Israel’s 60th Birthday


State of Denial: Israel, 1948-2008 by Dave
May 30, 2008, 9:45 am
Filed under: Ethnic Cleansing, History, Ilan Pappe, Israel, Israel's 60th Anniversary, Nakba

The excellent Israeli historian Ilan Pappe writing on the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and why Israel cannot face up to her crimes.  Worryingly Pappe states that ‘The moral implication [of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine] is that the Jewish State was born out of sin—like many other states, of course—but the sin, or the crime, was never admitted. Worse, among certain circles in Israel, it is acknowledged and, in the same breath, advanced as a future policy against Palestinians wherever they are.’

For Israelis, 1948 is the year in which two things happened, one of which contradicts 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 2,000 years of exile. From this perspective, 1948 is a miraculous event, the realization of 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 became the model for generations to come. And subsequent Israeli leaders were lionized as men and women devoted to the Zionist ideals of sacrifice for the common cause. It is a sacred year, 1948, the formative source of all that is good in the Jewish society of Israel.

On the other hand, 1948 was the worst chapter in Jewish history. In that year, Jews did in Palestine what Jews had not done anywhere else in their previous 2,000 years. Even if one puts aside the historical debate about why what happened in 1948 happened, no one seems to question the enormity of the tragedy that befell the indigenous population of Palestine as a result of the success of the Zionist movement.

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Israeli Consul General Upset Over Nakba by Dave
May 28, 2008, 3:31 pm
Filed under: Canada, Israel, Israel's 60th Birthday, Nakba | Tags:

The Israeli consul general to Canada is upset about the Nakba.  Not about it actually happening, theres nothing wrong with the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, but why the hell do Canadians have to keep talking about it?  Israel’s birthday is a time for celebration – they need the skeletons firmly in the closet!  Ethnic cleansing is not an image he wants associated with ‘brand Israel’ ™: they’ve spent a lot of time and money on birthday PR, they doesn’t want it disrupted.  Shame on you liberal media!

MONTREAL — Israel’s 60th anniversary year provides renewed opportunity for Jews the world over – including in Quebec – to reaffirm their strong attachment to the Jewish state.

Yet despite such ongoing commitment from Jews, Israel continues to face wary and unfriendly attitudes in the media and on campuses, said Israel’s consul general to Montreal and eastern Canada.

Yoram Elron, LEFT, – who succeeded Marc Attali last August – said in an interview that he was “very moved and extremely excited” by the recent 60th anniversary rally organized by a coalition of Jewish organizations that drew thousands to the heart of downtown Montreal for a mass and massive expression of love and solidarity.

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Nakba Day 2008 by Dave
May 20, 2008, 7:32 pm
Filed under: 2008, Israel's 60th Birthday, Nakba, Video

Stolen from the lovely Ann of Peoples Geography – sorry!

Palestinians mark the 60th anniversary of the Nakba with, among other things, large symbolic keys and black balloons over Al Quds-Jerusalem.

This video clip comes from our good friends over at the great Italian Guerrilla Radio site (4.36)

The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation also has this striking poster and terrific advertisement (click on thumbnail for larger image).

The Campaign will be placing more than 1,000 of these posters on the streets of Manhattan, educating New Yorkers about the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948 and the right of return for Palestinian refugees.



What a Way to Mark Independence Day by Dave
May 18, 2008, 4:32 pm
Filed under: Independence, Israel, Israel's 60th Anniversary, Jonathan Cook, Nakba, Parade | Tags:

Jonathan Cook describes how a Nakba memorial procession was blocked by a small number of Zionist protestors and then attacked by armed police.

This attack was most likely planned as Israel views commemoration of the Naba as deeply subversive. In fact, Israel’s Public Security Minister Avi Dichter (who recently cancelled a trip to the UK for fear of being arrested for war crimes) warned as much in December saying “whoever speaks for 60 years about the ‘catastrophe’ [Nakba] befalling them will suffer a real catastrophe in the end.” By his poisonous tear gassing of infants we can assume he wasn’t joking. Dichter was also pressured by the World Likud Chairman, Danny Danon, to cancel the Nakba parade as Danon felt its goal was “to oppose and incite against the state.” He called for leaders of the demonstration to be arrested as well as anyone seen brandishing the flag of an enemy state or a terrorist organization.  In other words – no Palestinian flags and forget your PAlestinian history.  There’s no room in Israeli history for the Nakba (ethnic cleansing of Palestine).

It has been a week of adulation from world leaders, ostentatious displays of military prowess, and street parties. Heads of state have rubbed shoulders with celebrities to pay homage to the Jewish state on its 60th birthday, while a million Israelis reportedly headed off to the country’s forests to enjoy the national pastime: a barbecue.

