1948-2008 Part II: The Arid Desert of Palestinian Self-Criticism

The San Diego Union Tribune has an article by Nasser Barghouti, a Palestinian-American and president of the San Diego Chapter of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, and Nassemah Darwish, a Kuwaiti-born Palestinian-American who lives in San Diego who has taught at Birzeit University in Ramallah. The piece is characteristic of the Palestinian tendency to rewrite history so that every trace of criticism of their own people’s behavior is replaced with a scape-goating accusation of the “enemy” Israelis. Note that the author uses a classic triumvirate of sources for this appeal to the progressive among us — the hyper-self-critical Israeli (Pappe), the authoritative “progressive” (Carter) and the UN as support for the moral accusations they make.

ISRAEL AT 60
Remembering the Palestinian Nakba

By Nasser Barghouti and Bassemah Darwish
May 7, 2008

Nearly 30 years since she had seen her Northern Galilee home in what she called “48 Palestine,” Rasmiya Barghouti was finally given a permit by the Israeli military authorities to visit. She decided to take two of her daughters and four of her grandchildren with her.

It took less than three hours to reach Safad, renamed Tsvat by Israel after 1948. The van stopped in front of the white stone home that held her childhood memories. She proceeded to the familiar metal door, where she knocked. A large eastern European woman opened the door; the two argued. Rasmiya returned to the van, her hardened face wet with tears. Her only words were: “She wouldn’t let me in! She still has the same curtains I made with my mother.”

They proceeded in silence, as she wept discretely, to lunch at a hotel on Lake Tiberias where her youngest grandchild grew hyper. Instead of imposing her usual military-style discipline on the child, she encouraged him to splatter water and make even “more noise” – a shock to the rest of the family.

The Israeli waiter hurriedly came to the table demanding, in Hebrew, they stop the raucous behavior. It was then that her defiance exploded into cursing the waiter in Arabic. “We can do whatever we please! This is my father’s hotel!” she yelled. Until that moment, her children and grandchildren had been sheltered from knowing anything about her dear loss.

The rage of this Palestinian woman was born out of seeing her childhood home, from which she was forced to leave in 1948, now occupied by a stranger who would not even allow her in. She’d seen her father’s hotel, which he was never allowed to vacate, taken over by strangers. For the first time since her violent dispossession in 1948, she was allowed to visit her homeland, but not to return. Because millions of other Palestinian refugees are denied even such a visit, Rasmiya was considered “lucky.”

Alas for Rasmiya. Would that she knew how many millions of people shared her fate — dispossession and loss — back then, but have moved on to full lives, and now can look back at the long-ago tragedy with regret, but without rage. Would that she knew how cruelly her own people have treated her — how they contributed to her loss and kept her in misery… and all that, so that they could cultivate her rage as long as its target was the Israelis. Alas for the dupes who read this and join her rage against the Israelis. Alas for the Palestinians who have such shallow leaders and spokesmen, who cannot rise above their vicious self-pity and tireless dreams of vengeance, to lead their people to a decent and dignified life!

While Israel celebrates 60 years since its establishment, Palestinians everywhere commemorate the “Nakba”(“Catastrophe” in Arabic) that befell them after armed Jewish militia raided their homes and expelled them.

The exclusionary Zionist vision of creating a Jewish state in Palestine meant the elimination of the indigenous, “non-Jewish” population.

The Zionist vision was far more inclusionary than the Palestinian vision of Haj Amin al Husseini or any of the other Arab nationalists of the day, for whom Arab sovereignty over a nation meant a relationship to minorities (like Jewish and Christian) that was essentlially a secular version of Muslim dominion over dhimmis. No Arab nation at this time would have been capable of forging a document like the Israeli Declaration of Independence, much less trying to make it work. The following discussion draws extensively on the work of Ian Pappe, a historian whose relationship to the historical documentation he works with can only be described as tenuous. What we see then, is the systematic use of a hyper-self-critical Israeli historian by radically unself-critical Palestinians bent on making Israel the villain of 1948, a particularly good example of the mutual embrace of a post-modern masochist and pre-modern sadists.

In his book, “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine,” Israeli historian Ilan Pappe writes: “ . . . on 10 March 1948 . . . veteran Zionist leaders together with young military Jewish officers, put the final touches to a plan for the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.”

