The myth of Palestinian innocence

July 4, 2013

The myth of Palestinian innocence

Lyn Julius

My organisation, Harif, aims to tell the story of 2,500 years of Jewish history and culture in what is known as the Arab world. It’s a story with a dramatic ending: 99 percent of these Jews – numbering a million in 1948 – have fled in the space of one generation.

When people learn about the Jewish expulsion, they usually respond with sympathy. Jews from Arab countries are entitled to recognition and redress, they acknowledge.

But that recognition and redress must come from Arab countries, they say.

Indeed, one of the most enduring myths is that Palestinians bear no responsibility for the exodus of the Jews from 10 Arab countries. The Palestinians are innocent of any wrongdoing.

Regrettably, that position is borne of ignorance and wishful thinking. From the outset, the Palestinian cause was a pan-Arab nationalist cause. It has also a powerful Islamist dimension: Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood do not aim to set up a Palestinian state, so much as reclaim Islamic wakf land from the Jews. From an early stage the campaign for Palestine took on an antisemitic hue. If the Fatah and Hamas unity deal lasts, there will be nothing to choose between nationalist and religious rejectionism of a sovereign Jewish state.

Yet the role of the Palestinian Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, in inciting anti-Jewish hatred and violence as early as the 1920s and 30s, is incontrovertible. Not only did the Mufti instigate deadly disturbances in Palestine in 1920 and 1929, it is well known that the riots which led to the murders of 133 Jews in Hebron and Safed were sparked by the lie that the Al-Aqsa mosque was in danger.

Wherever the Mufti went in the Arab world, persecution and mayhem followed against the local Jews.

In December 1931, the Mufti held a World Islamic Congress in Jerusalem. An Iraqi delegate remarked, “If the Jews carry on we will have no choice but to treat the Jews in the only way they know.”

“The only way they know” meant that Jews should be treated as submissive dhimmis, inferior to Muslims and at their total mercy. Following pressure from the Western powers on the Ottoman empire in the 19th century, dhimmitude had been largely abolished. But in 1921, Yemenite Jews claim it was due to Palestinian pressure that the decree forcing Jewish orphans to convert to Islam was reinstated. It happened after a Palestinian delegation had visited Yemen to demand that the Imam stop all immigration to Palestine. The Orphans’ Decree, argues scholar SD Goiten, was the single most important reason why Jews were desperate to flee Yemen.

From 1931 on, the Mufti ceased to speak of Zionists but Jews. All Arabs were exhorted to treat the Jews of their countries ‘as the Jews treat the Arabs of Palestine’.

The congress was followed by violence in Morocco – in Casablanca in 1932, Casablanca and Rabat in 1933, Rabat and Meknes in 1937 and Meknes in 1939. In Tunisia, an entente between Tunisian nationalists and the Palestinian Arab Higher Committee sparked violence in Sfax in 1932. All this well before the creation of the state of Israel.

British reports noted the intense propaganda in Yemen. Jewish refugees tried to make for British-controlled Aden. In 1939, a crowd was incited against the British and the Jews when they were shown fabricated photographs of Arab children hanging from telegraph poles. Other newspapers mendaciously reported that thousands of Arabs had been killed and bombs thrown at the Muslim holy places in Jerusalem.

But the worst incitement, with the deadliest consequences of all, took place in Iraq: In 1939, Palestinian teachers expelled by the British to Baghdad together with the Mufti, along with Syrian and Lebanese emigres, played a key role fanning the flames of Jew-hatred with false propaganda. The Mufti himself plotted a pro-Nazi coup to overthrow the pro-British government. With the British army at the gates of Baghdad, the Mufti was forced again into exile – but not before he had primed the Arabs of Baghdad to unleash the Farhud of 1941. The pogrom claimed the lives of at least 140 Jews, with many mutilated and raped, and 900 shops looted and wrecked.

