Quote of the day

We need to explode the misconception, commonly held on the Left, that Israel is an outpost of western colonialism and imperialism. Jews were indigenous to the region 1,000 years before the Islamic conquest, with an uninterrupted presence not just in Palestine, but all over the ‘Arab’ world. The Arab invasion turned native Jews and Christians into minorities in their own lands, converting them to Islam, appropriating their shrines and erasing their history. Jews ‘stealing Arab land’ is an offensive inversion of reality. Jews in 10 Arab countries were stripped of their rights and in most cases dispossessed of their property. […]

We need to restore a vital context to the discussion: the conflict is not between the Israeli Goliath and the Palestinian David. It pits six million [Jewish] Israelis against 300 million Arabs. In terms of values, the battle is between pluralistic, democratic Israel and the jihadists of Islam. […]

We need to emphasize that half the Jews of Israel never left the region – they were uprooted from the Arab and Muslim world to a tiny sliver of land on the Mediterranean. If these Jews are now full and free Israeli citizens, it is largely because Israel offered them unconditional refuge from pre-existing Arab and Muslim anti-Semitism.

This anti-Semitism takes the form of an ancient religious contempt for ‘dhimmi’ Jews, on the one hand, and a modern, Nazi-inspired, genocidal Jew-hatred on the other. The former accounts for a deep religious and cultural resistance to the idea of a Jewish state. The latter drove out almost a million Jews from Arab states, and still drives the conflict with Israel. The violence and abuse suffered by these Jews constitute an unresolved human rights issue.

There is a reckoning to be made between Israel and Arab states cleansed of their Jews. At every turn, Israel should be demanding justice for its own wronged refugees. Palestinian losses and any territorial adjustments Israel may make in the future pale in comparison to the deeded land and assets forfeited by Jews forced from Arab countries.

Lynn Julius, Let’s reframe the Israel debate. Lynn is a co-founder of Harif, a UK group representing Jews from the Middle East and North Africa.

 

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