31 thoughts on “Israel: Nakba and Return – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Were there any debates in and among the Arab States regarding repatriating the 500,000 Jews forced to flee their homes subsequent to the 1948 War?

    1. @ Pip: All 500,000 were “forced to flee their homes?” None were encouraged to do so by Israeli shlichim? Or by Zionist bombs designed to stampede them into leaving? They were all expelled forcibly and had no choice in the matter? A bit of historical revisionism, perhaps?

      1. Now lets play a little game, and repalce “Israeli” with “palestinans” or “Arabs” in your reply:
        All 1 mil were “forced to flee their homes?” None were encouraged to do so by Arab shlichim? Or by Arab bombs designed to stampede them into leaving? They were all expelled forcibly and had no choice in the matter? A bit of historical revisionism, perhaps?

        1. @ Hasbarist settler: You have no grasp of the actual, real history of the period. While there was anti-Semitism and some violence in some Arab countries against Jews, there were also instances in which Israel “encouraged” Jews to leave by engaging in acts of violence blamed on local Arabs. There were Israeli shlichim who urged Jews to emigrate. There were scores of motives, each different from country to country depending on political, economic and social circumstances.

          Though there were different IDF commanders who enforced their orders differently regarding local Israeli Palestinians, the latter were generally expelled forcibly from their homes and villages. Of course, there were some instances in which Palestinians fled for reasons short of fearing for their lives. But the overwhelming majority had no choice.

          So the historical circumstances of Nakba and Arab Jewish flight were much different. There may’ve been some slight overlap in motivation in both cases. But the decision of Jews was generally more volitional than those of Palestinians.

      2. No Richard.

        The Zionists never bombed Jews in order to coerce them to emigrate. Read Moshe Gat on that question.

        Pogroms in Libya and Yemen inducted flight. In Egypt, murderous riots and Nuremberg-like legislation induced flight.

        Yes, Zionist organizations preached aliyah and facilitated the exits when they could, but the main reason for the exodus was fear.

        Now back to my original question. What about debates in and among the Arab States?

        1. @ Pip: That is NOT an accurate account of the debate among historians on the matter. Moshe Gat is only one historian. Others dispute his claims. Anyone interested in that debate, rather than your ill-informed definitive judgments on the issue, should take a read of this. In addition to the Iraq bombings, there were also bombings in Egypt a few years later that were orchestrated by Israeli intelligence agents. The motives for those attacks were slightly different, since they were supposed to persuade the British to remain in Suez, rather than compel Jews to emigrate to Israel. But certainly any Jews remaining in Egypt up to that point would’ve thought twice & thrice about remaining.

          1. Gat addresses the claims of Zionist bombings at 178-179, and is dismissive.

            ” Ropes of Sand, America’s Failure in the Middle East. W W Norton & Co Inc. p. 48. “In an attempt to portray the Iraqis as anti-American and to terrorize the Jews, the Zionists planted bombs in the U.S. Information Service library and in the synagogues. Soon leaflets began to appear urging Jews to flee to Israel. The Iraqi police later provided our embassy with evidence to show that the synagogue and library bombings, as well as the anti-Jewish and anti-American leaflet campaigns, had been the work of an underground Zionist organization, most of the world believed reports that Arab terrorism had motivated the flight of the Iraqi Jews whom the Zionists had “rescued” really just in order to increase Israel’s Jewish population.”

            Iraqi police evidence based on tortured confessions?

          2. @ Pip: WHich proves little. Deir Yassin has produced other sources who argue precisely the opposite. I’m afraid Gat is but one historian among many and not necessarily the decisive one.

        2. @ Pip: “Zionists never bombed Jews in order to coerce them to emigrate”
          Oh yes, they surely did ! Zionists bombed Jewish institutions and synagogues in Baghdad in 1950 to make the Iraqi Jews leave. The group was caught due to a Palestinian refugee from Akka who after the Nakba settled in Baghdad and who recognized an Iraqi Jew, Yehudah Tajjar (who made aliyah prior to the Nakba) entering the warehouse where he worked in Baghdad. He ran into the street, called the police, and 15 mostly Iraqi Jews were caught. They were sentenced to lifetime, Tajjar was liberated after 10 years, and in 1966, he publicly (article in Ha’olam Hazeh) claimed that the Mossad bombed the Jewish institutions to make the Iraqi Jews leave.
          I knew about the suspicion but I only realized how well-documented this case was a few months ago when I read Eric Rouleau’s autobiography (former Elie Rafoul, Egyptian-born Jew). Rouleau was the most outstanding French journalist in the 20th century, who later became a diplomat.
          It reminded me of an article I’ve read a long time ago by a Danish journalist, Lars Moeller-Rasmussen: that a group of Israelis of Iraqi origin had filed a complaint against the State of Israel for ‘kidnapping’ or ‘deceit’ or something like that. I’m sure you can find informations in Hebrew about it (if you want to, which I doubt…..)
          Here’s some information to start your research:

