75 thoughts on “Nakba: They Will Return – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Thank you so much for postin this powerful photo and moving poem. Clearly the Palestinian Right of Return is an issue that is very important to you, and it is in that spirit that I would respectfully inquire about when and how you came to your current understanding of that issue.

    When you first started this blog, you very clearly expressed your opposition to the Palestinian Right of Return in one of your earlier posts entitled “Peace in the Middle East: This I Believe” where you outlined five necessary components for a peaceful resolution of the conflict which included:

    “Palestinians must give up their idea of a right of physical return for those refugees who fled or were expelled in 1948. In return, Israel must recognize a right of financial compensation for the properties confiscated from its Arab neighbors inside the Green Line.”

    It is quite clear that you have changed your mind on this and no longer believe that Palestinians must give up their idea of a right of physical return.

    Would you be willing to share a bit about your journey with respect to this issue? Is there a particular moment or point in time where you felt your views beginning to shift on the Palestinian Right of Return? Was the change sudden and dramatic or was it a more gradual evolution?

    Anything you would be willing to share about the transformation of your opinion on this topic would, I think, be instructive and possibly inspiring to some of your readers who may perceive the issue more along the lines of the position you espoused in the blog’s earlier days.

    1. Someone else here found precisely the same passage I wrote in 2003. So it cannot be an accident that you too have located the same passage. I don’t know if I should be flattered or alarmed that some readers think my writings are so important or dangerous that they’ve combed through them to find ways in which I’ve ostensibly contradicted myself over the yrs. I really dislike answering the same question twice. And I’ve already answered this one.

      Very briefly, 8 yrs have gone by. I’ve written 4,000 posts, there have been two major Israeli initiated wars, thousands of Palestinians & hundreds of Israelis have died, & the Geneva Accords were announced. THere have been 3 right wing Israeli gov’t’s none of which seriously addressed the conflict or attempted to resolve it. So I changed my views, something which honest individuals do at times when events take their views & principles in a diff. direction.

      But one thing you are wrong about. I never denied the Right of Return. In 2003 I believed that the Right of Return should be resolved by paying reparations to victims rather than allowing them to physicaly return to Israel. I’ve expanded my view so that I still believe reparations should be paid to those who agree not to return to Israel, but I believe that those who wish to return should be allowed to do so while receiving less compensation for doing so. I also believe the return of the refugees should be regulated with a pre-agreed number returning every yr over a period of 5-10 yrs so that social adjustments can be made, & physical infrastructure built to accomodate the needs of the returnees.

      1. First and foremost, I do thank you for taking the time to provide a brief response to my inquiry.

        You have said before in response to questions asked here that one ought to go back and read through your past posts to get a sense of what you believe so you don’t have to repeat yourself. With that in mind, it seems strange that you might feel “alarmed” at the idea that someone would actually go back and look through your writings to try to get a better understanding of where you are coming from.

        In any case, so that I am understanding correctly, is it your current position that you would support a full physical right of return for all pre-1948 refugees? Or does the “pre-agreed number” alluded to in your comment suggest that there ought to be a limit of some kind (That is to say, that, conceivably not every Palestinian who wishes to return physically to what is currently Israel ought to be permitted to do so)?

        I am not trying to find “ostensible contradictions” or anything of that nature. I am honestly trying to understand the journey you have taken with respect to this issue.

        You seem now to be coming out strongly in support of a position that as recently as 2007 you wrote was one you regarded as extreme (a full physical right-of-return of all pre-1948 refugees – and, again, please correct me if this is not what you support).

        I pursue this question as someone who has followed your writing for some time, who is a committed progressive Zionist like you, but who shares the thinking of your earlier writings on this subject and is eager to understand the different components of the debate within this community more fully.

        I would also mention that I was very sad to see your partnership with Larry Derfner come to an abrupt end. I was very much looking forward to reading more of those exchanges.

        In any case, thank you for this blog and for taking the time to respond to questions and comments from your readers. I wish there were more spaces for these sorts of conversations to take place.

