No revisionist or post Zionist spin can possibly deny that the War of Independence was an attempt by a coalition of Arab states to annihilate us. But as 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 project into the public discourse a narrative which portrays their antecedents as innocent victims of a conflict which led to their dispossession and expulsion. They mourn the consequences of the War of Independence but suppress the fact it was their fathers who rejected the UN partition plan 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 byproduct of Allied 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 in lieu of mourning their losses or commemorating humanitarian tragedies, they are promoting hatred of the people amongst whom they live, garnering support for vengeance and delegitimization of the Jewish state.
They also seem quite nonchalant about the fact that they are identifying themselves 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, notwithstanding this, a significant number of them continue inciting hatred against the people amongst whom they are domiciled and the Zionist state which provides them with full equality and the ability to benefit from all the services provided by an advanced welfare infrastructure.
“Your independence is our Nakba” is a slogan constantly in use. “Jewish independence is our day of mourning” was chanted by thousands of demonstrating Arab Israelis. Arab-Israeli MK Taleb El Sana proclaimed to Nakba protesters that “the Nakba is equivalent to the destruction of the First and Second Temples”.
Those directing such venomous campaigns which frequently result in violence, do not appreciate that by promoting such provocative public rallies, they not only outrage the majority of Israelis amongst whom they live, but they are creating tensions which will ultimately make their own lives in Israel intolerable.
They also fail to take into account that the majority of their neighbors are themselves refugees or descendants of refugees from all over the world who found haven from persecution and violence in Israel.
In fact, a very large component of them – 850,000 – suffered pogroms and persecution in Arab countries in 1948, and were forcibly expelled and their properties and worldly possessions were confiscated. One can visit virtually every Arab city in the Middle East and witness the remnants of synagogues and cemeteries from former vibrant major Jewish communities which were destroyed because of Arab hatred.
Yet the descendants of these Jewish refugees were fully integrated and no longer label themselves with refugee status. In contrast, Arab refugees have been deliberately maintained as pawns in the Arab-Israeli conflict and are the only refugee group in the world which continues to be globally funded in order to serve as a vehicle to undermine an existing state.
Their squalid refugee status has been deliberately sustained for generations with offspring being brainwashed with hatred into believing that the day would come when they would return and repossess properties forfeited in a war of aggression initiated by their antecedents.
Yet just a few drops of oil from barrels produced by the wealthy Arab states could have provided far in excess of what was required to fund the resettlement and integration of these refugees and their descendants into their own societies.
The situation is even more outrageous when one realizes that rehabilitation from their refugee status does not even necessitate adaptation 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 in order to attach himself to an identical cultural and religious community to that to which he was nurtured from birth.
Of course, the reason why the vast majority of Arab Israelis are adamant about living in Israel is because even as a minority they are better off socially, economically and educationally in a democratic Jewish state than living amongst their own kinsmen.
There is nothing which precludes people in a democracy from maintaining unconventional or even controversial customs as they deem fit in the context of their private lives. But if Israeli- Arabs publicly indulge in activities which mourn the creation of the state in which they live and demand the right of return for their refugee brethren and their offspring -– a step which would end the Jewish majority in Israel – they are playing with fire and provoking resentment amongst the majority of Israelis which will inevitably result in making their lives in Israel unbearable.
Can one visualize elements within a Jewish diaspora community seeking to incite hatred against the host community and undermine cherished national ideals or symbols? In such a case the bulk of the Jewish community itself would welcome punitive action by the government to deter deviants from within their ranks generating hatred and prejudice against them.
Thus, the government has a responsibility not only to Jews but equally to decent Israeli-Arabs who seek to peacefully co-exist and prosper in this country, to ensure that any such provocative organizations or groups (which many would consider treasonable), at the very least, are effectively denied government funding.
Describing such activity as treasonable, shocking though it may sound, is justifiable. Nakba operates in complete synchronization with the orchestrated global campaign to demonize and delegitimize Israel. It is part of the new assault which seeks to suppress 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 defined as the source of the problem. If we fail to challenge and repudiate this false narrative, we do so at our peril and expose ourselves to immeasurably horrendous long term negative repercussions.
The writer may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org