UK Media Watch

Guardian trots out Karma Nabulsi to attack Israel’s right to exist

Yesterday, the Guardian did what if often does: they published an op-ed designed to undermine Israel’s fundamental right to exist.  The op-ed was written by Karma Nabulsi, an Oxford academic and former PLO representative who, unsurprisingly, rejects a Jewish state within any borders.

The piece is putatively about the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but ultimately simply uses the news as a springboard to a broader point she’s made previously at the Guardian and elsewhere: that Israel is a ‘settler colonial entity’ that has ethnically cleansed ‘Palestine’ and has no political or moral legitimacy.

 Nabulsi opens her piece by mourning the upcoming 70th anniversary of “the catastrophic destruction of the Palestinian polity”.

However, what she refers to as the “destruction” of the “Palestinian polity” was the flight of Palestinian Arabs in an Arab war of annihilation against the nascent Jewish state. The “Palestinian polity” that could have existed per the UN partition plan was summarily rejected by Palestinian and Arab leaders.  

Moreover, there was never any such “Palestinian polity” in history in the sense she means, and, by definition, you can’t destroy something that never existed in the first place. In fact, its fair to say that when the Jewish state was established in 1948, it represented the first “Palestinian polity” in history.

Tellingly, Jews are nearly absent in Nablusi’s tale, except when they’re alluded to in the pejorative as “European settler colonialists”.  (Whilst the word “colonialist” in some form is used 15 times in her piece, and the word “settler” 10 times, some version of the word “Jew” only appears once.)

She also avoids mentioning to Jewish history in the region, and the fact that Jews are indigenous to the land, and omits the Holocaust as well as the ethnic cleansing of 800,000 Jews from Arab lands.  Nabulsi’s suggestion throughout her op-ed that Israelis are ‘white European colonialists’ couldn’t be sustained if her readers knew that nearly half of Israel’s population descend from the Jewish refugees of the Arab world.       

The broader truth obfuscated by Nabulsi is that the modern state of Israel is merely the latest chapter within the Jewish people’s 3,700 year connection to and history in the land.

Jewish national rights which were recognized by the international community in the 1922 Mandate for Palestine – arguably the earliest modern legal codification of an area known as “Palestine” – reflected an understanding of indisputable facts about Jewish history.

Finally, Nabulsi claims that “in Jerusalem… [a] gradual ethnic cleansing is being practised today”.

This is actually second time in two days that this accusation has appeared in the Guardian.  On Dec. 11th, a letter signed by artists and performers (including Roger Waters) was published in the paper which included the canard that Palestinians are being ethnically cleansed from Jerusalem.

We responded to that letter with the following tweet, citing figures from the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research showing that, since 1967, the increase in Jerusalem’s Palestinian population has outpaced the growth of the city’s Jewish population.

As you can see, the accusation that Palestinians have been “ethnically cleansed” from the holy city is a lie. But, of course, as Nabulsi’s polemical assault on Jewish national rights in their ancestral homeland again indicates, the Palestinian national movement is governed far more by antipathy towards Jews and propaganda, than by justice, truth or historical accuracy.

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