Thereafter, the Mufti’s collaboration with the Nazis, despite strenuous Arab efforts to downplay it, has been well-documented. Taking refuge in Berlin, he sought Nazi license to exterminate Jews in Arab countries as well as Palestine “in the same way as the problem was resolved in the Axis Countries.” He raised a Bosnian Muslim SS division which slaughtered 80 percent of Bosnian Jewry. Before the mass Palestinian exodus, the Arab League hatched a  postwar, coordinated Nuremberg-style plan to persecute their Jewish citizens as enemy aliens.

The Arab League’s decision to launch their ill-fated 1948 war against the fledgling state of Israel came after fierce lobbying by the Palestinian Mufti.

No, the Palestinians are not the innocent victims they claim to be.

The Palestinians must face up to their responsibility not only for driving the conflict with Israel, but playing their part in the ethnic cleansing of the Jews from the Arab world – now 50 percent of Israel’s Jewish citizenry. If their choices have led them down the path of misery and disaster, they have only their leadership to blame.


human-rights groups report that soldiers loyal to Gaddafi were rounding up people and forcing them onto boats at gunpoint.

August 23, 2011

…When NATO bombardments against Libya began, Gaddafi vowed to “unleash an unprecedented wave of illegal immigration” on Europe. And the ships have been arriving from Libya since. REDRAW IMAGE : via Newsweek and h/t This is what Europe gets for it’s Arabist slant. This is what the world gets for putting Libya on the Human rights Council. and yet today that UK Guardian is critical of Israel and their need for borders. Ha’aretz has an op-ed by an Arab: h/t

[I]n Syria, another Arab Nakba is taking place before our eyes. This Nakba is the lot of the Syrian people. But this time, those behind the Nakba are not Zionists. They aren’t Jews or French or godless British or Americans. Neither the Little Zionist Satan nor the Great American Satan is behind this Nakba. This time, the Satan is Arab, flesh of our flesh. When thousands of Arab citizens – men, women and children – are massacred, when many others flee an Arab country because they fear an Arab regime with pretensions to waving the flag of Arab nationalism, then this so-called nationalism becomes dubious and ought to raise questions. This is all the more the case when non-Arab Turkey is the country to which people are fleeing. Yes, the same Turkey that is regularly mentioned in Arab national discourse as the height of defilement and the source of all Arab ills. And all because of the Ottoman Empire, which ruled over the Arabs for hundreds of years and to which Arab nationalists have long attributed all the falterings of the Arab world. Ha’aretz has an op-ed by an Arab: h/t

The Naqba, the Naqsa and… Oslo?

June 20, 2011

The ‘Palestinian Authority’s official media has begun to present the Oslo accords as a ‘tragedy’ on a par with Israel’s attaining independence in 1948 (known as the Naqba) and with Israel’s liberation of the eastern half of Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and Gaza in 1967 (known as the Naqsa).

I thought Naqba and Naqsa were the same thing. Check my blog… I have made this mistake over and over again. Arabic is confusing because it is often spelled differently in English. because of this I thought these words were the same event

Nakba Knockout

June 17, 2011

…In recent debates about the Palestinian “Nakba,” the claim has been made that there are two “narratives,” an Israeli one and a Palestinian one, and we should pay attention to both of them. That, of course, is true: Alongside the Israeli-Zionist claims regarding the Jewish people’s connection to its historic homeland and the Jews’ miserable situation, there are Palestinian claims that regard the Jews as a religious group only and Zionism as an imperialist movement. via Professor Shlomo Avineri

…It is important to note that the last time the question of Palestinian statehood took center stage at the General Assembly, the question posed to the international community was whether our homeland should be partitioned into two states. In November 1947, the General Assembly made its recommendation and answered in the affirmative. Shortly thereafter, Zionist forces expelled Palestinian Arabs to ensure a decisive Jewish majority in the future state of Israel, and Arab armies intervened. War and further expulsions ensued. – Abu Mazen AKA Abbas is the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the president of the Palestinian National Authority via

But above and beyond these claims is the simple fact – and it is a fact, not a “narrative” – that in 1947, the Zionist movement accepted the United Nations partition plan, whereas the Arab side rejected it and went to war against it. A decision to go to war has consequences, just as it did in 1939 or 1941.

