Each year Muslims mourn the Nakba.
The 1948 Palestinian exodus, also known as the Nakba (Arabic: النكبة, al-Nakbah, literally “disaster”, “catastrophe”, or “cataclysm”, observed every year on May 15, occurred when more than 700,000 Palestinian Arabs — about half of prewar Palestine’s Arab population — fled or were expelled from their homes, during the 1948 Palestine war.
Now, who started that war? The Muslims from five Arab states-Iraq, Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, and Lebanon. The Arab Palestinians were offered a state November 29, 1947 to come into effect May 15, 1948; at the same time the Jewish Palestinians were offered theirs; in their homeland of 3500 years.
A homeland that is rich in Jewish artefacts dating back thousands of years. The Arab Muslims refused. They wanted all of it. The Arab Liberation Party moved into Palestine, before its official partition and before the British left. The army was headed by Fawzi al-Qawuqji. He had promised to wage total war against the Jews and to “murder, wreck and ruin everything in our way.” The emblem for this army was a Star of David with a dagger through it.
But this was not the first partition. The first partition was the illegal and unilateral division of the British Mandate of the Jewish Homeland in Palestine when the British gave all the land east of the Jordan to the Muslims in 1920. Britain then enacted the White Paper of 1939, which illegally reduced Jewish immigration into the Jewish homeland just when Jews needed their homeland more than ever before. It was expected with the implementation of the White Paper that the “Arab Revolt” at that time would die down. Before the actual signing of this change, the British Foreign Office cabled an order to its ambassador in Berlin in March 1939, telling him to inform the German government about the means of escape being utilized by the Jews (leaving Germany for Palestine)) and to ask the German “authorities” to “discourage such travel.” Britain effectively kept the German Jews in Germany to be sent to the ovens.
Activist Joan Peters, in her magnificent book From Time Immemorial, revealed “…the British – a ‘civilized’ people – were willing to see Jews in Europe put to death by the Nazis; for ‘fear’ of ‘Arab comment, the British claimed that ‘Palestine’ had ‘no more places’ for Jews, while at the same moment the British were importing ‘illegal’ Arab immigrants by tens of thousands into Palestine to do ‘necessary’ work – work and place they denied the Jews.”
Israel had no real army, navy or air force and other than Palmach, no intelligence agencies. They did have a “spy agency” of Arab Jews, who had fled or had been thrown out of their homes in Muslim countries; countries in which their families had lived for millennia. These young men, few and far between, infiltrated Arabs states and gathered information. This was the Israel “spy operation” in 1948. The story of these men has been written by Matti Friedman in his excellent non-fiction “thriller” Spies of No Country: Behind Enemy Lines at the Birth of the Israeli Secret Service.
There is no question: the table was set for an Arab win.
The Arabs had the assistance of the Nazis. There were sightings of German Tiger tanks in Egypt. And 25 Wehrmacht officers –experts on artillery, tanks and air warfare were there; Nazi Experts in explosives. And, of course, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, had worked with Hitler regarding the Jewish question.
Here are the words of the Grand Mufti: just imagine he is sitting across from Hitler, November 28, 1941, at the Reich Chancellory in Berlin.
“The Grand Mufti began by thanking the Fuhrer for the great honor he had bestowed by receiving him. He wished to seize the opportunity to convey to the Fuhrer of the Greater German Reich, admired by the entire Arab world, his thanks of the sympathy which he had always shown for the Arab and especially the Palestinian cause, and to which he had given clear expression in his public speeches.”
“The Fuhrer replied that Germany’s fundamental attitude on these questions, as the Mufti himself had already stated, was clear. Germany stood for uncompromising war against the Jews. That naturally included active opposition to the Jewish national home in Palestine, which was nothing other than a center, in the form of a state, for the exercise of destructive influence by Jewish interests.”
And then, again, Haj Amin al-Hussein:
“Our battle with World Jewry is a question of life and death. It is a battle between two conflicting faiths, each of which can exist only on the ruins of the other.”
The Arab propaganda machine was at work just after the British left.
One could hear Arab shouts of “Itbach al Yahud” – “Butcher the Jews” in the streets.
There were early reports:
“The Arab legion conquers Jerusalem, reaches its heart and erases the last pockets of Jewish resistance.”
The Lebanese declared that the Lebanese army had done its job.
Yet, the war, stacked in their favour did not go well for the Arab Muslims. As they faced defeat they attempted to lay the blame on others. Why not? In an honour/shame culture, losing to the Jews, of all people, was the most shameful.
A catastrophe, a disaster, a cataclysm.
These people are the descendants of those Muslims who massacred the Jews of Khaybar in northwestern Arabia in 628 CE. In Islamic tradition, the chant “Khaybar Khaybar, ya yahud, Jaish Muhammad, sa yahud,” which means, “Jews, remember Khaybar, the army of Muhammad is returning,” is used as a battle cry when attacking Jews or Israelis.
Arab damage control began in early 1949 when Radio Damascus informed their listeners that a Muslim was on his way to England, on a lecture tour to “explain that the war was lost not to Jewish arms but to American dollars and Czech planes.” When the Arab Liberation Army carrying its Star of David with a dagger, was beaten back by a small number of Jews in the Galilee, their commander insisted that the fighters were non-Jewish Russians.
And when the war was lost, the Arab office in London said that the Arabs had not lost the war against the Jews, just the first round.