Pappe explains how Jewish militias, the future armed forces of the state of Israel, carried out a plan of large-scale intimidation and siege, setting fires to Palestinian homes, planting mines, destroying more than 500 villages, and exercising other terrorist activities. In the end, nearly 800,000 Palestinians were forced out of their homes and into refugee camps in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and elsewhere.

Rasmiya’s family was among this wave of refugees. This massive ethnic cleansing completed the first phase of the compulsory “transfer” that the founder of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, advocated in his address to the Jewish Agency Executive as early as 1938. Thus the Palestinians had become the victims of the victims of Europe.

What a deeply tendentious and two-dimensional picture the authors offer us here. Using a compulsively self-accusing Israeli to give the back story to Rasmiya’s heart-rending story, they suggest that what Pappe claimed was happening everywhere was also happening to the Arabs who fled Safed. Now what fraction of Pappe’s claims turn out to be true aside, the full story involves not only Israeli forces urging Arab flight in some places, but also Israelis doing everything they can to prevent flight on the one hand, and Arab propaganda about vicious Israeli deeds and intentions contributing to flight on the other hand. And, ironically, that latter situation probably happened to poor Rasmiya’s family. The ten thousand Arab residents of Safed who fled during the battle for the city were more frightened by Arab tales of the massacre at Deir Yassin than any behavior they witnessed in Safed, where the Jews did appeal to them to stay.

Ten years ago, the late Edward Said commented on the “Israel at 50” celebrations: “I still find myself astonished at the lengths to which official Israel and its supporters will go to suppress the fact that a half century has gone by without Israeli restitution, recognition or acknowledgment of Palestinian human rights . . . the Palestinian Nakba is characterized as a semi-fictional event . . . caused by no one in particular.”

No, actually. The main agents responsible for the Naqba are the Arab leaders who brought this tragedy down on the heads of the Arab residents of Palestine, and it’s people like Said who perpetuate the refusal of Palestinians to “face their history.” And, alas, Said is precisely the kind of Palestinian intellectual who had the tools, the occasion, and the resources to revise the Palestinian narrative. Too bad he lacked the ability to self-criticize, too bad he incarnated the very “Oriental” characteristics he insisted that Western scholars not talk about.

So instead of serious work, Said speaks to us of Israel’s duty to “acknowledge… Palestinian Human Rights”? The Israelis have treated their Palestinian Arabs better than any Arab nation where refugees fled. Where do Arab commoners have any “human rights” in the Arab world? What an extraordinary demand by an Arab population: that Israel grant them as a (hostile) minority — and much to their own detriment — human rights that no Arab country has been able to guarantee to its own Arab Muslim majorities.

Why not demand accountability of the perpetrators of the Nakba?

Because that would mean that. like so many millions of refugees created by ethnic clashes, they unfortunately have to change residence, and the countries that received them (and whose leaders’ irresponsible behavior created their fate) should long ago have integrated them. Of course that kind of responsible behavior towards one’s own, would also mean the end of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the effective recognition of Israel. And there’s the rub: to let go of this grievance means admitting to losing the war of elimination (there’s no evidence that any of the Arab armies that invaded Israel in 1948 would have created a Palestinian state rather than just divided the place up amongst themselves).

But admitting the loss and moving on is unbearable to Arab pride. So better keep those Palestinians in refugee camps and rage about how terrible the Israelis treated them 60 years ago, even as they have and continue to reinflict the wound every day for the last 60 years.

As Golda Meir put it: “There will be peace when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us.” To wax psychological for a moment, “… love their children more than they hate themselves.”

The same stubborn refusal to recognize the Palestinian Nakba characterizes the “Israel at 60” celebrations in the U.S. media today. For Palestinians, denial of the Nakba is tantamount to denying the Holocaust for Jews.

This is precisely the problem. For Palestinians to compare the Nakba to the Holocaust is an act self-indulgence bordering on megalomania. At the same time, given that Palestinian leaders then and now openly (in Arabic) call for finishing Hitler’s job, there’s something nauseatingly sado-masochistic about Palestinian militants wrapping themselves in the flag of Jewish-stye victimization even as they identify with the aggressor.

