Dec. 13, 2019
Deconstructing the Nakba Myth: The Palestinian Aggressors Became the Victims – Prof. Shmuel Trigano
Nakba Day (lit. “Day of Catastrophe”) has become the most actively performed ritual of the Palestinian myth. Hidden behind the exodus of the Arab population of Mandatory Palestine during the 1948 war, which this ritual commemorates, is the war of extermination launched by many Arab countries against the Jews in the young state of Israel. The Palestinians were the allies of these countries. The defeat of their armies and their political failure in opposing the partition of Mandatory Palestine are thus rewritten, with the Nakba as a congenital injustice in which the Palestinian aggressors became the victims.
Before the British Mandate this territory had been part of the Ottoman Empire, and “Palestine” was neither a geographical nor a political entity. Furthermore, the population that was there was not completely “indigenous.” At the end of the 19th century, Arabs from all of the countries within the Ottoman Empire migrated to the territory, attracted by the economic hub created by the Jews. Yasser Arafat and Prof. Edward Said, for example, were not Palestinians but rather Egyptians. During the British Mandate, the Jews were dubbed “Palestinians.” It was only after the 1967 war that the Arabs of Palestine were presented as “Palestinians.”
The writer is professor of sociology at the University of Paris-Nanterre and director of the College of Jewish Studies at the Alliance Israelite Universelle. (Jewish Political Studies Review)