1948 Arab attack Safed_521.
(photo credit: Toldot Milhemet HaKomemiyut)
The remarkable ease with which the world hails Palestinian figurehead Mahmoud
Abbas as a “man of peace” beggars the imagination. This has become so
axiomatic that even Israel’s most forthright headliners hesitate to depart from
the bon ton, lest they be judged as “anti-peace.” And so falsehoods become
entrenched as self-evident truths.
Elements of this travesty are
paradoxically consistent. After all, Abbas (Abu Mazen) is nothing if not a
consummate counterfeiter, who honed his craft at Moscow’s Communist-era Russian
University for Friendship between People (a.k.a. the People’s Friendship
University of Russia, also a.k.a. the Patrice Lumumba Friendship
As befits Friendship U’s academic ambiance, Abbas
specialized in revising history, an endeavor which in 1982 ripened into a PhD
dissertation that both denied the Holocaust and yet blamed Zionists for it. Two
years later, Dr. Abbas further expanded and embellished his “research.” He never
apologized nor retracted a single nuance of his learned treatise. Nonetheless,
political correctness stringently prohibits discussion thereof.
emboldened manufacture of lies is graciously overlooked because it’s too
troubling to debunk cock-and-bull chronicles and expose the faithful followers
of fanciful fabrications as fools. Harping on misrepresentation is impolite,
uncool and so yesterday. Best leave the sham undisturbed or – better yet –
Accordingly, not a peep of protest could be heard anywhere
when the “man of peace” diplomatically intoned: “Oh, Netanyahu, you are
incidental in history; we are the people of history. We are the owners of
history.” Abbas’s “we” refers to Palestinians. Local Arabs – among them
itinerant migrants from Syria, Egypt, Libya and the Maghreb – became acquainted
with the name Palestine (minted by the Romans to humiliate defeated Judea) when
the British Mandate introduced it here. They vehemently rejected the moniker
which until 1948 applied to Jews only.
Then tactics changed. King Hussein
explained why at the Arab League summit in Amman in November 1988: “The
appearance of a distinct Palestinian national personality comes as an answer to
Israel’s claim that Palestine is Jewish.” In so many words, said the
Hashemite monarch, the Palestinian identity is an artificial propaganda
But the lie spawned vibrant offshoots of amazing variety and
boundless scope for expansion. Hence scholarly Abbas could proclaim a couple of
weeks ago that not only do Jews have no history whatsoever in this land (an
extraordinary assertion in itself), but Palestinian-Arab history here dates back
to 7000 BCE, i.e., 9,000 years! Brazenly trampling chronology and fact, Abbas
(on whose capacity for veracity hinge all peace deals) contended in his recent
New York Times op-ed that “shortly after” the 1947 UN Partition Resolution,
“Zionist forces expelled Palestinian Arabs to ensure a decisive Jewish majority
in the future state of Israel, and Arab armies intervened.” He himself, he
wrote, was forcibly driven out as a child from his native Safed.
aggrieved victim pose becomes a basic Arab tenet – the crucial justification for
terror and for refusing to relinquish the so-called “right of return” by Arabs
to what are described as homes which violent interloping Jewish conquistadores
usurped. Biased world opinion willingly falls for the Palestinian
But foolhardy carelessness – or trust that nobody
listens to intra-Arab discourse – occasionally pulls off the painstakingly
painted mask. On July 6, 2009, Abbas waxed nostalgic on Al-Palestinia TV and
inadvertently let the truth slip out.
When he was 13, he recalled, his
well-off family made a calculated decision and “left at night, heading to the
Jordan river...Eventually we settled in Damascus... My father had money,
and he spent his money methodically. After a year, when the money ran out, we
began to work.
“People were motivated to run away...They feared
retribution from the Zionists – particularly from the Safed ones. Those of us
from Safed especially feared that the Jews harbored old desires to avenge what
happened during the 1929 uprising. This was in the memory of our families and
parents... They realized the balance of forces was shifting and therefore the
whole town was abandoned on the basis of this rationale – saving our lives and
So here it is from the mouth of the PA’s head honcho
himself. He irrefutably verifies that nobody expelled Safed’s
Their exile was voluntary, propelled by their extreme
consciousness of guilt and expectation that Jews would be ruled by the same
blood-feud conventions that prevail in Arab culture. Misguidedly, they
anticipated that Jews would do to them precisely what Arabs had done to Safed’s
Jews. If that was their premise, they indeed had grounds for panic.
“uprising” Abbas alluded to was one among the serial pogroms instigated by
infamous mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini, who’s still revered throughout the Arab
world. An avid Nazi collaborator, he spent World War II in Berlin. The Allies
declared him a wanted war criminal postwar.
In August 1929, Husseini
rallied Arabs to slaughter Jews on trumped-up allegations of Jewish takeover
attempts at the Temple Mount. Sixty-seven members of Hebron’s ancient Jewish
community were hideously hacked to death. That was the most notorious massacre,
but others were perpetrated throughout the country.
In the equally
ancient Jewish community of Safed, 21 were butchered no less gruesomely (a cat
was stuffed into one grandmother’s disemboweled abdomen). A child and a young
woman due to be married the next day were cold-bloodedly murdered by Arab
constables whom British mandatory officers had assigned to watch over the
majority of Safed’s Jews when they sought safety in the police
The British proposed that all Safed Jews be evacuated “for
their own safety,” as was the case in Hebron. The offer was flatly refused.
Thereafter, principally during the 1936-39 mufti-led rampages, the Hagana and
Safed’s own IZL cells protected the town’s 2,000 Jews.
SUCH WAS the
uprising for which Abbas’s kinfolk assumed they deserved just
reckoning. Ironically Jews were alarmed by the Arab exodus, figuring it
presaged a formidable onslaught by invading Arab armies (which indeed
In many areas (Haifa, for instance) Jews pleaded with local Arabs
to stay. But Arabs in Safed and elsewhere – heeding their leaders’ exhortations
to pull out and hounded by fears arising from their own vengeful traditions (but
not Jewish ones) – did what was prudent in light of their surmise that Jews
would behave according to Arab codes.
On the eve of the April 16, 1948,
British withdrawal from Safed, the mandatory authorities turned over the town’s
police stronghold and Mount Canaan’s military fort to the Arabs. They offered to
escort all Jews out of town “for their own safety.” As in 1929, the Jews refused
unequivocally, though memories of the horrific carnage should have inspired more
dread among them than among the fleeing Abbases.
Why wasn’t Abu Mazen’s
pivotal testimony accorded due resonance in the media?
Perhaps because it’s too
troubling to debunk cock-and-bull chronicles, expose the faithful followers of
fanciful fabrications as fools and altogether veer into that undesirable zone of
the impolite, uncool and so yesterday. Perhaps preserving the myth of Jewish
culpability is too enticingly de rigueur, a hallmark of