The number of Palestinian civilians killed in the Nakba cannot, even by the most inflated figures, exceed the tens of thousands… the daily output of any death camp. The Jews never lifted an arm against the Germans — on the contrary, the Jews had an excellent war record for Germany in World War I — while the Arabs had promised to finish Hitler’s job of slaughtering every last Jew remaining in Palestine. Under those conditions, the transfer of hundreds of thousands of Arabs was actually among the more humane resolutions to the crises that struck the world’s ethnic conflicts in the wake of World War II (e.g., Germans in Eastern Europe; Hindus and Muslims on the Indian-Pakistani border). Certainly, had the Arabs won, we would be indeed in a position to compare the results with those of the Nazis.

Remembering the Nakba is even more compelling given what former President Jimmy Carter describes as an apartheid-like system that Israel has built to entangle the Palestinians in a seemingly endless cycle of hopelessness and violence.

That’s a fascinating formulation: the apartheid-like system that Israel has built (i.e., the system of defenses against an insanely determined effort to wipe it out) is really a system “built to entangle the Palestinians in a seemingly endless cycle of hopelessness and violence.” In other words the Israelis create both the hopelessness and the corresponding violence. Not a trace of self-determination here. The Palestinians have no agency in this formula; Israel does everything (and, since everything is a mess), Israel’s responsible for the mess.

But let’s translate this statement out of its demopathic formulation. The hopelessness is not the sense that there is no way that the Palestinian refugees could get their human rights. It’s that their leaders have defined the solution in terms of the “right of return” and, hence, the elimination of Israel. Thus, as as long as the Israelis exist, the Palestinians are denied their “human rights”, and by this formula, their hopelessness (i.e., their frustration at not being able to accomplish their goal of eliminating Israel), necessarily means they engage in violence. And who are we to question their violence?

The tragic fact is that the “human rights” of the Palestinian refugees could have been taken care of, as with so many refugees — including the similar number of Jewish refugees from Arab countries — by granting them citizenship where they took refuge. In the case of the Palestinian Arab refugees, given the fact that they shared the same language, customs and religion with the people among whom they took refuge, and the leaders of those countries had contributed significantly to their plight, that would seem like a “no brainer.”

Israel still denies millions of Palestinian refugees their U.N.-sanctioned right to go back to their homes simply because they are not Jewish.

Not at all. It blocks their right to go back to their home because they are a population that has been weaponized by a ruthless Arab elite, filled with hatred and resentment for Israelis as the scapegoat for Arab tyranny. All but the most ill-informed dupes of the West know that the return of the refugeees spells the end of Israel as a nation where Jews can live a life of self-determination.

By emphasizing the “because they’re non-Jewish” the writer hopes to push a number of Western buttons, from the anti-religious (no religion should have the right to discriminate) to the anti-Jewish (they’re so clubby). Never mind that any country with a Palestinian Arab majority would look a lot more like the Middle Ages (Gaza), than the enlightened world of human rights to which the authors are making their appeal.

Israel continues its 41-year-old military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. Israel continues to impose its savage blockade on the Gaza strip. Israel continues to build its illegal wall and settlements on occupied Palestinian land. And Israel continues to treat its own “non-Jewish” population as second-class citizens.

Carefully done. I wonder what Barghouti and Darwish say to their Palestinian friends about the nature of the occupation… Green line or Shore line?

I used to know someone who had the tendency at any criticism to say, “Oh, so it’s all my fault.” As infuriating as that may sound to those doing the criticizing, I think it’s appropriate here. “Oh, so it’s all Israel’s fault?” Every progressive Westerner to whom Palestinians come with their list of grievances needs to ask, “So, do you think your side has contributed anything to this ‘cycle of violence’?”

Can any conscientious person, then, celebrate Israel at 60?

Anyone who rejoices in the creation of a state that commits to protecting the human rights of its citizens — no matter what their race, creed or gender — and continues to strive for that under the harshest of conditions. Would that there were even one such state in which the majority was Arab and Muslim. If there were, this “cycle of hopelessness and violence” might not seem so “seemingly endless.”

When Israel has made reparations for its shameful past; when it has conformed to international law and universal human rights; when it has ended its brutal oppression of the indigenous people of Palestine; and when it has allowed Palestinians to practice their right to self-determination on their own land, we can all celebrate. Then, even Rasmiya’s descendants may celebrate.

