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State of Denial: Israel

State of Denial: Israel

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Published by: Truth Spreader on Dec 15, 2012
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Volume 41, Issue 2 April-May, 2008
The Link
 Published by Americans for  Middle East Understanding, Inc. Link 
Archives: www.ameu.org
(Continued on page 3.)
Israel, 1948—2008
By Ilan Pappe
F
or Israelis, 1948 is the year in which two things happened, one of whichcontradicts the other.On the one hand, in that year the Jewish national movement, Zionism,claimed it fulfilled an ancient dream of returning to a homeland after 2,000years of exile. From this perspective, 1948 is a miraculous event, the realizationof a dream that carries with it associations of moral purity and absolute justice.Hence the military conduct of Jewish soldiers on the battlefield in 1948 becamethe model for generations to come. And subsequent Israeli leaders werelionized as men and women devoted to the Zionist ideals of sacrifice for thecommon cause. It is a sacred year, 1948, the formative source of all that is goodin the Jewish society of Israel.On the other hand, 1948 was the worst chapter in Jewish history. In thatyear, Jews did in Palestine what Jews had not done anywhere else in theirprevious 2,000 years. Even if one puts aside the historical debate about why
 
The Link Page 2
 AMEU
ISSN 0024-4007 
 ) grants permission to reproduce material from
The Link
in part or in whole. AMEU must be credited and onecopy forwarded to our office at 475 Riverside Drive, Room 245, New York, New York 10115-0245. Tel.212-870-2053; Fax 212-870-2050;E-mail: AMEU@ameu.org; Website:www.ameu.org.
AMEU Boardof Directors
Jane Adas
(
Vice President 
)
Hugh D. Auchincloss, Jr.Elizabeth D. BarlowEdward DillonJohn GoeletRichard HobsonAnne R. JoyceHon. Robert V. KeeleyKendall Landis
(Treasurer)
 Robert L. Norberg
(
Presiden
t)
Hon. Edward L. PeckLachlan ReedDonald L. SnookRosemarie SunderlandJames M. Wall
AMEU NationalCouncil
Hon. James E. AkinsIsabelle BaconWilliam R. Chandler David S. DodgePaul Findley Dr. Cornelius B. Houk O. Kelly IngramMoorhead Kennedy  Ann Kerr Mary NortonMarie PetersenDon W. Wagner Miriam Ward, RSM 
Executive Director 
John F. Mahoney
 
In their flight from Hitler’s Germanyin the early 1930s, Ilan Pappe’s par-ents opted to go to Palestine, hisfather for ideological reasons, hewas a Zionist; his mother for practi-cal reasons, it was the least expen-sive. Their son was born in 1954, sixyears after the founding of the Jew-ish state, and he grew up in Haifa,an Arab-Jewish city where Ilan hadPalestinian friends.From there his journey “beyond themargins of permitted discourse” ledto Hebrew University in the 1970s,where he learned what happened toPalestinians in 1948-49, then on toOxford University in the 1980s,where his doctoral thesis became hisfirst book, “Britain and the Arab-Israeli Conflict.” Based on declassi-fied documents in England, theUnited States, and Israel, his re-search debunked his word allof the lessons about Israel’s creationthat he had been raised on.He returned to Israel as a profes-sor in the history department at HaifaUniversity. Other published worksfollowed, including a feature article inour January-March 1998
Link 
. Later,in 1998, he organized events on hiscampus to commemorate the 50
th
 anniversary of the Palestinian catas-trophe. The action incurred the dis-pleasure of the university’s powerfulLand of Israel Studies department.If that was a step beyond the mar-gins, his next action in 2005 was aleap. Arguing that Hitler was able tocarry out his genocide against Jewsbecause German academics refusedto protest, he called for universitiesoutside Israel to boycott those pro-fessors at Israel’s Bar-Ilan and HaifaUniversities who had not publiclycondemned Israel’s occupation pol-icy. Haifa University’s president Aharon Ben-Ze’ev called on Pappeto resign.In 2007, he did resign. He hadbeen called “the most hated man inIsrael,” and was finding it increas-ingly difficult not only to teach but tolive in the Jewish state. Today, he ischair of the history department at theUniversity of Exeter in England. Weare honored to welcome him back tothe pages of 
The Link.
On page 9, we begin an enumera-tion of Palestinian towns and villagesobliterated in 1948. The entire list isfound in our booklet “The Coloniza-tion of Palestine.” On this the 60
th
year of what Ilan Pappe calls theethnic cleansing of Palestine, we willbe pleased to send this recently up-dated booklet to any reader for thecost of postage: $1. In addition todescribing the fate of each town andvillage, the booklet contains photosof the refugee camps, where hun-dreds upon thousands of ousted Pal-estinians ended up. We hope our readers will order copies not only for themselves but for others.We note on page 12 the death of Lachlan Reed, a longtime AMEUboard member. AMEU’s book/video catalog is onpp. 13-15. It includes Ilan Pappe’slatest book, “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine,” and a new video inter-view with him, “Israel: Myths &Propaganda,” both of which are ex-cellent complements to his article.Finally, on page 16, we offer a trib-ute to Lucille Ablan. Long before IlanPappe knew about the Palestiniancatastrophe—and certainly long be-fore I did—Lucille Ablan knew. Andin her gentle, effective way, she didsomething about it.
John F. MahoneyExecutive Director 
 
