Abolish Nakba Day

Yesterday, Palestinians and their sympathizers commemorated “Nakba Day,” whose name—the Arabic word for “catastrophe”—refers to the creation of the state of Israel. But if 1948 was a catastrophe for Palestinian Arabs expelled from their homes, asks Bassam Eid, was it not also a catastrophe for the Jews expelled from Jerusalem and the West Bank—not to mention those expelled from Arab lands? Eid urges Palestinians to abandon these annual commemorations:

The Arab world has seen more displacement than almost any other region, as modern refugee populations from Iraq and Syria can attest. Although my family is Muslim, I was born in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, then under Jordanian control. In 1966, when I was eight years old, the Jordanian government moved my family north of Jerusalem to the Shuafat refugee camp. It was the government of Jordan, not the government of Israel, that made me a refugee.

The difference between a Palestinian culture taught to celebrate grievance and an Israeli culture that idealizes freedom is stark. The Christian minority population, for example, has plummeted in Palestinian Authority-controlled territory. In Bethlehem, it has dropped from 84 percent to 22 percent in the last decade alone. Meanwhile, a party with Islamic foundations has a critical role in Israel’s current government, and Israel’s Supreme Court recently appointed its first Muslim justice, Khaled Kabub.

Palestinians should celebrate our rich heritage and, like our Jewish cousins, grieve our losses. But now is the time for negotiated reconciliation, not the perpetuation of generation-old victimhood. Nakba Day is part of the victimhood problem, not part of the forward-looking solution. Reconciliation happens only when both sides take a step back and acknowledge joint suffering. Nakba Day does the reverse. Whereas Israel has three times offered Palestinians peace, dignity and independence, Yasir Arafat launched—and Mahmoud Abbas has failed to contain—the violent public culture of the 2000-2005 second intifada, for which the 1998 establishment of Nakba Day can be understood as a build-up.

Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli War of Independence, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Mahmoud Abbas, Second Intifada, Yasir Arafat

Universities Are in Thrall to a Constituency That Sees Israel as an Affront to Its Identity

Commenting on the hearings of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday about anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the dismaying testimony of three university presidents, Jonah Goldberg writes:

If some retrograde poltroon called for lynching black people or, heck, if they simply used the wrong adjective to describe black people, the all-seeing panopticon would spot it and deploy whatever resources were required to deal with the problem. If the spark of intolerance flickered even for a moment and offended the transgendered, the Muslim, the neurodivergent, or whomever, the fire-suppression systems would rain down the retardant foams of justice and enlightenment. But calls for liquidating the Jews? Those reside outside the sensory spectrum of the system.

It’s ironic that the term colorblind is “problematic” for these institutions such that the monitoring systems will spot any hint of it, in or out of the classroom (or admissions!). But actual intolerance for Jews is lathered with a kind of stealth paint that renders the same systems Jew-blind.

I can understand the predicament. The receptors on the Islamophobia sensors have been set to 11 for so long, a constituency has built up around it. This constituency—which is multi-ethnic, non-denominational, and well entrenched among students, administrators, and faculty alike—sees Israel and the non-Israeli Jews who tolerate its existence as an affront to their worldview and Muslim “identity.” . . . Blaming the Jews for all manner of evils, including the shortcomings of the people who scapegoat Jews, is protected because, at minimum, it’s a “personal truth,” and for some just the plain truth. But taking offense at such things is evidence of a mulish inability to understand the “context.”

Shocking as all that is, Goldberg goes on to argue, the anti-Semitism is merely a “symptom” of the insidious ideology that has taken over much of the universities as well as an important segment of the hard left. And Jews make the easiest targets.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, University