The government of Israel and its lobbyists around the world have mastered the infamous art of the “Big Lie”. Although they have claimed to be the victims of such tactics used by Nazi Germany before and during World War Two, pro-Israel activists — Jews and non-Jews alike — have taken the concept to even greater heights of mendacity.
Israel has always recognised that public perceptions and what people can be made to believe are more powerful and more important than reality. Hence, it has engaged in an ongoing campaign of spreading lies to create false perceptions which whitewash the state’s atrocities and portray it as the perpetual victim.
The proto-Zionists did this during the 1930s and 1940s when they engaged in creating an artificial presence in Palestine, and their ideological offspring have been doing it ever since. Using high powered public relations and communications strategies, they distort the truth and concoct believable lies.
One of the first of Israel’s Big Lies was to link the Palestinians to the Nazis. Although Arabs — including Palestinians like my father, by the way — fought against the Nazis in Europe during World War Two (ironically, helping to free the surviving Jews from the concentration camps), Israeli propaganda has asserted falsely that the Palestinians were behind the Nazi drive to exterminate the Jewish people.
Freda Kirchwey wrote dozens of stories for the anti-Arab publication The Nation, which was a “mouthpiece” for the Zionist cause that fed the ignorance of naïve American and Western audiences ignorant of the facts about Palestine and the Middle East. Kirchwey’s stories falsely asserted that Palestinians were the originators of the plan to exterminate Europe’s Jews in the Nazis’ “Final Solution”. To justify this libel, she pointed to the fact that Hajj Amin Al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem who had been targeted by the pro-Jewish British Mandate during the late 1930s and World War Two, had met with the Nazi leadership. Of course Hajj Amin would meet with the Nazi leaders at the start of the war because Germany was the only country opposed to transforming Palestine into a “home for the Jewish people”; why wouldn’t he?
The Western news media was dominated at every level by anti-Arab haters like Kirchwey who took extreme liberties with the truth. There were no Arabs working in the American news media at the time to counter such lies.
In 1958, Israeli officials recruited a prominent and brilliant Jewish-American public relations strategist, Edward Gottlieb, to create a false narrative that would overwhelm the truth in the minds of Americans and the rest of the English-speaking world. Gottlieb recruited Jewish Zionist author Leon Uris to write the novel Exodus which sold more copies than the epic of the day, Gone with the Wind. Exodus cast Palestinians as Nazi sympathisers seeking to murder Jewish refugees, especially children, the victims of the bloodthirsty, non-Christian Arab World. The book quickly became a blockbuster Oscar-winning movie starring Jewish-American actor Paul Newman, which exacerbated the prevalent anti-Arab hatred, and reinforced Hollywood’s role as a major outlet for anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian propaganda. As Neal Gabler explains in his book, “the Jews invented Hollywood”.
Once Israel dominated the news media and the Hollywood entertainment industry – it befuddles me that the Arab World continues to allow it to dominate these industries – the propaganda has served as a foundation for even greater libels against the Palestinian people and their cause. The most recent is the Israeli canard that Jews were forced to flee their homes in Arab lands when Israel was created in Palestine. This is used as a means of downplaying and libelling Palestinian refugee claims.
More than 750,000 Palestinian civilians, Christians and Muslims, were forced to flee from their homes in 400 villages and towns inside the area of Palestine that was occupied by Israel after its military conquest in 1947 and 1948. This has been called “ethnic cleansing” by Israeli historians, notably Professor Ilan Pappé.
Although Israel used the cover of the UN Partition Plan of November 1947, the Israeli forces, who were armed by Britain, the US and other Western countries, forcibly evicted the Palestinians with the very clear objective of making Israel as “free” of non-Jews as possible. Only Christians and Muslims were forced at gunpoint to leave or be murdered by Jewish terrorist gangs like the Stern Gang, the Irgun, the Haganah and the Palmach.
In the case of Jews from Arab lands, it is true that many left their homes and properties but they did so not because of persecution from the Arab countries of their birth. They largely left in response to pleas from Zionist fanatics who were seeking to increase the Jewish population of the nascent state of Israel. Several groups, including the World Jewish Congress and the Jewish Agency, offered money and other benefits to any Jewish person or family who left their lands to migrate to Israel. They did the same thing during the British Mandate period prior to the creation of the self-declared “Jewish State” on 14 May, 1948.
Israel doesn’t just lie; it also builds on its lies. Using the canard that is also the official policy of the “Jewish State” — that more than 850,000 Jews were forced by the Arabs to flee their homes and property in at least seven Arab countries — Israeli and Jewish organisations are now seeking to file a $250 billion lawsuit in compensation for lost property.
The lawsuit is not about compensation; it has another purpose. It is intended to counter the legal case that Israel committed war crimes and human rights violations against Palestinians who were forced to flee their homes, property and lands at gunpoint in 1947-48 and again in 1967. It’s all part of an Israeli ruse to undermine Palestinian claims that Israel and its Jewish-only settlements are the true obstacle to achieving peace.
There is one litmus test for this latest lie. While Israel refuses to allow Christian and Muslim Palestinians to return to their former homes and lands – the Right of Return enshrined in international law – the leaders in many Arab countries over the years have urged Jews who fled their homes at the urging of Israeli fanatics to return to the lands of their forefathers, including Iraq. Even Hamas has embraced this idea.
So who is telling the truth and who is the most sincere? A state which ethnically cleansed the indigenous population as a matter of deliberate policy (and continues to do so), and refuses to allow refugees and their descendants to return, as is their legitimate right? Or states which would welcome back with open arms Jews who were enticed to leave for Israel by financial and other inducements? There really is no comparison. Israel has mastered the Big Lie and looks set to get its way, yet again. There really is no end to its lies as it seeks to cover up its atrocities against the people of Palestine.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.