Hey Indy! 2018 called, and they want their biased ‘Nakba’ article back

One of the first errors we noticed when reviewing a recent Independent article (“Nakba Day: What is the annual ‘Day of Catastrophe’ observed by Palestinians?”, May 15) was that the journalist seemed to think it was 2018, not 2020.

He also erred on the year of Israel’s anniversary. Israel was of course created 72 years ago, not 70.

We found that strange, so we did some searching and, lo and behold, we discovered that the article was  – save for a few new sentences to note the impact of coronavirus on Nakba commemorations this year – a copy and paste from an Indy article published by the same journalist two years ago.

We tweeted this to the Indy journalist, Joe Sommerlad.

Even stranger is the fact that the original 2018 article disappeared.  We were only able to find a cached version via the WayBack Machine.

So, what happened?  Well, the journalist replied to our tweet to explain.

So, assuming Sommerlad is being truthful (and we have no reason at this point to doubt his version), it appears like editors not only decided to republish his 2018 article – with a few revisions – owithout telling him. But, they also decided to disappear the original article from the internet – in hopes most people wouldn’t realize it was a copy and paste job.

As far as the 2020 2018 article itself, it’s not bad by Indy standards – except for this claim:

Israel refuses to meet the demand because doing so would compromise the Jewish nature of the state – defying Resolution 194 passed by the UN in 1948, siding with Palestinians on the issue.

As we’ve noted previously, Resolution 194 is non-binding, and actually does not specifically relate to Palestinian refugees (despite long-standing media claims to that effect).  Also, contrary to often heard assertions, neither does it grant any unconditional ‘right of return’. Rather, it recommends that refugees be allowed to return to their homeland if they wish to “live at peace with their neighbours”.

Moreover, the resolution, passed in 1948, only relates to actual refugees, which initially numbered over 700,000, but today is only 20-30,000.  It doesn’t stipulate that future descendants of those original refugees (who now number in the millions) should be given the right of return.

Finally, let’s remember that there was another ‘Nakba’ around that time – the expulsion of over 800,000 Jews from Arab lands – none of whom were ever offered the ‘right of return’ to their families lived for generations.

Regardless of how many times the charge is recycled, 5 million Palestinians do not have a “right” to ‘return’.

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1 Comment

  • Re: “actual (Arab/Palestinian/Moslem) refugees, which initially numbered over 700,000”

    Samuel Katz “Battleground: Fact and Fantasy in Palestine” evinces the actual number to be more like 350,000.

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