Today is the eighth (and last) day of Chanukah, 5772 (2011).
Here are some pictures from 1948 (and later) to remind you that the Chanukah story of old still lives: we are engaged in an existential war with those who hate the G-d of Israel.
According to one Arab narrative of the modern Arab-Israel conflict, Arabs were expelled from Israel by invading Jewish armies in 1948. That war was not (for the Arab) a war of Independence; it was a war of Jewish brutality against the Arab. According to a slightly different version, Jews started the war and immediately expelled hundreds of thousands of innocent Arabs, thereby creating the Arab refugee problem. As recently as this week (December 24 -26, 2011) the lie that Jews started the war has once again appeared--in the "readers comment" section of the online Jerusalem Post. It is one of the lies surrounding this conflict that won't go away. Jewish aggression and brutality in 1948, this Arab narrative explains, is partly why Arabs hate Israel--and why Israel is guilty of 'crimes'. But the Jews did not start the war--and 'brutal expulsion' is an egregious myth. That's what today's post is about. Today, you will see for yourself one example of how our modern Chanukah story has been scripted for us, against us.
First, let us remember that this fiction of the 'brutal expulsion' of Arabs by Jews in 1948 is a fundamental pillar of the Arab war of hatred against Israel. It is repeated often. It is called 'historical fact' and/or a fact that is well-known. It is accepted as truth. One recent example of this 'truth' against Israel appeared in an op-ed essay Mahmoud Abbas published in the New York Times on May 16, 2011. There, Abbas wrote that, after the UN declared Israel's statehood in November 1947, "Zionist forces expelled Palestinian Arabs to ensure a decisive Jewish majority in the future state of Israel, and Arab armies intervened. War and further expulsions ensued." More recently than that--on December 19, 2011, just last week-- American James Adler, a graduate of the Harvard Divinity School (Israel's problem isn't Thomas Freidman, Jerusalem Post)--wrote that, in 1947/8, Israel knew that, "as a tiny minority, it needed to 'cleanse' the area in order to create a majority and to make the new state viable".
A lie, unchallenged, becomes 'truth' even for an alumnus of the Harvard Divinity School.
Such lies have certainly taken on a life of their own, but if you know any history at all, you understand that this depiction of that war is both false and baseless, for Zionists did not start the war and they did not initiate a consciously premeditated Arab expulsion to ensure a future majority (or for any other reason); Arab forces did not then 'intervene'; and more expulsions did not then 'ensue': what happened was, the UN gave Israel statehood, the Arabs immediately declared war and attacked with at least 5 (some count 7) Arab armies, populations ran from the fighting, and the Jews somehow won.
That was the mistake the Jews made. They won.
If you have any question about what actually happened in 1948, go find the front page of the New Times dated Saturday, May 15, 1948; there, you will see history reported as it unfolded--before the myth-makers went to work. There, you will see how the Arabs rejected the UN offer of their own state, and chose instead to attack, to destroy Israel. In fact, the Arabs had begun attacking Israel before May, 1948 (the videos you are about to see talk of an event that took place in April, 1948)--but Arab myth-makers don't bother with such subtleties; they simplify history for you and just claim that the Jews had attacked as soon as the UN declared Israel to be a state (see the Abbas example, above). Today's Arab lies are shocking to see, but the core of the Arab-Israel conflict is a propaganda war to demonize and then delegitimize Israel that many Jews have no idea exists. They simply believe what they read. This war of unalloyed hatred is real--and aggressive. It began long ago--and continues to this day, as the December 19, 2011 essay (Adler, above) suggests.The videos in the December 21 posting below illustrate just how aggressive (and false) that propaganda war is.
Here, you will see another aspect of that war: myth-making to demonize the Jews.
To make matters worse, Jews themselves have played a key role in the anti-Israel industry. It is truly terrible to see Jews behave this way, acting out against their own people, but this is how Jews behaved in the original Chanukah story. Many sided with the Greeks who wished to destroy us. Today is no different.
