Watch as our good friend, Professor Harold Kasimow from Grinnell College and Holocaust survivor, is disrespected by a member of the virulent anti-Israel student group, Students for Justice in Palestine, for not agreeing to the ridiculous notion that the Holocaust is equivalent to the situation of the Palestinians and that Israel should never have been reborn. Unfortunately, this is the kind of hate that is displayed on many college campuses today against Jews and supporters of Israel.
It isn’t just that it is a false equivalence with the Holocaust. It is also that the narrative offered by SJP of the conflict is false from the start. The conflict did NOT begin 71 years ago and it did not begin with Jews victorious at all. The modern conflict began at the end of World War I with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.
Palestinian Arabs sought help from the British to limit Jewish immigration into the land and to allow them to protest, increasingly violently and increasingly using terrorism, the existing Jewish presence in the land. The British, who had looked favorably on the creation of a Jewish state in 1917, increasingly desired the support of the Arabs, competing with the Nazis for that support right through World War II, and were loathe to promote even Jewish defense, much less security and control of the land.
The Jews in the land faced constant terrorism, raids, and mob violence at the hands of the Arab population, including things like the Hebron Massacre of 1929, in which the entire Jewish community of the city was attacked, killed, and expelled, while conducting no similar violent actions anywhere in the land through the 1920s and early 1930s.
During the late 1930s, the Irgun did carry out attacks against the British Army and local Arabs during the Arab revolt, which was essentially a civil war in response to Jewish immigration which peaked in the 1930s and changing power dynamics. After World War II, outbreaks of violence on both the Jewish and Arab sides was increasingly common with the Irgun conducting operations primarily against the British.
It is convenient for Palestinians to make it appear that the conflict began in 1948 because it makes them appear to be victims rather than as failed ethnic cleansers, which they along with other Arab nations attempted on multiple occasions, and people whose leader, Haj Amin al-Husseini, worked with the Nazis to recruit and train Muslim allies during the war in the hopes that the Nazis would bring “The Final Solution” to British Mandate Palestine should they defeat the Allies. Fortunately, they lost the war.
This is so obviously a problematic truth and would also obviously lead to normal people to side with the Jews against them, that they have created a deliberately misleading narrative that begins post-WWII and portrays Jews, who were fleeing refugees seeking safety not only from Europe but also from Arab lands, some of which expelled them, as if they were colonizers, which they were not.
We can debate modern Israeli settlement policy, but we cannot ignore truths that are simply inconvenient to the Palestinian victimhood narrative about the creation of Israel and the history of the modern conflict. It is true that it may be helpful for Jews to understand the pain felt by Palestinians at the loss of the conflict and for Palestinians to understand the impact of the Holocaust on Jews, but these are not entirely equatable events.
In this case, we have Palestinian Arabs whose people’s attempts at ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Jews failed prior to World War II, failed again in 1967, failed again in 1973, and continue to fail diplomatically, attempting to portray, Harold Kasimow, a survivor of ethnic cleansing and genocide by their people’s allies during World War II, the Nazis, as instead a supporter of such actions against them! It does not get more offensive, nor factually wrong.
Israel was able to be established because Palestinian Arabs and their allies failed to succeed in the ethnic cleansing and genocide that they were attempting and had been attempting since the 1920s. Now, we can begin to discuss what the resolution of that ongoing conflict might be.
A note for Presidential candidates, it will not begin with the disarming of the Jews and weakening their ability to defend themselves.
Well said, David!