Then came the 1956 Sinai Campaign, followed by the 1967 Six Day War. In June 1967, Israel defeated Egypt and took over the West Bank, the Syrian Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and the Gaza strip. Palestinians call this the “Naksa,” the “setback,” because some 400,000 were displaced, half of them refugees from 1948. Many say that the Nakba has never ended, that it was repeated in dramatic fashion in 1967. When once again the Arab Muslims were roundly defeated by the Jews.
Once again, the Arab Muslims were not alone in this war against Israel, either. The USSR had stood with them. The Russians had been supporting the Arab world and promoted the idea that the Nazis aided the Jews! The loss of the 1967 war was keenly felt:
“For Moscow, which had supported the Arab forces, the war was a crushing defeat, handing a clear ideological victory to the ‘imperialist’ camp.” The Russians went on a campaign against the Jews and Israel.
“On August 7, 1967, an article titled ‘What Is Zionism?’ appeared simultaneously in several Soviet publications. Its author, Yuri Ivanov, an employee of the KGB and Central Committee apparatus who would go on to become one of the leading Soviet anti-Zionist writers, took his clue from age-old tropes of Jewish conspiracy and influence: he presented Zionism as a centrally-controlled international system that gripped the entirety of global politics, finance and the media, had unlimited resources, and sought to establish monopolistic control over the entire world. At its core, the Soviet anti-Zionist campaign of 1967-1988 was a campaign of propaganda and disinformation. It built and weaponised narratives based on made-up or twisted facts. It distorted history. It employed classic propaganda tools such as deception, guilt by association, and repetition to inculcate the key messages.”
And the tropes have been shared, over and over and over again, by Muslims, and Jew haters, ever since.
But the Arab Muslims were not done. In 1973 they attacked Israel on Yom Kippur War. Think about this. The holiest day of the Jewish year. The Arab Muslims knew the importance of this day and that the Jews would be in synagogue almost all day and fasting. And that was the day these five brave Arab Muslim countries went after Israel, again. And lost, again, to the Jews.
Then two intifadas, the building of tunnels into Israel for the sole purpose of getting to the towns and murdering Jews; calls for Muslims to creep into the homes of Jewish families and murder children while they slept. And most recently, sending hundreds of bombs from Gaza into Israel, targeting families, not military installations. How proud!
This honour /shame culture celebrates the “terrorists;” the murderers of women and children. They pay the families. To put it another way, there is a bounty on the head of every Jew in Israel. The Muslim Arabs share candies and sing songs and name streets after these “heroes.”
What kind of people promotes killing children, and then memorializes the murderers?
And when wars and their terrorism failed they tried words. They tried to promote Israel as an apartheid state like South Africa. Then they culturally appropriated the history of the Jewish people, the atrocities committed against them; particularly the Nazi attempt to eliminate all Jews, and claimed to suffer the same horrors-only at the hands of the Jews. They played the “pity me, victim card,” hoping the world would feel sorry for them and perhaps fight the battle for them. This is the one strategy they got right. They have the UN and the EU and too many churches to name sharing the same lies. The irony of it all is that through the millennia the Jews have never pitied themselves and have never portrayed themselves as victims.
If I were an Arab Muslim, I too would be ashamed. So much so, that I would hide my head in shame and consider covering up.
Islam is an honour/shame culture, unlike the west that promotes justice and mercy. Honour must be protected at all costs. Revenge awaits those who dishonour family, clan, tribe; revenge that can take place decades later.
While the Arab Muslims continue to wallow 71 years after the Nakba, Israel has the highest number of startups per capita in the world. (2018 Global Startup Ecosystem Report); Israel hosts about 8,200 active high-tech companies. (IVC Research Center); 30 Israeli venture capital funds raised $2.55 billion in 2018, the largest sum ever raised by Israeli VCs and 69% more than in 2017. (IVC);Israel ranks fifth overall on the 2019 Bloomberg Innovation Index, moving up from #10 in 2018. In the R&D Intensity category, Israel ranks #1;Israel’s expenditure on research and development (R&D) as a percentage of its GDP (4.21%) is the highest in the world. (OECD); Israel ranks #2 among top 10 countries for scientific research, based on the number of scientific research papers released, the number of patents registered, the percentage of GDP spent on R&D and the number of researchers per 1,000 people. (RS Components); More than 350 multinational corporations have R&D centers in Israel, including IBM, Intel, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Merck, HP Indigo, J&J, GE, Siemens, Qualcomm, Applied Materials and Samsung. Israel has the world’s highest per capita number of such centers. (IVC, Ministry of Economy and Industry).
And let us not forget the accomplishments in agriculture and irrigation shared all over the world.
US envoy, Jason Greenblatt, said it “inspiring” to see Israel celebrate the 71st anniversary of its independence on Thursday, calling it “a small brave country” that grew to a “thriving, diverse economically vibrant democracy,” the only one in the Mideast.
Rabbi Sacks wrote:
“God visits the sins on the sinners. He mocks those who mock Him. He showed the Egyptian army, which revelled at its might, that the weak were stronger than they…The weak are saved; those in danger, delivered. More significant is the moral message such an event conveys: that hubris is punished be nemesis; that the proud are humbled and the humble given pride; that there is justice in history, often hidden but sometimes gloriously revealed.”
Rabbi Sacks wrote this about the story of the miracle of the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt; 3500 years ago.
The Arab Muslims continue to prove the existence of God. For Israel exists despite the wars, the terrorism, the propaganda.
The Nakba. The disaster. The shame of it all. I understand.