Since you feel free to dish it out, I assume you are also prepared to hear moral rebuke. So let me rephrase your concluding paragraph:

When the Palestinians have examined their embarrassing past honestly, when they have identified the Arab leadership that created and continues to prolong their stateless misery, when that Arab leadership has conformed to international law and universal human rights and therefore made reparations for their shameful past and granted the Palestinian refugees their human rights, when the Palestinian leadership ceases to preach and practice genocidal passions and produce an endless stream of hopeless haters who want to blow themselves up among Israeli civilians, when the Palestinians show a desire to practice their right to self-determination and establish a government of the people, by the people and for the people, then most everything could be resolved. Then, even Rasmiya’s descendents might be welcome to visit their ancestor’s home in peace and, who knows, in the joy of reconciliation rather than the bitterness of frustrated revenge.

28 Responses to 1948-2008 Part II: The Arid Desert of Palestinian Self-Criticism

  1. [...] Efraim Karsh has an excellent article in the latest Commentary on the story of 1948 which, among other things, sheds significant light on the nature of the catastrophe (Nakba) that befell the Palestinian people at that time. I recommend reading the entire piece, but what I have excerpted below (with comments) represents the thread that has to do with the fate of the Arab population of the British Mandate of Palestine. The tale he tells offers an object lesson in how the approach one takes influences the history one writes. Karsh’s approach is founded in the principles of civil society — self-determination, government of, by, and for the people, productive economies, life-enhancing positive-sum choices — and traces the tragic tale of how and why the Palestinian people failed to accomplish any of these progressive goals. (By contrast, note the effects of a different approach and set of values.) [...]

  2. Cynic says:

    It took less than three hours to reach Safad, renamed Tsvat by Israel after 1948.

    Tsfat (known in Arabic and English as Safed) is mentioned in Crusader times and was a Crusader fortress until it was captured by the Mamaluks in 1266 C.E.

    Apparently it was one of the several places where Jews sought refuge when the First Temple was destroyed.

  3. Cynic says:

    The tragic fact is that the “human rights” of the Palestinian refugees could have been taken care of, as with so many refugees…

    Had the UN behaved in the manner sought by Churchill and co., and not according to the demands of the Arab League.
    Just have a look at UN resolutions of the 70s against Israel providing decent housing and infrastructure in Gaza for the “Palestinians”.

  4. Eliyahu says:

    Tsfat צפת or Safed was an ancient Jewish town in the Galilee. It’s the Arabs who renamed it. Cynic, after the failed Jewish Bar Kokhba revolt [132-135 CE] many many Jews were killed by Roman forces [including Arabs] in Judah, which included the Jerusalem area. The Jerusalem area, which the victorious Hadrian renamed the polis/colonia of Aelia Capitolina, became nearly totally Judenrein, bereft of Jews. Much of the surviving Jewish population moved to the Galilee at that time, about 65 years after destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE.
    Much info on these matters is found in Avigdor Shinan, Israel: People, State, Land [Ben Zvi Institute 2005]

    Also find quotes from Eusebios and Greek and Roman writers about the Bar Kokhba war and its results on my blog.

  5. abu yussif says:

    I tire of Palestinian rhetoric like this. Israeli Arab Christians, if anything, should happily celebrate Israel’s independence day while shunning the “naqbah” for the historical fact that Islamic coexistence has always been, and certainly will be, the permanent scourge afflicting every hope for a prosperous life.

    Whatever ills that may have befallen Arabs in 1948 were tragic in and of themselves, but the liberty received under the Jewish state (despite her flaws) is a precious gift that all should vigorously defended at all cost if there will ever be hope for any remotely positive future for our children. This other is only an infectious poison of hate and death.

  6. abu yussif says:

    I tire of Palestinian rhetoric like this. Israeli Arab Christians, if anything, should happily celebrate Israel’s independence day while shunning the “naqbah” for the historical fact that Islamic coexistence has always been, and certainly will be, the permanent scourge afflicting every hope for a prosperous life.

    Whatever ills that may have befallen Arabs in 1948 were tragic in and of themselves, but the resulting liberty received under the Jewish state (despite her flaws) is a precious gift that all should vigorously defended at all cost if there will ever be hope for any remotely positive future for our children. This other is only an infectious poison of hate and death.

  7. Seymour Paine says:

    One other comment: What if most of this long whine is just fantasy? Does anyone trust Palestinians to proceed from actual facts?

