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May 19, 2008

Israel a Blessing, Not a "Nakba"

Salim Mansur’s Edmonton Sun column (“Israel deserves admiration,” May 10), was a gem amidst the dumpster of journalistic news and commentaries about “al-nakba” — the Arab-Islamic attempt, abetted by the far left and far right in the West, to blacken Israel’s 60th anniversary celebrations.

Mansur wasn’t buying any of the photo-op commiserations, exemplified by, among other examples, The Washington Post’s “Palestinian Quilt Presents a Different Viewpoint: Creation of Israel Came At Great Cost, Some Say” (May 18). According to “Israel deserves admiration”:

"There is no parallel in modern history to the story of Israel defying the rancor of old and new enemies of Jews .... Yet

Jewish contributions in the making of the modern world tower above that of any other people in relative terms and the immense odds of survival as a people given the level of hostility directed at them .... Their achievements have earned them admiration, envy and implacable enmity of non-Jews.”

Mansur caught the tragic and miraculous, particular and universal significance of Israel’s re-birth and of its 60th anniversary celebrations. His column should have been required reading for editors selecting articles and broadcast segments on the subject.

As for The Washington Post’s “Palestinian Quilt,” staff writer Sylvia Moreno reports that “to make way for Israel, 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes and more than 400 of their villages were destroyed, organizers of the event said.” Mark Braverman, of “Jewish Voice for Peace,” an anti-Israel, pro-divestment group not identified as such, claims “there needs to be an acknowledgment by Israel that ‘we took your land; not let’s talk and move forward.’”

Most Palestinian Arabs were not expelled from their homes to make way for Israel. Somewhere between 472,000 (U.N. Mediator on Palestine) and 650,000 (the difference between the last British and first Israeli censes) Arabs fled what became Israel. They left mainly to escape fighting begun in 1947 by Palestinian Arab “irregulars” to abort the U.N. partition plan for two states, one Jewish, one Arab, and intensified by the invasion of five Arab countries in 1948. A minority were expelled from specific areas Jewish troops were defending from Arab invaders.

Meanwhile, though “Palestinian Quilt” doesn’t mention it, more than 800,000 Jews were expelled or fled violence in Arab countries, nearly 600,000 settling as refugees in Israel. Israel did not take Arab land, it managed to keep a share (17.5 percent) of the original British Mandate for Palestine, established expressly for the purpose of facilitating re-creation of the Jewish national home. (Transjordan [now Jordan] comprised 77.5 percent of the mandatory lands, and the West Bank and Gaza Strip the remaining five percent.)

At some point doesn’t Middle East revisionism, like Holocaust revisionism, discredit those who uncritically report it? Israel does deserve admiration, and the Arabs’ self-imposed, self-prolonged “al-nakba” needs to be recognized as psych war propaganda.

Posted by ER at May 19, 2008 04:07 PM

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