  2. Barakalawfîk, ya Richard (God’s blessing upon you)

    Abu Salma (Abdelkarim al-Karmi) was born in Haifa in 1907. In 1948, he moved to Akka (supposed to belong to the Arab State), and shortly after further on to Damascus where he died in 1980. During all these years he kept the key to his house and office in Haifa.
    The poem “We will return” (Sana’ûd):

    I think the photo of the little girl with her grandfather is from a refugee camp in the West Bank, but I’m not sure. It’s one of the most known photos from the Nakba.
    If someone wants to see more, just google ‘palestinian refugee 1948 photos’ and you’ll have hundreds of photos.

    Here’s the photo once again (min 3:19).
    Ahmad Qa’bûr singing “Baddi ghanni li-nâs” (I’ll will sing for the people…) – a classic by French Jewish composer and singer Michel Berger “Je vais chanter pour ceux qui sont loin de chez eux” (I’ll sing for those who are far from home – dedicated to migrants and refugees in general):
    “I’ll sing for the people who have no one”
    “I’ll sing for the countries whose people have no country”
    “I’ll sing for the children who had no childhood”
    Enjoy if not the photos at least Qa’bûr’s beautiful voice:

      1. Thank you for providing this link.

        Not to send like a dinosaur, but it’s really amazing how we now have access to all these primary source videos and documents thanks to the internet.

        1. Yes, you’re absolutely right. I grew up in the pre-internet era too.
          I recommend the site http://www.palestineremembered.com
          You just click whatever town or village and you’ll have access to pictures, articles, videos etc about the hundreds of Palestinian villages destroyed or ‘only’ ethnically cleansed in ’48 AND 67.

          1. @Deïr Yassin,
            Thank you for recommending “palestineremembered.com”.
            In a brief tour I found the site to be interesting,factual and
            The fact that people who had a link to or interest in any particular neighborhood could communicate with similar others in the “Listing for district’s members” adds a current (present- day) dimension to the site.

            I furthermore wish to thank you for your contributions to the blog.Whereas I often get the feeling with some others who post here that they may just need someplace to vent emotions that are totally unrelated to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in their origin,the vibe that I get from you is quiet the opposite,namely that you make an effort to control strong emotions that are very much related to the conflict in order to present a logical point or present a perspective that is new for many here.

            May you be rewarded in your work.

  3. This powerful image makes me want to cry….
    What a catastrophe it must have been! It is beyond imagination….

  4. The Jews have known those songs for decades.
    Here is a song from the 11th century:
    A Longing to Return to the Land of Israel
    A poem by Yehudah ha-Levi

    My heart is in the east, and I in the uttermost west.
    How can I find savor in food? How shall it be sweet to me?
    How shall I render my vows and my bonds, while yet
    Zion lieth beneath the fetter of Edom, and I in Arab chains?
    A light thing would it seem to me
    to leave all the good things of Spain –
    Seeing how precious in mine eyes
    to behold the dust of the desolate sanctuary.

    1. Once again we see how the OPPRESSOR turns the tables on us to focus the spotlight instead on the eternal victims robbing the present day victims with cruelty, inhumanity and APATHY.

      WE ARE NOT DISCUSSING the ROR of Jews to Israel a right which they bestowed upon themselves while they DENY the victims of the Nakaba their own right of return and steal their land.

      Shameless, pathetic strategy!

    2. Oh one more thing: in this context your post is offensive, insensitive and IDIOTIC.

      Sorry to Richard, I had to get this off my chest because this joker’s arrogance has been getting on my last nerve.

        1. I admit, “idiotic” IS indeed harsh, but consider this: Palestinian refugees suffered in the last century and are suffering in this century still, while “free man” DIGS UP a song from the 11th Century, no less, regarding circumstances no longer relevant, because Jews have the right of return and every other right under the sun that Palestinians are denied today. And he does so, not for some valid noble cause as he so pretends, but to do harm once again to the victims of the Nakba by burdening them with guilt, ie “Arab chains” thus undermining their cause for justice and robbing them with this moot distraction even of our momentary empathy and the modest hopefully greater awareness that this blog may afford their cause.

          So, while I stated his post was idiotic, forgive me, I did not mean the poet or the poet’s nostalgia was idiotic and forgive my ambiguity, what I really meant to say is that only an insensitive boor, i.e. an idiot, uses the past and the words of another in this context with the SOLE intent of denying justice and attention to the suffering of others in the present, when the past should be a humble reminder to him of where one used to be and where one may return if history has taught him nothing, especially about becoming MORE HUMANE and less SELF-ABSORBED.

