Don’t Forget That Jews Were Massacred and Driven from Their Homes in 1948

Dec. 20 2021

Recently declassified documents from Israeli state archives reveal concern from Israel’s first cabinet, in 1948, over reports of atrocities committed by the nascent IDF, and what could be done to bring them to a stop. In the left-wing Israeli daily Haaretz, these documents have given rise to handwringing over the nakba (Arabic for “catastrophe”)—as Palestinians call the creation of the Jewish state. But, according to Uri Misgav, none of the information in these documents about alleged war crimes is verifiable. Moreover, no discussion of the period can be undertaken without examining the massacres and expulsions that are all too verifiable. For instance:

Kibbutz Kfar Etzion fell on May 13, 1948, the day before the termination of the British Mandate; 242 members of the kibbutz and [Haganah] fighters were killed in the battle. A few dozen more fighters and civilians, including women, were slaughtered by Palestinian fighters after the battle had been decided; only four managed to flee. The three other kibbutzim in the area surrendered, and their residents were spared a slaughter thanks only to the intervention of Jordan’s Arab Legion, which took them to POW camps in Jordan. Immediately afterward, the four settlements were razed to the ground.

In the total war of existence that began to rage in Palestine following the adoption of the United Nations partition resolution of November 1947, that was the certain fate of every Jewish settlement that fell to the Arabs: the killing of fighters and civilians alike, mutilation of their bodies, looting of property, and destruction of the houses and other buildings. The pattern repeated itself at Beit Ha’arava, Nitzanim, Moshav Atarot, in Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem that were attacked, and in other mixed cities.

It was a life-and-death war, brutal and bloody. The Jewish community lost fully 1 percent of its population (6,000 killed out of a population of 600,000), and a tenth of the remainder became refugees in their own country.

However, with time’s passage, it has become politically incorrect to talk about Jewish fighters who were killed (some of them were young, others were older and had families; there were new immigrants with no military training who hadn’t even managed to learn Hebrew, Holocaust survivors, women, and in some cases teenagers), or about civilians who were murdered or settlements that were evacuated and destroyed, and whose residents became refugees.

Today there is apparently only the nakba: it consists of the killing and expulsion of Arabs, Palestinian villages that were destroyed, and Palestinian refugees. This historiographic distortion, with its absurd and immoral lack of symmetry, is the apple of the eyes of certain circles in Israel, Arabs and Jews alike.

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Read more at Haaretz

More about: Israeli history, Israeli War of Independence, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism