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The Nakba: an historical event or a continuing political process?

By Bob Finch | January 6, 2009

The Nakba is commonly perceived around the world and even, unfortunately, by Palestinians themselves, as a discrete historical event which happened in the late 1940s when Jewish terrorists established a Zionist state in Palestine. However, looking back at what has transpired in Palestine over the last six decades, it would be more accurate to describe the Nakba as an ongoing political process in which the racist state has continually implemented its policy of ethnically cleansing and moved ever closer to its long term goal of becoming a Jews-only state.

Adam Horowitz linked to an article suggesting that the Jews’ current military operation in Gaza could be regarded as a new Nakba as if, with the passing of time, this too will be seen as another discrete historical phenomena. “Palestinians reported that many families have left their homes in Beit Lahiya’s al-Atatra neighborhood and are staying with relatives in “safer” areas. Hundreds of residents, who are afraid to travel in their own cars for fear of IDF strikes, could be seen leaving the neighborhood on foot toward central Jabalya. “It was a difficult site and reminded us of images we saw on television during the 1948 Nakba (displacement of Palestinians following Israel’s inception),” one resident who left his home told Ynet. “The sense is that of a new Nakba.”” (‘Gazans say experiencing ‘another Nakba’ January 05, 2009).

Philip Weiss has added to the perception of the Nakba as a discrete historical event by demanding that more effort should be given to commemorating the political disaster that befell the Palestinians in the late 1940s. Given the way that the Zionist dominated media in the western world has pushed the Nakba into an historical ‘hole of oblivion’ it seems laudable trying to remind the global community about what befell the Palestinians in the late 1940s. However, treating the Nakba as an isolated historical event which happened long ago in the mists of time gives the impression that the racist Jewish state has never since resorted to such an odious war crime as ethnic cleansing.

In a recently published article Ilan Pappe fell victim to such a fallacy in an otherwise invaluable essay. He pointed out that Zionism is an ideology based on ethnic cleansing and that current events in Gaza were being airlifted out of their historical context. “It seems that even the most horrendous crimes, such as the genocide in Gaza, are treated as discrete events, unconnected to anything that happened in the past and not associated with any ideology or system.” And yet in the preceding paragraph he’d talked of the Nakba as precisely such a discrete historical event! “And yet, we cannot allow 2009 to be just another year, less significant than 2008, the commemorative year of the Nakba, that did not fulfill the great hopes we all had for its potential to dramatically transform the Western world’s attitude to Palestine and the Palestinians.” (Ilan Pappe ‘Israel’s righteous fury and its victims in Gaza’ ).

Pappe rightly argues that it is imperative that the historical context of the slaughter in Gaza is understood. “Therefore, it is the role of an activist academia and an alternative media to insist on this historical context. These agents should not scoff from educating the public opinion and hopefully even influence the more conscientious politicians to view events in a wider historical perspective.” (Ilan Pappe ‘Israel’s righteous fury and its victims in Gaza’ January 02, 2009). But what seems to elude Pappe is that the best way of providing such an historical context is by suggesting that every single Jewish attack on Palestinians over the last sixty years has been part of an ongoing Nakba whose ultimate goal is a Jews-only state in Palestine. In other words, it is imperative to see the Nakba as an ongoing political process not a one-off historical event.

From its formulation Zionism was intent on removing all Palestinians from Palestine. This had to be done either by murdering Palestinians, terrorizing them into leaving their homes and their own country, or by making the areas in which they lived uninhabitable whether by stealing water resources, damaging sewage systems, or simply by militarily pulverizing Palestinian infrastructure and buildings. The Zionist project is intent on ethnic cleansing and everything the Zionists have done since they established their racist state has been to move remorselessly towards a Jews-only country.

The assumption underlying the two Nakba thesis (if for the moment we accept the proposition that Gaza is a second Nakba) is that the period in between these two political disasters was a time of peace and tranquility when the Zionists made little effort to implement their ethnic cleansing ideology. Of course, in reality during this period the Jewish separatists were all too successful in advancing their piecemeal ethnic cleansing campaign. They have stolen a massive proportion of Palestinian land during this period but always taking care to keep within the bounds of what is acceptable to political and public opinion in the Western world.

But, it might be argued, if the Zionists were really pursuing their goal of ethnic cleansing then surely they would not only have stolen huge amounts of Palestinian land, they would also have dramatically reduced the Palestinian population. At present the population of Palestinians and Jews is roughly equal. But this demographic equality is highly deceptive. The Jews have been pursuing their ethnic cleansing campaign by pushing Palestinians into smaller and smaller enclaves. This leaves the Palestinian population extremely vulnerable to economic blockade and military attack. Jewish society can be visualized as a broadly based pyramid spread out over large areas of Palestinian land. In comparison Palestinian society can be visualized as an inverted pyramid. All the Jews have to do is quietly make these ghettoes less and less inhabitable and eventually these intense concentrations of Palestinians will collapse leading to mass emigration. The Zionist policy seems to have been first, steal their land, then corral Palestinians into ghettos, then make these ghettos increasingly uninhabitable until Palestinians are confronted only with the option of emigrating.

