woensdag 16 mei 2012

En de 'Joodse Nakba' dan?

 
Het lijkt soms of alle claims, verwijten en beschuldigingen in het Arabisch-Israelische conflict naar beide kanten even hard worden geuit: jullie zijn geen volk, nee, jullie zijn zelf geen volk; jullie hebben hier geen eeuwen gewoond, nee, jullie zelf zijn pas recente immigranten; jullie pikken illegaal grond en huizen in en vernielen landbouwproducten en stelen water, nee, jullie doen dat juist; jullie zetten ons land niet op jullie kaarten, nee, jullie zetten ons land niet op jullie kaarten; jullie vermoorden onze burgers, nee, dat doen jullie juist doelgericht; jullie manipuleren de media en de publieke opinie, nee, jullie doen dat juist; jullie willen geen compromissen sluiten, nee, jullie willen alles hebben; jullie zijn racisten, nee, jullie zijn antisemieten....
 
Jullie hebben ons verdreven, nee, jullie hebben nog veel meer van ons verdreven; jullie zijn vrijwillig vertrokken, nee, jullie zelf zijn vrijwillig vertrokken; onze nakba is de grootste...
 
Ligt de waarheid in het midden? Hebben waar twee volken vechten, twee volken schuld?
 
Beide volken zijn volken wat mij betreft, en in voorgaande eeuwen woonden er zeker meer Arabieren dan Joden in het land, maar een redelijk deel van de Arabieren is er ook pas vrij recent heen getrokken, en veel Palestijnse vluchtelingen zijn geen echte vluchtelingen of echte Palestijnen (Arafat zelf was half Egyptisch en half Palestijns). Zowel Joden als Palestijnen voeren een demografische strijd om in zoveel mogelijk plaatsen de meerderheid te krijgen of te houden, en een propaganda oorlog om de steun van de wereld te krijgen. Palestijnen richten hun geweld grotendeels op burgers, maar meer Palestijnse burgers komen om, meestal als 'collateral damage'.
 
En zo kunnen we nog wel even doorgaan, maar niet alle leed en onrecht weegt even zwaar of is even (on)rechtmatig. De Palestijnen bijvoorbeeld hadden hun Nakba grotendeels te wijten aan hun eigen afwijzing van het delingsplan in 1947, terwijl de Joden in de Arabische wereld nauwelijks iets de maken hadden met het conflict waarvoor ze in de daaropvolgende decennia hun land moesten ontvluchten. Daarover gaat onderstaand artikel, maar vooral over hoe aandacht hiervoor kan helpen om naar vrede toe te werken. Een geschiedenis die nagenoeg wordt doodgezwegen, zoniet ontkend door bijna de hele wereld.
 
Wouter
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What about Jewish Nakba?

Publicizing story of Jewish refugees could facilitate genuine peace process

Ada Aharoni

Published: 07.10.09, 00:02 / Israel Opinion

 

One of the main causes of the modern wave of anti-Semitism currently sweeping through Europe is the Palestinian propaganda campaign, which created an anti-Jewish climate. In order to counter this basic element, we must present the truth about the expulsion of the Jews from Arab states.
 

The world only heard about the injustice causes to the Palestinian refugees, but there is almost nothing out there about the disaster suffered by the Jews expelled from Arab states, and especially from Egypt, Iraq, and Syria. A comparison between the events reveals that while the number of Palestinian refugees in 1948 totaled 650,000 people, the number of Jewish refugees from Arab countries was higher, and stood at 900,000 people (according to UNWRA.)
 

The property which the Jews were forced to leave behind in Arab states – both private and communal assets – was of much greater value than what the Palestinians left behind in Israel, as documented by the International Court of Justice at The Hague.
 

In fact, the Jews suffered “ethnic cleansing” in Arab states. Only a few Jews live there today. Egypt’s Jewish community, for example, comprised 90,000 Jews in 1948. Today, only 38 Jews live there. On the other hand, the Arabs (who prefer to call themselves Palestinians) who live in Israel today constitute 20% of the population.
 

Explaining these facts would be very beneficial and allow for change, shifting from prejudice to fairness, justice, and truth. Once the Palestinians realize they were not the only ones who suffered, their sense of victimization and rejectionism will decline. Moreover, if the Jews from Arab states, who along with their descendents constitute almost half of Israel’s population today, will see that their history and their “Nakba” is being considered an integral part of the Arab-Israeli conflict, they may be willing to offer concessions for genuine peace.
 

Matter of dignity

 
During a course I taught at the University of Pennsylvania, the head of the Palestinian student group, Fouad, said with amazement: We’re surprised that you, the Jews, who are known as smart people, did not publicize this important historical affair - the Nakba of Jews in Arab states. Why do you leave it tucked away in your drawers for 60 years?
 

I asked him: Why do you want Israel to publicize it? And He replied: Because the Nakba narrative of Jews in Arab states salvages my dignity and that of my people! It makes us realize we are not the only ones who suffered in the conflict. Familiarity with the historical facts allows us to hold up our heads and opens up reconciliation opportunities.
 

Fouad added: For us, reconciliation means erasing all the hatred and ill feelings. Yet the condition for it is that the side that did the harm pay the aggrieved side for the reconciliation. The research in this course taught us that Jews from Arab states today comprise about half the Jewish people in Israel. We didn’t know that. So Israel already paid for the reconciliation, with half its population losing all its property in Arab states. People were forced to leave the countries they were born in, just like us Palestinians, and they too spread worldwide. It is so clear to us now that we are not the only refugees who suffered from this tragic conflict.
 

 
Fouad noted that should the Israeli government present this issue properly, both peoples would be able to advance towards a process of real peace. We, the Palestinians, will feel that our dignity has been salvaged, and as you know dignity is the most important thing for us, he said. I was thinking to myself: My students were able to understand what all Israeli governments have failed to grasp thus far.
 
Prof. Ada Aharoni is the chairman of The World Congress of the Jews from Egypt
 

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