As Palestinians in the West Bank and Arab Israelis inside the Green Line plan to
commemorate “Nakba Day” on Sunday May 15, the right-wing student group Im Tirtzu
has launched a campaign to discredit what it says is a narrative of myths and
lies dealing with the teaching of the founding of the State of Israel.
the center of the campaign is a 70-page booklet entitled Nakba Harta – or Nakba
BS – which is meant to reveal “a lie that threatens to drown us like a
Right-wing group Im Tirzu threatens BGU donations
Nakba – Arabic for “catastrophe” – is the day when Palestinians
commemorate the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. Several
Palestinian groups have called for major demonstrations in several Israeli Arab
and mixed Israeli cities in honor of Nakba Day.
The booklet, written by
film director Erez Tadmor, one of Im Tirzu’s leaders, and Arel Segal, a
columnist for Ma’ariv
, presents what it describes as a growing campaign to
delegitimize Israel through the framing of the foundation of the State of Israel
as being linked to a wholesale ethnic cleansing or deportation of the native
The booklet is split into five sections, including:
“They [the Arabs] attacked: The responsibility for creating the refugee
problem,” “They [the Arabs] abandoned: Haifa as an example,” and “Since time
immemorial? How long have Arab refugees really lived in Israel?” It also
includes a long description of atrocities committed by Arabs against Jewish
civilians pre-1948 and details what it describes as the support Palestinian
society and Palestinian leaders gave to the Nazis during World War II.
addition, the booklet includes a chapter entitled “They were expelled,” which
describes the expulsion of 900,000 Jews from the Arab and Muslim countries of
the Middle East following the founding of the State of Israel.
pamphlet states: “Sadly, in recent years, the Arabs’ lies have received a
platform of legitimacy, also within Israel – of all places, among the Israeli
elite, leaders in academia, culture, or law, who have brought the idea of the
Nakba into the Israeli public sphere.”
The pamphlet doesn’t try to say
that no hardships were suffered by the Arabs who lived in what would later
become the State of Israel, but, rather, that suffering did occur, but it was
solely the fault of the Arabs, who refused to accept the 1947 UN partition
“Let there be no mistakes. No one is saying that the Arabs
of Israel did not experience a disaster at the end of the 1940s; no one is
trying to take away their subjective pain. True, Arabs of the Land of Israel
experienced a tragedy, a nakba in their words, and there is no desire or reason
to blur this fact.
“The truth is that the Palestinians and the Arab
states carry 100% of the responsibility for the results of the war. Tragedy?
Catastrophe? The blame is all theirs. A homemade catastrophe.”
pamphlet says that the Jewish Yishuv was willing to give up on the West Bank and
the East Bank of the Jordan River, but that the Arabs “did not rest.
wanted more, they wanted everything. Their response to the Hebrew compromise was
blood, fire, and billows of smoke. Death reared its head; in their cruelty,
stupidity and arrogance that knew no bounds, they brought destruction upon
The pamphlet continues: “The myth of the nakba is an
unprecedented and brazen fraud whose sole purpose is to rewrite
Under this myth, the attacker becomes the victim, and those
defending themselves from massacre become war criminals.”
pamphlet doesn’t present exact figures on the demographics of the Land of Israel
pre-1948, it claims that without a shadow of a doubt the overwhelming majority
of the Arabs living within the Green Line were “large groups of immigrants who
made their way to Israel from Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, Yemen, Sudan and
elsewhere,” largely to profit from the development brought to the area by the
Zionist enterprise and the British Mandate.
Im Tirtzu founder and
chairman Ronen Shoval said Thursday that the campaign is inspired by the fact
that Israel is fighting two major battles: one on the battlefield and one for
justice, or the state’s legitimacy.
“We have always, thank God, won the
battle on the military side, and this is largely because we had faith in the
path we were on. The other campaign has been to harm our belief in the
righteousness of our path, and if we lose this, we will lose on the
He said that the pamphlet will be handed out outside
universities and Israeli public schools and will be part of a campaign that will
also include demonstrations and videos and ringtones available on the
Shoval said that “there is no disagreement” that Arab families
in Israel suffered a personal tragedy in the wake of the establishment of the
state, but that there is also “a political myth that is devoted to denying the
rights of the State of Israel based on the idea that we kicked out all of the
Arabs and we must now allow all of the refugees and their ancestors to settle
Israeli authorities expect this year’s Nakba Day commemorations
inside Israel to be significantly larger than in previous years, in part because
the Knesset in March passed the so-called “Nakba Law,” which allows the state to
fine local authorities and other state-funded bodies if they use state funds to
hold events marking Israeli Independence Day as the “Nakba.”
mark this year’s Nakba Day are planned for Taiba, Haifa, and Jaffa beginning the
night before, on May 14, and will be followed by observances in local
authorities throughout the Arab sector the next day.
The army has also
beefed up its presence in the West Bank ahead of Sunday, on the assessment that
large-scale demonstrations could break out during the day.