April 23, 2007
By Dr. Elias Akleh
Victimizing the Jews has been the successful old political trick Zionists have been using to gain international political sympathy for the Israeli cause, and to justify all aggression and terror the Israeli army perpetrates on Palestinians and on the neighboring Arab countries. Whenever the international views turn against Israel, due to its aggression, a new Jewish victimizing story pops up.
One such late story I happened to come across on page 106 of March 19th. 2007 issue of U.S. News Magazine, was titled “You deserve a factual look at… The Forgotten Refugees. Why does nobody care about the Jewish refugees from Arab lands?” The article was published as an advertisement by FLAME (Facts and Logic About the Middle East), who claims to “publish the truth about Israel and the Middle East conflict in advertisements and letters to editors nationwide.”
The advertisement claims that there exist what it called Jewish refugees from Arab countries, and makes some comparison between these Jewish refugees and Arab refugees in an attempt to point to alleged international injustice when the UN spends “... many billions of dollars” on the Arab refugees while forgetting the Jewish refugees. The advertisement tries to avoid calling the Arab refugees by their true name: Palestinian refugees, in an attempt to deny any moral and legal responsibility of Zionist Israel in violating Palestinians’ human rights and creating Palestinian refugee problem.
The advertisement attempts to refute “A myth that Jews had an easy life in Muslim/Arab countries”. It claims that Jews under Islam were treated worse than second class citizens “governed by a system of discrimination intended to reduce Jews … to conditions of humiliation, segregation and violence”.
The truth is that Jews were treated, under Islam in the Arab World, better than any other place they had lived in the whole world at the time. They were treated like any other ethnic groups, e.g. Christians, with full citizenship that included freedom and rights like the rest of the citizens. They were allowed to live and worship freely in Jerusalem, where they were barred entrance by ancient Romans and European Christian Crusaders. When European Jews faced persecution since the start of Crusaders campaigns, they did not find any safe haven for themselves except in Islamic and Arab countries in North Africa and in the Middle East. Many of those Jews fought along side Muslim and Christian Arabs against the Crusaders, who called for the slaughter of every Jew for crucifying Jesus. In his book “Bitter Harvest” Palestinian scholar Sami Hadawi described this Jewish haven as follows:
“During the Middle Ages, North Africa and the Arab Middle East became places of refuge and a haven for the persecuted Jews of Spain and elsewhere… In the Holy Land they lived together in harmony, a harmony only disrupted when the Zionists began to claim that Palestine was the ‘rightful’ possession of the ‘Jewish people’ to the exclusion of its Moslem and Christian inhabitants”
The Jewish writer Dan Peretz described this situation in his book “The Arab Israeli Dispute” as follows: “Most Jews in Palestine belonged to old Yishuv, or community, that had settled there more for religious than for political reasons. There was little of any conflict between them and the Arab population. Tension began after first Zionist settlers arrived in the 1880’s”
Although given freedom like any other citizens a group of the Jews, believing themselves to be the elite God’s chosen people, who should not mix and mingle with the others, “Goyims”, as been taught by their prophets, had isolated themselves into ghettos the same way they had lived throughout Europe. Those, who had the courage to venture out of the ghettos, had flourished and reached high employment positions in Arabic governments and societies. Many had become the financial and trade centers of the Arab World. This fact contradicts the advertisement claims that Jews “… were excluded from society, from government, and from most professions ... They were barely tolerated and often… were victimized by vicious violence” Some extremist fundamentalist Jews, who had their noses up in the sky believing themselves to be the chosen people and better than all other nations, had invited rejection and intolerance from all nations, not just from Arabs, to such snobby racist attitudes.
The advertisement goes on further to claim that Jews in the Arab World were subjected to systematic violence and persecution after the establishment of Israel in 1948 and after Six Days War in 1967. “When Israel declared its statehood in 1948, programs broke out across the entire Arab/Muslim world. Thousands died in this violence… The vast majority of those Jews fled from where they had lived for centuries. They had to leave everything behind. Most of those who were able to escape found their way to the just-created state of Israel”
The programs, the advertisement does not clarify, were terrorist acts perpetrated by Zionists against Jewish communities in the Arab World, as well as throughout European countries to coerce the Jews to immigrate to Palestine to establish the alleged safe haven; Israel, on usurped Palestinian land. Zionist zealots and some mercenaries had fire-bombed Jewish synagogues and shops, damaged Jewish cemeteries, and painted hate graffiti to create anti-Jewish climate. Zionist offer of free transportation, free housing, and free salaries had encouraged a lot of Jews to surrender their fate to the Zionist plan. Those, who immigrated, had plenty of time to sell their properties before leaving.
