57 thoughts on “Bridge Over Troubled Wadi, School Devoted to Jewish-Arab Coexistence – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. I haven’t seen the film yet, though I’ve heard about it.

    From Richard’s description and a youtube clip I saw it brings an important viewpoint to light. That of the every-day people. Not politicians or people with hidden (or not so hidden) agendas. And yes, as Richard also noted… not the “Kumbiya” people as well.

    If the filmmaker successfully presents the different sides of a very difficult situation to light then we the audience can indeed learn… not necessarily agree with the different viewpoints in this conflictm, but get exposure to thinking and perspectives we may have never heard before.

    Perhaps in a different style than Art Linkletter’s “Kid’s say the Darndest Things”, we can see/learn through the eyes of these children how the various “sides” are portrayed from their perspective.

    I’m usually wary about many documentaries about the Arab Israeli conflict because they are usually more polemics for a certain hard political view… I mean ones produced both by Palestinians and Israelis. Trying to present any balanced insight isn’t usually the MO of these “film makers”.

    My quotes are for those who use the cover of “documentary” film making as a disguise for propoganda and heavily biased films ( on both sides of the playing field).

    Every producer or director has an agenda… a story they want to tell. But in the cases where an over-bearing and unbalanced picture is painted and “story” told… they end up doing a great dis-service to themselves (being honest) and the industry (trying to make good programs that inform, educate, inspire etc. etc.).

    What I would consider honest film makers are those who research their stories and yes, tell their POV, but in a way that we the audience are sitting their saying “Hey, but what about this… or what about that” throughout the film.

    I look forward to seeing the film… I perhaps may not agree with many of the issues, but something tells me, and as Richard has indicated ( and I certainly don’t agree with a lot about what he says… but in this case who knows) has a lot to say on the subject.

  2. Quick correction… I meant to say good film makers make films where the audience isn’t constantly questioning what they see… about facts left out and constantly saying to the film ” what about this and what about that”. (I left out the “isn’t” in the sentance).

  3. Your summary matches my recollections of the film, and the feelings: it is a painfully educational experience, done with honesty and caring.

    Does anyone have any updates about the school or the children these years later?

  4. i live next to the school’s village, and was considering it for my son, but it appears the school is undergoing a crisis this year (management and kids, mainly Jewish kids leaving), and so i didnt follow through. But in general, and regardless of the present time crisis, the school has a very good reputation in the area.

    i believe in more spontaneous relationship, and to put more emphasis on interfaith tolerance. A problem is that Jewish progressives are generally anti religion altogether and the arabs in general, even the educated progressives are “masorti” in terms of islam, namely, they practice some.

  5. Good idea but badly executed. No child in the kindergarden or elementary understands politics as adults do and they should not be exposed to it in this way. Parents and teachers exposing their children to political arguments. Heartbreaking. That is child abuse.

    1. What narischkeit. So it’s OK to allow a child to be exposed to an act of terror merely by living in Israel, but it’s not OK to force a child to confront the fact that there are others citizens of her country who suffer when she celebrates. Please don’t talk drivel like claiming this is child abuse. The abuse is inflicting this conflict on children to begin with.

      1. What a response. When adults start yelling or raising their voice or arguing in front of children and throwing accusations I don’t think that is morally right. The children are in the age of 4-7. The adults most work these issues outside the classroom not dragging children in the middle.

        quoting from dr phil because he makes a good point:

        Fighting in front of the kids is what Dr. Phil calls a silent epidemic. While yelling and screaming are anything but silent, the silence, he explains, comes from children who don’t have the power to speak up about the pain.

        So you are saing its perfectly okay to yell in front of children, who are not emotionally ready to handle such issues.

        1. When adults start yelling or raising their voice or arguing in front of children

          First, no adults yelled or raised their voices in front of children. Again, do not exagerrate, do not distort. Be precise. But they certainly did disagree in front of children, which happens every day in almost every family on the globe. For you to claim that adults disagreeing in front of children is child abuse is ridiculous.

          This will be the last time you quote Dr. Phil in this blog.

          1. “But they certainly did disagree in front of children, which happens every day in almost every family on the globe”

            yes hows that better, arguing in front of children. You could see in the eyes of the children that they sensed attention. when has anything that has been normal in families has become acceptable. Spanking children was common just decades ago, hows that make it right? I got some of that. Now its considered immoral.

            Children might not react to it but they sense that adults are arguing.

      2. Richard did I read you right…. did you mean to say this:

        “…allow a child to be exposed to an act o terror merely by livng in Israel,…”

        Are you saying that living in Israel is an act of terror?