Beginning in the early 1980's (or late 1970's), Jews calling themselves 'New Historians' began to promote an Arab version of the 1948 War at the expense of the Jewish version. These 'New Historians' did not (and do not) simply attempt (in my opinion) to show that the Jewish version was perhaps incomplete, or did not sufficiently explore the Arab side of things; rather, they seek to erase the Jewish version entirely, claiming it was lies. James Adler, in the essay above refers to these modern Israeli historians as those who have concluded that Israel committed ethnic cleansing in the 1948 War, an accusation that Adler refers to as 'historical fact'; but that 'fact' is, as you will see in a moment, part of a deliberate, conscious effort to falsify fact.
Today's Chanukah example of this virulent historical 'fact-making' (to demonize the Jews) focuses on a village called Deir Yassin, which (as you'll see in today's videos) has remained integral to the continuing Arab hatred of Israel more than 60 years after the Deir Yassin incident. Deir Yassin, for some, became the poster-child of Israel's bestiality towards the Arab and a rallying cry for revenge against Israel that continues to this day. To those Jewish New Historians, if Arab stories claimed that Jews massacred and raped their way through Deir Yassin--and Jewish stories said that such did not happen--then the Arab was telling the truth and the Jews were liars. Period.
To put this war of Jewish and Non-Jewish historians of the Left against Israel into its larger context, see my July 6, 2011 essay, Why shouldn't the Arab get his 'right to return'?, below, under, 'July 2011'.
In today's Chanukah post
, you will see three videos where Deir Yassin plays a role. First will be a short history about Deir Yassin. This video (and the second one as well) shows Arab citizens giving their version of Deir Yassin; but you'll also see Arab 'insiders' talking also about Deir Yassin; and you'll see contemporary newspaper articles, so you can balance and interpret the interviews you see. In the second video, you will see a retelling of the Deir Yassin details. In the third video, you will see that Deir Yassin is not just an old story.
Here is the first of today's videos (h/t to Eddanij and Pierre Rehov Channel for this video).
In the history of the Arab-Israel conflict, Deir Yassin has been used as a key piece of historic 'evidence' to show how Jews committed atrocities--and began ethnic cleansing--against the Arabs in Israel during 1948. The problem is, Deir Yassin is not entirely what Arabists present it to be. There is no attempt at balance or analysis in the Arab account: it's 'the Jews massacred and raped--what part of massacre-and-rape don't you understand?' In this next video, you will revisit Deir Yassin from a slightly different point of view. Please note that some words and historic references may not be correct--but these errors do not alter in any way the story you will see (h/t to israelpalestine-speedy. blogspot for this video).
Before the video, some caveats about those errors:
(1) at one point in this video, the text says that Jews in Jerusalem during the1948 war were literally starving--and the pictures following that 'announcement' show Jews, among other pictures, dancing in the streets; this seems obviously wrong; the statement regarding starvation should have come after the dancing; the dancing actually refers to events before the 'starvation' occurred; What I understand to have happened is this: Deir Yassin, as you'll see, essentially 'blocked' the road to Jerusalem. Deir Yassin was situated in such a way that anyone driving on the road to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv was an easy target for snipers in the village, which looked down onto the road. If you have ever travelled the road going west out of Jerusalem, you will see, on the side of the highway, newly painted examples of bombed-out trucks and army vehicles from that fighting--memorials to the desperate battle to get food and equipment into Jerusalem. From a military point of view, Jerusalem at that moment in time was lost. Your chance of surviving the drive past that village to Jerusalem was practically nil. The road going uphill into Jerusalem was narrow (not like it is today) and difficult. As one Arab woman interviewed in the film says, they dug trenches two meters (more than six feet) deep in the road (to stop the convoys, something she neglects to mention); what she also doesn't say is that once those convoys were stopped because of the ditches, they became easy targets for snipers to pour gunfire down into them, exacting a heavy toll. Many Jews died in those convoys. That is why the Jews in Jerusalem were close to starvation--the gunmen of Deir Yassin were good.
