Guardian

Ethnic Cleansing, real and imagined


“Historically, there was an exchange of populations in the Middle East and the number of displaced Jews exceeds the number of Palestinian Arab refugees. Most of the Jews were expelled as a result of an open policy of anti-Semitic incitement and even ethnic cleansing. However, unlike the Arab refugees, the Jews who fled are a forgotten case because of a combination of international cynicism and domestic Israeli suppression of the subject. The Palestinians are the only group of refugees out of the more than one hundred million who were displaced after World War II who have a special UN agency that, according to its mandate, cannot but perpetuate their tragedy. An open debate about the exodus of the Jews is critical for countering the Palestinian demand for the “right of return” and will require a more objective scrutiny of the myths about the origins of the Arab-Israeli conflict.” – Avi Becker

The Israelis are the worst ethnic cleansers on the planet.  They have consistently, throughout their 62 year history – despite its dastardly desire (according to its critics) to cleanse the state of its non-Jewish citizens – allowed the Arab/Muslim community to grow exponentially throughout the years.

However, the insidious charge of ethnic cleansing against Israel at the Guardian is so frequent its become a banality. Ben White, Gideon Levy, Seth FreedmanNeve Gordon, Daphna BaramKen Livingstone and others casually employ such vitriol.

Most recently, a letter was published in CiF by serial Israel haters, again leveling the charge of ethnic cleansing, imploring Labor’s new leader, Ed Miliband, to break from tradition and withdraw his support for the Jewish National Fund.  The open letter was signed by (among others) Tony GreensteinProfessor Moshe Machover, and Professor Mona Baker.

Ethnic Cleansing” is typically described as the planned deliberate removal from a specific territory, persons of a particular ethnic group, by force or intimidation.

Indeed, such a definition perfectly describes the expulsion of Jews from Arab countries between 1948 and 1967.

In April 2008 a bipartisan resolution (H. Con. Res. 185) passed the U.S. Congress that recognized the forgotten exodus of nine hundred thousand Jews from Arab countries who “were forced to flee and in some cases brutally expelled amid coordinated violence and anti-Semitic incitement that amounted to ethnic cleansing.”

Between the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and the Six Day War in 1967, there was a mass Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim lands, Jews  that either fled from persecution and anti-Semitism or were forcibly expelled.  They were ethnically cleansed from their homeland. Most migrated to Israel, where today, they and their descendants constitute about 40% of Israel’s population.

In all, (approximately) there were 856,000 Jews living in Arab countries in 1948, while today the population is about 5100.  That means that over 99% of Arab Jews have been cleansed from Arab lands.


Interestingly, even a cursory look at Palestinian population statistics reveal that such charges (of ethnic cleansing against Israel) are absurd – and that, at the very least, Israel, unlike its Arab neighbors, are completely inept at the practice of ethnic cleansing.

For instance.  One of the charges heard most frequently today is that Israel is trying to “Judaize” Jerusalem, and are “ethnically cleansing” their Muslim population.  Yet, somehow, the Muslim population in Jerusalem, rose from 58,000 from the time Israel took control of the city in the aftermath of the Six Day War in 1967, to about 250,000 today.

In 1949, just after the state was founded – in the aftermath of the war of Independence – there were 159,000 Arabs living in Israel.  Today, there are roughly 1.4 million.  In fact, Arabs represent a greater percentage of Israel’s total population today, 20%, than they did in 1949, 14%.

In the West Bank, the Arab population has risen from 462,000, in 1948, to roughly 2.4 million today.

Actual cases of ethnic cleansing in the second half of the 20th century, include:

