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Arab MK Wants Punishment to ‘Nakba Deniers’

Arab MK Tibi tries to introduce a bill to deny funds to anyone refusing to recognize Israel’s independence as a “catastrophe” (Nakba) for Arabs.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 7/4/2011, 2:04 PM / Last Update: 7/4/2011, 2:18 PM

Flash 90

Arab MK Ahmed Tibi tries to introduce a bill that would deny funds to anyone refusing to recognize that Israel’s independence was a “catastrophe” (Nakba) for Arabs. The Knesset blocked his initiative.

In another attempt to adopt and re-arrange  Biblical and Jewish events and phrases, MK Tibi said his attempt for a ”Nakba denial” bill is his answer to a pending bill that would bar government funds to groups eulogizing Yom HaAtzmaut, Israeli Independence Day, as a “catastrophe” to Arabs. 

The declaration of independence for Israel grants Arabs and Jews equal rights, but Tibi and a growing number of Israeli Arabs  argue that the re-establishment of Israel as a Jewish state should be remembered as a “tragedy” that caused “pain and suffering” to Arabs.

He said he wants to deny funds to organizations that not only deny the “Nakba" as a catastrophe but who also “prevent the Palestinian and Arab people from feeling they have equal rights.”

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin and his aides blocked Tibi from introducing the bill, a move which he said might be challenged in the High Court. The Knesset can prevent legislators from introducing private bills if they are racist or if they negate Israel as a Jewish state.

Likud MK Danny Danon argued that Tibi’s bill “negates the very establishment of the State of Israel.”

MK Tibi’s “Nakba denial” expression is borrowed from "Holocaust denial,” which has been ruled illegal in Germany and elsewhere. Another Arab play on Israeli terms is the “right of return,” which is similar to Israel's "Law of Return" that guarantees Jews all over the world the right to reside in Israel as citizens.

The Arab world has turned around the same expression to demand the immigration to Israel of several million foreign Arabs, whose parents, grandparents and great-grandparents fled the country during the War for Independence in 1948. A majority of the Arabs left at the behest of Arab leaders, who promised them they would return quickly following the expected swift annihilation of the fledgling Jewish state.

Arab Muslim clerics also have changed several Biblical concepts, such as calling the Binding of Isaac (Yitzchak) the Binding of Ishmael. They also have claimed that several ancient Jewish sites, such as Rachel's Tomb at the entrance to and the Temple Mont, actually are Muslim holy places, although Islam was not founded until only 1,400 years ago.