…Nakba Historiography
of East Prussia…

…Abbas mentioned the partition decision in his article, but said not one single word about the facts – who accepted it and who rejected it. He merely wrote that “Shortly thereafter, Zionist forces expelled Palestinian Arabs.”

That is like those Germans who talk about the horrors of the expulsion of 12 million ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe after 1945, but fail to mention the Nazi attack on Poland, or the Japanese who talk about Hiroshima, but fail to mention their attack on Pearl Harbor. That is not a “narrative,” it is simply not telling the truth. Effects cannot be divorced from causes. – Professor Shlomo Avineri

Nakba knockout!  Avineri, a lecturer of mine, is a firm leftist, but of the old Mapai version. via

image of Mike Tyson’s PunchOut via

Syrian forces let activists cross ceasefire line

June 15, 2011
it took a month for them to admit it–but the UN finally acknowledges that Syrian troops stood by and let the mob cross the border into Israel

the UN leaves out is whether it used any other source for the number killed other than the reports that came from Syria itself.
After all, if Syria is trying to create a distraction, they should be that last ones to go to in order to get an accurate picture of what happened–shouldn’t they?

UNITED NATIONS — Syrian forces stood by as Palestinian demonstrators crossed the Golan Heights ceasefire line and were fired upon by Israeli forces, according to a UN report obtained by AFP on Tuesday.
At least 27 people were killed in the demonstrations on May 15 and June 5 and some diplomats said the accounts given in the report reinforced claims that Syria is stirring up border troubles to divert attention from President Bashar Al Assad’s deadly crackdown on opposition protests.
The report by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also said protests against Assad had spread to the border, and UN peacekeepers had been denied access to several districts.
The report on the UN Disengagement Force (UNDOF) monitoring the ceasefire between Syria and Israel did not accuse Syrians of organising the protests staged by Palestinians on symbolic days in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
But each time Syrian forces were nearby, it stressed.
At the time of the protests, Ban issued a statement saying the incidents had jeapordized the ceasefire in place since 1974 and stressed Syria’s ‘obligation to protect UNDOF personnel and facilities.’
On May 15, about 4,000 mainly Palestinian demonstrators gathered on the Golan Heights on the anniversary of Israel’s 1948 creation.
The UN report said about 300 moved toward the Israeli side ‘and despite the presence of the Syrian police, crossed the ceasefire line, through an unmarked minefield’ and broke through an Israeli security fence.
Israeli forces at first fired tear gas, then warning shots and then used ‘direct fire,’ according to the UN, which said four dead and 41 wounded were reported.
On June 5, mainly unarmed young Palestinians again gathered at two places on the Golan Heights ceasefire line. ‘Despite the presence of Syrian security forces, protesters attempted to breach the ceasefire line in both locations,’ the UN said.
Israeli forces again used tear gas and then live fire to deter the demonstrators. The UN said up to 23 people were reported killed and many more wounded.
The report stressed that Israel and Syria had ‘generally’ cooperated with UNDOF, which has 1,041 troops from Austria, Philippines, India, Croatia, Japan and Canada.
But it said ‘anti-government demonstrations in Syria spread to several villages’ on the Syrian side of the ceasefire line. Since late April — as protests mounted — UN observer teams had been denied access to six villages ‘ostensibly for reasons of safety and security of the military observers,’ the report said.
A Western diplomat said: ‘The description of the demonstrations in the report lead to two obvious conclusions. First, that the Syrian authorities have been stoking up unrest on the border to deflect from their internal problems and their brutal repression of them.’
An envoy from a second Security Council nation said ‘these events show that what is going on inside Syria is a threat to regional peace.’
European powers have proposed a Security Council resolution condemning the Syrian violence but face opposition from Russia and China. Other council members have reservations about the resolution.
a whole month they let the negative public relations simmer for Israel. It could not of been more obvious… that is why the UN had to admit wrong doing.

