Blood, Time and Memory

Consider the harm done in 1948.

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Myles Kantor,

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Sometimes, enemies are honest.

"The degree of harm done to Palestinian society in 1948 is hard to convey," Rashid Khalidi writes in the beginning of his recent book, The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood. The Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at
1948 does not sufficiently explain the Arab-Israeli conflict. Earlier dates must be examined.
Columbia University refers to 1948 one hundred and thirty more times in the book.

The late Said also referred frequently to 1948. For instance, he said in 2000, "Nineteen forty-eight for Palestinians is the date on which their search for self-determination begins. It doesn't begin in 1967. That simply completed the Israeli conquest."

Sheik Hassan Youssef of Hamas has likewise referred to "the land occupied in 1948." In a previous time, Egypt's Gamal Abdel-Nasser more directly called Israel "a home illegally stolen from its owners."

Nineteen forty-eight is key to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The wars of 1956, 1967, 1973, and after cannot be understood in the absence of Israel's war for national liberation in 1948.

When Khalidi writes of the harm done to Palestinian society in 1948, this makes sense for an advocate of that cause. I do not expect an Arab partisan to highlight the harm done by Arabs in 1948.

On the eve of 1948, Arab workers at the Haifa Oil Refinery murdered 39 Jewish coworkers and wounded 50 with weapons including hammers and stones. During Israel's battle for survival in 1948, Arabs' idea of just warfare was to massacre 120 Jews, including 21 women, at Kfar Etzion on May 13.

Consider the harm done to Jewish society in 1948.

However, 1948 does not sufficiently explain the Arab-Israeli conflict. Earlier dates must be examined.

Khalidi makes an interesting observation in his 1997 book, Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness:
 
"The founding of the Zionist movement, and the establishment of 32 settlements in Palestine between 1897 and 1914 (21 others had been established before the first date) seem clearly to have been perceived regionally, and not just in Palestine itself, as an ominous and potentially threatening phenomenon."

The ominous return of Jews to their homeland prompted Arabs to respond with mass murder in the decades before 1948.

Consider the harm done to Jewish society in Jaffa in 1921.

Consider the harm done to Jewish society in Hebron, Jerusalem and Safad in 1929.

Consider the harm done to Jewish society in Tiberias in 1938.

In 1936, David Ben-Gurion described Arabs as seeking "a state of perpetual pogrom." This was not hyperbole.

When Arabs murdered and mutilated seventy-year-old Rabbi Zvi Drabkin in the City of the Patriarchs, clearly they were fighting for the right of return and the occupied lands of 1967. When Arabs borrowed SS methods in Kfar Etzion, clearly they did so to protest conditions in Gaza City and the captivity of fedayeen in Zionist prisons.

Despite the flagrant abundance of Arab savagery against Jews before 1948, a "scholar" like Resa Aslan of the University of Southern California's Center on Public Diplomacy has claimed, "Before 1948, of course, there were tens of thousands of Jews living alongside
"Never did a nation molest, degrade, debase and hate us as much as they," the Rambam wrote regarding Arabs in 1172.
their Arab neighbors without any problem at all [emphasis added]."

Indeed, and European Jews flourished between 1939 and 1945.

"Never did a nation molest, degrade, debase and hate us as much as they," the Rambam wrote regarding Arabs in 1172. It is a strong assertion matched by strong evidence.

Determined to ignore history, some Israelis and Jews in other countries will declare, "But I have lived among Arabs without trouble!" No doubt, but a people's true character emerges as a majority. And when they lived as majorities over Jews, the peace-loving adherents of the Koran distinguished themselves with repeated viciousness and persecution.

As a Zionist Jew, my goal is not to persuade Arabs. Arabs will be Arabs, and Jews should be Jews. What is important for Jews is not Arab acceptance, but Jewish self-awareness.

Recognition of history and reality is often unpleasant. It is more unpleasant to suffer the consequences of blindness to history and reality.