        1. Are you saying that living in Israel is an act of terror?

          How in yr right mind could you even dream I wrote that??? Please read what I wrote & not what you think I wrote. And if you don’t know or understand the diff. don’t substitute yr version. And don’t even think you have the right to parse my words or my mind based on the utter stupidity & bad faith of that question.

          1. Apologies… I didn’t mean it as bad faith or to undermine you….

            My question was badly phrased… I didn’t think you meant it, but couldn’t get what point you were making.

            Although we strongly disagree on many things I did not intend parse your words that way. Just please clarify what you meant when you said that.

  6. The biggest problem with every Zionist-Arab coexistence and tolerance program ever undertaken is that they are all, to a greater or lesser extent (and usually to a greater extent), all about convincing the Jewish Zionists to “tolerate” and patronize the lesser persons – i.e. the Arabs – while tring to persuade the Arabs they must sympathize with their oppressors while learning to accept the logic of their lower status as the conquered party.

    It is one thing to know about the other’s experience, but tolerance and coexistence are only real or meaningful on a level playing field, and that is not something Israel is ready for.

    1. Shirin, Zionist- Arab is one thing, Jewish -arab is another, in the second matrix, your perspective is not so accurate. The jews feel usually in minority and patronized, being in the defense worldwide.
      Zionism in a way attempted to replace the religious definition, but inherited the sense of persecution without the religious explanations and historicity.
      In the last decade though, religion is back big time, in both communities, and the dialogue is changing on the ground. However, the “discourse” of secular, progressive, or western liberasl ignores this reality and i believe misses the point altogether, hoping that “religion will go away” eventually and we will return suddently to the 80′ or 90’s (of last century).
      Its one reason the “left” in Israel is almost extinct.

      “tolerate” is what Jews seek from moslems and christians who by far outnumber and attack the validity of Judaism altogether. I don’t take a stand, because in my world all three abrahamic religions are irrelevant (to my inner life), but that’s the real world out there. I am trying to remain objective about it.

      the basis of these coexistence projects was secular liberal western sponsored, I think this entire worldview is now invalidated in israel, and so we have another persecuted community (secular progressives of all faiths and nationalities who are deemed heretics, traitors, fags, or what not by both jews and arabs here).

      1. Zionist- Arab is one thing, Jewish -arab is another

        I do not understand the point of this admonition. Why do you think I specified Zionist and not Jew? It is precisely because I know very well the difference between Zionist and Jew. I have a lot of experience working and interacting with Zionists across the spectrum, though mostly with well-meaning “liberal” Zionists. I also have quite a bit of experience both in the West and in the Middle East interacting with Jews who are either non-Zionist or anti-Zionist, and the experience is very different from interacting with even the most well-meaning and liberal-minded Zionists. In short, when working with non-Zionist or anti-Zionist Jews there is a mutual sense that we are on a level playing field and neither has a need to patronize the other or control the interaction. That is very different from the feeling one has when participating in Zionist-Arab dialog/reconciliation/whatever efforts.

    2. interesting how not one arab in the doc used the word “zionist” to describe israeli jews

      yet you insist on doing just that

    3. I don’t know all the Zionist-Arab coexistence and tolerance programs undertaken. but, the ones I have heard of, and like the one featured in this doco certainly haven’t presented the message that Israelis learn to have to as you said …’ “tolerate” and patronzie the lesser persons- i.e. the Arabs”. I’ve never heard that expressed in situations where a true dialogue between Israelis and Arabs take place.Where’s the justice in that?

      I DO hear it from both Palestinians and Israelis who bring their own un-compromising agenda to the table making accusations back and forth without trying to understand or even interpolate what the other side is claiming.

      In this doco I certainly did not get any impression that the Israeli teachers/parents felt that the Arabs were any less valid or had a lower status. Different- yes an Israeli Jew is not an Arab Muslim… there are religious and cultural differences.

      The realities of the establishment of the the State of Israel and conflicts its caused is not a black and white easily defined issue. This documentary brings some of those issues to the surface.

      I don’t feel all the issues were addressed as fairly as I’d like (it ain’t my film either) but I certainly understood the conflicts that exists and appreciated both side’s attempts to approach those issues.

      Though, if there was one point NOT made about these parents/teachers is that neither side certainly don’t see the other as lesser people…. Arab or Jew.

      1. I certainly did not get any impression that the Israeli teachers/parents felt that the Arabs were any less valid or had a lower status.