          1. I think you’re making too much of the Halevi poem. The way I read Free Man’s reference to it he was pointing out that Jews harbor dreams of return to Israel that have been just as strong as Palestinian dreams. You are right that circumstances have changed for Jews & they do have unfettered Right of Return. I grant you that.

    3. I’m not sure how eager Yehuda Halevi would’ve been to exercise his Right of Return if he knew he’d be helping displace 1 million indigenous inhabitants. I also note that despite this sentiments of this beautiful poem, which echo inside me as well, he did not elect to return to Israel during his lifetime as he might have done. So apparently those “chains” were more metaphorical than literal. I don’t have the original Hebrew in front of me but I find it doubtful that the original would use the term “Arab chains.” It’s possible, but it doesn’t ring true to me.

      I certainly don’t mean to deny Jews the right to return to Israel if they wish. Nor do I wish to deny Palestinians the right to return either. You do. That’s the diff bet. us.

      1. The translation is rather accurate:
        ציון בחבל אדום ואני בכבל ערב
        As for the right of return, it is not you who needs to support both rights, it is the person above who’s only way he express communication is by threatening me and calling me an idiot and other insults.

  5. this is a photo of one of the million jews that were
    ethnically cleansed by the muslim arabs

    these refugees vast properties were stolen by the
    muslims and have not yet been returned to the
    original owners or heirs

    ublike muslims who perpetuate the pal refugee problem with syria lebanon not giving minimum rights to pals
    the jews took good care of the jewish refugees
    and gave them homes and lives

    this is the difference between good and evil
    deported jewish refugees and gave them home and life

    1. No, that’s a lie. You mistook what I said, which was that it COULD be such an image. I meant that metaphorically. You of course took it literally in yr attempt to turn this into a point scoring propaganda war. There was no ethnic cleansing of Arab Jews. This is nothing but a hasbara gimmick meant as a counterattack against the Nakba as a powerful emblem of Israeli injustice.

      But if you’re so concerned about the fate of Arab Jews I’ll issue a challenge to you: let’s solve both sets of injustices by recognizing the Right of Return to redress the Nakba along the terms laid out by the Geneva Accords while also redressing any claims by Arab Jews. Is it a deal? No? I didn’t think so. Which only goes to show your bad faith.

      the jews took good care of the jewish refugees

      I think you’re confusing “Jews” with “Israelis” since the latter took in the Arab Jewish refugees. BTW, Israel did NOT take good care of the Arab Jewish refugees. It generally treated them like crap, like Jewish 2nd class citizens, & to this day Mizrahim lag behind Ashkenazim in many social, economic, educational & health indicators.

      You’re on ban watch. You read the comment rules before commenting here again. If you continue yr effort to point score rather than engaging in substantive debate, you will be moderated or worse.

    2. “the jews took good care of the jewish refugees
      and gave them homes and lives

      this is the difference between good and evil”

      You mean to say the Jews ie Israelis gave them (Arab Jews) Palestinian homes or land and the lives that Palestinians once lived.

      Even if your recollection of history were correct, two wrongs don’t make a right, and if you understood this then you would really know the difference between good and evil but until then you can only brag about thinking you do and continue on your unsatiated quest for revenge against a people who had nothing to do with the injustices suffered by Jews in the past, but who are the whipping child of Israel born to bear the guilt of the world upon their backs for the rest of eternity if YOU and your Israeli friends have anything to say and do about it.

      I pity the Palestinians whose backs you intend to break until you’re satisfied that the price has been paid for your endless bitterness about events they had no part in that happened in other parts of the world.

  6. I’m sorry if anyone thinks this is off topic, but as I have been reading all of these posts and trying to comment as little as possible, I can’t help believing that the only solution to what everyone is arguing about is finally a one-state. The below link explains how it can come about, and why it should come about. I have believed this since I first became aware of Palestine in 1948, when one of my close acquaintances relinquished his US citizenship in order go off and join the Zionist cause. I never saw him again. But I have also never stopped thinking about what made him go.