  • In September 1955 the Istanbul Pogrom, secretly backed by the Turkish government, was launched against the Greek population of Istanbul. The mob also attacked some Jews and Armenians of the city. The event contributed greatly to the gradual extinction of the Greek minority in the city and country, which numbered 100,000 in 1924 after the Turko-Greek population exchange treaty. By 2006 there were only 2,500 Greeks.
  • Between 1957–1962 President Nasser of Egypt carried out an Anti-European policy, which resulted in the expulsion of 100-200,000 Greeks from Alexandria and the rest of Egypt. Many other Europeans were expelled, such as Italians and French.
  • In July 1960, five days after the Congo gained independence from Belgium, the Force Publique garrison near Léopoldville mutinied against its white officers and attacked numerous European targets. This caused the fear amongst the approximately 100,000 whites still resident in the Congo and led to their mass exodus from the country
  • Burmese Prime Minster Ne Win’s rise to power in 1962 and his persecution of “resident aliens” (immigrant groups not recognized as citizens of the Union of Burma) led to an exodus of some 300,000 Burmese Indians. They migrated to escape racial discrimination and wholesale nationalization of private enterprise a few years later in 1964.
  • During the Bangladesh War of Independence of 1971 around 10 million Bengalis, mainly Hindus, fled the country to escape the killings and atrocities committed by the Pakistan Army.
  • The communist Khmer Rouge government in Cambodia disproportionately targeted ethnic minority groups, including ethnic Chinese, Vietnamese and Thais. In the late 1960s, an estimated 425,000 ethnic Chinese lived in Cambodia; by 1984, as a result of Khmer Rouge genocide and emigration, only about 61,400 Chinese remained in the country. The small Thai minority along the border was almost completely exterminated, only a few thousand managing to reach safety in Thailand. The Cham Muslims suffered serious purges with as much as half of their population exterminated. A Khmer Rouge order stated that henceforth “The Cham nation no longer exists on Kampuchean soil belonging to the Khmers” (U.N. Doc. A.34/569 at 9)
  • In 1987 and 1988 Al-Anfal Campaign, the Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein started a violent campaign against Iraqi Kurds in Northern Iraq, and Massacred 100,000 to 182,000 non-combatant civilians including women and children; destroyed about 4,000 villages (out of 4,655) in Iraqi Kurdistan. Between April 1987 and August 1988, 250 towns and villages were exposed to chemical weapons; destroyed 1,754 schools, 270 hospitals, 2,450 mosques, 27 churches; and wiped out around 90% of Kurdish villages in targeted areas.
  • In 1991, in retribution for supporting Saddam Hussein against Kuwait during the 1990 Invasion of Kuwait, Kuwait carried out the expulsion of 400,000 Palestinians.
  • The widespread ethnic cleansing accompanying the Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992–1995): Large numbers of Croats and Bosnians were forced to flee their homes and were expelled by Serbs. Beginning in 1991, political upheavals in the Balkans displaced about 2,700,000 people by mid-1992, of which over 700,000 of them sought asylum in Europe.
  • In October 1990, the militant Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), forcibly expelled the entire ethnic Muslim population (approx 75,000) from the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. The Muslims were given 48 hours to vacate the premises of their homes while their properties were subsequently looted by LTTE. Those who refused to leave were killed. This act of ethnic cleansing was carried out so the LTTE could facilitate their goal of creating a mono-ethnic Tamil state in Northern Sri Lanka.
  • Since 2003, Sudan ethnically cleansed several black African ethnic groups in response to a rebellion by Africans – attacks by militia known as the Janjaweed and Sudanese military and police forces on the African population of Darfur, a region of western Sudan. 75,000 Arabs from Chad and Niger crossed the border into Darfur. Most have been relocated by the Sudanese government to former villages of displaced non-Arab people. Some 450,000 have been killed and 2.5 million have now been forced to flee to refugee camps in Chad after their homes and villages were destroyed. Sudan refuses to allow their return, or to allow United Nations peace-keepers into Darfur.

Clearly, compared to the rest of the world, Israel has failed miserably at the task of ethnic cleansing – one of the few Israeli failures that will likely go unnoticed by The Guardian.


12 replies »

  1. Adam – if you run down the list of signatories, its a who’s who of the vilest Israel haters, all associated one way or another with groups dedicated to Israel’s destruction.

    How od it is, in this time of global warming, that the one organization that as early as a hundred years or so realized it could make a positive change and the local environment and microclimate is the target for these obsessed lunatics. Many are “as-a-jews” like Tony Greenstein, who only “remember” their Jewish roots in order to use that as a basis to justify their obsessive, irrational hatred of Israel and other Jews.

    After all – if they are so uninterested in their Jewish heritage, why do they spend their days and nights writing letters like that one?

  2. Hi Akus,

    To answer your question:

    “if they are so uninterested in their Jewish heritage, why do they spend their days and nights writing letters like that one?”

    As Richard Landes has said, such people are “proud to be ashamed to be Jewish”.