  8. oao says:

    but the liberty received under the Jewish state (despite her flaws) is a precious gift that all should vigorously defended at all cost

    should be, but it’s not, just the opposite. look at the increasing demonstrations of the israeli arabs, their stoning attacks and treasonous undermining MKs. yet another indication that the conflict is not about human rights and disposession but from the start religious and racist in character (and it’s not the israelis who are the racists, as the idiots of the west claim).

    to reiterate: the core of the problem is a combination of islamic supremacism which dictates dhimmitude for infidels and unbearable shame/envy for the jewish success vs. the utter failure of the arabs. and the vicious cycle is that the arab culture and islam, which are responsible for their failure, also prevent them from realizing it.

    One other comment: What if most of this long whine is just fantasy? Does anyone trust Palestinians to proceed from actual facts?

    i take this to be a rehetorical question. Anybody who does does not proceed from the actual facts of their history to date.

    oao
    http://fallofknowledgeandreason.blogspot.com/

  9. oao says:

    It blocks their right to go back to their home because they are a population that has been weaponized by a ruthless Arab elite, filled with hatred and resentment for Israelis as the scapegoat for Arab tyranny.

    there is no question that the elite is a major factor in this, but it has just exploited what is already there, rooted in the arab culture and islam. it was easy. i suspect that’s true about the lack of popular revolutions against their elite.

    for all this not to have happened they had not to be arabs.

    oao
    http://fallofknowledgeandreason.blogspot.com/

  10. Cynic says:

    Eliyahu,

    I believe that Josephus wrote about Tsfat.
    But leave it to the Arabs to rewrite history

  11. Rich Rostrom says:

    How can you tell if an Arab is lying?

    His lips are moving.

    Every published Zionist text up to 1948, even the works of the ultra-Zionist Jabotinsky, stated that the Arabs of Palestine had the right to live there, and that it would be wrong to expel them.

    There were only 900,000 Arabs in 1948 Palestine. Over 100,000 remained in Israel after the war. At least 200,000 more lived in what became the Gaza Strip and West Bank. At most 500,000 were displaced in 1948. And most of those were not “forced from their homes”, but fled the country before the fighting even started, or during the fighting to avoid the danger of war – started by their fellow Arabs.

    Israel denies the “right of return” for obvious demographic reasons. Ironically, the history of Israel’s Arabs shows that if the Arabs had accepted partition, they would have had their demographic triumph many years ago.

    Actually, the greatest possible danger to Israel would be if the Arabs actually stopped all threats and violence against Israel. It would then become impossible for Israel to avoid demographic defeat. Pigs will nest on skyscraper window ledges first, of course.

  12. Fran says:

    First I would like to say I am very sorry that Ms. Barghouti felt she was treated poorly by the current owner of the house which was once her home prior to the 1948 exodus, and felt unable to discipline her grandchild at a hotel once owned by her family because the was in “mourning.” I think is it tragic to be a victim of such losses, but I’m not sure what the losses were in Ms. Barghouti’s case. I believe we should in no way compare our own suffering to hers, because our victimization in the hands of other nations has been so much worse–mass extermination really has no comparison. Her suffering and our suffering are not related.

    Unfortunately, the authors do not really state how Ms. Barghouti ended up leaving in 1948. It seems they are adding her to the Palestinian narrative of loss and victimization, but I would like to know the details of her story. Did she approach the owner on Shabbat, or on a holiday? Was the owner busy or burdened? Did she insult the owner the way she lashed out at the waiter? Did she start the “argument” with the same sort of insult she gave the waiter or did the owner start the argument?

    It’s just that this story sounds quite strange, because I lived in Israel for over a year, and found the people to be so hospitable, generous, and always inviting strangers to “come, eat!” It seems to me, from my own personal knowledge of how Israelis behave, that this woman would most likely have been welcomed and invited for lunch, or at the very least something to drink–unless the family was very busy or pressed. Now, in some particularly “fanatic” religious groups, there isn’t the sort of hospitality I found throughout most of society. Some Heredi people (but not most) were more closed. Some people are not welcoming to Arab strangers because they are afraid they are out to harm them, and would be very careful and feel very insecure if one wanted to enter their house–particularly if that person said “this is, or was my house.” Also if Ms. Barghouti had been confrontational from the get-go and insulted the owner an argument might have ensued, and she might not have been invited in because the owner was offended. What concerns me, what feels unnatural, is that fact that there was an “argument” in the first place because that’s just not, generally, the Israeli way. If they are worried about you, and don’t want to talk to you, they generally don’t carry out an argument with you. They just close the door, ignore you, or turn away.