        Your powers of observation are faulty. When a Jewish teacher says Israeli Palestinians “abandoned” villages during the Nakba she is simply ignorant or obtuse & at the least disrespectful of the Palestinian historical narrative. I’m not saying this is deliberate. But it exists & has to be dealt with. The children get conflicting & mixed messages when their teachers are not on the same pg. about such a critical historical incident.

        1. My powers of observation are just fine.

          That teacher’s comment did not belittle Arabs at all. There were Arabs who abandoned their homes. She didn’t lie or make this up, this what she knows.

          The Palestinian felt the Israeli teacher had the point all wrong and made a response and countered what he Israeli teacher stated. Yet there was no belittling here. This is part of the conflict… how both the Israelis and Arabs acted during the war. If the israeli teacher had made a judgement of character on the Arabs and denegrate them, I’d agree.

          I agree- those two teachers should have better prepared their lesson to avoid the countering that took place. The fact that there were Arabs who did abandon and leave as compared to those that were driven out by force showed have better been addressed for these children.

          You could (wrongly) also argue that the Palestinian teacher was disrespectful to the Israeli historical narrative, not mentioning the Israeli view of the situation… but that isn’t her place! Here place was what she did in fact state.

          They have two different perspectives and it is precisely this environment where they can, hopefully be addressed giving respect and background to both POVs.

          Again, it seems clear they had to address the issue between themselves and come to some resolution on presentation before bringing it to the children.

          1. There were Arabs who abandoned their homes.

            There were 700,000 Palestinian residents of Israel who were expelled from their homes, which they did not willingly abandon. So to say they “abandoned” them is to lie to oneself about the true history.

            But I do amazingly agree with everything else you wrote in yr comment.

            As for what I meant about the statement about the girl living in a country where she would be subject to a terror attack, it is ridiculous to argue that a child should be protected from these issues since merely living in Israel subjects anyone to the possibility of being killed or wounded either in a terror attack or while serving in the IDF.

          2. There were Arabs who abandoned their homes.

            No. There most definitely were not. There were Palestinians (not all of whom were Arabs) who fled from their homes, the majority as a response to systematic terror campaigns intended to induce their flight. Others fled as the Israeli fighters advanced toward their towns and villages, many as a result of Israeli “whispering campaigns” suggesting that if they did not leave they would be subjected to the same fate as the residents of Deir Yassin and other villages that experienced massacres (see numerous writings of Benny Morris). Virtually none of the Palestinians who fled intended to abandon their homes for good.

            She didn’t lie or make this up, this what she knows.

            It may be what she believes as a result of her Zionist indoctrination, just as it appears to be what you believe as a result of yours. However, it is not what she “knows”, because it is simply not factual. Furthermore, as someone supposedly engaged in a program intended to bring Israeli Jews and Palestinian citizens of Israel together, she should be more familiar with historical facts and reality than she appears to be.

            The Palestinian felt the Israeli teacher had the point all wrong…

            Not quite. The teacher who is a Palestinian citizen of Israel knew the Jewish-Zionist-Israeli teacher had the facts all wrong, and was merely repeating the historic lies she has been indoctrinated with by her informal and formal education. And by the way, David, Perhaps you should do a bit of soul searching over the fact that whereas both teachers are supposedly “equal” citizens of a supposedly democratic state, you refer only to the Jewish teacher as Israeli, and ignored the Israeli citizenship of the Palestinians teacher.

            he fact that there were Arabs who did abandon and leave as compared to those that were driven out by force…

            This is a distinction without a difference. Those whom you characterize as “abandoning and leaving” might not have been driven out in the same sense as, for example, the inhabitants of Lydda and Ramle were driven out, but they were nevertheless driven out. If you flee from your home based on the realistic expectation that you and your family will or may be slaughtered, particularly when steps have been taken to ensure you have that expectation, then you have been driven out. In addition the fact that the Israelis took systematic steps to prevent the return of those who had supposedly just upped and abandoned their homes supports the by now well-established reality that what happened was not massive abandonment but intentional and systematic ethnic cleansing.

            They have two different perspectives…

            Oh, please! By now the facts have been well enough established to completely invalidate this notion of two different perspectives. What took place in the period around 1948 was calculated, intentional, and systematic ethnic cleansing, and to claim otherwise at this point is simply delusional.

          3. Richard, the official number of Palestinian refugees was around 750,000. There were also many thousands of Palestinians who fled or were directly expelled who or various reasons never registered as refugees, so it is not an exaggeration to put the total number of Palestinians forced out in the period around 1948 at around one million.

