The Lydda “Massacre” of 1948, in the Eyes of Israeli War Veterans

Dec. 29 2014

In his much-vaunted book My Promised Land, the Israeli journalist Ari Shavit devotes a chapter to a “massacre” of Arabs that he claims took place in the town of Lydda during the 1948 war of independence. Last July, the historian Martin Kramer demonstrated in Mosaic that Shavit’s account was unfounded. Kramer recently presented his analysis in Israel, where a Hebrew translation of My Promised Land has yet to be published. The response of his audience, filled with veterans of the 1948 war, many of whom had taken part in the conquest of Lydda, was telling:

I could have dispensed with my own analysis. The reactions tumbled forth in immediate response ‎to Shavit’s text. I heard gasps of disbelief and angry asides. I didn’t ask for a show of hands as to ‎how many thought Shavit’s account had any credibility, and in retrospect I wish I had. But to ‎judge from the audible responses, it would not be an exaggeration to say that this audience was ‎surprised and offended.‎

[N]othing I heard, either in the lecture hall or outside of it, added to the store of ‎testimony about the “massacre” component of Shavit’s Lydda tale. The conquest of Lydda had ‎many moving parts, and most of the veterans I met served in the 89th Battalion under Moshe ‎Dayan. That meant that they were not in the city when the “massacre” supposedly took place, but ‎fought the day before, mostly on the road between Lydda and Ramleh. But I wasn’t looking for ‎new testimony, because there are plenty of recorded recollections from people who witnessed the ‎events. . . . I did want these veterans to know ‎what much of the world (Israel excepted) has been reading about their battle for over a year now. ‎And I wanted them to start to talk about it among themselves and with others.‎

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Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Ari Shavit, Israeli War of Independence, Lydda, Martin Kramer, Moshe Dayan

How the Death of Mahsa Amini Changed Iran—and Its Western Apologists

Sept. 28 2022

On September 16, a twenty-two-year-old named Mahsa Amini was arrested by the Iranian morality police for improperly wearing a hijab. Her death in custody three days later, evidently after being severely beaten, sparked waves of intense protests throughout the country. Since then, the Iranian authorities have killed dozens more in trying to quell the unrest. Nervana Mahmoud comments on how Amini’s death has been felt inside and outside of the Islamic Republic:

[I]n Western countries, the glamorizing of the hijab has been going on for decades. Even Playboy magazine published an article about the first “hijabi” news anchor in American TV history. Meanwhile, questioning the hijab’s authenticity and enforcement has been framed as “Islamophobia.” . . . But the death of Mahsa Amini has changed everything.

Commentators who downplayed the impact of enforced hijab have changed their tune. [Last week], CNN’s Christiane Amanpour declined an interview with the Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi, and the Biden administration imposed sanctions on Iran’s notorious morality police and senior officials for the violence carried out against protesters and for the death of Mahsa Amini.

The visual impact of the scenes in Iran has extended to the Arab world too. Arabic media outlets have felt the winds of change. The death of Mahsa Amini and the resulting protests in Iran are now top headlines, with Arab audiences watching daily as Iranian women from all age groups remove their hijabs and challenge the regime policy.

Iranian women are making history. They are teaching the world—including the Muslim world—about the glaring difference between opting to wear the hijab and being forced to wear it, whether by law or due to social pressure and mental bullying. Finally, non-hijabi women are not afraid to defy, proudly, their Islamist oppressors.

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Read more at Nervana

More about: Arab World, Iran, Women in Islam