Nakba Day Events Geared at Vengeance, Not Reconciliation

Israel Harel
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Israel Harel

Germany's surrender in World War II was commemorated on May 9 in many places throughout the world. That same day, thousands of neo-Nazis held "mourning marches" over the "day of disaster." In their own country and especially outside it they are a shunned minority. The vast majority view that period as a time of spiritual degeneration when their leaders, scholars and military commanders were gripped in an insanity that resulted in genocide, campaigns of conquest and the defeat of many nations. These are the lessons that most Germans, and most of the nations who collaborated with them, have learned from the "day of disaster."

Of all the nations that sent soldiers to aid the Nazis' deeds, only one has never expressed regret. On the contrary, it dedicates May 15 - the day Arab armies invaded the newly declared State of Israel - to mourning the failure to achieve their goal. It's not the sin of their aggression that the Arabs regret, but rather the fact that they weren't able to complete the job that Hitler left unfinished. Unlike the Germans, they aren't ashamed of their ancestors' murderousness. Instead, they're ashamed of their weakness, of their inability to execute the mission.

Israel's Arab citizens have never expressed remorse for the fact that their forefathers murdered dozens of Jews in Haifa Bay workshops, murdered the defenders of Gush Etzion after they surrendered, slaughtered 79 doctors and nurses in a convoy to Hadassah Hospital, murdered 35 soldiers sent to reinforce Gush Etzion and mutilated their corpses. Their writings contain no expression of regret for these and many other murderous acts. The regret is only over their failure to do to all of the Jews what they managed to do to a small number of them.

No Arab leader, historian, philosopher or cleric has ever stood up to tell his people - as German, Polish and Dutch intellectuals did (and as Jewish intellectuals did with regard to Israel's treatment of the Palestinians ) - that they need to do some soul-searching. That they need to change the false narrative that is preached in mosques and taught in Arab schools, with funding from the State of Israel, according to which the "disaster" stemmed from a Jewish plot funded and encouraged by Western colonialists.

Not one of them labels the late Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, a murderer. Yet this was a man who, apart from the massacres committed on his orders during the Arab Revolt of 1936-39, joined Hitler's efforts to carry out the Final Solution and even dispatched a brigade to help the cause.

The names of European leaders who allied with Hitler have become synonyms for evil in their nations. The mufti, in contrast, became a Palestinian national hero. The cries of "death to the Jews" that issued from his mosque are heard to this day in the Palestinian and Arab street, and they still inflame the masses.

That is what they are commemorating. That is the Nakba. That is what professors at Tel Aviv University (and also the president of Hebrew University ) favored commemorating on their campuses.

The meaning of the battle cry "With blood and fire we will redeem Palestine," which is shouted on Israeli campuses when the Palestinian flag is waved, is a continuation of the line of hatred of the mufti and his successors. And paradoxically (but not surprisingly ), part of the Israeli "peace camp" collaborates in encouraging this line.

It is not a message of reconciliation that emanates from Nakba Day ceremonies, whether at universities or elsewhere. Rather, these ceremonies feed the hope that the day of vengeance and retribution will soon come; that the Jews, consumed by guilt, are gradually losing faith in the justness of their cause. And then, after the national will has atrophied, the march to redeem Palestine will begin.

Read this article in Hebrew

Masked Palestinians hurling stones at Israeli troops outside the Ofer military prison near Ramallah, in the West Bank.Credit: AP