But this year’s Independence Day festivities have concealed as much as they have revealed. The images of joy and celebration seen by the world have failed to acknowledge the reality of a deeply divided Israel, shared by two peoples with conflicting memories and claims to the land.
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Now Sixty Years of Dispossession by Dave
May 15, 2008, 7:04 pm
Filed under: 1948, Israel's 60th Anniversary, Nakba | Tags:

The following was written by Edward Said on the 50th anniversary of the State of Israel.

In the United States, celebrations of Israel’s fifty years as a state have tried to project an image of the country that went out of fashion since the Palestinian Intifada (1987-92): a pioneering state, full of hope and promise for the survivors of the Nazi Holocaust, a haven of enlightened liberalism in a sea of Arab fanaticism and reaction. On 15 April, for instance, CBS broadcast a two hour prime-time program from Hollywood hosted by Michael Douglas and Kevin Costner, featuring movie stars such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kathy Bates (who recited passages from Golda Meir minus, of course, her most celebrated remark that there were no Palestinians) and Winona Ryder.


Edwar SaidIn the United States, celebrations of Israel’s fifty years as a state have tried to project an image of the country that went out of fashion since the Palestinian Intifada (1987-92): a pioneering state, full of hope and promise for the survivors of the Nazi Holocaust, a haven of enlightened liberalism in a sea of Arab fanaticism and reaction. On 15 April, for instance, CBS broadcast a two hour prime-time program from Hollywood hosted by Michael Douglas and Kevin Costner, featuring movie stars such as Arnol Schwarzenegger, Kathy Bates (who recited passages from Golda Meir minus, of course, her most celebrated remark that there were no Palestinians) and Winona Ryder. None of these luminaries are particularly known for their Middle Eastern expertise or enthusiasm, although all of them in one way or another praised Israel’s greatness and enduring achievements. There was even time for a cameo appearance by President Bill Clinton, who provided perhaps the least edifying, most atavistic note of the evening by complimenting Israel, “a small oasis,” for “making a once barren desert bloom,” and for ” building a thriving democracy in hostile terrain.”

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Birth of the Nakba by Dave

What’s the BBC’s ‘Birthday’ present to Israel? A stream of propaganda following a story thats Israeli driven. Not content with 3 other, Israeli directed, Storyville documentaries (watch here), a birthday radio show (featuring 4 Israelis with one token Israeli Arab and zero Palestinians) and birthday articles (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, etc) the BBC has gone a step further and commissioned this 60 minute film. By Jeremy Bowan, it details the founding of the State of Israel. To be fair to the BBC, the events surrounding the founding of the State of Israel are immensely interesting and have had important repercussions in the world at large. However it’s instructive that this documentary is called ‘The Birth of Israel’ and not for example ‘The Nakba’ – we get an idea of the focus from the start. In fact we might ask where all the Nakba articles (1?), audio and films are? Is it sufficient that it just happens to get a small mention in amongst all this ‘birthday’ nonsense?

Although this film is good in many places, covering the massacre of Deir Yassin for example, overall it fails to place the responsibility of the conflict firmly in the hands of the Israelis and Europeans. It fails to present the Palestinians as the victims of Zionist colonialism which was approved of by the Europeans because of guilt from the Holocaust and because 60 years ago the idea of colonialism, ‘civilised’ Europeans settling land that native ‘barbarians’ are wasting, was still acceptable. Time and again Israelis under interview blame the conflict on the Palestinians for not accepting the 1947 UN partition plan, where the UN carved up the land of Palestine and gave much of it to the colonialists. In the 21st century we should by now understand that the UN had no right to give away another mans home, the Zionists were incorrect in thinking they could colonise another peoples country and that resistance to this dispossession was legitimate. What nation would accept its land being given away to immigrants by the UN? Especially with such a bad deal: Israelis owning 10% of the land but getting 50% while only accounting for only 33% of the total population.

Counting the number of Israelis interviewed we find there were 11 with 10 Palestinians representatives. The number of times they appeared differs more: Israelis appearing 30 times and Palestinians 22. In a 60 minute film this approximately translates to about 8 minutes (15%) more air time. Personally I don’t believe balance is about giving both sides equal time – I follow Robert Fisks example of giving more time to the victims no matter who they are. In the ‘birth’ of Israel the victims were the Palestinian natives: 700,000 of whom were ethnically cleansed and many men, women and children were brutally massacred. This crime has continued as although under international law refugees have a Right of Return this has been denied. And Palestinians that remain in Israel and the Occupied Territories live in Apartheid conditions. Therefore its significant that they are not given priority.

The other big issue I have with the film is its failure to convey the true nature of a Two State solution. Israeli colonialism has continued with the illegal gaining of territory through military force in 1967. It is by now clear the continued Israeli rejection of peace for expansion and settlement of the Occupied Territories has led to a situation where a Two State solution is now unworkable. Only a One State solution where Israelis and Palestinians have equal rights and share the land will provide any meaningful resolution to the regions problems. The idea of a predominatly Jewish State is non-inclusive and racist, it can only be maintained through further ethnic cleansing and apartheid.

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