Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Israel's Independence Day.....

In honor of Israel's 61 years of independence, might I suggest you read the following article and then run out to the library and check out Ilan Pappe's book before you pass judgement on Palestinians.

The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine

For anyone who possesses a strong stomach and an equally strong desire to know the truth, I strongly recommend Israeli historian Ilan Pappe's new book "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine", which makes painstakingly and painfully clear the extent to which the expulsion of the great majority of Palestinians from their homes and homeland between 1947 and 1949 (an expulsion absolutely essential to create a "Jewish state" in a country where, in 1947, the population was still 70% Muslim and Christian and these non-Jews still owned 94% of the land) was meticulously planned, programmed and documented, ruthlessly carried out and, thereafter, efficiently covered up, sanitized, erased from minds and memories and, to the extent necessary, denied. Pappe also makes clear that the cleansing spirit and cleansing practices have continued ever since, with public discussion in Israel of the "demographic threat" posed by those Palestinians still remaining in Palestinian never more openly conducted and with a recent poll showing 68% of Israeli Jews in favor of expelling all Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Unfortunately, this book, published in England (and available from, is highly likely to go unreviewed and largely unnoticed in the United States, a country where objective historical truth is much less popular than "revealed truth" and pure fantasy and where the Israel-First Lobby starts with a distinct home-field advantage in pursuing its successful efforts to convince American public opinion that American interests and values are identical to Israeli interests and values and to make American foreign policy and America's wars indistinguishable from Israeli foreign policy and Israel's wars.

While most of mankind, being comprised of peoples who have themselves been the victims of colonialism and racism, views racial-supremicist settler-colonial states founded upon the genocide or ethnic cleansing of an indigenous population as an abomination, Americans, exceptionally, are favorably inclined toward such states. The reason is simple. Until very recently, America was itself such a state, and the official Israeli narrative replicates the widely accepted American narrative of brave pioneers bringing civilization and economic advancement to a backward and savage land.

Furthermore, notwithstanding its history, America, as a nation, appears to have no regrets and to be troubled by no sense of national guilt. While, for reasons having less to do with bearing universal witness against man's inhumanity toward his fellow man than with justifying one particular instance of such inhumanity, there is a Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, there are no museums there devoted to the genocide of the Native Americans, to slavery or to the century of legalized segregation which followed abolition.

In addition, a significant proportion of the American population embraces a perverted interpretation of Christianity which ignores the humane message of Jesus Christ and the Golden Rule and focuses the devotions of its adherents not on God but, rather, on "God's Chosen People", through whose success in ethnically cleansing Palestine and provoking cataclysmic warfare these so-called "Christians" hope to achieve their personal, selfish "rapture" and "salvation".

Still, even in America, where Nakba denial is as obligatory as Holocaust denial is condemned, objective historical truth is available in Professor Pappe's book for anyone who cares.


1 comment:

curt said...
Rabbi Rosen:

I didn’t celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut today. I don’t think I can celebrate this holiday any more.

That doesn’t mean I’m not acknowledging the anniversary of Israel’s independence - only that I can no longer view this milestone as a day for celebration. I’ve come to believe that for Jews, Yom Ha’atzmaut is more appropriately observed as an occasion for reckoning and honest soul searching.

As a Jew, as someone who has identified with Israel for his entire life, it is profoundly painful to me to admit the honest truth of this day: that Israel’s founding is inextricably bound up with its dispossession of the indigenous inhabitants of the land. In the end, Yom Ha’atzmaut and what the Palestinian people refer to as the Nakhba are two inseparable sides of the same coin. And I simply cannot separate these two realities any more.

I wonder: if we Jews are ready to honestly face down this “dual reality” how can we possibly view this day as a day of unmitigated celebration? But we do - and not only in Israel. Indeed, there is no greater civil Jewish holiday in the American Jewish community than Yom Ha’atzmaut. It has become the day we pull out all the stops - the go-to day upon which Jewish Federations throughout the country hold their major communal Jewish parades, celebrations and gatherings. I wonder: how must it feel to be a Palestinian watching the Jewish community celebrate this day year after year on the anniversary that is the living embodiment of their collective tragedy?

I can’t yet say what specific form my new observance of Yom Ha’atzmaut will take. I only know that it can’t be divorced from the Palestinian reality - or from the Palestinian people themselves. Many of us in the co-existence community speak of “dual narratives” - and how critical it is for each side to be open to hearing the other’s “story.” I think this pedagogy is important as far as it goes, but I now believe that it’s not nearly enough. It’s not enough for us to be open to the narrative of the Nakhba and all it represents for Palestinians. In the end, we must also be willing to own our role in this narrative. Until we do this, it seems to me, the very concept of coexistence will be nothing but a hollow cliche.