The differences between the political implications of these two characterizations of the Nakba are profound. The implication of the Nakba as an historic event is that Palestinians have a chance to create peace with the Jews because Jews haven’t been vile enough to pursue ethnic cleansing. The implication of the Nakba as ongoing event is that Palestinians do not have any chance of creating peace with such racist monsters and that any peace efforts they make, or hopes they may have, are an error, and a dangerous one because it leaves them highly vulnerable to annihilation. Of the two diametrically opposed perspectives the latter seems far more realistic, far truer to historical realities. The Zionists have never had any intention of allowing the Palestinians to create a Palestinian state. They stopped the Palestinians from forming a state in 1948 and ever since they have sabotaged all peace negotiations between the two sides to prevent the creation of a Palestinian state. Jennifer Loewenstein is but the latest commentator to reach this obvious conclusion. “The answer is because Israel has no intention of allowing a viable, sovereign Palestinian state on its borders.” (Jennifer Loewenstein ‘If Hamas Did Not Exist Israel Has No Intention of Granting a Palestinian State’ January 01, 2009). But it has to be suggested even this view does not get to the whole truth. Jewish racists have no intention of allowing Palestinians to remain in Palestine.

The great advantage of treating the Nakba as a continuing political process is that the so-called ‘Jewish Holocaust’ is precisely what the Nakba is deemed to be: a discrete historical event. (I say ‘so-called’ because I dispute the way the holocaust industry has transformed this event into humans’ greatest ever tragedy and not because I dispute the facts outlined by those such as Hannah Arendt). The Nakba is more important politically than the Holocaust for the simple reason that it is an ongoing political process affecting real people and not a distant historical event. It is remarkable, and exasperating, that on the one hand the Jews have resurrected a dead historical event and are able to use it as an important factor in current political events while, on the other hand, Palestinians have allowed their ongoing tragedy to lapse into a long forgotten historical event which is entirely without political relevance. The Jews have hyped up their historical tragedy to such an extent that in the Western world it is deemed to be more politically significant than the Jews’ ongoing ethnic cleansing campaign against the Palestinians. Indeed, this historical event continues to be the Jews’ best propaganda weapon for justifying whoever they might wish to slaughter whether they are Palestinians, Lebanese, Syrians, or Iranians. The Nakba should be accorded moral superiority over the ‘Holocaust’ since it affects millions of real people whereas the Holocaust is a mere chapter in human history. There is therefore no moral equivalence between the two because the Holocaust is a long gone historical event whilst the Nakba is a current event.

Pappe is correct, “By connecting the Zionist ideology and the policies of the past with the present atrocities, we will be able to provide a clear and logical explanation for the campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions.” But the best means of doing this is by talking about Israel continuing to inflict a Nakba on the Palestinians for the sake of a racially pure Jewish state in Palestine. Every time Palestinians are held up at checkpoints they are being forced to endure another manifestation of the Nakba; every time pregnant Palestinian women are denied medical facilities they are suffering because of the Nakba; every time that Palestinians are assassinated this is because of the Zionists continuing Nakba on the Palestinians. Jews have turned ‘the Holocaust’ into a potent conceptual weapon which now bears considerable propaganda clout: the Zionists pretended they were being threatened by another holocaust by Saddam Hussein’s and Iran’s non-existent nuclear weapons. The Palestinians don’t have to hype up their Nakba in the same lurid way. All they have to do is show that the Nakba still continues after six decades. The Nakba should be treated as something that started in the late 1940s not that it finished soon after.

Over the last six decades or more, the efforts of Jewish racists to create a racially pure Jewish state have been highly successful. They have slaughtered tens of thousands of Palestinians. They have stolen the overwhelming majority of the land in Palestine not to mention virtually all of its resources. They have waged wars against their Arab neighbours causing, whether directly or indirectly, the slaughter of millions of Arabs. On the international front their political triumphs have been even more overwhelming. This rogue state pursuing Nazi policies has managed to convince the Western world to join its racist ‘war against terrorism’. This war against Islamic people was invented and then branded by Jewish supremacists who have persuaded the Western world to buy the brand. Conversely, Western politicians have totally failed to abolish the Jewish apartheid state and bring it within the fold of the multicultural, multi-ethnic, democratic, societies in the Western world. On the contrary, Western countries have adopted the rogue state’s racist ideology. Zionism has become the world’s dominant ideology determining the world’s political agenda. It is hyping up Islamophobia in order to pressure the Western world into engaging in world war three against the Islamic world.

Jewish racists have been laughing all the way to the land bank. Surely Zionist success in portraying the Nakba as an historical event of no current political importance is their greatest ever political conjuring trick. What is so frightening about the current dominance of racist Zionist ideology throughout the Western world is that even the victims of Jewish racism seem convinced that Jewish racists are not involved in ethnic cleansing and that the Nakba was a one-off event which has never been repeated.

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December 8, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | 1 Comment