Syria Bused People to Israel’s Border to Distract World

June 15, 2011

I have just been forward what appear to be Syrian state documents leaked by the governor of al-Qunaitera, in south-west Syria, which suggest that the regime fully orchestrated the “Nakba Day” raids of Palestinian refugees into the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on May 15.

The document (below) which bears the Syrian Republic emblem, is dated May 14, 2011 and describes an “urgent meeting” of Major General Asef Shawkat, the Deputy Chief of Staff for the Armed Forces, and the chiefs of security and military intelligence branches in the province in Al-Qunaitera, which is located at the Syrian-Israeli border. The memorandum outlines how the regime ordered the dispatching of 20 buses, each one with a passenger capacity of 47, to cross the border into Majdal-Shamms in the Golan Heights in order to precipitate a confrontation between Palestinian refugees and Israeli soldiers and UN peacekeeping forces, thereby distracting international attention from the Syrian revolution.
I quote the entire document, attributed to the “Office of the Mayor” in Al-Qunaitera province:

After an urgent meeting convened by the security committee on Saturday in the presence of the Mayor of al-Qunaitera, Major General Asef Shawkat -Deputy Chief of Staff for the Armed Forces-, and chiefs of security and military (intelligence) branches in the province, the following was decided:
All security, military, and contingent units in the province, Ain-el-Tina and the old al-Qunaitera are hereby ordered to grant permission of passage to all twenty vehicles (47 passenger capacity) with the attached plate numbers that are scheduled to arrive at ten in the morning on Sunday May 15, 2011 without being questioned or stopped until it reaches or frontier defense locations.
Permission is hereby granted allowing approaching crowds to cross the cease fire line (with Israel) towards the occupied Majdal-Shamms, and to further allow them to engage physically with each other in front of United Nations agents and offices. Furthermore, there is no objection if a few shots are fired in the air.
Captain Samer Shahin from the military intelligence division is hereby appointed to the leadership of the group assigned to break-in and infiltrate deep into the occupied Syrian Golan Heights with a specified pathway to avoid land mines.
It is essential to ensure that no one carries military identification or a weapon as they enter with a strict emphasis on the peaceful and spontaneous nature of the protest.
The provincial security committee meeting is considered in constant deliberation in coordination with the Center.
May you be the source of prosperity for the nation and the party
Dr. Khalil Mash-hadiya
Mayor of Al-Qunaitera

…This document – which I have good reason to believe is absolutely genuine – appears to represent the first piece of regime-created evidence that Assad has cynically tried to manipulate Western and Arabic media during three-month Syrian uprising.

by Michael Weiss and H/T ElderofZiyon
image via ainokami

Lebanese protester admits Hezbollah paid him to get shot by the IDF

June 6, 2011

How did The Guardian allow this nugget of truth to pass through their eagle-eyed editors? Agreed, it is published four weeks too late, but still…

The village of Maroun al-Ras was the scene of widespread violence on 15 May when up to 10 demonstrators were shot dead as they rallied near the fence that separates Lebanon and Israel. Up to 1,000 demonstrators arrived at the area in buses to mark “Nakba day”, the Palestinian name for the day Israel was formed in 1948.

One demonstrator who was wounded that day told the Guardian the Lebanese militia Hezbollah had given him $50 to turn up at the border and $900 to have his gunshot wounds treated by physicians. He said he had been planning to return to Maroun al-Ras yesterday until the rally was cancelled.

Why has the media been so reluctant to report on the theatre behind these demonstrations, and the incentive given by Arab leaders to injure or kill demonstrators that they hand-picked? Today’s Syrian border demonstration was broadcast, live, on multiple Israeli TV channels, and the inflated and fake casualties were obvious to all – except, apparently, every single non-Israeli reporter in the area.

(h/t Yerushalimey)