Israelis Launch Campaign To Rewrite History

12.07.2011 – As the September date for the U.N. General Assembly meeting approaches, during which the issue of Palestinian statehood should be on the agenda, a group of Israeli right-wingers have launched a vile campaign to deny that Palestinians were expelled from their lands in 1948. As reported in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on June 18, the campaign to rewrite history not only denies the “Nakba” (expulsion and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948), but claims that the entire affair was a mere invention.
The title of the 7-page pamphlet presenting this thesis is “Nakba kharta” (Nakba Bluff), a “pamphlet that fights for truth.” The authors, Ariel Segal and Erez Tadmor, are journalists at Maariv, the former a representative of the Im Tirzu movement which has attacked university professors for allegedly spreading pro-Palestinian propaganda.
The pamphlet, which was released in May at the time of the Nakba commemorations, presents the following thesis, as quoted by the FAZ: “They (the Arab states and the Palestinians) attacked. They left on their own. They expelled others. They lost.” It characterizes the Israelis as the victims, complains that Israeli soldiers in 1948 were labeled war criminals, and charges that a “blood legend” had been spread accusing Israelis of ethnic cleansing. It states that the notion that Israelis drove Palestinians off their land is a simple lie and ignores the destruction of their villages. The Arab countries, on the other hand, allegedly expelled Jews in a war that the Arabs started and lost.
The FAZ reports that, while right-wingers applauded the pamphlet, the liberal newspaper Haaretz responded with a historical background piece on the Haganah’s bombing of Haifa on April 22, 1948, which killed many civilians including women and children. The report provoked massive protests from readers, placing such pressure on Haaretz that it soon published an article entitled, “The Jewish Nakba,” which argued that it was the Jews in Arab lands who suffered the most, not the Palestinians!
The propaganda campaign is indicative of the level of hysteria gripping the Israeli right wing in light of Palestinian moves towards statehood. In addition, it displays certain similarities to Turkish propaganda methods regarding the 1915 genocide against the Armenians. Not only is the genocide denied, but it is claimed that the Armenians were responsible for mass killings of Turks. So the Israeli right wing has taken a page out of the Kemalists’ textbooks.