    Now this woman owner was “East European” but I don’t know which country she was from. Most East Europeans who are new immigrants in Israel, the Russians especially, are very, very friendly and make an art of hospitality, warmness and openness. Not to steriotype, but my personal findings are that Russian immigrants love to talk to people, even if they’re strangers. They are very welcoming.

    You know, it kind of feels like Barghouti and Darwish just made part of this story up.

  13. Hard Rain says:

    Come now, Fran, we mustn’t let silly things like “details” or “facts” get in our way of criticizing Israel. How else will we further the Palestinian Perpetual Grievance Theater?

  14. E.G. says:

    Shlomo Avineri published a very interesting paper in Haaretz, titled “The Real Nakba”. He argues that former Palestine’s Arabs’ incapacity to self-organize has been their major obstacle to statehood.

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/981931.html

  15. E.G. says:

    Fran,

    The first time I went back to my city of birth in E.Europe I was an adult seeing for the first time the house I was born in and left as a baby. To my own amazement, I questioned (on the street) a resident of that apartment building in an owner’s manner (the building had been my family’s property), even though I had no intention of claiming the stolen (nationalized, as they put it) property.

    So I asked whether he thought the building was well built, if any significat modifications had been done, why it wasn’t well enough maintained…
    As soon as I realized I might be intimidating my “ex-future neighbor” I changed the course of the discussion. But there was a delicate moment when I explained I’m interested in that particular building because I was born in there and it had belonged to my family.

    I’m far from justifying that woman’s behavior or thoughts (60 years old curtains!?). She couldn’t or wouldn’t control her emotions. But she probably was not educated like me – I never grew up with a sense of loss. Which made the “home that was never mine in my heart but very mine in my attitude ” a funny scene.

    E.G.

  16. Eliyahu says:

    since most folks are so ignorant of history –by fault of their educational systems, govts, press, media, religious institutions, etc- they don’t know that much Jewish-owned land was confiscated, first by the Romans [see quote from Eusebios on this on my blog] and later by the Arab conquerors, and by Arab tribal invaders who invaded Israel after the initial Arab conquest.

  17. oao says:

    And most of those were not “forced from their homes”, but fled the country before the fighting even started, or during the fighting to avoid the danger of war – started by their fellow Arabs.

    their shame come from more than that: their elite abandoned them and together with the arab states induced them to live by scaring them or telling them to get out of the way so that they could attack. the shame is about cowardice and elites and arab states screwing them. that’s why a myth of dispossession and massacres had to be invented. today most palestinians dk the real history, only the myth.

    Ironically, the history of Israel’s Arabs shows that if the Arabs had accepted partition, they would have had their demographic triumph many years ago.

    That would have required vision and patience that the arabs’ hatred of jews coupled with offended islamic supremacism did not have and would not tolerate. True to this day. And the odds seemed too much in their favor.

    Actually, the greatest possible danger to Israel would be if the Arabs actually stopped all threats and violence against Israel. It would then become impossible for Israel to avoid demographic defeat. Pigs will nest on skyscraper window ledges first, of course.

    see previous. however, that’s what arafat embarked on with oslo, except even he could not resist the temptation to accelerate the process violently and could not just wait for demographics. the shame and envy make it unbearable.

    this is, in fact, what abbas has continued to declare in arabic to this day: that’s what the peace process is about. except they can’t resist killing jews.

  18. oao says:

    You know, it kind of feels like Barghouti and Darwish just made part of this story up.

    Given what is known about history, arab culture, the indoctrination with the myth of dispossesion and jewish atrocities, and the incessant focus on victimization, one would have to be completely ignorant and/or cognitively ethnocentric not to assume much of it was made up.

  19. oao says:

    I never grew up with a sense of loss. Which made the “home that was never mine in my heart but very mine in my attitude ” a funny scene.

    You did not because it was not instilled on you at the expense of every other information about what happened at that point in time.

    I don’t know the circumstances of your leaving E. Europe. But I left same region as a child too and the circumstances were not pretty. by that time the apartment we lived in had been nationalized, but we still felt we were being forced out by communism and anti-semitism and did not suffer less than the palestinians, who were NOT forced out, but simply abandoned their place and assets due to an attack by their arab buddies, not israel.

    i still resent the forced emigration from my native country and that we left with just the cloths on our back, but i harbor hatred nor homicidal violence to my native country. because we moved on and built a different life. that’s precisely what the palestinians refuse to do. and that has to do with self-shame and indoctrination, not with their experience, which is hardly unique.

