800,000 missing Jews: Guardian ‘refugee’ history includes glaring omission.

It’s one thing to re-write history, but quite another to pretend as if a major historical event – involving a well-documented case of ethnic cleansing – never occurred.

A July 25th edition of the Guardian’s Data Blog, edited by Mona Chalabi, was titled ‘What happened to history’s refugees?‘  Here’s the strapline:

People have been forced to leave their countries since the very notion of a country was created. We take a look at some of the largest human movements in history to find out why people left their homes, where they went and what became of them.

This ambitious project includes Israelites: Canaan (740 BC), Edict of Fontainebleau (France 1685), Muhacirs (Ottoman Empire 1783), Pogroms (Russia 1881), WWI (Europe 1914), WWII (Europe 1945), Nakba (Palestine 1948), and others.

Regarding the “Nakba”, here’s their remarkably skewed narrative:

Nowhere are numbers on refugees more contentious than the 1948 Palestinian exodus. An attack by a Zionist military group on an Arab village realised the Palestinians’ worst fears and combined with Zionist expulsion orders, military advances, virtually non-existent Palestinian leadership and unwillingness to live under Jewish control on their homeland. The result was a mass exodus of around 80% of Arabs on the land that was to become Israel. Later absentees property law in Israel would prevent the return of those Arabs. Nakba, meaning “catastrophe” is commemorated on 15 May each year. The UN set up a special agency, UNRWA, to deal with the enormous numbers of refugees requiring assistance that now number around 5 million.

There are so many omissions, misleading and flatly untrue claims about their tale of the flight of Palestinians, but, suffice to say that, in reading the summary, you could be forgiven for not knowing that there was an even an Arab-Israel War in the first place – a war of aggression against the nascent Jewish state without which there wouldn’t have been a refugee problem.  However, this isn’t at all the most egregious historical error in the piece.

The Guardian then proceeds, from the “Nakba”, to the next refugee crisis: Idi Amin’s Order (Uganda 1972).omission

Did you notice an historical omission?  

The Guardian completely whitewashed the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Jewfrom Arab lands between 1948 and 1972.


Jews expelled from Jordan

Jewish Refugees, 1948

As the site of JIMENA (Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa) explains:

…under the heavy weight of Anti-Jewish governments and policy, nearly one million Jews [beginning in 1948] from the Middle East and North Africa had their property confiscated, basic human rights stripped, and were systematically persecuted and victimized. Ultimately these Jews were forced to flee their homes and surrender their nationalities, becoming the “Forgotten Refugees” of the Middle East and North Africa.

Revisionist history of the Middle East conveniently excludes the fact that over half of Israel’s Jewish population live there not because European atrocities during World War II, but because of Anti-Jewish Arab governments who dispossessed and displaced their native Jewish populations following the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. Adopted narratives of the Arab-Israeli conflict fail to address the fact that Israel was the largest refugee camp in the Middle East, providing safe haven to…dispossessed Middle Eastern and North African Jewish refugees whose ancestors had a continuous presence in the region for over 3,000 years.

JIMENA reminds us that, though “UN Resolution 242 asserted that Jews fleeing Arab countries were ‘bona fide’ refugees” the international community, the media and educational systems have continuously ignored their plight.

Of the 800,000 or so Jewish refugees between 1948 and 1972, more than 200,000 found refuge in Europe and North America while 586,000 were resettled in Israel, “without any compensation from the Arab governments who had confiscated their possessions.” Further, unlike Palestinian refugees who were displaced by war, a definitive report, co-authored by Irwin Cotler, concluded  that Jews’ expulsion was part of an intentional and coordinated effort by Arab rulers:

These massive human rights violations were not events that occurred coincidently or haphazardly; nor were they the result only of state-sanctioned patterns of repression in each of the Arab countries, though this would be bad enough; rather, as the evidence discloses, they were the result of an international criminal conspiracy by the League of Arab States to target and persecute the Jewish populations in their respective countries.

It’s one thing to parrot the Palestinian narrative of the “Nakba”, but what the Guardian did was to completely erase from the historical record the well-documented (and completely undisputed) forced expulsion of hundreds of thousands of innocent Jews.

The Guardian’s ideologically inspired animosity towards the Jewish state has crossed a line, and the paper’s editors need to be held accountable for such completely ahistorical propaganda.

48 replies »

  1. Yet again Al-Guardian gets it wrong,One of these days Al-Guardian journobots will learn how to separate fack from fiction and learn how do factual reseached journalism though on Al-Guardian’s current form i cannot see this happening this side of the end of time. Al-Guardian and serious journalism I file it with my JK Rowling Harry Potter and My Terry Pratchett Discworld books

  2. Of course I entirely agree with you, Adam, on the misrepresentation of the “Nakba” and I agree that the issue of Jewish refugees from Arab lands has been “ethnically cleansed” from history.