          The bombings in Cairo (the ‘Lavon-affair’) didn’t target Jews but as Egyptian Jews were involved, the result was that anti-Jewish feelings were intensified (I’m NOT justifying that).

        3. “…main reason for the exodus was fear.” After hundreds of years, fear suddenly arises, oddly correlated with the debut of Israel. Very dubious. Maybe the fear had to do with further Zionist actions. There are detailed confessions of such events in the record.

    2. That red herring again! The Palestinians had nothing to do with Jewish emigration, forced or otherwise, from Arab countries. Should we similarly start blaming “The Jews” for the ethnic cleansing of Silesia and Sudetenland after WW II? How anyone can add up these claims against another is beyond me.

  2. ” Like the one to “transfer” the Palestinian Christians in the Galilee to Argentina and Brazil in a plan code-named ‘Operation Jonathan.’ It was named for the Biblical hero and confidant of King David, Jonathan, who was a native of Gush Dan, a Palestinian village in the region. ”

    Here is the quote from the Hebrew original:

    התוכנית הגדולה והמקיפה ביותר להעברת אלפי ערבים נוצרים מהגליל לארגנטינה ולברזיל כונתה בשם הקוד הסודי: “מבצע יוחנן”, על שם יוחנן, איש גוש חלב.

    The name was “Operation Yohanan” (In English: John) after this man’s name:


    Yohanan was a native of Gush Halav, a village. Gush Dan is a region at the center of Israel’s coastal plain. (BTW, Jonathan was King Saul’s son and David’s good friend, some say they were lovers.)

    Anyone who trusts this author to translate and “analyze” any given text does this at his or her own peril.

    1. Thanks for the corrections. I mistook Yonatan & Yochanan, which in English are sometimes interchangeable for “Jonathan.” And I mistook Gush Dan for Gush Halav. That will happen when you write blog posts at 2AM! I’m sure you’ve never made any similarly careless errors yourself.

      The errors you caught were not “mistranslations” and you have not noted any. They were simply misreadings of several Hebrew letters. If you can find mistranslations in the post do let us know. If you can’t, then we’ll note that as well.

      Readers will note the mean-spirited, disproportionate tone of your correction and judge it accordingly.

      1. Clearly, Richard did not deliberately change or distort the correct translations to any purpose, so what is the point of this needless bile?

  3. How can you call yourself a Zionist and claim to be pro-Israel, and still advocate the right of return? That would be the end of the Jewish state.

    1. On a side note, the refugees probably do have a reasonable claim to compensation for any ancestral property they left behind, but the idea that there will ever be a right of return as a non-starter. First off, it’s very rare that refugees displaced from conflict zones ever get to return, there’s no basis in international law (UNGA Resolution 194 was non-binding, as are all UN General Assembly resolutions).

      To truly end the suffering of the refugees, their leaders have to start being honest with them, and get them out of those camps and absorbed into their host countries.

      1. You’re pretty dismissive of other people’s rights and , if not rights, “yearnings” (a favorite of Zionists!) Why should these displaced persons (refugees) feel any differently about their ancestral homes than the Zionists purport to feel about their “homeland” from twenty centuries earlier? Perhaps the world should “absorb” the erstwhile colonists back into their white man’s culture instead. No cultural issues here either.

        1. I’m just telling it as it is. Either these people can keep swallowing cruel delusions that someday they will “return”, or their leaders can start telling them the truth, and they can build new lives.

          Refugee populations have moved countless times throughout history, and it’s very rare for them to ever return. Usually they’re absorbed in their host countries.

          1. 750,000 “facts on the ground” were dispensed with by the Zionists. I see no reason why 500,000 other facts can’t be just as easily dispensed with.

      2. UNGAR 194 only clarifies the GA’s position wrt the Palestinian refugees. Its basis in int’l law is Art. 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which IS binding.

