Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The blame game

The blame game

Dror Eydar

At first, the ceremony marking Nakba Day at Tel Aviv University (which took place Monday) didn't attract headlines, even when its supporters tried to shove it down our throats via social networking sites. The event only grew out of proportion and turned into a full-blown scandal -- to the delight of its organizers -- after well-meaning Zionist groups exalted the effort to mourn the Palestinian loss. Then politicians responded, a commotion erupted in the Knesset, and MK Ahmad Tibi (Ra'am Ta'al) was awarded a platform for his arrogant remarks. The media smelled blood and had a field day. That's how a marginal ceremony turned into a hot-button issue.

Meanwhile, the Nakba has become rooted in Israeli discourse using the techniques that Stalin's propaganda agent Willi Munzenberg developed in the former Soviet Union to employ in Western countries. Munzenberg understood that the person who assigns blame in a society also wields the power to acquit others. The radical Left has worked for decades to transform the establishment of Israel from a historical miracle into an indictment. These are the same tactics that Communist revolutionaries used in democratic societies and that the late journalist Eugene Methvin described as the "technology of social demolition," in which manipulation of the masses leads to complete destruction. This is precisely what commemoration and legitimization of the Nakba achieve as well: to define Israel as the focal point for Palestinian and regional blame, and by extension as the world's moral abscess.

This approach aims to instill public discourse about the War of Independence and the creation of Israel with terms that feign innocence, like the "civilian disaster," "human suffering" and "recognition of the injustice caused to Palestinians" that are the "basis for any political discussion." Any intelligent person understands that private suffering is not the focus here; the "injustice" is the very creation of the Jewish state. That is the driving force behind the Nakba commemoration ceremony. All of the talk about "humanism" is simply a guise for the delegitimization of Israel and the campaign against its existence.
No one is trying to prevent anyone from remembering. We also remember that foreigners stole our land while we were in exile, and with the return to Zion in the 19th century, a steady stream of Arabs from the region came there seeking work. Their children continue to be eternal refugees rather than integrate into the surrounding countries, in large part thanks to the U.N.

Yes, there was a war. Villages were destroyed, creating refugees (only a minority were expelled). At the same time, 850,000 Jews were expelled from Arab countries and were smuggled into Israel where they lived in tents and tin shacks. Yet while the Jewish community in newly founded Israel absorbed their brothers and sisters, rendering the transit camps unnecessary, Arab countries left refugee camps intact, to be used as another tool in their war against the Jewish state. Those who commemorate the Nakba continue this strategy, and their efforts to inflate this issue must not be supported.