so many Palestinians.

      Immediately after the Palestinian diaspora, Israel passed a law refusing them the right of return.
      It seized all of their real property and financial assets. Over 400 Palestinian villages and towns
      were leveled to insure there were no homes to which they could return. Israel now viewed these Palestinians as threats to its existence, eventually calling them ‘terrorists’.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Joel

      Let’s end this debate right now. The right of return should be granted to all ORIGINAL refugees from 1948 and 1967. The sabahs and saftas are probably cute and would make good neighbors.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Joel Cantor

      Yes, we need a real conversation about the Jewish Nakba – the ethnic cleansing of 1million Mizrachi Kews by Arabs.

      Reply to Comment