        1. Resolution 194 applied to all residents of Palestine
          including Jews. Go to the UNWRA website and see for yourself. UNWRA
          decided to limit their work to Arab refugees only. And was created
          fr that purpose despite UNGA Resolution 194.

          1. @Ya choe: Jewish refugees from Palestine? Whatever are you talking about?

            If you’re claiming Resolution 194 dealt with or should’ve encompassed Jewish refugees from Arab countries you’re wrong even under your own description of the Resolution.

            Do not get into yet another boring debate about UN resolutions & ancient history. I have no interest in this.

      3. @ David
        If UNGA resolutions are non-binding, you’ll have to explain to us (not ‘explanation as in ‘hasbara’) why the Israelis accepted to implement the resolutions 181 AND 194 in May 1949. What do you say ? They only accepted in order to get admission to the UN (conditions sine qua non) and counted on time to make the issue evaporate. I think Walter Eytan said it clearly soon after.
        If you google ‘Mondoweiss+Victor Kattan’, Phil Weiss has an article on Victor Kattan’s book “From Coexistence to Conquest” and extracts specifically about the Palestinian refugee issue at the Lausanne conference. Commenter Walid has retranslated the comment by Eytan back into English in the comment section.
        Zionists surely have a long history of deceit.

        1. First off, UNGA Resolution 194 argued that only refugees willing to live in peace should return. The Arabs said that their demand was for the refugees to return “as masters of their homeland”, and many of the expulsions took place in villages that had been hostile.

          Also, Israel did offer to negotiate over these resolutions and achieve a fair compromise, and to accept 100,000, but these negotiations broke down in the end.

          As for it being a condition for admittance, it doesn’t mean Israel is obligated to accept the refugees, it just means that the UN could theoretically expel Israel for it. Personally, I sometimes think Israel would be better off not being a member of the UN in the first place.

          1. “Personally, I sometimes think that Israel would be better off not being a member of the UN in the first place”
            Yeah, since the US is there to veto all sanctions against the State of Israel, why bother.

          2. @ David: First, please add something that further identifies you than simply “David.” With such a common name there have been other commenters here with very similar nicknames.

            Second, you’ll have to quote the actual text of the resolution. There’s no way I’m going to trust your paraphrase as accurate. Third, “the Arabs” (whoever they are) made no such demand. They want to return and of course they want to be able to own the land from which they were expelled and play a role as citizen in the state. Besides, if there are refugees who want Israel to be fully Palestinian they’ll have to deal with 7 million other citizens who don’t see it that way. They’ll be outnumbered. Fourth, “many of the expulsions” did NOT take place in “villages that had been hostile.” In fact, almost no Palestinian villages were “hostile.”

            Personally, I sometimes think Israel would be better off not being a member of the UN in the first place.

            Personally, I think you’re a dolt. But if you want to “sell” that idea to Bibi and he buys it, I’d say: “Don’t slam the door on your way out.” For Israel to abandon the UN would be the final blow in Israel’s total ostracism from the world community. I think you’ve got a very strong dose of the Masada Complex.

  4. Israel does have a long history of targeting Jews in Arab countries in false-flag attacks provoking their exodus.

    Do a search on the Lavon Affair and on former Iraqi Zionist Naem Giladi.

  5. OK, I’ll prove my points. Article 11 of UN General Assembly
    Resolution 194: Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to
    their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be
    permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date. Note the
    “willing to live at peace” part. Also, the Arabs, as in the Arab
    nations, did indeed have make such demands. Egyptian Foreign
    Minister Muhammad Salah al-Din, quoted on October 11, 1949 in the
    newspaper Al-Misri: “It is well-known and understood that the
    Arabs, in demanding the return of the refugees to Palestine, mean
    their return as masters of the Homeland and not as slaves. With a
    greater clarity, they mean the liquidation of the State of Israel.”
    Also, you claim that Israel is totally ostracized by the “world
    community”. In fact, the only region where its undergoing isolation
    and possible future sanctions is Europe. Israel is finding new
    friends and trading partners across Africa and Asia (both with
    rapidly growing economies), still has firm allies in the US and
    Canada, and has cordial relations with most of the rest of the
    world. Also, I’ll ask again, you claim to be a Zionist and
    pro-Israel. How can you support the right of return? I’m sure
    you’re well aware that if it ever happened, Israel would cease to
    be a Jewish state in a very short period of time.

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