  7. Thank you for this moving post. I can only agree and nod vigorously – they *will* return. And I hope this happens soon, and with as little as possible loss of life.

  8. @winnergreat

    this is a photo of one of the million jews that were
    ethnically cleansed by the muslim arabs

    This is not true. The political climate led to a lot of refugees at that time. The Jews fled, but so did many Christians and others too. They were NOT ethnically cleansed.

    Palestinians should be given the right of return if they want it or compensation. The Jewish refugees, should also be given the same option, to return if they want.

  9. Y.H states that
    The land of Israel is under the control of the Christians and he is oppressed in an Arab Country.

    צִיּוֹן בְּחֶבֶל אֱדוֹם וַאֲנִי בְּכֶבֶל עֲרָב
    Zion lies beneath the fetter of Edom, and I am in the chains of Arabia?

    כבל = in this case chained to. tied to a rope.

    1. Not exactly oppressed in Arab Spain, actually. He contrasts his difficulty in leaving the comforts of Spain with what he sees as his moral/spiritual duty of heading over to the land of Zion, on his pilgrimage, to head into the ruins of the temple.

      But he sure doesn’t ride in as a conqueror. And anyhow, strange women lying around in ponds do not for the basis for a rational system of government (as Monty Python point out in their Holy Grail). And in the context of Zionism, 12th-century poets cannot provide sufficient daily guidance for 21st-century political scientists.

      The Right of Return is grounded in the customs of International Law, which are ratified and reratified in treaties. They will return. Sooner, rather than later.

        1. He seems to be quite enjoying his time in Spain – to the point of wondering if it might not be corrupting him through an excessively hedonistic existence.

          And since it is such a lovely poem, here it is – for thread completeness and the aesthetic pleasure of patient readers:

          לִבִּי בְמִזְרָח וְאָנֹכִי בְּסוֹף מַעֲרָב
          אֵיךְ אֶטְעֲמָה אֵת אֲשֶׁר אֹכַל וְאֵיךְ יֶעֱרָב
          אֵיכָה אֲשַׁלֵּם נְדָרַי וָאֱסָרַי, בְּעוֹד
          צִיּוֹן בְּחֶבֶל אֱדוֹם וַאֲנִי בְּכֶבֶל עֲרָב
          יֵקַל בְּעֵינַי עֲזֹב כָּל טוּב סְפָרַד, כְּמוֹ
          יֵקַר בְּעֵינַי רְאוֹת עַפְרוֹת דְּבִיר נֶחֱרָב.

          1. Yes, I should’ve realized Free Man, or whoever offered the poem, would’ve wrenched it entirely out of context. Of course, it’s clear here that his reason for not realizing his dream is that Israel/Palestine is a ruin dominated by crazy Christian crusaders. While at the same time life in Spain does seem rather good to him.

          2. You’re missing the whole point.
            The poem is not on Arabs or Arab country.
            You jump to protect something that need not protect and on the way loose the whole meaning of the poem.
            If you want to read poems, put down your arms and your politics. They are not written for your politics.
            The poem is about the longings of the writer to Israel and Jerusalem.
            In addition, read my comment. It was nothing to do with Arabs, so don’t put it on me.

    2. He does NOT say he is “oppressed in an Arab country.” He says literally that he is bound or chained in Arabia. Though there may be a connotation of being discriminated against or second class under the Moorish Arab regime of Spain. It could just as easily be an allegorical statement that he is bound, or physically bound to Arabia, which has no connotation of oppression.

      1. NO !
        he does not say “he is bound or chained in Arabia”.
        Read the poem and maybe learn something on Yehuda Ha-Levi. He was nowhere close to Arabia.
        Read the poem, he say in the poem he is in the west. Arabia is not west.
        In addition, he lived in Spain all his life (until he went to Israel).
        You know nothing on his life yet you wrote:
        “I’m not sure how eager Yehuda Halevi would’ve been to exercise his Right of Return” and:
        “he did not elect to return to Israel during his lifetime as he might have done. So apparently those “chains” were more metaphorical than literal”

        In reality, Yehuda HaLevi, did travel to Israel all the way from spain and this is in the 11th century. A jurney that cost him his life. That is how “eager” he was.