    Seriously, though, I think people like Greenstein seek the approval of fellow “progressives” – approval which only can be earned by expressing contempt towards Israel. Think of it as intellectual peer pressure, of sorts. Remember in school, when you’d say something, not because you believed it, but simply because you wanted to fit in (the social bullies had a lot of sway as a child). Well, I truly believe that part of the dynamic of Jewish defamers of Israel is their wish to “fit in” to their community. I can’t get into the mind of such Jews, but I’m convinced that part of their hostility stems from a lack of inner-strength – the inability to stand up to the political/intellectual bullies in their midsts.

  3. Members of my family in Iraq were quite wealthy,they were kicked out with just their clothes on their backs.They had to leave all their belongings behind,houses businesses,everything.

    Coming to Israel,they lived in a maabara,in tin shacks and tents.No UNRWA in sight.

    Now in Israel,most of them have done very well,even better than before.No bitter and miserable Rachel Shabbies,no Avi Shlaim’s.

    No traitors,in the family.Just very happy and contented successful Israeli’s.

  4. BTW,there is a good and quite disturbing article in Ynet by Avi Rath titled ………Europe,prepare for flood……

  5. Just to bring Avi Beker’s piece up to date, the US Congress resolution on Jewish and other refugees was passed in April 2008 and the Knesset passed an important law in February earlier this year stating that peace talks must take account of the rights of Jewish refugees.

  6. Adam that apt description of the miserable contingent should be credited to Anthony Julius I believe.

    I agree that they are like children who are easily bullied. They remind me of those who want to be friendly with the cool clique at school and who don’t have enough integrity or self confidence to be slightly different. Most children grow up however and find their place and their identity. These don’t. They scrabble for a foothold all their lives, pointing to others as blameworthy for all the ills of society.

  7. Akus and Adam

    the “I as a Jew” remind me more and more of stories that are being told about what happens when you are in Stockholm-Syndrome mode.

  8. My own experience is that when I mention the ethnic cleansing of the Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews of North Africa and the Middle East to gentile friends is that they are often shocked and experience something of an “everything I knew was wrong” moment.

  9. These scum who only want to see the destruction of Israel are just simply pure Jew-hating vermin. The self hating Jews such as Tony Greenstein are just cowards who just want to be accepted & loved by their non-Jewish Israel-hating leftist colleagues as equals in denigrating and de-legitimizing ‘The State of Israel’ Tony Greenstein should have the guts to totally disconnect himself from Judaism, he shouldn’t be allowed to be buried in a Jewish cemetry, he should be pronounced dead to Judaism. Why is it that no one cared about the almost 1,000,000 Jews whom were made stateles disenfranchized refugees, they outnumbred the arab refugees from the Post British Mandate of Palestine by almost two to one, however to date no one seems to care about them, they are just Jews, however the real estate that we the jews of the arab world owned could be translated int around five times the size of the whole of Israel today, we lost far much more than the arab refugees did in 1948. Ethnic cleansing was committed by the arabs against the Jews and not the other way around as the enemies of Israel and the Jewish people keep on churning out their digraceful lies to the world. The attitude of these leftists are despicable to say the least, in the skanda countries, Sweden, Denmark & Norway (not Finland) the goverments attitude to their jewish citizens are disgusting, the muslim community now firmly entrenched in those countries after being admitted by these so called tollerant social societies have now become so angered at what is going on in the middle-east that they have taken all their vengeance out on the small jewish communities of these three skanda countries, jews are aspat upon, they are attacked in the street, children are beaten up, synagogues are firebombed aswell as desecrating Jewish graves. For six decades the Jews of Malmo lived without fear today many are fleeing for their lives from Islamic attacks on their communities, parents fear now for the safety of their children and many have moved to the relative safety of Stockholm, London or Israel. Why haven’t the swedish authorities clamped down on these vermin who have terrorised the well established Jewish community of Sweden, they the jewish citizens have given much back to their country of addoption ie. sweden, they have contributed to the welfare of their country in many fields, ie. medicine, the arts, sciences, music, industry etc. etc. what have these muslims given back to show their appreciation to their country of adoption, Jew-hatred, scrounging off the state, hatred towards their host country, threatening behaviour, inflicting their rotten religion of hate onto everyone.