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May 5, 2014 8:46 am

Want Israel Wiped Off the Map? Guardian Approved NGO Has an App for That

avatar by Adam Levick

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The Guardian newspaper's London offices. Photo: Derek Harper.

Ian Black, the Guardian’s Middle East editor, wrote the following in a May 2 article entitled “Remembering the Nakba: Israeli group puts 1948 Palestine back on the map‘:

In a run-down office in the busy centre of Tel Aviv, a group of Israelis are finalising preparations for this year’s independence day holiday. But their conversation – switching between Arabic and Hebrew – centres not on celebrating the historic realisation of the Zionist dream in May 1948, but on the other side of the coin: the flight, expulsion and dispossession that Palestinians call their catastrophe – the Nakba.

Maps, leaflets and posters explain the work of Zochrot – Hebrew for “Remembering”. The organisation’s mission is to educate Israeli Jews about a history that has been obscured by enmity, propaganda and denial for much of the last 66 years.

Next week, Zochrot, whose activists include Jews and Palestinians, will connect the bitterly contested past with the hi-tech present. Its  will allow users to locate any Arab village that was abandoned during the 1948 war on an interactive map, learn about its history (including, in many cases, the Jewish presence that replaced it), and add photos, comments and data.

It is all part of a highly political and inevitably controversial effort to undo the decades-long erasure of landscape and memory – and, so the hope goes, to build a better future for the two peoples who share a divided land.

Later in the article, Black alludes to the fact that Zochrot’s plans to “build a better future” in the region includes an unlimited Palestinian ‘right of return’:

Zochrot’s focus on the hyper-sensitive question of the 750,000 Palestinians who became refugees has earned it the hostility of the vast majority of Israeli Jews who flatly reject any Palestinian right of return. Allowing these refugees – now, with their descendants, numbering seven million people – to return to Jaffa, Haifa or Acre, the argument goes, would destroy the Jewish majority, the raison d’être of the Zionist project.

Black’s use of the term “Zionist project” is of course quite telling.

As David Hirsh noted in an essay at Fathom, though in the decades prior to 1948 opposing the ‘Zionist project’ (anti-Zionism) was debatable even among fierce opponents of anti-Semitism, after 1948 such a position became a “programme for the destruction of an actually existing nation-state,”

Indeed, Zochrot (an NGO heavily funded by several European governments) quite openly seeks a one-state solution through the ‘right of return” for millions of Palestinians who claim to be descended from refugees from ’48.  Even more disturbingly, the group’s founder has written the following about his vision of the future:

When the refugees return, Jews will become a minority in the country.  Israel as a Jewish state will change radically, and it will no longer be defined as such.  Jews will no longer be able to determine their future…by themselves…. There may be Jews, most of them of European origin, who won’t be able to adjust to a non-Zionist reality, and prefer to use their other passport to move elsewhere…”

One of the more troubling elements of the Guardian’s coverage of the region is their propensity to legitimize one-state advocates – editors, reporters, and commentators who’ve learned nothing from the dark history of anti-Semitism in the 20th century and somehow reconcile their putatively ‘liberal’ politics with plans to render 40 percent of the world’s Jews powerless, and dependent upon the whims and wishes of an extraordinarily hostile Arab majority.

Or – the argument goes – they can ‘move elsewhere’.

Though the Guardian may not typically trade in crude Judeophobic tropes, they can’t cry foul when accused of at least abetting anti-Semitism for continually endorsing reactionary political actors who seek to annul the fundamental Jewish right to self-determination and thus jeopardizing millions of Jewish lives.

Adam Levick is the managing editor of CiF Watch, an affiliate of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA).

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  • Deb

    Israel has one half percent of a land mass where the other 99.9 belongs to Arabs and Islam…. and the guardian seems to be favorable to the idea of dividing or encroaching on those portions that now belong to Israel. You will become the guardian of Islam, because they own your freaking country with overpriced oil. Who in hell could possibly believe you could issue an unbiased opinion about Israel concerning anything. What do you think we are, idiots? That title belongs to you, your the ones who have allowed Islam to take your country and establish sharia law.

  • Julian Clovelley

    Look at your headline Adam and ask yourself is it fair because I think it is a gross misrepresentation of a clearly carefully considered and written Guardian article. Your headline reads “Want Israel Wiped Off the Map? Guardian Approved NGO Has an App for That” – but there is no rational justification for what the headline implies.

    The best way to understand the article is to look at its conclusion where it reflects sadly “Hopes for a negotiated two-state solution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians are fading after the collapse of the latest US-brokered effort, and mutual empathy and understanding are in short supply.” It then quotes Professor Claire Oren as saying “”Even if only one Israeli becomes a bit more aware of the Nakba and the Palestinian refugees, it is important… The more Israelis who understand, the more likely we are to be able to prevent another catastrophe in this land.”

    It is fitting that we seek that Palestinians and Arabs learn about the horrors of the Holocaust, but surely it is also fitting that Israelis in general learn about the sad aspects of Palestinian history. Ultimately all sides were really victims ot two world wars and the collapse of Empires

    In a dark situation, the Guardian is in many ways the last journal standing to consistently publish – often amongst less optimistc articles – those remaining beams of hope piercing the darkness, stories about those who seek reconciliation through the unconditional exercise of compassion and the attempts of victims of circumstance to understand each other, winding back the hate

    As someone dedicated to the essential task of monitoring media , I feel , Adam, that you are consistently unfair to the Guardian and its staff writers, let alone to its role of publishing a wide varieties of views for readership evaluation, views with which its editorial may well not agree.

    I would truly rather read your opinion on the activities of Zochrot itself – a predominantly Jewish organisation based in Tel Aviv, and of its leadership. Bringing your dislike of the Guardian into this, Adam, is lazy journalism as far as i am concerned, and a red herring

    • Joseph Australia

      Julian Clovelley

      Al- Guardian was once a great prestige newspaper that was read by the Elites and Academia. It even supported Israel. Another fact is that the very high fuel prices by the Arabs causes humanity massive misery and hardship to all the poor and starving people in the world.

      Secondly each sect and sub sect use this same tainted oil power games to enslave the Islamic world, and they wish to use this power to destroy Israel and the West.

      Thirdly all the Arab local populations that export the high priced oil, do not really benefit fully from their own resources.

      So when this tainted Petrodollars were put up to be spent, one would not have expected the Guardian, Lefties, Church, Unions the Elite and the Academia in Universities in the EU and the UK to prostitute themselves for these moneys and to accept this horribly tainted moneys to degrade Israel.

    • Michael in Pennsylvania

      Hello Julian,

      The fact that Zochrot’s membership is primarily of Jewish ancestry – in a nominally ethnic sense – is of trivial importance, and implies neither widsom nor a sense of ethics upon the organization and its leaders.

      Much the same was true of the Yevsektsiya (“Jewish Section” of the Communist Party) in the early years of the former Soviet Union.

      Of which, in an ironic sense, Zochrot is a ideological and spiritual descendant.