        1. I studied medieval Spanish Hebrew poetry at the Hebrew University w the department’s most distinguished specialist in the field. I also studied the subject w the beloved Dan Pagis. I did this over 30 yrs ago so some of what I learned has dimmed w. the passage of time. You are right & I did not remember that Halevi made a pilgrimage to Israel & died there.

          But please don’t think to lecture me about what I don’t know about the subject.

          Yes, he says he is in Arav, which is from the same root as ‘Arabia.’ In his case he is talking about life under Moorish rule. Maarav means west, and he certainly is in the west as well.

    1. Adam: This is a violation of my comment rules. Comments are meant to be original statements and not material published elsewhere (short quotations are allowed). And PLEASE make your comments as short as possible to make yr pt. When you do this it makes it appear like you’re promoting your own blog at our expense. I don’t like this. Next time you want to do this you link to something & quote a short passage. Pls. don’t spam my comment threads.

      I am also completely uninterested in hearing about the “Messianic Kingdom.” I’ve warned you about proselytizing. Don’t abuse my hospitality here. The next time you do this you will be moderated.

          1. Thanks for the invite. I will consider it, I promise, and if my brain will kick in, you’ll be the first to know!


            ………… They really won’t return. just saying. Don’t hold your breath waiting for it, ya know?

          2. They really won’t return.

            If [hasbarist] wishing made it so…but it doesn’t.

            Don’t repeat yrself. You already said that. Repeating yrself will end up w. you being moderated & it comes across as childishness.

          3. Well, sir… if speaking the truth will get me moderated, then by all means, moderate the crap out of all my comments!

            I’m not childish. You’re the one who’s childish.

          4. if speaking the truth

            You wouldn’t know the truth if it jumped up & bit you in the rear end.

            I’m not childish. You’re the one who’s childish.

            Nyeh, nyeah, nyeah nyeah nyeah! And Yo mama.

  10. @ Richard & Shunra

    You are both wrong in your translation.
    Halevi is saying that it will be easy for him to leave all the goods Arabia (Spain was under Muslim conquer most of his life, before he left to Egypt)
    has to offer, because being in the ruined temple has more value to him with comparison to all the good Arabia has to offer.

    יקל = will be easy for me, * the rest of the sentence is * to leave behind all the goods that Arabia has to offer.

    יֵקַל בְּעֵינַי עֲזֹב כָּל טוּב סְפָרַד, כְּמוֹ
    יֵקַר בְּעֵינַי רְאוֹת עַפְרוֹת דְּבִיר נֶחֱרָב

  11. Relevant in this context:

    “Across the Arab world, anger about the Zionist project in Palestine turned Jewish neighbors into perceived enemies. In November 1945, mobs throughout Libya went on a three-day rampage, burning down Jewish shops and homes and killing at least 130 Jews, among them three dozen children… Most were gone by the time Gadhafi seized power in 1969. The new dictator expelled the rest, who were ordered to leave with one suitcase and a small amount of cash. Jewish properties were confiscated. There was no way to determine how many. Debts to Jews were officially erased. Jewish cemeteries were turned into dumping grounds or built over, and most of the dozens of synagogues around the country were either demolished or put to different use. Some became mosques. A community that numbered about 37,000 at its peak vanished.”

    1. So what have we shown? That a specific Arab country treated its Jews shabbily. And we also know there were others who did so as well. We know that life in some Arab countries was very bad for Jews just as we know that life in some Arab countries was not bad for Jews. The article points out that Qaddafi continued this bad treatment of Jews. It says that the new rebel gov’t endorses freedom of religion though we don’t know whether it will actually be honored if such a gov’t topples the dictator.

      Does this compare with 1-million Palestinians expelled by Nakba? I still don’t think so.

      1. I wasn’t arguing for any specific point or comparison, just thought the article was interesting and worth reading.
        If only we could recognize the humanity and suffering of each side without trying to score points…

    2. Though it’s a relatively interesting article. I want to point out a few things:
      Libya was under Italian rule from 1911 to 1951, and then a Kingdom till the Revolution in 1969.
      Furthermore, the North African Jews suffered during the Nazi regime, particularly in the French colonies and protectorates where the Vichy-regime’s antisemitc measures were applied too. The Algerian Jews lost their French citizenship during these years.
      Judging the situation of the Jews in the Maghreb without the context of European colonialism, the Vichy-regime, the Nazi invasion (Tunis was bombed), and the decolonization is just plain intellectual dishonesty.
      Like many minorities, the Jews often sided with the rulers to seek protection – which is inderstandable – and after political changes,they were more exposed to retaliations. Furthermore, many Jews in North African were not indigenous Jews, such as the Grana Sephardic Jews from Livorno who maintained their original nationality.

