...What is especially painful is that Israel’s own elite army of moral narcissists, such as Professor Motzkin, collude with the purveyors of the ‘Palestinian Nakba‘ narrative, while wiping from memory a trauma that afflicted their own Jewish people. This can only pour fuel on the flames of hatred, while perpetuating a monopoly of Palestinian victimhood.
Times of Israel..
31 August '15..
On Monday 7 September, the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute will be launching a book about the Holocaust and the Palestinian ‘Nakba’ titled “The Holocaust and the Nakba: Memory, National Identity, and Jewish-Arab Partnership.”
Already, the Institute has been fending off a torrent of accusations that the book, which emerged from seven years of collaboration between Arabs and Jews, is making an offensive and dangerous comparison between the systematic murder of a whole people by the Nazis, and the flight of 700,000 Palestinian Arab refugees in wartime.
To juxtapose the words Holocaust and ‘Nakba’ trivialises the Holocaust. It also de-contextualises the flight of the Arab refugees from Israel: the ‘Nakba’ was a catastrophe which the Arab leadership brought upon their people, by failing to inflict a catastrophic defeat on the Jews of Palestine. They would have shed few tears for the defeated Jews, had the 1948 war which they launched had a different outcome.
As yet few critics of the Van Leer initiative have drawn attention, except in a cursory way, to the galling absence from this distorted reading of history of the ethnic cleansing of a greater number of Jewish refugees – the Jewish ‘Nakba’. Almost a million Jews were driven out of their homes in Arab countries about the same time as the Palestinian Arab refugees fled Israel. If the Arabs lost their war against the new state of Israel, they decisively won their war against their innocent non-combatant civilians of the Jewish faith. Before a single Arab refugee had left what was to become Israel, the Arab League pre-meditated its war against ‘the Jewish minority of Palestine’, and drew up a Nuremberg-style plan of persecution.
Prof. Gabriel Motzkin, director of the Van Leer Institute and a professor emeritus of Philosophy at the Hebrew University, has said: “the real issue about the ‘Nakba’ is that Israeli society is “unwilling to understand the trauma that constitutes the identity of this other people.” But Professor Motzkin spares nary a thought for the trauma suffered by the Jewish refugees. Torture, imprisonment, arrest, murder, execution on trumped-up spying charges, dispossession and expulsion of a million Jews — all count for nothing in Professor Motzkin’s selective reading of the facts.
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