    On the other hand, it has to be said that, of all the thousands of “exoduses” there have been over the millennia, the Guardian has picked a very small handful of refugee groups to discuss. It is not supposed to be a comprehensive dictionary of refugees, but a bite-sized snap shot of a small sample. In this context, it is not unreasonable for them not to have mentioned the cleansing of Jews from Arab lands.

    BUT – if you are going to mention the “Nakba”, you really can’t get away without even mentioning the “other side of the coin”.

    • You make a fair point, but it’s important to contextualize this as part of a larger pattern of the Guardian (and others in the msm) parroting the Palestinian narrative. Further, and I’m sure you’d agree, there is no moral comparison between the forced expulsion of innocent Jewish citizens from Arab countries and the flight of Palestinians which was prompted by a war initiated by the Arabs themselves.

        • Labenal,
          Let’s turn it around. Do you think that the Guardian and/or Mona Chalabi would ever mention jewish refugees from Arab countries and leave out mention of the Nakba?

      • You’d do yourself a big favor in terms of being perceived as objective if you didn’t use phrases like “parroting” – twice – when it comes to the Palestinian reguee issue.

        That’s the kind of language that anti-Israel posters use re. the very issue you’re talking about.

        • pretzelberg,
          Where did he use the word “parroting” twice (I saw it only once in his response to Labenal), and why would he avoid using a term where applicable? Would you prefer “imitate,” or “repeat?”

          • Penultimate paragaph …

            And surely you know that “parroting” is hardly an objective term.

            • Pretz. Who said Adam or CifWatch is objective? I think you have the wrong end of the stick!

            • Still don’t see it.

              “And surely you know that “parroting” is hardly an objective term.”

              It’s a colorful term meaning ‘repeat mindlessly.’ I don’t quite know what you’re on about.

  3. They have also omitted the fact that a very high proportion of the Arab refugees during the nakba were ordered to leave by the Arab Higher Committee and the Arab Liberation Army. It was certainly not all done by the Israelis. And many Arab villages fled in order to avoitdthe fighting, which was 100% the fault of the Arabs.

  4. It is not an omission Adam. In the Guardian’s books Jews who fled or have been expelled from Arab countries are Arab refugees obviously – the victims of the Jewish colonialists. The discreet charm of anti-Semite “narratives”…

    • Anti-Semitism? Of course – that’s why the biblical Israelites are mentioned.

      Give it a rest FFS.

      • The article also highlights the pogroms in 19C Russia …

        … and the Jewish refugees from Germany during WW …

        “Anti-Semitic narrative”? Don’t be ridiculous!

  5. The G. did not “completely erase from the historical record” or “whitewash” the plight of the Jewish expulsion/exodus after the founding of modern Israel.
    The article was hardly supposed to be a comprehensive list!

    That said: the paragraph on the Nakba is not exactly objective.

  6. “Nowhere are numbers on refugees more contentious than the 1948 Palestinian exodus. ”
    I love the use of the word “exodus.” Nice touch. So biblical, you know? (Anyone find “exodus” anywhere else in the article? It’s the little things that add up.)
    And now for the ‘contentious’ part:
    “…the enormous numbers of refugees requiring assistance that now number around 5 million.” But they don’t. What they require is resettlement in countries willing to take them, you know, like other refugees, rather than separate, special laws for one group, designed to pass refugee status to offspring, prolonging their status while swelling the ranks, or separate, special agencies to prolong the misery on the west’s dime.

  7. I have been pleading the case for the 850,000 Jewish refugees from Arab countries for sixty years. Somehow, in my many years in Israel, I have never met one who referred to him/herself as a refugee. They have gotten on with their lives successfully and enjoy the good mental health to leave all that behind them. And the Israeli government does not constantly remind them of their past misfortune.
    So I find myself now pleading the case for the Palestinian Arab refugees who, for several generations now, wasted their lives in severe mental illness reminded hourly by UNRWA, the UN, professional liberals/anti-Semites, and religious zealots that they ARE indeed refugees. I plead that they will discover that the day they stop calling themselves refugees and get on with their lives productively, they will have the respect of their children, their communities, and the world at large. My own mother survived and fled a Kiev pogrom; she never called herself a refugee nor have I called myself a refugee either.

  8. “People have been forced to leave their countries since the very notion of a country was created. We take a look at some of the largest human movements in history to find out why people left their homes, where they went and what became of them.”

    That is true. So why is the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 not mentioned, an event that created over 15 million refugees.

  9. what about the Hindu and Muslim refugees when India and Pakistan split the next year?

    overall this is classic “underdogma”: you cannot allow someone you view as a hegemon to be a victim who won, and you cannot allow yourself to realize when a victim is actually a hegemon who lost.

    • Richard if you use the UNRWA method of calculating refugee numbers, the original figure of 15 million refugees for India and Pakistan in 1947 is now 15 Billion.
      That the 15 Billion figure is probably twice the total population of the Planet Earth will not get in the way of the ‘creative accountancy’ methods used by UNRWA and the Palestinians to calculate refugee numbers.

