Remembering the Jewish Nakba
As the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign gathers pace for the 15th of May, with demonstrations worldwide timed to coincide with Israel’s 63rd anniversary, here in London we will be commemorating the ‘Jewish Nakba’ - the ‘Disaster,’ that saw nearly a million Jews forced to flee their homes in Arab countries.
Jews were persecuted, interned and even executed. Some 100,000 square kilometers of Jewish-owned land was seized or abandoned, four times the size of Israel, hundreds of communities destroyed. Billions of dollars of assets were lost.
Of course, the ‘Jewish Nakba’ had a happy ending. Most of the refugees were absorbed into Israel where today they are full and free citizens. Jews from Arab and Muslim countries are now the face of Israel. Virtually none would choose to return to an Arab country. But many families struggled long and hard to rebuild their lives from nothing in Israel and the West.
It would be nice to believe the myths that they left their homes in pursuit of the Zionist dream, but 95% of my encounters have been with elderly people who have told me the horrors of escaping raging mobs with nothing but a single suitcase in their hand. On May 15th their testimonies will be heard.