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Palestinian Nabka: Blaming the Victim

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NabkaIn the wake of the commemoration of the Nakba this month, several Zionist commentaries appearing in both several Israeli publications and American publications have highlighted a similar and disturbing trend; they blame the victims of the Nakba for their fate.

So what does it take to describe the depopulation of 500 Palestinian villages and the human suffering that it involved, and continues to involve, as ‘self-inflicted?’ It simply takes racism.

Just like those who argue that slavery was good for blacks because it rescued them from the misery of Africa, or like colonialists who argue brutish policies are ultimately good for the natives because they are becoming “civilized,” these arguments about a “self-inflicted” Nakba similarly rely on the dehumanization of the other to justify their mistreatment.

This commonly involves repeating an ahistorical narrative of events which portray the Arabs and Palestinians as monolithic, annihilationist, irrationally uncompromising and aggressive. “Those Arabs had a chance to make a deal by accepting the 1947 UN Partition,” the narrative often goes, “but they chose war and thus deserve whatever befell them.”

Yet, there is no discussion of the Palestinian Arab rationale behind opposing the 1947 plan. The reader of this narrative is not supposed to understand it as a rational decision. It is far easier to justify ethnic cleansing against people portrayed as crazy, rejectionist barbarians.

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