            I am personally acquainted with a number of people who were registered refugees and lived at least for a time in refugee camps as well as quite a few people who never registered as refugees, but who were nevertheless forced from their homes in Palestine.

      2. It is fascinating that at the same time as you insist that Jews do not hold a superior position in Zionist-Arab dialog you also persistently refer to Jewish citizens of Israel as “Israelis” and Palestinian citizens of Israel as “Arabs” or Palestinians, thus belying your contention that all are equal in the dialog.

        As for real-life experience, I have been involved enough in these things to know without question which party believes they control the dialog, and which party is expected to be “well behaved” in order to be treated as legitimate participants.

        1. Good point. I have to admit that I have used the term ‘Israeli” primarially for it’s Jewish residents and “Palestinian” for the Arab, non-Jewish resident.

          I stand (sit) corrected. There are Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs, both Muslims and Christians… If I’m mistaken… I’m sure you’ll correct me.

          My error was calling these Israeli Arabs “Palestinian”. And it points to a very critical point of view. Do these Arabs in Wadi Ara see themselves as Israeli Arabs or Palestinian Arabs? Do they accept the fact that there is a State, estabilshed in 1948 called ‘Israel” with borders that include their villages as well as many other villages in the Galilee and other parts that make up a border…. a border that existed up to 1967?

          1. David, I am afraid you have managed to miss my point. You make a very clear statement when, in the context of describing an encounter among a group of Israel citizens you refer only to Jews as Israelis, and to the non-Jews merely as Palestinians. You make it absolutely clear that you do not view Palestinian citizens of Israel as having the same status as citizens as Jews.

            And then, of course, you compound your gaffe by asking a series of questions that require Palestinian citizens to qualify themselves without expecting Jews to do the same.

            What you have accomplished here is a clear demonstration of Israel’s multi-tiered citizenship system, of which, of course, only Jews can occupy the top tiers.

          2. Richard

            It’s late and like Shirin regretted a post late at night I will wait until I’m thinking clearer (long working hours even on a Sunday)… but two points
            1) please check with your webiste manager (?) the “reply” note is missing in both your postings so I have to respond here.

            2) My question was somewhat rhetorical in I do believe they are Israeli citizens, and fall under Israeli (NOT JEWISH, Israeli) law as well as deserve equal representation in education, welfare, infrastructure etc. just like every other Israeli.

            With that comes a fundamental understanding to support the state and abid by it’s laws…. citizens may not agree with every law, but they have to abid by it or try and change it through legal actions.

            I would expect that Israeli Arabs may have their view of what happened in the country’s history in a different way, and mark accordingly…. short of treason (not saying they do…. ) achh, I’m getting tired, so will stop here. I might say something I regrett so I’ll leave it at this.

            Hopel you can solve the “Reply” button issue.

          3. With that comes a fundamental understanding to support the state and abid by it’s laws…. citizens may not agree with every law, but they have to abid by it or try and change it through legal actions.

            I know of almost no Israeli Palestinians who would do anything other than what you claim. But I disagree that citizens must “support” the state. They have no obligation to support a Jewish state or a state that disenfranchises them. That’s why Israeli Palestinians don’t serve in the IDF & are not welcome there. But they do have every right to transform that state into a true representation of a democratic one that will respect ALL its citizens equally.

        2. Shirin, I reply here in that there is no “reply” line in your post above.

          I find your term “Ethnic Cleansing’ offensive and and outright lie. Show me a document where there is a clear statement that Israel wants to elminate and clear all the Arabs from her territory. It doesnt’ exist.

          Israeli’s Declaration of Independence makes reference to
          just the opposite:

          “WE APPEAL – in the very midst of the onslaught launched against us now for months – to the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace and participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions. ”

          Please quote me a document where an Israeli official at that time states that the goal of the State of Israel is to ehtnically cleanse it of all the Arabs.

          1. The Nakba was ethnic cleansing writ large. The fact is that Israel’s Occupation is also a form of ethnic cleansing. Israel’s rejection of extension of residency permits for E. Jerusalem Palestinians who live abroad is another form of it. The outright theft of Palestinian private land is another form of it. Population transfer, advocated by senior cabinet ministers is ethnic cleansing. So don’t get on yr high horse about this. It’s true & insupportable on Israel’s part.

            Did Hitler write down his intent to exterminate European Jewry? Of course not. No Israeli leader would explicitly write down an intent to remove Palestinians from Israel. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t part of policy considerations governing the Occupation.