(2) The video talks about 3 rag-tag Jewish 'militias' fighting for our survival; men from the two minor militias got the order to take Deir Yassin. This is a very important point in this story, because these two 'minor' militias were, if I understand this correctly, not well trained at all. They were truly more rag-tag than militia. Remember, Israel was attacked as soon as it was created--the Jews had no standing army, no military infrastructure or organization. Even the Hagana, the main 'army' was pretty pathetic. This is an important detail because it means that whatever happened inside Deir Yassin, these untrained (or, relatively untrained) militias would not be as disciplined as a properly trained army fighting in close combat: untrained, you might reasonably expect that their combat behaviour might not be particularly disciplined under such stress, which could mean, for example, a lot more gunfire going into a civilian house than might be called for (and, by the way, most objective students of history agree-- there was no raping). Whatever the case, however, the rag-tag nature of these units might explain more about what happened in that village than the Arab accusation of a deliberate and premeditated massacre. So far as rape was concerned, you will see that even Arabs have said that the Jews did no raping. Nevertheless, the loss of Deir Yassin was too dramatic an event for Arabs to allow truth to prevail.
(3). The video speaks of the Arabs of 1948 as 'Palestinians'. It refers to a 1948 'Palestine'. I question those references because it was Yasser Arafat who coined that phrase 'Palestinian people' in the 1960s, more than a decade after the War. I would caution you to be very careful about the
words 'Palestine' and 'Palestinians' in this film.
(4) The video also uses the word 'Fedayeen' (Arab freedom fighter) to describe the Arabs who fought the Jews at Deir Yassin. I am not certain the Arabs were calling their fighters 'fedayeen' in April 1948. They might have but, again, I would caution you about that word, too; it might not be accurate.
So if there are so many flaws here, why watch the video? Because the flaws do not affect the story of events at Deir Yassin. Also, you will see an introduction here where you can see how Deir Yassin is described by Arab TV just a few years ago. Take a look:
(1) So far as I can tell, there is evidence that some deliberate 'expulsions' of Arabs did occur in 1948. A few--very few--might have been approved by higher-ups. But it seems to me to be patently false to claim, as you saw in the video above, that expulsions were conscious, deliberate and part of the overall Jewish plan in 1948. There is no body of evidence to prove that deliberateness. There is, however, far more evidence to support the pro-Israel statements made in the videos above (about how Arabs reacted to the battle).
(2) I can think of no street names that Jews have put up to celebrate the deaths at Deir Yassin--but there have been many documented 'naming' of streets within the Palestinian Authority that 'honor' the killings of Jews--the slanderous references in that introduction reveal more about how the Arabs think than it does about how Jews act.
(3) The video appears to suggest that two states of 'equal size' were to be created by the UN, one 'Palestinian' and one Jewish. If that is he intent of the video, then (in my opinion ) it is misleading because before the UN voted, the British gutted the original League of Nations' mandate; in the end, the Jews got only 22% - 28% (depends on whose numbers you use) of the land promised at the San Remo Conference and guaranteed by the League of Nations. The Arabs got the bulk of the land.
(3) the video spoke of 'some' villagers killed, then '17 villagers' killed. The truth is, no one has been able to sort out villager from fighter, or fighter from 'ennabler'. Anti-Israel stories claim as many as 200 innocent villagers slaughtered by Jews. The videos above, taken together, suggest something else.
In war, the first casualty is truth. This appears especially true when Jews are involved.
Remember: we are still at war. Oh, and by the way, if you're thinking about telling Jews to sign off on a two-state solution, why don't you talk first to the journalist you'll see in the next video, below. I think he'll tell you what he'd do with our signatures.
This last video (below) shows how Deir Yassin still infects the Arab consciousness, even after many have raised questions about what happened there. As you have already seen, even Arabs who knew of Deir Yassin saw Arab lies about--and distortions of--the incident; but the hatred of Israel engendered by it does not diminish; it is a poison that knows no antidote (h/t to Batwaan and MEMRI for this video).
This video is dated 2010, perhaps 62 years after Deir Yassin. Note how 'Deir Yassin' is used by the speaker in the video.
Note also: here, 'Palestine' means modern Israel:
In the Chanukah story, the Jews of old fought for their survival. As these videos reveal, we are still fighting. Some of your Jewish friends might not understand that.
(h/t to Love of the Land--calevbenyefuneh.blogspot)