 
The Link Page 3
(Continued from front page.)
what happened in 1948 happened, no one seems toquestion the enormity of the tragedy that befell theindigenous population of Palestine as a result of thesuccess of the Zionist movement.In normal circumstances, as Edward Said notedin his “Culture and Imperialism
 ,”
the painful dia-logue with the past should enable a given society todigest both the most evil and the most glorious mo-ments of its history. But this could not work in acase where moral self-image is considered to be theprincipal asset in the battle over public opinion, andhence the best means of surviving in a hostile envi-ronment. The way out for the Jewish society in thenewly founded state was to erase from its collectivememory the unpleasant chapters of the past and toleave intact the gratifying ones.Because so many of the people who live in Israellived through 1948 this was not an easy task. Thatyear is not a distant memory and the crimes are stillvisible on the landscape. Above all, there are victimsstill living to tell their story and when they are gone,their descendents will pass on their accounts to fu-ture generations. And, yes, there are people in Israelwho know exactly what they did, and there are evenmore who know what others did.The authorities in Israel, to be sure, have suc-ceeded in eliminating these deeds totally from soci-ety’s collective memory, as they struggle relentlesslyagainst anyone who tries to shed light on them, in oroutside Israel. If you look at Israeli textbooks, curric-ula, media, and political discourse you see how thischapter on Jewish history—the chapter of expulsion,colonization, massacres, rape, and the burning of vil-lages—is totally absent. It is replaced by chapters ofheroism, glorious campaigns and amazing tales ofmoral courage and military competence unheard ofin the historiographies of any other state in the 20
th
 century.It would be useful, therefore, to begin this essaywith a short reference to the denied chapters of thoseevents that took place 60 years ago.
The Erased Chapters
The 1948 war’s diplomatic maneuvers and mili-tary campaigns are well engraved in Israeli Jewishhistoriography. What is missing is the chapter on theethnic cleansing carried out by the Jews in 1948: 500Palestinian villages and 11 urban neighborhoodswere destroyed, 700,000 Palestinians were expelledfrom their homes, and several thousands more weremassacred. Why did it happen?In November 1947, the U.N. offered to partitionPalestine into a Jewish and an Arab state. Thescheme was problematic from its inception for threereasons.Firstly, it was presented to the two warring par-ties not as a basis for negotiation but as a
 fait accom- pli
, even though the U.N. knew the Palestinian sidewould reject it. Palestinians regarded the Zionistmovement as the Algerians regarded the French co-lonialists. Just as it was unthinkable for the Algeriansto agree to share their land with the French settlers,so was it unacceptable for the Palestinians to dividePalestine with Zionist settlers. The cases were differ-ent, to be sure—even the Palestinians recognizedthis; but the better option, as a few U.N. membershad proposed, and as the U.S. State Department laterrecognized, would have been a longer period of ne-gotiations.Secondly, the Jewish minority (660,000 out oftwo million) was offered the larger part of the land(56 percent). Thus the imposed partition was to be-gin with an unfair proposal.Thirdly, because of the demographic distribu-tions of the two communities—the Palestinians andthe Jews—the 56 percent offered to the Jews as astate included an equal number of Jews and Pales-tinians, while few Jews resided in the remaining 44percent designated for an Arab state. Zionist leaders,from left to right, all concurred on the need to attaina considerable Jewish majority in Palestine; in fact,the absence of such a solid majority was regarded asthe demise of Zionism. Even a cursory knowledge ofZionist ideology and strategy, should have made itclear to the U.N. architects that such a demographic

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