      And I’m again amazed by the ‘trolling’ on this subject. On a file on the Palestinian ROR, it again ended up in a discussion of the Jewish exodus from the Arab world.

      1. The hasbarists get an allergic reaction every time they see a Jew (or anyone really) talk in the least favorable way about ROR or Nakba. Then they go into overdrive thinking they can minimize the impact or rebut it by trotting out the trusty hoary old sources like San Remo, Posner, etc.

  12. Richard, you entirely miss the point.
    Halevi in his poem refers to the political situation he finds himself in, at which is beloved country (Israel) is under the control of the crusaders (Edom). He further states that there are political restrictions chaining him to his place, he states that he would be easy for him to leave all the goods the materialistic goods Arabia has to one, as rather live in ruined Israel.
    so if you look at the poem as a whole. and if you know something about the history of the period, Halevi is defiantly saying that he his oppressed = chained.

    I know that hebrew is not your first language, but from googleing shunra i learned that she offers translation services, and she is wrong in saying “He seems to be quite enjoying his time in Spain – to the point of wondering if it might not be corrupting him through an excessively hedonistic existence.”

    Halevi himself says otherwise.

    1. there are political restrictions chaining him to his place

      He says no such thing. Not even close.

      Halevi is defiantly saying that he his oppressed

      He is certainly saying that Israel is oppressed under Crusader rule. But he is certainly not saying that HE is oppressed. His portrayal of his own personal status is much more nuanced than what you portray.

      Halevi himself says otherwise.

      Not really. Hebrew medieval poetry written in Spain including poems by HaLevi describe it as a place of consummate culture, enlightened. And it would appear that a number of these poets were the modern equivalent of party animals. THough their parties involved wine, women (& possibly men) & poetry, rather than drugs & more modern accountrements.

      I know that hebrew is not your first language

      I have an MA in Comp Lit w. a major in Hebrew and completed many of my requirements for a PhD. Don’t even try to go there.

  13. This photo is not so powerful. In fact, there’s nothing really so special about it. In pre-modern societies, everyone looked like that! So you’re just reading into it whatever you want.

    1. In fact it’s you who are not only “not so powerful,” you’re rather pathetic.

      In pre-modern societies, everyone looked like that!

      I have no idea what this racist nonsense is supposed to mean, nor do you. Stop blathering. YOu’ll only embarrass yrself.

      1. Racist? What are you talking about? All I’m saying is that in any pre-modern context you could find children taking care of ailing relatives. There’s nothing specifically “nakba-ish” about this photo.

    2. Of course if you don’t know that this photo is taken in a refugee camp in 1948 after the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, it could be just another little girl taking care of her grandfather. But if you have family members who went throught this event, I assure you the photo is very powerful, it’s even devastating….

      I guess a lot of the photos from the concentration camps during WWII aren’t powerful either if you don’t know what happened there.

      It’s all about context, but then Jon maybe still believe the ultimate Hasbara of “a land without people for a people without land”.
      In fact, I find his statement deeply offensive and shows he has absolutely no empahy..

      1. All about context? So why did you take the name Deir Yassin? Did the attack on that village have no context, ie the 1948 war, and the fact that Deir Yassin was a legitimate military target? And by the way, I have seen Richard recently defend the ethnic cleansing of the Jewish quarter by the Jordanians in 1948 because there were Jewish forces there. It is you who doesn’t care about context, or at least you do only when it suits you. The 1948 conflict produced hundreds of thousands of refugees on all sides, that is the context, and within that context Richard is reading into the photo to score cheap political points.

