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What about the Jewish Nakba?

For decades, the Palestinians have nurtured the ethos of the Nakba while Israel chose to downplay the persecutions and expulsion of the Arab Jews. It is time to set the record straight.

Great Synagogue of Oran, Algeria, which was confiscated and turned into a mosque after the departure of Jews. (photo credit: La Cigogne, Algiers)

 "If the Jewish state becomes a fact, and this is realized by the Arab peoples, they will drive the Jews who live in their midst into the sea." This statement was made by Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, about a month and a half after the declaration of the independence, and with the Egyptian Army already having invaded the territory allotted to the Jewish state. The Mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini, explained in his memoirs: "Our fundamental condition for cooperating with Germany was a free hand to eradicate every last Jew from Palestine and the Arab world."

 And the Arab League at the time also adopted two decisions, which materialized into a bill designed to seize the bank accounts of Jews and strip them of their possessions – a bill that was subsequently put into practice among well-established and wealthy Jewish communities in places such as Egypt, Libya, Syria and Iraq. Entire communities were destroyed.

It wouldn't have happened without the big Arab invasion, which was accompanied by declarations of destruction from Arab leaders, like the Arab League secretary-general at the time, who declared: "This will be a war of extermination..."

  For decades, the Palestinians have nurtured the ethos of the Nakba. It has become the defining experience of Palestinian identity. Israel, on the other hand, chose to downplay the persecutions, expulsion and dispossession of the Jews of the Arab states.The Knesset decided only this year to set aside a special day, November 30, to mark the Jewish Nakba.


 But most Israeli students don't know about Jewish Nakba. They don't know about a long series of pogroms and massacres perpetrated against Jews in most Arab countries. The Kishinev pogroms in 1906 claimed the lives of 29 Jews. A year later, in pogroms in Morocco, 50 Jews were murdered in the city of Settat, and another 30 were killed in Casablanca.


 Most school children in Israel know about what was done to the Jews of Kishinev and also about what was done to the Arabs in Deir Yassin. How many high school students know about them? And how many know about the pogrom in Aden in 1948 in which 82 Jews were murdered? And how many know about the hundreds more who were killed during that period in Iraq, Egypt, Syria and Libya only because they were Jews?

We need to know that overplaying the Palestinian Nakba...has actually become a factor that is holding back the chance for an agreement and understanding, and that recognizing the broad picture will make it clear to all that there's no turning back the clock.

 The "narratives" have taken control of the university campuses and school system. On their behalf, Israeli students are told "the other side's version of the story." Not that one should belittle the pain of the Palestinians. God forbid. The thing is that there is nothing unique about the Palestinian story in particular. People fled. Some were deported too. But where were things any different?

 And yet, the Jewish Nakba vanished into thin air, despite the fact that it was far more severe. After all, the Jews of the Arab states didn't declare war on the Arab countries; they didn't have a leader like the Mufti who was planning and plotting to eradicate all the Arabs – every last one. On the contrary, they were peaceful citizens wherever they were...

 This article has been republished with permission by www.ynetnews.com. Click here to continue reading.


 Ben-Dror Yemini, Ynet News

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