  20. oao says:

    i meant “harbor NEITHER hatred nor …” of course.

  21. oao says:

    since most folks are so ignorant of history –by fault of their educational systems, govts, press, media, religious institutions, etc

    that’s the root of most problems with the west: the collapse of education and, therefore, knowledge and reason. history is just one aspect of it.

  22. Cynic says:

    precisely what the palestinians refuse to do

    To put it more correctly: “Not permitted” to do.
    Forced by the Arab league, the connivance of the UN and the non-intervention politically by the West at the time it was still possible, to see that they were rehoused and given the chance to start again.
    Everything was done to stymie Israel’s attempt in the 70s to create conditions for rehabilitating those who had already spent some time in awful conditions under Egyptian rule.
    The West kept its hands clean while leaving it to the Arabs trying to grind the Jews into the dust, while on the other used them in their East/West stand off as an ally.
    Things were starting to get on track to a more peaceful situation when Arafat and his cronies were permitted back (by Baker and Foggy Bottom? Certainly if the US had objected Arafat would not have come back as the Crown Prince of the Palestinians), from exile in Tunisia, into the political ring in the late 80s to turn up the heat once more, seeing to the removal of those Palestinians more interested in living and creating a generation of psychopaths.

  23. oao says:

    of course.

    but despite all this they could have built a new life after oslo and they did not. many factors contributed, not the least of which was the west.

    here’s marc steyn. there’s poetic justice:

    http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MGM4M2M5YWRhYWY4YzgwYjdkYWI2NTViMmM5MTc2MTM=

  24. Fran says:

    Not to hark back on the “details” of the personal situation we were given by this article to work with, but… I was again thinking about the undisciplined grandchild, who, because his grandmother was in mourning at the hotel cafe:

    “They proceeded in silence, as she wept discretely, to lunch at a hotel on Lake Tiberias where her youngest grandchild grew hyper. Instead of imposing her usual military-style discipline on the child, she encouraged him to splatter water and make even “more noise” – a shock to the rest of the family.”

    There are two things I notice here: First, the child usually receives military-style discipline, and would have expected his grandmother to stop him, under other circumstances. When you use military-style discipline with a child, it is only natural that the child does not develop his own internalized disciplinary measures. When he’s not stopped, he does not learn to discern the behavioral limits and expectations himself. He watches to see if an authority will stop his behavior–if not, if there are no external parameters put on the behavior, the child believes his behavior is O.K. I think this is quite a rule in Arab culture–that behavioral parameters have to be imposed by external authorities with the element of fear attached, or anything goes.

    Second, we learn that his unacceptable behavior, instigated by the grandmother, is acceptable in the presence of Jews. How you behave among your own is one thing; among Jews anything goes:

    “The Israeli waiter hurriedly came to the table demanding, in Hebrew, they stop the raucous behavior. It was then that her defiance exploded into cursing the waiter in Arabic. “We can do whatever we please! This is my father’s hotel!” she yelled. Until that moment, her children and grandchildren had been sheltered from knowing anything about her dear loss.”

    So now the grandchild knows that grandmother feels a just and defiant rage at the poor Hebrew-speaking waiter, whom she assumes is a Jew, and wrongfully works in a hotel which still belongs to her father, 60 years after his departure. All of Rasmiya’s grandchildren/children learn that it is acceptable to explode at an innocent Jew. Your rage doesn’t need to be fair, or targeted toward individuals who you may believe are responsible for your tragedy, but at any Jew who happens to be standing there. Being Israeli makes you guilty, and a worthy target.

    Barghouti and Darwish justify her rage, because she was not allowed in to a woman’s house–a woman who did not know her, and probably had nothing to do with what happened 60 years ago: “The rage of this Palestinian woman was born out of seeing her childhood home, from which she was forced to leave in 1948, now occupied by a stranger who would not even allow her in.”

    Is it true that we are all expected to allow strangers perhaps even enraged, bitter, and potentially violent strangers) into our homes on a moments notice? Should the waiter and surrounding customers pay for the loss she feels at her Father’s hotel?

    So here’s what I’ve learned, call it Palestine 101:

    1) Taking rage out on innocent Jews is alright, and something you teach your children and grandchildren, because Jews–any Jews and all Jews–are acceptable targets of your baseless hatred.