          2. Ethnic cleansing is precisely the correct term for what Israel did in 1948, and again in 1967. In addition, ethnic cleansing has been an ongoing process throughout Israel both inside and outside the Green Line.

            Ethnic cleansing is defined as “the forcible removal of an ethnically defined population from a given territory”, and is generally, as is the case with Israel, based on nationalist claims to the land. The process may or may not include violence and/or military action, or may be accomplished by other types of pressures. It also often involves the destruction of historical, cultural, and other traces of the removed population, including destruction, desecration or “repurposing” of monuments, cemeteries, and houses of worship. Removal does not have to be complete to qualify as ethnic cleansing.

            Ethnic Cleansing can be achieved by means ranging from discrimination and various other forms of pressure all the way to military and other violence, including the type of extermination we saw in Nazi Germany, in Turkey with respect to the Armenians, and at various other places and times in recent history.

            Throughout the history of Zionism the Zionists and the State of Israel have systematically used the full range of means from discrimination, economic and political pressure to deadly and massively destructive military violence to ethnically cleans areas inside and outside the Green Line. There is a convincing documentary record going back all the way to Herzl that, together with their actions, makes absolutely clear the intent of the Zionists and the State of Israel to remove the non-Jewish indigenous population.

            The recognition on the part of Zionists that the achievement of Zionism’s goals would necessitate ethnic cleansing – aka “population transfer” – dates all the way back to Herzl’s acknowledgment of same in Der Judenstadt, and runs as a consistent thread throughout Zionism’s and Israel’s history. 1948 was certainly Israel’s greatest ethnic cleansing project, resulting as it did in the removal of 750,000-1 million non-Jewish indigenous persons, the confiscation of their homesl businesses, and belongings, and the destruction, desecration, and “repurposing” of hundreds upon hundreds of villages, monuments, and houses of worship. However, its most successful ethnic cleansing project to date was in the Golan Heights, 1967, when Israel systematically expelled some 96% of the Syrian population and demolished around 95% of the Syrian villages and towns.

            The ethnic cleansing of Palestinians continues until this moment in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel has also engaged in ethnic cleansing projects within its own borders, sometimes quite openly such as in the case of the program known as Yehud Ha Galil, the Judaization of the Galilee. The Kafkaesque concept of “present absentees” was devised in the early years of Israel’s existence as a pretext to remove Palestinians from their homes, lands, and businesses inside Israel’s borders, so that their property could be taken over by the State for the use of Jews.

            David, you can be as outraged as you like, and call me a liar as much as you like, but that will never change the facts or the reality. You would be far better off to open your mind and endeavor to look past your indoctrination so that you can become part of the solution, and not just one more well-meaning contributor to the problem.

          3. PS Please tell me you are not so naive as to accept the words in that most political of all documents, a Declaration of Independence, as proof that Israel has provided its “Arab inhabitants” full and equal citizenship and “due representation” in Israel’s “provisional and permanent institutions” when actual events and circumstances tell a completely different story.

          4. Please quote me a document where an Israeli official at that time states that the goal of the State of Israel is to ethnically cleanse it of all the Arabs.

            Well, at least you didn’t ask for a link. :o} Your request for “a document” clearly stating that ethnic cleansing of “all the Arabs” is “the goal” of the State of Israel is still awfully naive, though. I am sorry, but as with most such issues it requires much more work than that.

            David, documentation shows that the theme of “transfer” of the non-Jewish native population, its necessity to the achievement of Zionism’s goals, and how best to accomplish it runs throughout Zionist and Israeli history starting with Der Judenstadt” and continuing to this day. There was a variety of different schemes proposed including the idea of purchasing land in Iraq, and setting “the Arabs” up with the Middle Eastern equivalent of forty acres and a mule, the assumption being that “the Arabs” of Palestine would be just as happy farming in Iraq as in Palestine because after all “the Arabs” of Palestine, unlike European Jews who had never set foot there and had no demonstrable family history in the land, had no real attachment to Palestine. There were also attempts to squeeze “the Arabs” out economically and in other ways.

            In the beginning the Zionists assumed that Arab lands were Arab lands, and that “the Arabs” of Palestine had no particular attachment to the land that their families had inhabited for generations, and so would have no problem going somewhere else if offered the correct inducements. Of course, they could not have been more wrong but that did not stop them from continuing to pursue “transfer” by increasingly nasty means.

            The history of what took place in 1948 is a clear case of ethnic cleansing. If anything it is even more clear that Israel conducted systematic ethnic cleansing in 1967 in the conquered Palestinian territories and even more strongly in the Golan Heights.

