When it comes to Israel, propaganda triumphs over facts

Opinion: Audacious events held in Tel Aviv asking to compare the Holocaust to Nakba and UN vote for ICJ to investigate Israel are all attempts to construct an antisemitic narrative while undermining historical accuracy

Ben-Dror Yemini|
The Goethe-Institut in Tel Aviv, an institute for German language and culture, was supposed to hold an event last week, titled, “the Holocaust, Nakba and German cultural memory.”
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  • Following a wave of protests, including by the Foreign Ministry, the event was postponed and retitled to “understanding the pain of others." Following further protests, the institute announced the event will be postponed yet again due to “considerable expected disturbances.”
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    German and Israeli flags
    German and Israeli flags
    German and Israeli flags
    (Photo: AFP)
    The Goethe-Institut later issued a statement: “Remembrance remains a politically controversial field. The Jews focus on the Holocaust, while the Palestinians focus on the fateful year 1948 when hundreds of thousands of them were forced to flee in what is known in Arabic as The Nakba [also known as the Palestinian Catastrophe]."
    What harm comes from discussing “the pain of others”? It sounds wonderful. But, it’s a fraud. Comparing national trauma to cultural memory is legitimate, but in this case, it is done for the sake of political propaganda, aimed at altering the historical connection between the Nakba and the Holocaust.
    The two events occurred due to an ideology of eradication. It was the leader of the Palestinian Arabs, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, who in 1941 arrived at Berlin, calling to kill every Jew. Search them out. Allah wills it.”
    It was the Secretary General of the Arab League Abdul Rahman Azzam, who was negotiating with leaders of the first Jewish settlements in Israel, while also threatening that “there will be a war of annihilation.”
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    Anti-Israeli rally in Berlin
    Anti-Israeli rally in Berlin
    Anti-Israeli rally in Berlin
    (Photo: EPA)
    It was the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan al-Banna, who said that “if a Jewish state will be established, the Arab people will throw the Jews in it into the sea.”
    And it was Fawzi al-Qawuqji, an Arab nationalist military figure in the interwar period, who aided the Nazis in their propaganda efforts, and then served as the Arab Liberation Army’s field commander during the War of Independence in 1948. Most of the Palestinian Arabs at the time, just like their leaders, also supported the Nazis.
    There is a distortion of the remembrance happening, which seeks to erase any memory of the fact that the Arab uprising against the very establishment of Israel was directly influenced by Nazi ideology.
    It is safe to presume, however, that none of these topics would’ve been discussed during the Goethe-Institut event, which was set to be held in Tel Aviv! This is because the goal was, and still is, to justify the legitimized narrative, according to which, the Jews were the victims of the Nazis, and now the Palestinians are the victims of the Jews.
    One of the speakers at the event was supposed to be Prof. Amos Goldberg. He was supposed to give a lecture, titled, “The reality of conflict, occupation and apartheid.” Just like false narratives once were perpetuated against the Jewish people, they are now being perpetuated against the Jewish state.
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    Head of the SS Heinrich Himmler and Mufti Hajj Amin al-Husseini shaking hands
    Head of the SS Heinrich Himmler and Mufti Hajj Amin al-Husseini shaking hands
    Head of the SS Heinrich Himmler and Mufti Hajj Amin al-Husseini shaking hands
    Comparisons can be made, but the more fitting comparison would be one that compares the so-called Nakbas that occurred across the entire world since the end of World War I in 1918 - which led to the establishment of many nation-states that sought to get rid of minorities.
    A massive wave of minority deportations took place during the first half of the 20th century. Nakbas with no end in sight. Germans also suffered their own Nakba - over 12 million Germans were deported from the Czech Republic, Poland and other nations.
    If one seeks to compare, one could compare between the German and Palestinian Nakbas, which have a common denominator - an aggressor who wanted to annihilate, and those who sided with them ultimately paid the price.
    You can also compare the Jewish and Palestinian Nakbas. Jews living in Arab states did not declare a war on the countries in which they lived. Still, they suffered pogroms, prosecutions and the seizing of their personal belongings.
    Arabs, on the other hand, declared a war on Israel. The result was the Nakba. But how many events are being staged in commemoration of the Jewish Nakba? Propaganda triumphs, not historical research.
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    מועצת הביטחון של האו"ם
    מועצת הביטחון של האו"ם
    UN General Assembly
    (Photo: AP)
    Israel is facing a multifaceted campaign. The UN General Assembly decided last week to call on the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to examine the legitimacy of Israel's alleged occupation of Palestinian territories.
    Western powers did not support the vote in the UN, but many of them, including the German government, are still funding bodies that back a boycott of Israel.
    For example - The Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. It was founded by Die Linke, the German left-wing party, and is in charge of funding the aforementioned event in Tel Aviv. It also deals with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by funding organizations that deny the right of Israel to exist, and support the Palestinian “right of return” – a principle saying all Palestinian refugees and their descendants have a right to settle in Israel.
    It also isn’t a coincidence that the German parliament approved the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism in 2016, but the Rosa Luxemburg foundation still continues to fund organizations that are considered antisemitic according to that same definition.
    By the way, Prof. Amos Goldberg also signed an appeal to the German government, urging them not to adopt the IHRA definition.
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