    2) Jewish claims to property do not give you rights to it. If an Arab wishes to come into your home or misbehave at your hotel, you are to say nothing, because they are your “victims” being that you are an Israeli and/or a Jew.

    3) Discipline, even self-discipline, is externally managed, and you can behave in an obnoxious manner provided you are wallowing in self-pity. Rather than show common courtesy, others are expected to excuse your misbehavior, and feel sorry for you because you feel like a “victim.” Indeed, people are expected to feel you are justified in mistreating innocent people whom you falsely blame for your losses.

    With the lack of emotional maturity and moral decency displayed and represented by Ms. Barghouty, is it any wonder Palestinians are where they are today?

  25. oao says:

    I think this is quite a rule in Arab culture–that behavioral parameters have to be imposed by external authorities with the element of fear attached, or anything goes.

    the arab culture is rooted in power: you either have it or you submit to it. therefore, power is protected at all costs, including violence; any perceived weakness is lethal.

    How you behave among your own is one thing; among Jews anything goes

    jews are kufar and their fate is to be dhimmis. when they have the audacity to be sovereign, well, anything goes.

    Being Israeli makes you guilty, and a worthy target.

    which indicates that the problem is not exactly the hotel, but something deeper.

    others are expected to excuse your misbehavior, and feel sorry for you because you feel like a “victim.”

    this summarizes the arab palestinian culture to a tee.
    it’s been known to be the root problem from 1948, but apparently it took this incident for you to figure it out. well, better very late than never.

    except that very few westerners do or want to. which is why this culture persists: it’s effective.

  26. Eliyahu says:

    The January 2000 issue of Commentary published letters in response to the excellent study by Justus Weiner of Edward Said’s many lies about his own background and childhood experiences published a few months before. One of the letters was from Robert Werman of the Hebrew University. He tells that in the early 1970s, a Westernized Arab man showed up at his door in Jerusalem, well-dressed, speaking English, and accompanied by two teenagers speaking with American accents. He wanted, he said, to show his children the house where he grew up. Werman writes that he had investigated ownership of the house back to 1910, when the first parts of it were built. It had been inhabited by only one family since 1910, before he bought it. That was a Jewish family. he goes on:
    At a loss, I invited the man and his two children to come in; he showed them the house, explaining the function of each room before, he said, he had been forced to leave…. Most of the house did not exist in 1948… Originally there were two rooms on one level and now there are seven rooms on two-and-a-half levels [thatI, Werman, built]… The man was polite… his children listened in rapt attention to his “history.” I was amazed at the detail in his descriptions of rooms that were not there in his time.

    On one hand, Arabs lie about their past experiences. On the other hand, we hear little or nothing from the many millions of Germans expelled after WW2 from their homes in parts of Germany annexed by Poland and USSR, and from elsewhere in Eastern Europe. Nor from the millions of Poles and Finns expelled from lands annexed by the USSR. Nor from Jews whose property was confiscated or expropriated by Communist govts, like oao or me, whereas my great-grandfather was a sawmill owner in Belarus and my father’s family in southern Ukraine owned farmland that they worked. Why doesn’t the BBC commiserate with poor oao and Eliyahu whose family patrimonies were robbed by Communists??? Can I and my cousins and second cousins please have our sawmill back??

  27. Eliyahu says:

    Ilan Pappe’ studied with Albert Hourani at Oxbridge, just as Tanya Reinhart studied with noam chomsky. It seems to me that Hourani and his colleagues did a good job of reeducating or brainwashing Pappe’. So I see Pappe”s turn to Arab nationalist apologia as British induced.

    Now, poor Rasmiya barghouti is supposed to come from Tiberias. Does she know that her fellow Arabs in Tiberias made a pogrom against the Jews there in 1929 [see Albert Londres, Le Juif errant est arrive'] and again in 1936, if I am not mistaken, both times with British acquiescence, if not encouragement. Has she expressed her regrets over those pogroms??

  28. oao says:

    when useful idiots from the US demand that israel return the land to the arabs, I say “the minute the US returns the land to the indians, israel should do likewise. without exception they all put their tail between their legs and disappear, seeking other ueful idiots to dump their crap on.

    most of the ignorance and stupidity about the conflict is induced by activists masquerading as academics. when i was in the phd program at northwestern, ibrahim abu lughod was a professor there, teaching courses about the ME. ALL those who took courses with him were anti-israeli coming out.

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