Saturday, May 21, 2011

Letter to Palestinian refugees

By Ben Dror Yemini

Link As far as public relations are concerned, you appear to be on a roll. For twenty years, [between 1947-1967] you were under occupation by Jordan and Egypt, yet the world knew nothing about your “Nakba”. It was forbidden to mention it in Jordan. In Egypt people simply forgot it happened. But in the past decade, the picture has changed. The “Nakba” has become the bayonet that spearheads the anti-Israel demonisation campaign.

The world asks us – Israelis – why we cannot feel empathy for Palestinians when they remember their disaster? It is an excellent question. If “Nakba” commemoration were meant to mark the tragedy, there would have been room for empathy. But that’s not really the case, is it? All those celebrations of Nakba, along the borders with Jordan and Lebanon and in Jaffa, had one and one purpose only: The annihilation of the State of Israel.

The disaster that befell the Arabs of Mandatory Palestine came about because their scheme had been foiled. Fawzi al-Qawuqji, the Mufti Haj Amin Al Husseini and Azzam Pasha, the secretary-general of the Arab league, three among many – were united in their unambivalent aim to destroy the newborn Jewish state. The first two, al-Qawuqji and the Mufti, fully identified with Nazi ideology. Both had spent time in Berlin and were Hitlerian enthusiasts. After Nazi Germany was defeated, they persisted in promoting the idea of the destruction of the Jews.

And now they are asking us to join in their sorrows, poor dears. Their dream of annihilating the Jews of Palestine failed to materialize, and we are supposed to shed tears for them. After the destruction of Nazi Germany, millions of German ex-expatriates were expelled and streamed into the devastated country. The expulsion and displacement of millions have not gained any recognition for the sorrow of the refugees. The free world celebrates the defeat of Nazi Germany. There is no festival to commemorate the “Nakba” that the allies inflicted upon Germans.

Not all Palestine’s Arabs followed the calls of al-Qawuqji or the Mufti. Like those millions of Germans who endured the experience of destruction and displacement, so did the Palestinian Arabs. Those refugees and these refugees were the victims of their respective insane leaderships that fed upon Nazi ideology. Those refugees and these refugees thought the Jews have no right to exist -- either as individuals or a people. Those refugees and these refugees paid a terrible price.
But there is one important difference. Only the insane fringe in Europe – the NeoNazis -- commemorate the Nazi defeat as a day of mourning. Not so in the Arab world. The defeat, known as the Nakba, gained mass and momentum -- not to learn the lessons of past errors, not to express regret for the calls of annihilation, not to turn a new page of peace and reconciliation. Quite the contrary. The Nakba unifies the Arab Street where it wishes to pick up exactly at the point where al-Qawuqji and the Mufti left off. Sometimes they call it the Right of Return; there will always be useful idiots from the Human rights activists who will lend their support. The recent events appear to have been organized by the usual suspects: Assad’s supporters, Khaled Mashal, Ahmadinejad and Nassralah got together to revive an old dream.

Most of Israeli Jews are refugees and children of refugees. Every Israeli ought to feel for other refugees, even if it was the result of their misguided leadership. But there is a gaping difference between empathy for the suffering of refugees and empathy for a campaign aimed at the annihilation of Israel. In the danse macabre of the feted calf of the Nakba, not one expression was there of regret for Palestinian rejectionism, not one hint of self-criticism, not one denunciation of the leaders who promulgated the destruction of Jews. Nothing. Zilch. Zero. And still you dare to demand that Israelis commiserate with your suffering.

Despite the madness we witnessed in the rallies in Jaffa and on the borders with Syria and Lebanon, our message to the Palestinians must be loud and clear: If it’s peace you are after, we will be your willing partners. If it’s a state you aspire to, alongside and not instead of Israel, we will negotiate with you. But, if it’s Right of Return you are seeking, you may find a few nutcases among us who will support such an objective but rest assured: the overwhelming majority of Israelis, Left to Right, will form a unified front to thwart such a insane campaign.

You tried it once, and became refugees. For your sakes, for our sakes, don’t try it.


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