The Nakba Hoax
No revisionist or post-Zionist spin can plausibly deny that the War of Independence was an attempt by a coalition of Arab states to annihilate us. But as Joseph Goebbels used to say, “Repeat the same lie again and again and ultimately people will believe it.”
Recent years have witnessed successful efforts by increasing numbers of radical Israeli Arabs, in conjunction with their kinsmen beyond Israel, to inject into the public discourse a narrative that portrays their ancestors as innocent victims of a conflict that brought about their dispossession and expulsion. They mourn the consequences of the War of Independence but suppress the fact it was their fathers who rejected the U.N. partition plan in 1947 and embarked on a war of annihilation against Israel. Their approach is akin to Germans mourning the tragedy of their losses during World War ll, implying that it was a by-product of Allied powers’ criminality rather than Nazi aggression.
It is understandable that Israeli Arabs lament the fleeing and even expulsion of their kinsmen in the course of war. But instead of mourning their losses or commemorating humanitarian tragedies, their leaders promote hatred of the people among whom they live and garner support for vengeance and the de-legitimization of the Jewish state.
They also seem quite nonchalant about the fact that they identify with those in surrounding Arab countries who aspire to annihilate us.
Although Israeli Arabs have been described as a social underclass similar to African Americans or Hispanics in the United States, they undeniably enjoy the highest standard of living, level of literacy, and freedom in stark contrast to the poverty and tyranny under which most of their kinsmen in neighboring Arab countries languish.
Yet, despite this, some Israeli Arabs continue inciting hatred against their Israeli Jewish neighbors and the Zionist state, which provides them with full equality and all the services provided by an advanced welfare infrastructure.
“Your independence is our Nakba [catastrophe]” is a slogan often uttered by Israeli Arabs. “Jewish independence is our day of mourning” was chanted by thousands of demonstrating Israeli Arabs. MK Talab El-Sana (Ra’am-Ta’al) proclaimed to Nakba protesters that “the Nakba is equivalent to the destruction of the First and Second Temples [for the Jews].”
Those spewing such venom — which frequently results in violence — do not understand that their promoting such provocative public rallies not only outrages the majority of Israelis, but creates tension that will ultimately make their lives in Israel intolerable.
They also fail to consider that the majority of their neighbors are themselves refugees or descendants of refugees from all over the world who found a safe haven — free from persecution and violence — in Israel.
In fact, many of them — about 850,000 — suffered pogroms and persecution in Arab countries in 1948. They were forcibly expelled from their homes and had their property and worldly possessions confiscated. One can visit virtually every Arab city in the Middle East and see the remnants of synagogues and cemeteries from once vibrant Jewish communities that were destroyed because of Arab hatred.
Yet the descendants of these Jewish refugees have been fully integrated into Israeli society and no longer deem themselves refugees. In contrast, Arab refugees have been deliberately maintained as pawns in the Arab-Israeli conflict; they are the only refugee group in the world that continues to receive global funding while serving as a vehicle that undermines an existing state.
Their squalid refugee status has been deliberately sustained for generations. Refugees’ offspring have been brainwashed into believing that the day would come when they would return to their homes in modern-day Israel and repossess property forfeited in a war of aggression initiated by their ancestors.
Yet a few drops of oil from barrels produced by wealthy Arab states could have provided far more than what was required to fund these refugees’ resettlement and integration into their own societies. It is even more outrageous when one considers that their rehabilitation from refugee status does not necessitate adapting to a new cultural environment. When a Russian or European Jew immigrates to Israel, he must adjust to a totally different lifestyle in terms of language, culture and even climate. In contrast, an Arab need only travel a few miles to become attached to a cultural and religious community identical to the one in which he was nurtured.
There is nothing precluding people in a democracy from maintaining unconventional or even controversial customs in their private lives. But if Israeli Arabs publicly indulge in activities that mourn the creation of the state in which they live as a catastrophe and demand the right of return for their refugee brethren and their offspring — a step that would end the Jewish majority in Israel — they are playing with fire.
Can one visualize elements within a Jewish Diaspora community seeking to incite hatred against their host community and undermining cherished national ideals or symbols? In such a case, the bulk of the Jewish community would welcome punitive action by the government to deter these deviants from generating hatred and prejudice against them.
Thus, the government has a responsibility not only to Jews but also to decent Israeli Arabs who seek to peacefully coexist and prosper in this country. It must ensure that such provocative organizations (which many would consider treasonable) are denied government funding — at the very least.
Describing such activity as treason, shocking though it may sound, is justifiable. The Nakba commemoration operates in complete synchronization with the orchestrated global campaign to demonize and delegitimize Israel.
It is part of the new assault that suppresses the reality that Israel fought in 1948 to defend itself against forces seeking its annihilation. It amounts to an attempt to delegitimize Israel by transforming public discourse about the rights and wrongs of the Arab-Israeli conflict to one in which “the injustice caused to the Palestinians” is the source of the problem. If we fail to challenge and repudiate this false narrative, we expose ourselves to immeasurably horrendous long-term repercussions.
This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.