Don’t deny Tlaib’s ‘nakba event’ for what it is: anti-Semitism
Pardon us with beginning with a diversion, a linguistic one. Words matter. Especially misleading words. Words like “militant” and “nakba.” A militant is, according to influential media ranging from The New York Times to the Wall Street Journal to the AP, a resident of Gaza who murders, or tries to murder, unarmed Israeli civilians. The violent ones are not “murderers” and not “terrorists,” but “militants.” It is as if the murder of Jews in Israel are uncaused.
“Nakba” is the “catastrophe” of the creation of the Israel in 1948. It is a catastrophe because, Palestinians and their defenders say, it resulted in the creation of millions of Palestinian refugees. But it is not said to be a catastrophe because six Arab countries invaded Israel after the UN created it in 1948 in order destroy Israel — an invasion without which no Palestinian refugee problem would have come into existence. The catastrophe was not caused by the creation of Israel, but by the Arab war launched to prevent the creation of Israel. In the Palestinian narrative, cause-and-effect stops with the effect; the cause is always lopped off.
As we say, pardon the diversion, but it brings us to Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a member of the US Congress, who insisted on marking the anniversary of Israel’s creation with an event marking, in her terms, the anniversary of the nakba.
That this could occur in the US Congress, the political body of what was once the unreserved best friend of Israel is evidence that the world’s oldest hatred, Jew-hatred, is still with us. The oldest hatred has moved from its historically primary location, Europe, to the Middle East. It has moved largely from the Christian world to the Muslim world. Since it is irrational, it can cross all geographical, religious and ethnic boundaries.
It is so easy, so natural, so convenient, so compelling — and so diversionary — to understand and to express the Israel-Palestinian conflict in terms of military power, of territorial rights and of political control. This is diversionary because it obscures the underlying dynamic of the conflict: anti-Semitism. The claim of anti-Semitism is subject to the accusation of paranoia. Alas for the accusers, not to mention the objects of the hatred, namely the Jews, this claim is backed up by evidence.
Before the Jews in Palestine had any military power, before they exercised sovereignty over any territory, before they had a shred of political control over a single Arab, the Jews in Palestine were attacked by local Arab residents. (They did not call themselves Palestinians before the 1948 War of Independence or, for that matter, before the 1967 Six Day War). The Jews were attacked not for what they did in Palestine, but simply for being there — for being Jews in the ancient Jewish homeland.
After the creation of Israel in 1948, the world’s oldest hatred intensified. Grant, for the sake of argument, that the West Bank of the Jordan River today is illegally occupied by Israel. Grant that Israel has no political rights in the Biblical heartland of the Jewish people. Grant that Palestinians who live there are oppressed there. All this is a pretty big “grant,” but we’ll grant it for the sake of argument — because it makes no difference. The radical critique of the Israeli presence in the West Bank means that no Jew has the right to be there, even temporarily — even to drive through there.
Two Palestinians murdered three Jews, Lucy Dee and her two daughters Maia, 20, and Rina, 25, last April for driving through the West Bank on Route 57 near the Hamra Junction.
Merely for being in the West Bank temporarily, these Jewish lives were fit to be snuffed out, according to their murderers, Ibrahim Hassan Katnani and Muad Masri.
The murders they committed were not the acts of “militants”; they were not military or political acts at all.
These murders were pure hatred. Their murders were a declaration:We don’t want Jews in our territory under any political arrangement. We don’t want them with majority rights or with minority rights; we don’t want them at all.
These murders in 2023 were preceded by similar murders of Jews by the resident Arabs 100 years earlier, and ever since. The motive behind these murders has not changed: Jew hatred.
The deeds of these terrorists are supported by a wide swath of Palestinians who live in the West Bank.
Behind the language of anti-colonialism and equality, in the name of freedom and liberation, under the guise of redress of grievances, Palestinian terrorism against Jews obscures an otherwise critical component of Palestinian opposition to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank:Jews cannot be there.
Not because they allegedly caused a nakba in 1948. Long before that, the world’s oldest hatred began the process of transferring from Europe to Palestine. After 1948, the world’s primary Jewish population was in the process of transferring from Europe to Israel due to the Holocaust and the mass emigration of Jews expelled from Arab lands. The idea of Jew hatred accompanied the demographic transfer. Civilization just can’t seem to uproot the malicious idea of Jew hatred.
When people like Rashida Tlaib and Bernie Sanders host a nakba event in the US Congress, call it out for what it is: one more expression of the world’s oldest hatred. This time, expressed as the denial of the Jewish right to national self-determination in their historic homeland.
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