The Anti-Semitic Myth behind the Palestinian Catastrophe

Feb. 16 2023

In 1998, Yasir Arafat, then the president of the Palestinian Authority, declared May 15 a day of commemoration of the Nakba, or catastrophe—that is, the creation of Israel. The term Nakba has long been part of Arab discourse, and has now become commonplace in pro-Palestinian circles in the West. But the “catastrophe” it refers to is not the expulsion of Palestinian Arabs from their homes or deaths that occurred during the first Arab-Israeli war, but the fact that Arabs would have to live alongside a Jewish state in the Middle East. Sol Stern traces the origins of the notion of a Nakba to a 1948 book by a distinguished, Western-educated Syrian Christian historian named Constantine K. Zurayk:

The Meaning of the Disaster actually isn’t about the tragedy of the Palestinian people. According to Zurayk, the crime of the Nakba was committed against the entire Arab nation—a romantic conception of a political entity that he and his fellow Arab nationalists fervently believed in. And, it turns out, Zurayk was no champion of an independent Palestinian state. . . . Zurayk’s only comment about Palestinian refugees is that, during the fighting, “400,000 or more Arabs [were] forced to flee pell-mell from their homes.” (All italics added.)

Zurayk predicted that all Arabs would continue to be threatened by international Zionism: “The Arab nation throughout its long history has never been faced with a more serious danger than that to which it has today been exposed. The forces which the Zionists control in all parts of the world can, if they are permitted to take root in Palestine, threaten the independence of all the Arab lands and form a continuing and frightening danger to their life.”

Zurayk is left to wonder how the combined Arab armies, far outnumbering the Jews, could have allowed the Zionists to achieve their military objectives in Palestine. His answer [is] rife with anti-Semitic canards and conspiracy theories.

[Decades later], Yasir Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas revised Constantine Zurayk’s original claim that Zionism committed its crimes against the entire “Arab Nation.” But they also revived Zurayk’s big Nakba lie that “the aim of Zionist imperialism is to annihilate one people so that another may be put in its place.” By continuing to promote this hateful narrative, the Palestinian leaders signaled, and continue to signal, that the struggle is not merely about the consequences of the June 1967 war. It also means that Israel’s struggle for independence and legitimacy is not yet over.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Nakba, Yasir Arafat

Iran’s Four-Decade Strategy to Envelope Israel in Terror

Yesterday, the head of the Shin Bet—Israel’s internal security service—was in Washington meeting with officials from the State Department, CIA, and the White House itself. Among the topics no doubt discussed are rising tensions with Iran and the possibility that the latter, in order to defend its nuclear program, will instruct its network of proxies in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and even Iraq and Yemen to attack the Jewish state. Oved Lobel explores the history of this network, which, he argues, predates Iran’s Islamic Revolution—when Shiite radicals in Lebanon coordinated with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s movement in Iran:

An inextricably linked Iran-Syria-Palestinian axis has actually been in existence since the early 1970s, with Lebanon the geographical fulcrum of the relationship and Damascus serving as the primary operational headquarters. Lebanon, from the 1980s until 2005, was under the direct military control of Syria, which itself slowly transformed from an ally to a client of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The nexus among Damascus, Beirut, and the Palestinian territories should therefore always have been viewed as one front, both geographically and operationally. It’s clear that the multifront-war strategy was already in operation during the first intifada years, from 1987 to 1993.

[An] Iranian-organized conference in 1991, the first of many, . . . established the “Damascus 10”—an alliance of ten Palestinian factions that rejected any peace process with Israel. According to the former Hamas spokesperson and senior official Ibrahim Ghosheh, he spoke to then-Hizballah Secretary-General Abbas al-Musawi at the conference and coordinated Hizballah attacks from Lebanon in support of the intifada. Further important meetings between Hamas and the Iranian regime were held in 1999 and 2000, while the IRGC constantly met with its agents in Damascus to encourage coordinated attacks on Israel.

For some reason, Hizballah’s guerilla war against Israel in Lebanon in the 1980s and 1990s was, and often still is, viewed as a separate phenomenon from the first intifada, when they were in fact two fronts in the same battle.

Israel opted for a perilous unconditional withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000, which Hamas’s Ghosheh asserts was a “direct factor” in precipitating the start of the second intifada later that same year.

Read more at Australia/Israel Review

More about: First intifada, Hizballah, Iran, Palestinian terror, Second Intifada