The Arabs, contrary to the claims, did not subject their long-time neighboring Jews to violence since they distinguished between a Jew and a Zionist. Yet those Jews, who were disillusioned by Zionism and became “enemy combatants” and spies within the Arab World, had to be dealt with as such.
The advertisement brags about “Israel received every one of those Jewish refugees from Arab countries with brotherly open arms; it housed, fed and quickly integrated them into Israeli society”. It is true that Zionist Israel had received immigrant Jews, paid all expenses including transportation, rent, and monthly salaries until they were integrated in Israeli society. Yet this reception was not out of brotherly love. Those immigrant Jews were, deliberately, drowned into financial debt so that they could not leave Israel, after discovering the trap set for them, without repaying all the expenses plus interests. Young Jewish immigrants, and every new generation of their offsprings, have been conscripted into the Israeli terrorist army to kill and to be killed for the interests of rich pro-Zionist corporations of the West.
The advertisement repeats the old myth, that had been told and refuted so many times, that Palestinians had fled from Palestine after the Israeli occupation “... following the strident invocations of their leaders …so as to make room for invading Arab armies”, who according the advertisement will kill all the Jews so that Palestinians “could return to reclaim their properties and that of the Jews, all of whom would have been killed ...” by Arab armies.
Palestinians, like any other people, would never leave their homes voluntarily, and Arab leaders had never invoked them to leave. Sami Hadawi refuted this claim in his book “Bitter Harvest” stating the fact that “British Broadcasting Corporation monitored all Middle Eastern broadcasts throughout 1948. The records, and companion ones by a US monitoring unit, can be seen at the British Museum. There was not a single order or appeal, or suggestion about evacuation from Palestine from any Arab radio station, inside or outside Palestine in 1948. There is a repeated monitored record of Arab appeals, even flat orders, to the civilians of Palestine to stay put”.
This myth aims to erase guilt and moral responsibilities off Jewish shoulders for perpetrating the cruelest and ugliest massacres against mostly unarmed Palestinian villagers, and parading their women and children in the streets of Jerusalem to terrorize the rest of the Palestinians into fleeing out of their villages for their lives and for their honor when Zionist terror organizations, such as Irgun and Hagana, spread the rumors of their plans to attack Palestinian villages. Jewish historian Ilan Pappe, in his book “The Link”, mentions this fact: “The Israeli forces expelled the Palestinians from every village and town they occupied. In some cases, this expulsion was accompanied by massacres of civilians as was the case in Lydda, Ramleh, Dawimiyya, Sa’sa, Ein Zietun and other places. Expulsion also accompanied by rape, looting and confiscation”.
During wars people panic and flee their homes searching for safety. Yet they have always been able to return to their homes when danger subsides. Military conquest does not abolish private rights to property, nor does it entitle the victor to confiscate properties of civilian population. Even if the claims were true that Palestinians left their homes on the commands of their leaders, they still have the right to return to their homes and properties that had been stolen by Zionist immigrants. This right is protected by international law as noted by the noted Jewish writer and thinker Professor Erich Fromm “In international law, the principle holds true that no citizen loses his property or his right of citizenship; and the citizenship right is de facto a right to which the Arabs in Israel have much more legitimacy than the Jews”.
Israel’s rejection of Palestinians’ right of return has been on the top of their political agenda, which led them to break all UN resolutions regarding this matter, break all international laws, violate Palestinians’ human rights, and reject all Arab peace initiatives.
The advertisement continues with its allegations “… the Arab countries resolutely refused to accept Arab refugees into their societies. They confined them into so-called refugee camps …to keep them as a festering sore and to make solution of the Arab/Israel conflict impossible. These refugees, whose number has by now miraculously increased from their original 650 thousands to 5 millions, are seething with hatred toward Israel, and provide the cadres for terrorists and suicide bombers”
The Arab countries, mainly Jordan, Egypt, and Lebanon, had received the majority of Palestinian refugees, who became a burden on the already impoverished economy of these countries, who, unlike Israel, were not receiving three billions of Dollars annually from the US. The majority of these refugees (now numbers about 7.5 million and not only 5 million) want to go back to their own homeland and their homes that were illegally occupied by terrorist Israelis. They fight to regain what is rightfully theirs, unlike the terrorist Israeli army, who fight to usurp lands of other people.