        1. I know the Zionist rewriting of the Deir Yassin-massacre, thank you.
          The ‘1948 conflict’ as you call it did not produce ‘hundreds of thousands of refugees on all sides’. This is simply BS ! Only a few thousand Jews were made refugees within Palestine, and many were recent immigrants. And if you try to include the Jews from the Arab world in your ‘refugees of the 1948’, that particular Hasbara-point has been debunked here dozens of times.
          On the contrary, I care about context: The Zionist movement was a European movement, deeply inspired by contemporary European colonial thinking that arrived in Palestine from 1882 in order to create a State on land that did not belong to them.

          1. You really believe Zionism to be a European movement? Europe was simply the place where the Jews were afforded the opportunity to exercise their human rights. The idea that Jews are equal citizens is also “European” then! That the Jews should have a homeland is a human right, and is as much a European concept as that there shouldn’t be slaves.

          2. You really believe Zionism to be a European movement?

            I don’t so much mind right-wing Zionists or Israel apologists commenting here. It’s the ignorance that really bothers me. YOu don’t realize that Zionism was a European movement based on the concept of European nationalism?

          3. The idea that Palestine is the Jewish homeland is thousands of years old and is shared by all Jews from Yemen to Poland. Modern Europe merely provided the most fertile intellectual ground for transforming that core Jewish belief into reality.

          4. Political zionism was a movement that started among European mostly assimilated Jews, That’s a facts. Palestine/Eretz Israel/Kana’an has been the homeland to many ethnic and religious groups before, contemporary to, and after the Ancient Hebrew/Jews. There is absolutely NO justification to claim your exclusive right after 2000 years of absence, not even to talk about your difficulties to proove that your own ancestors had any roots in the area. 2000 years of conversion and intermarriage make that claim purely hypothetical. The Jews in the Old Yishouv were Palestinians just as everyone else.
            I guess you’re positive to France being an exclusive Catholic State, and the US an exclusive WASP nation where everyone else should either be expelled or having reduced civic rights, including the Jews living there. What about the African-American diaspora returning to Africa expelling the people living there in the name of their ‘return to their ancestral homeland’….
            I’m not a Christian but I’ve heard that Christians from Lagos to Buenos Aires also include longing for Jerusalem in their prayers. Bille August, the rewarded Danish film instructor made a great film “Jerusalem” on Scandinavian Puritan Protestants who settled in the Holy Land which they considered their ‘homeland’ too.

          5. What a dense tangle of propaganda you’ve published. Let me try and clear up some of your misconceptions:
            1) The reason why it started among mostly assimilated Jews is because they were the ones who wanted to take charge of Jewish rights. The assimilated Jews are also the ones who wanted Jews to be treated equally, while the mass of religious Jews actually WANTED to be discriminated against, since they believed they were in exile from Palestine until the Messiah would bring them back. If most blacks wanted to be slaves, and only a few assimilated blacks started a movement for freedom, would that make it any less legitimate?
            2)There has never been a people tied to Palestine, as an independent state, aside from the Jews.
            3)Intermarriage and conversion: your point? What are you trying to say? That you can’t join a nation? According to your criteria there are no nations anywhere then. People can join the Jewish people. I thought you would consider that a good thing! That shows the Jewish people’s diversity. Just look at the different groups of Jews in modern Israel.
            4)France-catholic etc.: now you’re mixing and matching religions and nations. The Jews are both, which, again, is a good thing. France is a French nation, that’s why they banned the veil, and want their immigrants to assimilate into the French culture. The same goes for every other nation in the world. Israel is quite liberal in this regard, permitting extremist groups in their own parliament that would never be tolerated in European countries.
            5)Africa?  Are you kidding me? There are already hundreds of millions of black Africans living in dozens of countries. They have an entire continent to themselves for crying out loud! But you can’t tolerate a single Jewish state? Are you nuts?
            6)The longing for Jerusalem found in Christian prayers only makes sense within the context that the Holy Land belongs to the Jews. Ask those same Christians what they think of the Jews. The Christian religion which was itself originally a Jewish sect that developed into its own religion. You can’t have one without the other!

          6. Let me try and clear up some of your misconceptions

            Whoa, my friend. Who died & left you the Endowed Professor of Zionist History? The day when Deir Yassin or anyone here needs lectures fr. you or anything “cleared up” isn’t even close. Your knowledge of Zionism is skin deep. You ought to read a book, a real one about Zionist history. Yr generalizations are banal & laughable.