            Since Richard generously offered me space on the main page a few months ago, the history of Zionist and Israeli ethnic cleansing would be a great topic. Unfortunately, huge work and personal pressures have made it impossible for me to manage the time to research and compose a quality posting on any subject, but perhaps when things ease up, as they inevitably will sooner or later, I will consider this topic.

  7. i think the school will be a success if they get rid of the all ethnic and religious aspects of it. They should focus on teaching the kids about mutual respects and other “normal” school subjects like math, history etc.They need to get the kids to look past their ethnic and religious divides, and only then will they see how much they have in common. Stop celebrating any religious holiday as a part of the school curriculum( arab or jewish) and focus on teaching kids about math and science.

    I mean this is already working in countries like the US and Canada. I went to high school in Canada and we had kids from every possible religion and every ethnic group working together without a problem, and thats because the school did not try to highlight the divides that separated the children.

    1. I have to agree.

      While watching the doco I felt it unfair to have Arab/Muslim (even Christian) for that matter, have to sing Hanukkah songs or light a Hannukiah… and just as unfair to have Jewish children resite Muslim prayers and bow down.

      I think its great their was the exposure to each group….
      I’m all for learning about different religions an cultures, discussing them, etc…. but making someone from one religion partake in another religion’s ceremony is somewhat dishonest…maybe not the right word, but it’s close.

      I remember being in my grade school’s “Christmas Assembly” and we all had to sing the Christmas songs and such… and then they threw in one Hannukah song…. I felt strange singing the Christmas songs and felt wierd hearing my non-Jewish friends singing Jewish songs….

      Hey, but these were the suburbs, you know, where “everybody gets along” and we’re all homogenious (there is sarcasim here, but there is a bit of truth to that reality).

    2. Kamil – thank you for reminding everyone how this stream of arguments began – Bridge over the Wadi. It began as an earnest project to bring people living together in a stressful society to greater understanding. Whether it succeeds remains to be seen. As Iris says, the school is experiencing difficulties and many of the Jewish pupils have left, leaving the status quo unbalanced. Bridge over the Wadi is an admirable project – something which some of these comments choose to ignore. One of the commentators even chose not to watch the video! It is precisely self-centered arguments and accusations such as these which fly over the heads of children whose grasp of reality – however naive – should be strengthened by ties of friendship and understanding. Please do not deprive them of this chance.

    1. There were no written documents confirming the specifics of the FInal Solution whether at the Wansee conference or anywhere else. Nothing. The document you offer shows the names of those who attended & some very broad discussion. Other than the term Final Solution there is no acknowledgement of what the Nazis intended other than what may be inferred. Certainly, the language used confirms that they planned to “allow” many Jews to die through malnutrition, overwork, etc. And there is a warning that Jews shouldn’t be allowed to slip through the Nazi net because they might renew their numbers (which infers –not the same as stating–the Nazis intended to kill them). But as for exterminating them & how to do that–nothing. If I was planning something on the scale that they were or planning or to ethnically cleanse 750,000-1,000,000 Israeli Palestinians I wouldn’t leave much of a record myself. Ben Gurion was smart that way as Benny Morris has attested in his research. And too Ben Gurion could see the Nuremberg trials of 1948 & understand that the world would not look kindly on such explicty & publicly known efforts to expel such a large number of indigenous inhabitants of Israel.

      The Truman Library document proves nothing other than that there was such a conference which is indeed how we know it happened. But we don’t anything other than the broadest outlines of what happened, what was discussed, what was decided, methods of implementation of extermination plans, etc.

      1. Well, Richard, for starters there is Tochnit Dalet, which looks clearly like a plan for ethnic cleansing, despite the inability of Benny Morris and others to admit what it was. The bottom line is that if it looks, walks, and quacks like a duck…

        And then there is the documentary evidence beginning with Der Judenstadt….one could write a book. Oh wait, it’s been done.

        1. Shirin

          You said a lot… I can’t respond to it all mostly due to lack of time.

          I don’t agree with a lot of what you said. Still don’t see it as planned “ethnic cleansing”. yet I won’t deny that many Arabs fled and were forced out of the land that is now part of the Jewish State.

          To go as far as to say the MO of the State’s initial intention was to totally rid itself of Arab inhabitants just doesn’t seem plausible.

          It was unknown if the UN Partiion Plan would be accepted by the Arabs-and there was an Arab, Palestinan State established along side. Their needed to be “2 to tango” to make the Plan work. Perhaps in conflict and not (as R as used the phrase.) “Kumbayaish”… I believe the whole attitude to a co-existence would have been played out differently had the Plan been implemented.

