Guardian falsely claims Palestinians were ethnically “cleansed” from Jaffa

The Guardian today published a review by anti-Israel writer Ben Ehrenreich of a book called Stone Men: The Palestinians Who Built Israel by Andrew Ross.

Ehrenreich’s review – which naturally avoids any semblance of balance or nuance and toes the desired Guardian narrative of Zionist original sin – includes the following claim:

[Jews] constructed a brand new modernist city distinct – and segregated – from its ancient neighbour, Palestinian Jaffa, which was built of weathered stone. In 1948, Jaffa would be cleansed of 97% of its Arab population

The word “cleansed” of course would suggest to most readers that 97% of Palestinians were expelled or in some way forced out by Israeli forces that year – a claim totally at odds with the historical record.  As CAMERA, and commentator Dr. Petra Marquardt-Bigman, recently demonstrated in response to a NY Times article, the overwhelming majority of Jaffa’s Arab residents fled in 1948 – and were not forcibly removed.

CAMERA wrote the following:

In City of Oranges: An Intimate History of Arabs and Jews in Jaffa (W.W. Norton & Co), journalist Adam LeBor detailed the flight of Jaffa’s Arabs…and contains considerable description of the Arab flight from Jaffa, [yet provides] no indication of any forced expulsions.

Marquardt-Bigman noted in her blog post that Ibrahim Abu-Lughod, a political science professor who left Jaffa in May 1948 (and was also quoted by LeBor), likewise documented the flight of Jaffa’s Arabs, and similarly didn’t suggest the Palestinians were expelled by soldiers of the nascent Jewish state.

Read the full CAMERA post here, and Marquardt-Bigman’s post – which includes important historical context regarding the Palestinian population in Jaffa – here.

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11 replies »

  1. Another misfact: “Similar conditions would create an exploitable class of workers in the lands occupied after the 1967 war. By then, pale limestone – branded as “Jerusalem stone” though most of it is quarried from the West Bank hills – would become the dominant material used to build Israeli communities”

    “In 1918 Sir William McLean, the city engineer of Alexandria, was invited to Jerusalem by Storrs in order to prepare a town plan. Two months after his arrival he submitted a master plan. McLean’s plan aimed at preserving the Old City and the Mount of Olives, while developing areas to the west and north. Building was also forbidden in the area adjoining the Old City walls, so as not to obstruct the sight of the walls from afar. In order to ensure the basic principles of this plan Ronald Storrs forbade new building without his written permission. Later Storrs issued a law that required that all construction in the city use only “native Jerusalem stone”.

  2. From the Wiki “Jerusalem Stone” entry: According to Israeli geologist Ithamar Perath, residents of Jerusalem in antiquity built their homes from Jerusalem stone quarried in the city and used the pit that remained as a cistern to collect rainwater beneath the home. Ancient quarries around Jerusalem include the site of the bus station in East Jerusalem, Rehov Hamadregot in Nahlaot and the Garden Tomb.[1] The remains of ancient quarries can also be seen near Yemin Moshe, in the Sanhedria neighborhood, and elsewhere.[2] …In 1923, Aharon Grebelsky established the country’s first Jewish-owned “marble” quarry in Jerusalem (actually of mizzi stone, since there is no marble in Israel). Grebelsky’s son Yechiel expanded the business, employing over 100 workers, including quarriers, stonemasons, fabricators and installers. The company inaugurated a new factory in Mitzpe Ramon in January 2000.”

  3. Herbert Pritzke, a German prisoner of the British in the middle east, was able to leave the POW camp and join Arab irregular and mercenary forces along with other former German and allied prisoners. His military service with the Arabs took him to Jaffa where he describes the Arabs as fleeing rather than being forced out after Jewish forces circa
    April 1948 fired a few artillery shells after months of Arab sniping at civilians on the streets of Tel Aviv, which killed scores.
    Another two writers of that period who deal with Jaffa are John Roy Carlson, in Cairo to Damascus, and Kenneth Bilby in New Star in the Near East.

  4. Look, Israel can’t win with the liberal media…nothing it does or doesn’t do is going to make any difference. They have a similar view as Britain’s Jeremy Corbyn and the Left.

    The Left’s main constituency is composed of life’s losers. You can’t be a big winner and be part of the Left…Granted Corbyn’s idols, Marx and Trostsky were Jews, but they were intellectuals and part of the then hard Left. Yet, through much of western history Jews were seen as losers, the poster people of the Left…but after Israel was resurrected and defeated all its enemiies, becoming a rich and powerful little country, Corbyn and the Left felt betrayed…The Jews were winners…can’t have Jews as winners. Got to find a new underdog.

    To make matters worse, the Lefty Israeli Labour Party lost power to the Right Wing Likud Party and hatred took the place of envy for the Left and the liberal media. The answer was the so called Palestinian People, now the underdogs the Left needed…it didn’t matter that Arab cultural and social norms are despised by the Left…forget that…they are the Left’s new chosen people.

    The answer: Tell the Guardian et all to fuck off…Israel should stop trying to be part of the West.

  5. “…its ancient neighbour, Palestinian Jaffa”???
    Ancient ‘palestinians’? Here we go again.
    He easily could have said,”ancient Jaffa, with its majority Arab population,” but clearly he wanted to put out a different biased and historically false subtext.
    “and segregated” Oh, how tiresome this gets. Arabs pressured the British into cutting off Jewish immigration. Arabs rioted against Jews. Please, Mr. Ehrenreich, go sing Zip a Dee Doo Dah someplace where it’s appropriate.