            And pls. let’s stay on topic. If I wanted to digress about everything in yr comment I would’ve written a blog post on these subjects. I haven’t. So stay on the topic of my post.

          7. @ Jon
            Just shortly on your third point:
            I have nothing against neither intermarriage nor conversion, and to me those people as a Jewish as anyone else. But when Jews come to Palestine to create a state in their ‘ancestral homeland’ by expelling the indigenous populaton, I do care about their claims to that land !

            I’ve known enough Russian Jews to know that many have absolutely no ‘genetical’ link to the Middle East, and while my maternal family had to leave to give place to that Jewish State, Russians were allowed to immigrate due to some hypethetical link. According to specialists, 400.000 Russians living in Israel have no relation to Judaism. Or what about the Bnai Menashe ? They look as Burmese/Indian as any other in the area where they live. Or the 11 Amerindian families from Peru who converted to Judaism and made aliyah to their ‘ancestral homeland’ after signing a paper that they would settle down in the West Bank. Should we continue about the people living on Palestinian land ?
            I don’t care how people define themselves – what I care about is their taking over of Palestinian land all while the State of Israel slowly but surely erases the Palestinian Arab heritage.

        2. the fact that Deir Yassin was a legitimate military target?

          Hasbara Brigade has arrived. Were the 100 (at least) civilians killed there “legitimate military targets?” Unfortunately for you, the Israeli New Historians showed that Deir Yassin was a show massacre by the Begin gang designed to stampeded Arabs from a strategic position just outside the entry to Jerusalem. There was no military target their unless you claim that ethnically cleansing the village was a legitimate military tactic.

          BTW, you lie in yr characterization of what I said about the expulsion of Jews from the Old City in 1948. I specifically said this was NOT a just act. Did you somehow overlook that part? What I DID say was that from the Jordanians pt of view expulsion of Jews was justified because the Haganah was using the Hurva Synagogue to snipe against the Arab Legion. If you lie about my views or statements again you will be moderated.

          The 1948 conflict produced hundreds of thousands of refugees on all sides

          Ah, the two-wrongs-make-a-right school of hasbara. How refreshing.

          1. You still put it into context, and understand it from the Jordanian point of view. So why can’t you extend the same understanding to the Jews?

            “two wrongs make a right”

            Never said anything was right. More like two wrongs let’s move on, or war is hell, there was plenty of suffering to go around, let’s move on. The Palestinians, instead of moving on, have stayed in the same place, with the “help” of their Arab “friends” and the UN. You don’t think it’s strange that the Palestinian “refugees” have an entire branch of the UN (UNWRA) just for them while the whole rest of the world’s refugees are lumped together in another branch? This is NOT “two wrongs make a right”. This is a legitimate issue concerning the demonization of Israel and perpetuation of the conflict.

          2. two wrongs let’s move on

            Yes, two wrongs, one immense and the other much less so. Easy enough for you to move on, less so for the person on the other side. If you’re ready to move on & s/he isn’t, that doesn’t solve the problem. And telling them they should be ready to move on doesn’t do it either. You’ve actually got to address the problem head on & offer concrete ways to resolve it for that to happen. Something neither you nor Israel currently does.

            You don’t think it’s strange that the Palestinian “refugees” have an entire branch of the UN (UNWRA) just for them

            Not at all. There isn’t another place in the world I can think of that has had the same refugee problem for going on 70 yrs. Instead of viewing this as a conspiracy against Israel, if you viewed it as an issue that Israel had a direct hand in causing & therefore has a direct obligation to resolve, then the refugee problem could be resolved & everyone including Israel COULD ACTUALLY move on. I devoutly look forward to that day.

            The demonization of Israel is another one of those nonsense concepts thrust forward by the hasbara crowd. The most successful demonizer of Israel is itself. As Pogo once said in that famous comic: “We have met the enemy & he is us.” How true when said of Israel.

          3. So, Jon, why not just end the occupation, give the Palestinians their statehood, give those who want the right to return, and then move on?

            Forgive me, but your argument is hillarious. By the same logic, the Israelis, instead of moving on, have stayed in the same place with occupation, expansion of settlements and refusal to negotiate the right of return.

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