For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Jewish refugees and the fallacy of Haboucha
Times of Israel..
09 October '12..
I recently had the misfortune of reading Daniel Haboucha’s screed here at The Times of Israel against Israel’s new campaign to raise awareness of Jewish refugees from Arab countries. Haboucha’s piece dismisses as an exercise in cynicism Israel’s decision to bring attention to the plight of the 800,000-900,000 Jews that were expelled from Arab countries following the establishment of Israel in 1948. To Haboucha, it is Zionism that is to blame for the fate of these Jews. Zionism is also, in Haboucha’s opinion, to blame for the plight of Palestinians, i.e., “the ongoing, collective trauma of an entire nation being dispossessed of its homeland.”
Haboucha’s thesis is untenable, and his piece is a shameful endorsement of the Arab states’ cynical use of Palestinian refugees and their descendants.
An endorsement of cynicism as politics
Haboucha starts by informing us that his family was “forced to leave Egypt in the early 1960s, abandoning… much of their property. Their traumatic uprooting after centuries of life in the Middle East is an egregious example of systemic religious persecution, and one that unquestionably merits redress.” And yet, Haboucha spends the rest of his long-winded diatribe effectively arguing against any viable means of achieving that redress. Why? Because, as he would have it, “inviting comparisons between [his] ‘plight’ [as a Canadian citizen] today and the plight of a Palestinian… who grew up in a refugee camp is both absurd and unlikely to play well for Israel.”
In fact, the “plight” of Haboucha can and should be compared to that of Palestinians in camps in Arab countries, and that should play very well for Israel by exposing its foes’ cruel cynicism.
The Palestinians presently in camps in Arab states are not refugees. They are the descendants – after three or more generations – of refugees, just like Haboucha. Unlike Haboucha, however, they have been eternally confined to refugee status not by Israel but by the refusal of Arab leaders to integrate them into the countries in whose territories they are located. The Palestinians that Haboucha refers to have been deprived by their own brothers of any chance to better their lives and are made to suffer veritable apartheid in Arab countries. They have passed on their refugee status, in contrast to every other group of refugees on earth, from generation to generation, their children thus inheriting the Pyrrhic benefit of UN dependence and eternal grievance. If their plight is deplorable it is solely because the Arab world and the UN have engineered it to be so. Haboucha’s refusal to investigate the plight of Palestinians in camps rewards the Arab states by shielding them from their direct responsibility for that plight.
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"