Friday, November 12, 2021

  • Friday, November 12, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
The anti-Israel crowd is going nuts over this tweet:


There have been hundreds of angry responses and quote tweets, most over-the-top but few actually addressing the issue.

No, the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism cannot in any way make it illegal to say the word "nakba." 

Is the word "nakba" itself antisemitic?

Originally, "nakba" in the context of Palestine was coined by Syrian historian Constantin Zureiq to describe Israel's defeat of combined Arab armies. “The defeat of the Arabs in Palestine is not a small downfall – naksa … It is a catastrophe – nakba – in every sense of the word....Seven Arab countries declare war on Zionism in Palestine….Seven countries go to war to abolish the partition and to defeat Zionism, and quickly leave the battle after losing much of the land of Palestine – even the part that was given to the Arabs in the Partition Plan.”

Nothing about Palestinian Arabs or refugees. The word described the shame of Arab armies losing a war to the Jews after bragging about their inevitable great victory. Zureiq intended to have the Arab world take responsibility for it mistakes.

Certainly, the original meaning of "nakba" could not be considered antisemitic. It was a word of shame and of resolve, but not of hate. It is not tied to Israel or Jews at all.

Over time, though, the term changed. The PLO originally stayed away from using the word, as it wanted to give the impression of victory through revolution and not emphasizing shameful loss. Most Palestinians didn't latch onto that term for decades. 

As time went on, though, and the world started to give brownie points to the oppressed, the PLO decided that this was a role it could enthusiastically take. The meaning of the word changed from "the shameful defeat of the Arab world in 1948" to "the disaster that happened to Palestinians in 1948 as a result of Israel becoming a state."  

Yasir Arafat only declared "Nakba Day" in 1998 - specifically as a response to Israel's 50th anniversary, and specifically choosing the date to coincide with the anniversary of Israel's independence. Thousands of Palestinians fled their homes as early as December 1947, and some (although a minority) were indeed expelled during the war. Other dates could have been considered for Nakba Day, such as the anniversary of the Deir Yassin events. But Arafat chose to commemorate the date that Israel became a state, tying the Nakba to Israel's very existence.

In Arabic, "nakba" is often defined as the birth of Israel without mentioning anything else..

That is indeed antisemitic.

Since then, the word has gone through other transformations. Through repeated lies, Palestinians and their Israel-hating allies have defined the word to refer to complete falsehood - that the Zionists violently and deliberately expelled over 700,000 Palestinian Arabs from their homes. 

Turkey's TRTWorld wrote this year:
Nakba Day is observed on May 15 ever since the Zionist militias invaded Palestine on this day in 1948 and expelled tens of thousands of people from their homes.
In 1948, Zionist militias expelled 700,000 Palestinians from their native land through a campaign that included murder, rape, and intimidation.

Other Arab media refers to it as the "deliberate and systematic...mass expulsion of Palestinian Arabs from British Mandate Palestine during Israel’s creation."

These lies are blatantly antisemitic.

Yet another further transformation of the term has occurred in recent years: the idea that the nakba is ongoing and permanent, and that every second that Palestinians remain outside the Green Line is another catastrophe for them. It ensures that the incitement that is associated with the term is not relegated to the past but it current - that Jews are at fault, today, and Arab states and Palestinian leaders have no responsibility for refusing multiple peace offers and refusing to naturalize "refugees" that have lived in miserable circumstances for decades under Arab rule. 

When the very definition of the term has become a tool for incitement and lies against the Jewish state,  the word is antisemitic. 

Palestinians have the right to refer to events using any term they want. It would be silly to insist otherwise. However, as with every other aspect of the conflict, peace is a casualty of lies and false narratives - as well as blatant antisemitic incitement that are part and parcel of Palestinian existence.

If Palestinians and Arabs really want to end what they call the catastrophe, and if the world really supports that goal, they must cast off the idea that they are helpless victims of evil Jews even while rejecting any solutions that would help their people live lives of dignity. 

The original meaning of the term "nakba" was a call for the Arab world to re-think how it works and how it should act in the modern world. Zureiq wrote, “The victory the Zionists achieved – and only a blind man would deny it – was not achieved because of the superiority of one people over another, but because of the superiority of one system over another...They live in the present and look to the future, while we are drugged-up and dreaming of a magnificent past.” 

Zureiq's Nakba was a call for self-reflection and taking responsibility. Arafat's Nakba is a call to continue the disastrous Arab mindset of 1947, to keep Palestinians "drugged-up and dreaming of a magnificent past." It is centered on demonizing a Jewish state in any borders while relying on meaningless slogans to replace the hard work of actually building a nation. It is intended to keep Palestinians mired in the past as permanent victims and to justify their leaders refusing to help their own people. 

If you want to solve the problem, teach Palestinians the original meaning of nakba - a word of resolve rather than hate.


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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