Bruce Ticker is correct to challenge letter writer Bob Holden’s claim that “during the 1948 war Israel expelled more than half the Palestinian population (some 700,00),”. (“Past Time For ‘Telling The Truth’ About Palestinian Lies“, August 5, 2021) In fact, the proof — as documented by contemporaneous Muslim and Arab journalists — is that the overwhelming percentage of Arabs who left their homes (not all did) did so at the urging of Arab leadership who anticipated a quick genocide of the Jewish people.
Even a cursory glance at contemporaneous Arab and Muslim newspapers and other Muslim media makes clear that it was Arab leaders who commanded the local Arab population to “flee” their homes in anticipation of the genocide of the Jews:
- On April 3, 1949 the Near East Arabic Broadcasting Station reported: “It must not be forgotten that the Arab Higher Committee encouraged the refugees’ flight from their homes in Jaffa, Haifa and Jerusalem”.
- On October 12, 1963 the Egyptian daily “Akbar el Yom” reported that : “The 15th May, 1948 arrived…On that day the Mufti of Jerusalem (the Grand Mufti Amin al-Husseini) appealed to the Arabs of Palestine to leave the country, because the Arab armies were about to enter and fight in their stead”.
- On April 9, 1953 the Jordanian daily “Al Urdan” reported: “For the flight and fall of the other villages it is our leaders who are responsible because of their dissemination of rumours exaggerating Jewish crimes and describing them as atrocities in order to inflame the Arabs… By spreading rumours of Jewish atrocities, killings of women and children etc., they instilled fear and terror in the hearts of the Arabs in Palestine, until they fled leaving their homes and properties to the enemy”.
- Even the contemporaneous reporting of “The Economist” makes clear that the alleged “Nakba’ was self inflicted. On October 3, 1948 “The Economist” reported: “Of the 62,000 Arabs who formerly lived in Haifa not more than 5,000 or 6,000 remained. Various factors influenced their decision to seek safety in flight. There is but little doubt that the most potent of the factors were the announcements made over the air by the Higher Arab Executive, urging the Arabs to quit…It was clearly intimated that those Arabs who remained in Haifa and accepted Jewish protection would be regarded as renegades”.
- On August 19, 1951 the Beirut weekly “Kul-Shay” opined: “Who brought the Palestinians to Lebanon as refugees, suffering now the malign attitude of newspapers and communal leaders, who have neither honor not conscience? Who brought them over in dire straits and penniless, after they lost their homes? The Arab states, and Lebanon amongst them, did it”.
- The Arab National Committee in Jerusalem, following the Arab Higher Committee’s March 8, 1948 orders, instructed women, children, and the elderly living in Jerusalem to leave their homes: “Any opposition to this order … is an obstacle to the holy war … and will hamper the operations of the fighters in these districts.”
- Furthermore, the Jordanian newspaper “Filastin” on February 19, 1949 stated: “The Arab States encouraged the Palestine Arabs to leave their homes temporarily in order to be out of the way of the Arab invasion armies, have failed to keep their promise to help these refugees”
- The Syrian Prime Minister in 1948–49, Haled al Azm, also openly acknowledged the Arabs’ role in persuading the refugees to leave: “Since 1948 we have been demanding the return of the refugees to their homes. But we ourselves are the ones who encouraged them to leave.”
Anti Israel fanatics in the main stream media, on college campuses and in political circles cannot change the reality of what contemporaneous Muslim and Arab media reported. The “Nakba” was self inflicted.
THE ZIONIST NARRATIVE IS INCORRECT
Dear Richard Sherman,
I am sorry, but I believe that your main argument in your above article "The “Nakba” Was Self Inflicted" is incorrect. That is, between the ZIONIST narrative of the causes for the 1948 Palestinian exodus (willing flight caused by urging of Arab leadership, fear etc.) and the CRITICAL/POST-ZIONIST narrative (willing flight as described earlier accompanied by a big number of Palestinians expelled by Jewish/Israeli fighters), and latter narrative is the truthful one; for sure.
Briefly to introduce myself: I am an Israeli-Jewish scholar who his PhD addressed the Israeli-Jewish collective memory, between 1949 and 2004, regarding the causes of the above exodus; and my PhD dissertation was awarded the 2011 best dissertation prize of the AIS (Association for Israel Studies). The results of this dissertation appeared in articles published by numerous international prestigious journals and also in a book published recently.
In the framework of my dissertation I analyzed ALL the scholarly studies that were published, in the above 56 years, in Hebrew and English, by JEWISH scholars living in Israel or abroad. According to the findings: already as early as the late 1970s, the majority of these studies (c. 70%) contained the CRITICAL narrative regarding the causes of the exodus, and since the late 1980s, and at least until 2004, this tendency raised to 84%. In sum, largely there is a consensus among "our" scholars that the critical narrative is the truthful one, a big expulsion did take place (e.g., of about 40-50,000 Palestinians from the cities of Lydda and Ramla, as our late Prime Minster Yitzhak Rabin wrote in 1979). Later, many Jewish 1948 war veterans also wrote about the 1948 expulsions, such as Shmuel Cohen, Moshe Carmel and Nahum Golan (all of them largely "generals" in the IDF in 1948).
Therefore, such a meta-analysis of ALL the relevant studies, conducted by scholars (who are the experts about the history) who belong to our in-group (Jewish) and thus can be regarded by us as more trustworthy – surely provides a solid base for us to believe that the CRITICAL narrative is the accurate one.
Just to illustrate the extent of prevalence of the above CRITICAL narrative in Israel – in my dissertation also analyzed all the history and civic textbooks that were authorized, between 1949 and 2004, by the Israeli Ministry of Education to be used in the National-Secular educational system, the biggest system in Israel. I found that since 2000 ALL of these textbooks contained the CRITICAL narrative.
To conclude, the critical narrative is the accurate one. I believe that the above information might come as a surprise, but this is just because of a lack of awareness to my above largely recent study, the first of its kind.
All the best,
Dr. Rafi Nets-Zehngut (Israel)