Yesterday was the annual day of commemoration for the roughly 850,000 Jewish refugees who were forced to flee Arab countries and Iran before and after the creation of Israel. Their only crime was being Jewish.
However, there was complete radio silence at the Guardian – and in other British media outlets – about the commemoration, which of course isn’t surprising, as there’s almost never any coverage in the major outlets of the ethnic cleansing of Jews in the Middle East.
Instead, the Guardian ran with an article by Bethan McKernan about a Netflix film by a Jordanian film-maker “depicting Zionist forces murdering a Palestinian family” in 1948, (“Israel condemns Netflix film showing murder of Palestinian family in 1948 war”, Dec. 1).
The film, readers are told, is “inspired by real events”, which mean that the director is not claiming that the events in the film actually occurred, and is described by McKernan as centering around a Palestinian girl witnessing Israeli soldiers murdering children.
“The film centres on the experiences of a girl, 14, who is locked in a storage room by her father during the events of the Nakba, the Arabic term for the ethnic cleansing and displacement of about 700,000 Palestinians. When nascent Israeli soldiers come to the village, Farha witnesses the killing of her entire family, including two small children and a baby, through a crack in the pantry door.
McKernan cites Israel’s culture minister, Hili Tropper, saying that Farha depicts “lies and libels”. But, McKernan’s own lies in that paragraph are just as toxic – claiming Israeli “ethnic cleansing” of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.
Most Palestinian fled their homes during the war without being forced to do so. As CAMERA has explained, the masses fled in response to exhortations by Arab military and political leaders that Palestinian civilians evacuate their homes until the end of the fighting – assuming the’d be victorious. Vast numbers simply fled the heavy fighting that surrounded them, or that they expected would soon disrupt their lives. In some instances, Palestinians were forced from their homes by the Jewish military.
But, let’s do what the Guardian never does: place events in 1948 in context.
There wouldn’t have been a single Palestinian refugee if Arab armies – supported by Palestinian leaders – hadn’t invaded the nascent Jewish state with the objective of annihilating the country of 600,000, a mere three years after the Nazis murdered one out of every three Jews on earth.
The Palestinian refugee problem was created by the Arabs themselves, in both their malevolent decision to launch an invasion to rid the region of Jews, as well as their cynical decision not to resettle the 700,000 or so refugees in other Arab countries, but to instead keep them – and their decedents – in “refugee camps” to further the anti-Zionist propaganda war.
In contrast, Israel absorbed all of the Jewish refugees from Arab lands who arrived on their shores – around 600,000.
Portrayals of atrocities committed by Jewish forces in the 1948 war, fictional or otherwise, remain a highly sensitive subject in Israel. A documentary released earlier this year about the massacre of Palestinians in Tantura, a destroyed coastal village in what is now the north of Israel, faced widespread backlash.
As has demonstrated repeatedly, the ‘Tantura massacre’ claim, which originated in a University of Haifa Master’s thesis by Teddy Katz, was debunked by veterans of the brigade who took part in the battle. They completely denied the allegations and sued Katz for slander, prompting a thorough examination of the lies and distortions orchestrated to smear the soldiers as war criminals. At the end of the legal process, Katz was compelled to repudiate his “massacre” lies.
McKernan then adds:
In interviews, Sallam has said she made the film because while many narrative films tell Palestinian stories, very few focus on the root cause of the conflict and occupation.
First, unless the Jordanian director considers all of Israel “occupied Palestinian land”, it’s hard to understand how this one fictional account – “inspired by true events” – from 1948 has any relevance to Israeli control of disputed territory in Judea and Samaria since their defensive war of 1967.
But, leaving that aside, it’s telling that the filmmaker describes putative events in 1948 as the “root cause of the conflict”, as it suggests that the state’s very existence is the cause of the conflict – rather than the racist, xenophobic impulses of Arab Palestinians in rejecting the presence of Jews, and Jewish sovereignty, on a tiny sliver of historically Jewish land in the region.
The Nakba narrative -which was predictably endorsed yesterday by the UN General Assembly – and the ‘Jewish baby killers’ accusation in the film, is not only an inversion of reality. It’s also emblematic of one of the root problems of the conflict: the Palestinian insistence in their own immutable victimhood and lack of agency, and their belief in the irredeemable sin of the modern Jewish state.
Those unable to engage in self-criticism, and convinced that their foe isn’t just wrong, but evil, lack the moral incentive to ever make the kind of difficult concessions and compromises necessary for peace.