As for the solution of the Arab/Israeli conflict, the Arabs had offered Israel many peaceful solutions, yet Israelis categorically rejected them because without the conflict they could not keep usurping more lands to build “Greater Israel”. The latest Arab peace initiative of last month, March 2007, offered Israel to keep 78% of Palestine for permanent peace and normalization of diplomatic relationships with all Arab countries. Yet Israel, as usual, rejected this offer.
The advertisement acknowledges that “since 1947 there have been over 100 UN resolutions concerning Palestinian refugees, but there has not been one single resolution addressing the horrible injustice done to the nearly one million Jewish refugees from the Arab states”
This paragraph refutes the advertisement’s claim by showing that the international community has recognized and acknowledged the existence of a genuine Palestinian refugee problem, and the non existence of the false called-for Jewish refugees from Arab countries. That is why “a special branch of the United Nation (UNRWA) exists for the maintenance of those refugees” (created by Israelis) as the article notices. Israel, backed by successive American administrations, had ignored those UN resolutions that aimed to solve the Palestinian refugees’ problem, rather than spending billion of Dollars “contributed by the US” as the advertisement objects. It, also, totally ignores the attention the world had focused on the issue of the Holocaust, the compensation in hundreds of billions of Dollars to Israeli Jews, making even the study of the Holocaust an international crime, and sentencing, fining and imprisoning all the renowned historians, who questioned some of its details.
The advertisement criticizes the Arab’s justifiable right to ask for compensations, and the Palestinian refugees’ legitimate right to return to their homeland, “what has been Israel for almost 60 years”, where Palestinian tribes had lived for over than three thousand years. It concludes by stating “But if there is to be any compensation, those forgotten Jewish refugees are certainly entitled to such compensation as much as the Arab refugees. Anything else would be an outrage and a great injustice”
The advertisement neglected to mention the most important point in this refugee issue, namely that the Palestinian refugees were forcefully ejected from their homes according to the Zionist ideology that is based on the idea of “people substitution”; the expulsion ‘transfer’ of Palestinians out of Palestine, and the implanting of Jews in their place. The idiom of “Jewish state is unthinkable without compulsory transfer of the Arabs to the Arab states” had been adopted since the first Zionist Congress in Basle in 1897, and had been repeated by notorious Zionist leaders such as British Zionist Israel Zangwill, Haim Weisman, Theodor Herzl, Nahman Syrkin (founder of Social Zionism), Selig Soskin (director of Jewish National Fund), and many others.
On the other hand the so-called Jewish refugees (Zionist Jews) from Arab countries had plenty of time to plan their leave and to liquidate all their properties, and to be fed, resettled and compensated directly by American tax money, where the annual three billion Dollars financial aid pays almost $3,000.00 monthly for every Israeli, not mentioning all the economic aid and tons and tons of military equipment that are given freely to the terrorist Israeli army to inflict terror on Palestinians, Lebanese, Syrians, Iraqis and Iranians.
Finally the advertisement gives a comparison between bogus numbers of the Jews in some Arab countries before and after 1948; countries where Zionists had successfully transferred their Jewish population to occupied Palestine (Israel). It ignores to mention the large number of Jews, who are still living, flourishingly, in Northern African Muslim Arab countries, in Turkey, and even in Iran (the so-called extremist Islamic and terrorist supporting country), that houses the largest Jewish population, 25,000 of them, in the Middle East outside Israel, and are represented by a Jewish MP, Maurice Mohtamed.
The publishing organization (FLAME) of this so-called “factual look”, whose claimed purpose is the research, publication of facts, and exposing false propaganda about the Middle East, seems to do the exact opposite; it distorts the facts and spreads false propaganda instead.
The simple truth of the Arab/Israeli conflict had been reflected by Indian leader and peace teacher Mahatma Ghandi when he stated: “Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English and France belongs to the French”