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Canadian Museum for Human Rights consideration of a Nakba exhibit “is a good example of Western ignorance”

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“Westerners who are unfamiliar with the Middle Eastern sects are an easy prey for the anti-Jewish propaganda”

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With Israel’s Independence Day approaching, anti-Israel activists across the globe are gearing up for Nakba Day, which is the day where the Palestinian people mourn Israel’s very existence as a national catastrophe. 

In the period leading up to Nakba Day this year, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, a federally funded museum in Winnipeg, is considering hosting a special exhibit on the Palestinian Nakba. However, it is of pivotal importance to note that doing this is a grave injustice to the historic truth surrounding the history of the Holy Land.

According to the Nakba (“Catastrophe”) narrative, the creation of the state of Israel was based on a “Zionist strategy of expelling Palestinians from their land.” Anti-Israel propagandists frequently argue that the Palestinians are descendants of the Canaanites and therefore, their claim to the Holy Land is older than that of the Jewish people. However, this is a historic falsehood. 

American archeologist Eric Cline once wrote, “although some would disagree, historians and archeologists have generally concluded that most, if not all, modern Palestinians are probably more closely related to the Arabs of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Jordan, and other countries than they are to the ancient Jebusites, Canaanites, or Philistines. The major movements of those Arabs into the region occurred after 600 CE, more than 1,600 years after David and the Israelites had vanquished the original inhabitants of the land.”

The late American archeologist, William F. Albright, concurred with Cline, rejecting outright any continuity between the “modern peasants and nomads” of Palestine and “pre-Arab times.” Even Palestinian historian Rashid Khalidi once stated that today there is a tendency to “read back into the history of Palestine over the past few centuries, and even millennia, a nationalist consciousness and identity that are in fact relatively modern. Among the manifestations of this outlook are a predilection for seeing in peoples such as the Canaanites, Jebusites, Amorites, and Philistines the lineal ancestors of modern Palestinians.” 

Thus, as Hebrew University geographer Yehoshua Ben-Arieh concluded; the insistence by certain scholars that the Palestinians are “direct descendants of Canaanites is driven by a political objective” that has nothing to do with historical reality.

Caliph Umar conquered the Holy Land in its entirety between 640 and 642 CE.  Arab rule over the Holy Land lasted until 1099, when the crusaders invaded the Holy Land. The Muslims did not begin the process of re-conquering the Holy Land until 1187, when Saladin captured Jerusalem, but it is important to note that Saladin was not an Arab: he was Kurdish, as was his dynasty. The Mamluk Empire, who replaced Ayyubid rule in Israel starting around 1260, would also not be of Arab origin: they were Turks, as was the Ottoman Empire that succeeded the Mamluk Empire in 1517.  

Indeed, with the sole exception of a brief nine-year period between 1831 and 1840, when an Egyptian by the name of Muhammad Ali conquered the Holy Land, Arabs have not ruled Israel in its entirety since 1099. 

In sum, Arab rule over the Holy Land in its entirety from around 640 CE till 1099, plus the nine years of Egyptian rule between 1831 and 1841, only adds up to about 368 years. Due to various conquests and famines, the holy land changed populations frequently and many of the modern Palestinians can only trace their ancestry in the Holy Land back a couple of hundreds of years, if even that. 

“Look, the Nakba idea assumes that there was a Palestinian nation living peacefully on their forefathers land for centuries and even a millennium. However this presentation is totally false,” prominent Middle East scholar Dr. Mordechai Kedar noted, “because most of the ‘Palestinians’ are migrants who moved to live in Palestine, which is the Land of Israel, during the first half of the twentieth century to work in the Jewish farms, which were established in the Land of Israel during the last quarter of the nineteenth century.”

As he explained, “They were labor migrants, just like they migrate today to Europe and America.  Their names, which they bear to date, signify that they are not originally Palestinian. For example, Al Masri, the Egyptian, al Hourani, from Southern Syria, Al Tarabusi, from Tripoli in North Lebanon and so forth. Unfortunately, Westerners who are unfamiliar with the Middle Eastern sects are an easy prey for the anti-Jewish propaganda disseminated by Arabs in the Middle East.”

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On March 23, 2012, the Hamas minister of the interior and of national security, Fathi Ḥammad, slammed Egypt for not helping to prevent fuel shortages in the Gaza Strip. He then averred that Gaza deserved more brotherly assistance from Egypt, saying that “half of the Palestinians are Egyptian and the other half are Saudis.” 

Considering these facts, one must ponder, when did a distinct Palestinian Arab identity emerge? 

Benny Morris asserted that Palestinian identity was commenced in early April 1920, when the Arabs entered into a rebellion against the British Mandate for Palestine. Rashid Khalidi similarly argues that Palestinian identity emerged in the 1920’s and 1930’s, as prior to that the Arabs of Palestine were loyal Ottoman subjects. Yezid Sayigh even argued that the rise of Palestinian proto-nationalism only became inevitable after 1948 as the direct result of “social and political marginality” that Palestinians experienced after “al Nakba.”

Indeed, former Israel Consul General Dr. Yitzhak Ben Gad believes that the Palestinians also caused their own Nakba: “In my opinion, the biggest mistake the Palestinians did was to adopt the policy of blind rejectionism. They refused before the establishment of Israel and afterwards any compromise as a matter of policy. So, in 1947, when the Partition Plan was presented, they immediately refused it.  As a result of their rejection, the Independence War of 1948 was started. They started the war, and they lost the war. So, to speak about the Nakba, it reminds me of a man who killed his parents and then asked for mercy because he is an orphan.”

“The Nakba in reality was self-inflicted,” he added. “Israel did not use the Jews from Arab lands as a political weapon. I was born in Libya. We were expelled and moved to Israel. My country Israel gave me education and I even became the Israel Counsel General in Chicago and Miami. On the other hand, the Arabs are using the Arab refugee problem as a weapon against Israel. They did not take care of their refugees, denying them citizenship and civil rights. The Arab world should take care of their refugees. Perhaps they are waiting for the messiah to come, but it does not look like he is coming anytime soon.”  

In conclusion, Dr. Kedar proclaimed: “The Canadian Museum for Human Rights proposed Nakba exhibition is a good example of Western ignorance. I would suggest that this museum would dedicate its time and resources to the Nakba of the Red Indians, who lived in Canada, for this was a real genocide. Unfortunately, some people in North America think that blaming the Jews will appease their conscious about the atrocities which the Red Indians suffered under their rule. It will not work.” 

Rachel Avraham is a political analyst working at the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights.  She is the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings at the American, Israeli and Arab Media.”  

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

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