          What does seem to have happened is that the local Arabs and the local Arab leaders, surrounding countries. were (are) adamantly against the mere notion of the establishment of a Jewish State.

          This wasn’t only rhetoric attacks, but out and out physical violent attacks. From even before, but more so after the November vote and up to the end of the British Mandate(…BTW, a Mandate that since the end of WWI had been created to establish a “Jewish Homeland”) attacked Jews and Jewish settlements throughout the area ( don’t deny Jewish counter attacks).

          Their is a reality factor here. How is this country going to establish itself with a large population of hostile inhabitants? THey are going to (counter) attack and do what they can to ensure the State gets established. As is mentioned… many Arabs thought (so reported) a bad battle is going to take place… we shall leave now and return once this battle is resolved…. they didn’t know they would not, or could not return.

          I don’t see that as ethnic cleansing but more as establishing secure borders for the building of a State.

          Again… had the there been a “partner” even a bitter partner, the scene from the movie of the two teachers talking about “Yom Ha’Atzmaut” and the “Nakba” may have still taken place, but the details would have been different.

          To continue, the Arabs had that same mind-set of evicting the Jews… You won’t call it Ethnic Cleansing because you would claim the Jews weren’t their long enough… but the Arabs wanted to clear out the Zionists… they (are) were not welcome, no matter what the UN says or does. There was no partner in this deal.

          IF the tables were turned I have no doubt Jews would have been expelled from the country.

          Look, when Jordan captured the Old City. At no later time was there an offer for the Jewish inhabitants of the Old City to come back and live under Jordanian rule. There was plan and simple ethnic cleansing there. No Jew was wandering the streets of the Old City with a Jordanian passport.

          achhh time is running out for me.

          Let me say this in close. I do read what you say. I don’t agree, but I don’t dismiss it. I’m all for hearing opposing, views. No one should be too closed minded no to listen and maybe learn from someone who thinks way different than they do.

          1. out and out physical violent attacks

            You’re claiming that Palestinian Israelis engaged in violent attacks before 1948? Can you document? But even if you can, any violence coming fr. one side was certainly provoked by violence fr. the other. Deir Yassin? Do you not think this sent a very clear msg. of terror into the hearts of Israeli Palestinians?? This was no “Jewish counter-attack.” You simply can’t play the game that Jews were merely responding to Arab violence. They initiated the violence too.

            with a large population of hostile inhabitants?

            Who says they were “hostile?” By & large they weren’t. The hostility came fr. the Jews. Ben Gurion wanted Israel to be a Jewish state, not a mixed state. He didn’t commit the Nakba because he wanted to get rid of violent Arabs. He did it because ideologically he preferred a Jewish state. That suited his Zionist vision.

            many Arabs thought (so reported) a bad battle is going to take place… we shall leave now and return once this battle is resolved…. they didn’t know they would not, or could not return.

            You’ve been reading too much Joan Peters. You do realize this hasbara angle was exhausted somewhere about 1968, if not earlier??

            I don’t see that as ethnic cleansing but more as establishing secure borders for the building of a State.

            They are one & the same thing. Fr. the Jewish vantage pt it was establishing secure borders or so they claimed. From the world’s vantage pt it was ethnic cleansing. The world was right. You’re wrong as indeed history has shown. Israeli Palestinians have not been a Fifth Column within Israel despite the shabbiness w. which they’ve been treated. They have not engaged in acts of violence against the State except in very rare instances. They are much more sinned against than sinning.

            had the there been a “partner”

            “No partner.” Same old, same old hasbara. Friend, they’re not singing that song here. You’ll have to go somewhere else to peddle it. This statement is so stupid, so ill-informed, so blind, so racist, so historically ignorant I can’t begin to say…

            the Arabs had that same mind-set of evicting the Jews

            Again, show me Israeli Palestinians who said this. And even if there were, that doesn’t prove it was the prevailing feeling among the population as a whole because it wasn’t. You’re simply historically ignorant. You’re peddling some propaganda you read somewhere. But you don’t realize there are people here who actually are far better read than you & far better informed. It’s sad that you don’t sit back & read & listen & instead venture your opinions supported with little more than ancient prejudices & propaganda talking pts.

            So here’s the deal. Last comment on this subject. If you publish more in the same vein it gets axed & you endanger your comment privileges. So move on.

