Op-Ed: Happy Nakba Day!
Prof. Steven PlautSteven Plaut teaches at the University of Haifa and is author of "The Scout" (available from Gefen Publishing House). More of his writings can be seen on the New Plaut Blog, as well as in numerous electronic and print newspapers.
Today is “Nakba Day,” the day in which the organization of Jews for a Second Holocaust join their Islamofascist friends in mourning Israel’s creation and existence.
Being a fella with a good sense of commercial potential, I wanted to suggest that we all print up Nakba Day greeting cards and send them to tenured traitors and other aficionados of the Palestinian “right of return.”
Here are some card slogans I have thought up Halmark are you listening?:
-One, two, three, MANY Nakbas!
-Nakba-ize unto Victory!
-A little Nakba never hurt anyone!
-My professor went to Nakba Day and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.
-Remove the illegal Palestinian settlements sitting on Jewish land!
-Two-state solution: One for the Jews and One for the Kurds, but none for the Arabs who live down the Lane
-Bulldoze an anarcho-fascist today!
-Help the Palestinian prisoners maintain their hunger strike!
-End the Illegal Syrian Occupation of the Gilad
-Don’t wall them out Fence them In!
-When this drone is a rockin’, we’ll come a-knockin’!!
-We switched your 72 virgins with a 72 year -old virgin!
And in a more serious vein, my article:
How 'Nakba' Proves There's No Palestinian Nation
Over the past few years, the term nakba has become the favorite nonsense word of the Anti-Israel Lobby. Meaning catastrophe in Arabic, it has been embraced by anti-Semites all over the planet to refer to Israel's creation, which supposedly imposed a catastrophe upon the disenfranchised Palestinian Arabs.
Of course, the real catastrophe that befell the Arabs in 1948-49 was that they failed in their attempt to annihilate Israel and exterminate its population, and for that they paid a price.
Meanwhile, Nakba Nonsense has been spreading. Google finds over 85,000 web pages referring to Israel's establishment as a nakba, and a
Yahoo search finds even more than that. The anti-Israel web magazine Counterpunch cannot mention Israel without using the term. Israel's former leftist minister of education, Yuli Tamir, once ordered that the nakba be taught as part of the curriculum in Israeli schools, so Israelí schoolchildren could be taught to mourn their own
The nakba of the late 1940ís and 1950ís that befell large numbers of Jews living in Arab countries who were suddenly expelled, persecuted, and stripped of their property does not interest such people. Those Jewish refugees made new homes in Israel, stopped being refugees, but actually outnumbered the Palestinians who fled.
Meanwhile, an urban legend has been fabricated about the origin of the term nakba in a fairy tale that claims the word was a banner waved by Palestinians starting in 1948, and that its very use shows how deep the roots of Palestinian nationality go.
So here is a little current events quiz: What is the real origin of the term nakba and what is its original meaning?
The authoritative source on the origin of nakba is none other than George Antonius, supposedly the first official historian of Palestinian nationalism. Like so many Palestinians, he actually wasn't Palestinian. He was a Christian Lebanese-Egyptian who lived for a while in Jerusalem, where he composed his official advocacy/history of Arab nationalism. The Arab Awakening, a highly biased book, was published in 1938 and for years afterward was the official text used at British universities.
Antonius was an ìofficial Palestinian representativeî to Britain, trying to argue the cause for creating an Arab state in place of any prospective homeland promised the Jews under the Balfour Declaration of 1917. By the 1930ís Antonius was an active anti-Zionist propagandist, and as such was offered a job at Columbia University (where some things don't seem to change much).
He was closely associated with the Grand Mufti, Hitler's main Islamic ally, and also with the pro-German regime in Iraq in the early 1940ís.
So how does Antonius provide us with the answer to the current-events quiz concerning the origin of nakba? The term was not invented in 1948 but rather in 1920. And it was coined not because of Palestinians suddenly getting nationalistic but because Arabs living in Palestine regarded themselves as Syrian and were enraged at being cut off from their Syrian homeland.
Before World War I, the entire Levant including what is now Israel, the "occupied territories", Jordan, Lebanon and Syria was comprised of Ottoman Turkish colonies. When Allied forces drove the Turks out of the Levant, the two main powers, Britain and France, divided the spoils between them. Britain got Palestine, including what is now Jordan, while France got Lebanon and Syria.
The problem was that the Palestinian Arabs saw themselves as Syrians and were seen as such by other Syrians. The Palestinian Arabs were enraged that an artificial barrier was being erected within their Syrian homeland by the infidel colonial powers, one that would divide northern Syrian Arabs from southern Syrian Arabs, the latter being those who were later misnamed Palestinians.
The bulk of the Palestinian Arabs had in fact migrated to Palestine from Syria and Lebanon during the previous two generations, largely to benefit from the improving conditions and job opportunities afforded by Zionist immigration and capital flowing into the area. In 1920, both sets of Syrian Arabs, those in Syria and those in Palestine, rioted violently and murderously.
On page 312 of The Arab Awakening, Antonius writes, ìThe year 1920 has an evil name in Arab annals: it is referred to as the Year of the Catastrophe (Am al-Nakba). It saw the first armed risings that occurred in protest against the post-War settlement imposed by the Allies on the Arab countries. In that year, serious outbreaks took place in Syria, Palestine, and Iraq.î
Yes, the answer to our little quiz is 1920, not 1948. That ís 1920, when there was no Zionist state, no Jewish sovereignty, no settlements in "occupied territories," no Israel Defense Forces, no Israeli missiles and choppers targeting terror leaders, and no Jewish control over Jerusalem (which, however, had a Jewish demographic majority going back at least to 1850).
The nakba had nothing to do with Jews, and nothing to do with demands by Palestinian Arabs for self-determination, independence and statehood. To the contrary, it had everything to do with the fact that the Palestinian Arabs saw themselves as Syrians.
They rioted at this nakba, this catastrophe, because they found deeply offensive the very idea that they should be independent from Syria and Syrians.
In the 1920's, the very suggestion that Palestinian Arabs constituted a separate ethnic nationality was enough to send those same Arabs out into the streets to murder and plunder violently in outrage.
If they themselves insisted they were simply Syrians who had migrated to the Land of Israel, by what logic are the Palestinian Arabs deemed entitled to their own state today?
Palestinian Arabs are no more a nation and no more entitled to their own state than are the Arabs of Detroit or of Paris. They certainly are not entitled to four different states: Jordan, Hamastan in Gaza, a PLO state in the West Bank, and Israel converted, G-d forbid, into yet another Arab state via the granting of a "right of return" to Arab "refugees".