      • I used to describe ethnic cleansing by Jews as it works out by ‘Arab arithmetic’. A year or two before independence Britain carried out an informal census and on the basis of that figured out that there were about 400,000 Arabs in the Mandate. Thus a rather different figure for the ‘dispossessed’ is under 450,000. The arithmetic for that: ethnic cleansing = multiplication by 17!

        Quite fair when one considers that the UN description of a ‘refugee’ – a 2 year residence in the Mandate – was brought about by the immense number of scammers. UNRWA – born in sin.

  10. I think it is a disgrace how we see these double standards perpetuated by ragtag of journalists the world over

  11. Following November 29, 1947, vote by the UN on partition of the British Mandate for Palestine, wide scale protests took place across the Arab countries and communities, with Aden being no exception. Shortly after their beginning, the protests in Aden erupted into unrestrained bloody violence against the Jews, triggered by the false accusation of Jews for murder of two local girls.

    • the Jews within reach of the Muslims were punished for the hutzpah of their cousins who thought they could be “a free people in their own land”. they did the same to Jews in Europe during the second intifada. and the stupid Europeans let them do it.

  12. Bataween is right as ar begins by saying “Following November 29, 1947 UN vote on partition of the British Mandate for Palestine” it is obvious that the mass exodus took place before the partition and the expulsion of the Palestinians.

  13. RLandes. Yes, it’s called ‘collective punishment’. But nobody is calling them out on it,assuming that it’s perfectly natural to exact revenge in this way.

    • it’s part of our willing acceptance of the dhimmi demand that we not criticize muslims. it is perfectly natural for them to react in primitive ways (collective punishment,, tribal revenge) and we can’t talk about it because that would “dehumanize” them.

      if sharon goes to the temple mount and they break out into a merciless war on civilians, it’s sharon’s fault; if the pope says it’s a violent religion, and they riot in the street yelling “how dare you say we’re violent” and we say the pope should apologize for provoking them.

      we think we are being generous, but we’re not holding them to the minimal standards of civil society.

      we think we’re being generous, they think we’re accepting the dhimmi yoke willingly.

      the cogwar totals? jihadis 10, west -50 (own goals).

  14. They did not exist in the first place than we expelled 800,000 of them and now 60 years later no more left or atleast not the ones that were eve able to set foot in what they consider their homes – logical I assume – where is the UN getting the figure for 4.5 million –

  15. Gerald I am just looking at some of the inconsistencies in the reporting on this issue – Palestinians did not exist so how were they expelled and home come there are still a few left because after 60 years most are dead -yet some have just returned home after 2000 years

  16. rlandes – you are right they do not even match our minimal standards – that is why we expel them unless we clean them up we can face a complete breakdown of humanity –

  17. It’s a shame that we can’t see your comments on FB. Glaring omission.

    Tania Szapiro

  18. Must show respect to those who will stand for the dispossessed

    The plan recommends allocation NIS 1.2 billion (around 300 million U.S. dollars) to expand and relocate Bedouin communities and offers a regulation process according to which the lands will not be registered to their Bedouin owners but to be turned over to the state.

    There are approximately 200,000 Bedouins living in southern Israel. Bedouins are a desert-dwelling Arab ethnic group, more than half of them reside in the Negev Desert.

    They live in towns and villages, most of which were built before 1948, without infrastructure or construction approvals from the government. They do not get the same services as Jewish residents of the area.

    On Wednesday, members of the progressive Jewish reform movement urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to set aside the legislation process to authorize the plan.

    In a letter sent Sunday to the Prime Minister, Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the movement’s religious action center said that “any plan to resettle the Bedouin community must be developed with its leaders rather than be forced upon them.”

    • They live in towns and villages, most of which were built before 1948?
      Care to give us some example to those places?

  19. People need to tweet this article and this info at that writer. And tweet it at other writers who reference it. And also email it to all of them. And do this doing the workday during business hours during the week.

    As I’ve mentioned before, blogging about this stuff is only half the battle. The bigger part is then spreading the info far and wide, across multiple mediums.

  20. The Beduin have been difficult to accommodate, but Israel is making progress however slowly. Those of us from the West haven’t the slightest notion of what their needs, habits, and impact are. My own family has been involved for most of a year providing volunteer assistance to Beduiin youngsters in entepreneurship in all phases. They are so animated and charming. The group won second prize in the nationwide competition last week. Training goes on.

  21. NSPatel/AnrewBird/Jeremy Bowles/AlanThornton aka Nazisse Jane/Catherine/Samantha aka NS-
    Ismail/Alan/Deborah/Jim/Jason/Dirk/Nick/Natzie/Rob, amended by Gerald with Dopey/Grumpy/Sneezy/Sleazy/Tosser/Dorothy/Straw Man/Dick Head/Drek is a multiple bread.