        2. I haven’t read Tochnit Dalet though I’ve read about it. I’d guess that it makes clear the State’s intentions about as clearly as the Wansee protocols do. In other words, if you read between the lines you can clearly see intent. But both Nazis & Ben Gurion are careful not to be explicit for fear of the consequences in the world community.

          I believe Ben Gurion wanted to perpetrate a Nakba, but he also wanted to get away with it which is why he concealed his full intent as much as possible. But I also believe the Nakba wasn’t as fully organized & efficiently executed so the outcome was more ragged. Some places were cleansed & others weren’t which is why 1 million or so were expelled while 1 million or so remained.

          1. Of course Tochnit Dalet does not explicitly call for ethnic cleansing, but it is pretty explicitly about “clearing” a particular swath of territory as I recall. And yes, of course Ben Gurion was far too smart to openly admit that he wanted to remove the non-Jewish population. In fact, the Zionist leadership was by an large a lot more savvy in that regard than the Israeli leadership has become over time.

            You do need to reexamine your numbers. The 1 million displaced is probably pretty close to reality if you include those who fled and were not counted as refugees by the UN. However, the number that remained was far below 1 million. The number 150,000 sticks in my mind, and while the official number might be slightly different, 150,000 is not far off.

  8. For me the notion that they planned ethnic cleansing and sterilization is quite enough.

    what of the nagba of the hundreds of thousands refugees from arab and muslim countries who moved to israel.

      1. Excuse me richard, but this is my first time and I presume the term naqba has appeared in this website countless times.

        and again with hasbara labeling. If we are going to debate israeli-arab coexistance and its history, we have to also include jewish history under arab majority.

        This document brings forth different narratives and mizrahi narritive should also be included.

        arab minorities have been oppressed in israel and jews in arab world.

        The topic is jewish-arabco existance. This topic can’t be onesided.

        1. You will not turn Jewish life in Arab lands into another hasbara narrative. This phenomenon was very complicated & not at all the one-sided narrative made out by pro Israel Islamophobe apologists.

          I never said the issue hasn’t been debated here. It has. Just not when you were in the discussion. But thousands of words have been spilled by both sides & believe me you’re not going to add anything information someone else hasn’t attempted to raise in order to argue that Muslim nations oppressed Jews, dispossessed them & sent them packing to Israel.

        2. First it was nagba and now it is naqba? If you are going to use a word, at least try to get it right. The word is نكبة, from the root nun kaf ba, not نقبة, which does not exist in formal written Arabic or most dialects, and which in some regional street dialects has a rather vulgar meaning. The only accurate way to transliterated the word you are referring to is nakba.

    1. Nagba? What’s a nagba? Perhaps it is nagging at a catastrophic level?

      As for the “refugees” from Arab and Muslim countries who “moved” to Israel, try that on a less sophisticated audience, please. Most people here are a bit too familiar with the facts to fall for that one.

  9. “In 1947, after the partition vote of the British Mandate of Palestine, Arab Muslim rioters, assisted by the local police force, engaged in a bloody pogrom in Aden that killed 82 Jews and destroyed hundreds of Jewish homes. Aden’s Jewish community was economically paralyzed, as most of the Jewish stores and businesses were destroyed. Early in 1948, the unfounded rumour of the ritual murder of two girls led to looting.[42]

    This increasingly perilous situation led to the emigration of virtually the entire Yemenite Jewish community between June 1949 and September 1950 in Operation Magic Carpet. During this period, over 50,000 Jews emigrated to Israel.”


    1. Once again, you’ve deliberately flouted my request not to rehash old arguments here. I’m going to publish this comment & delete any future comments you write on this subject. This comment is completely off-topic & a violation of my comment rules.

      Your comments have been moderated for some time. The next step is banning. So either follow the rules or face that prospect.

      The plain fact of the matter is that you don’t set the agenda for this blog. I do. If you want to argue ancient history about the Jews in Arab lands, & want to argue that Muslims are anti-Semitic, you’re welcome to do so elsewhere. We don’t play to your tune here.

  10. I never said anything about antisemitism. And I am not islamophobic, I am against any racial discrimination. I have personally close muslim and arab friends and I don’t take such allegation lightly. My point is richard that both sides have committed atrocities upon one another. I believe you agree with that. Whether it was before indepence day or after it.

    What I am trying to prove here is that hatred, fear and intolerance and ignorance in middle east hasn’t just recently appeared. They are not uncommon attributes. There is lot of mistrust and fear between jewish and arab population. Which the document illustrates. Do you disagree?

    These hand in hand projects are good starters to break that cycle.

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