In Plain Language: July 4 - British Nakba Day
On July 4, Brits gather mournfully to grieve for the colonies that were cruelly and mercilessly ripped away from them more than two centuries ago.
4th of July pre-game ceremonies at baseball game Photo: REUTERS/Alex Gallardo
In just a few days, Americans will celebrate their Independence Day. Annually
commemorated on July 4 and therefore known colloquially as “the Fourth of July,”
it marks the publication of the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain
in 1776. Patriotic displays and family events are widespread throughout the
United States as people take a day off from work, hold festive barbecues, watch
fireworks and display the American flag at their homes. Politicians appear at
public events to show their support for the history, heritage and people of
their country, while citizens of diverse backgrounds openly express thanks for
the freedom and liberties they enjoy. Special honor is reserved for those brave
individuals who fought for that freedom, and who continue to battle on a daily
basis to maintain it.
Expat Americans, who by and large are fiercely
proud of their country – regardless of where they may reside at present – often
join in the celebration in absentia. Here in Israel, I have had the pleasure of
being at a few such events at the US Embassy, dining on kosher hot dogs and
watermelon as the US Marine band played patriotic songs in the
Many non-US citizens, particularly in the Western world, also
share in the joy of America’s birthday. They appreciate America’s gargantuan
efforts to serve as a symbol of life and hope for people of all denominations,
and the laudable mission it has adopted to bring peace and democracy to every
nation on Earth.
BUT THERE is one Western country that does not join in
the party, one nation that prefers to boo and hiss rather than light a sparkler,
as it rues the day America found its freedom. For at least one day, Jolly Ol’
England is anything but, as they declare July 4 to be British Nakba
Yes, on this day Brits gather mournfully to grieve for the colonies
that were cruelly and mercilessly ripped away from them more than two centuries
ago. They watch with bitter disdain as Americans cheerfully dance upon land
stolen from them, sovereign British land that they rightfully own.
that Americans were allowed to cultivate and work and reside upon through the
gracious generosity of the good King of England, a favor they impudently repaid
by rebelling and taking by force that which was not theirs.
And so Brits
gather everywhere to shake their fists in anger and declare that they will never
forget and never forgive this historic injustice; that they will teach their
children’s children’s children to remember this despicable crime perpetrated
upon them, and seek redress for their loss. In England, figures of Washington
and Jefferson – among the most heinous of the war criminals – are burned in
effigy. Parades are held in honor of Benedict Arnold and other heroes who stood
firm against the American terrorists. American products are repudiated and
threatened with boycotts; Coca- Cola bottles are smashed to the ground and
Marlboro cigarettes go up in smoke, while large protests are held in front of
the offices of – oh, I can hardly bring myself to pronounce the name – American
Bands of Brits who happen to live in the purloined colony also
state their case, relying on the gentility and democratic freedoms of America to
protect them in their protest. With an ample amount of (fish and) chips on their
shoulders, they brazenly lash out at the hand that feeds them.
vitriol is reserved for cities that have the audacity to call themselves by the
names of holy English locales: Birmingham, Alabama; Dover, Delaware; and of
course New York – including, needless to say, Greenwich Village – are singled
out as particular affronts to British sensibilities.
“These are our
names, you can’t appropriate them!” yells one disgruntled Brit, Nigel by
I ask him why he is so upset, why he is holding a US flag that has
the faces of 13 different monarchs – from Henry to George to Elizabeth – in the
place where the 13 stars of the original colonies were once displayed.
declare that large areas of Virginia and North Carolina are rightfully mine!”
says Nigel defiantly. “I will let you have New Jersey, but that’s it! I want the
rest back!” “But didn’t America fight for this land, despite being outnumbered,
outgunned and against great odds?” I ask him. “Didn’t they deserve their place
in the sun – just a small piece, after all, of the gigantic empire England once
ruled – and didn’t America raise everyone’s standard of living? And, by the way,
didn’t America bail England out of at least two world wars?” Nigel is unfazed.
“Logic will never sway me, for we rule by the Divine Right of Kings. And we will
not rest until the Holy British Empire once again rules the world, from sea to
shining sea!” And with that, he is off to sample a scone and a pot of
THE ABOVE scenario would be completely laughable if it weren’t so
tragically and so realistically played out by the Palestinians on their
so-called Nakba Day. Unable to accept the dictates of history, unwilling to
raise themselves up through hard work and determination, they prefer to stand on
the sidelines, whining over their fate and complaining about other people’s
After sabotaging umpteen opportunities for peace and
prosperity, they prefer to wallow in their victimhood and celebrate their
How very different the Jewish People: We suffered tragedy
and indignity a million times worse than anything the Palestinians ever
experienced, despite their phony propaganda to the contrary. But rather than
moan and groan about the injustices perpetrated upon us, we got back up on our
feet and resurrected ourselves. We built a land, and we built a country. We
sought friends where we could find them, but mostly we relied upon our own hard
work and ingenuity to create something beautiful, to turn sand into
We chose to look ahead, rather than always over our shoulders;
we opted for optimism over pessimism, and progress over an eternal persecution
I pity the Palestinians, because they – not we Israelis – are
their own worst enemies.
Truth be told, they do have a “catastrophe” on
their hands – but it is completely of their own making.
The writer is
director of the Jewish Outreach Center of Ra’anana and a Ra’anana city