Guardian falsely claims Palestinians were ethnically “cleansed” from Jaffa

The word "cleansed" of course suggests that 97% of Palestinians were expelled or in some way forced out by Israeli forces that year - a claim totally at odds with the historical record.  As CAMERA, and commentators such as Dr. Petra Marquardt-Bigman, recently demonstrated, the overwhelming majority of Jaffa’s Arab residents fled in 1948 – and were not forcibly removed.

The Guardian today published a review by anti-Israel writer Ben Ehrenreich of a book called Stone Men: The Palestinians Who Built Israel by Andrew Ross.

Ehrenreich’s review – which naturally avoids any semblance of balance or nuance and toes the desired Guardian narrative of Zionist original sin – includes the following claim:

[Jews] constructed a brand new modernist city distinct – and segregated – from its ancient neighbour, Palestinian Jaffa, which was built of weathered stone. In 1948, Jaffa would be cleansed of 97% of its Arab population

The word “cleansed” of course would suggest to most readers that 97% of Palestinians were expelled or in some way forced out by Israeli forces that year – a claim totally at odds with the historical record.  As CAMERA, and commentator Dr. Petra Marquardt-Bigman, recently demonstrated in response to a NY Times article, the overwhelming majority of Jaffa’s Arab residents fled in 1948 – and were not forcibly removed.

CAMERA wrote the following:

In City of Oranges: An Intimate History of Arabs and Jews in Jaffa (W.W. Norton & Co), journalist Adam LeBor detailed the flight of Jaffa’s Arabs…and contains considerable description of the Arab flight from Jaffa, [yet provides] no indication of any forced expulsions.

Marquardt-Bigman noted in her blog post that Ibrahim Abu-Lughod, a political science professor who left Jaffa in May 1948 (and was also quoted by LeBor), likewise documented the flight of Jaffa’s Arabs, and similarly didn’t suggest the Palestinians were expelled by soldiers of the nascent Jewish state.

Read the full CAMERA post here, and Marquardt-Bigman’s post – which includes important historical context regarding the Palestinian population in Jaffa – here.

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