Late last month, I found out about a supposedly “objective” conference on the Middle East “conflict.” I walked into Gaston Hall expecting, not unreasonably, to find a panel of speakers which would run the gamut from pro-Palestinian to pro-Israel. That didn’t happen. I and the rest of those in the auditorium were presented with two blatantly anti-Israel speakers. The speaker received such verbal blows and attacks by Arab students after his speech as to render moot anything he said remotely sounding like he thought Israel had a right to exist.

But the blatant biases of those chosen to speak was not the worst of it; their propagation of lies was. The land of Israel was constantly referred to by one man who spoke as “the oppressor … [the Palestinian people are living constantly] in the shadow of the oppressor.” Much was made of the “fact” that pre-state Israel expelled the Palestinians from its borders prior to the War of Independence in 1948, and now have the “right of return.” This term is probably one of the most misused when it is uttered in the context of the Palestinian “refugees” in the 21st century. First, the vast majority of those who are now trying to claim such a “right” weren’t even alive during the time when the Palestinians were “expelled,” and so the idea that they deserve to `go home’ is ridiculous. Furthermore, while it is true that prior to Israel’s war of independence these people did indeed leave the soon-to-be Israel in great droves, it was not at the hand of the Jews that they did so. The then-Mufti of the Arab High Committee (the “A.H.C.”), Haj-Amin al-Husseini, ordered them from the land on pain of death. The mayor of Jerusalem at the time, Chaim Weizmann, begged al-Husseini not to follow through with his expulsion plans: “You’re killing your own people!” he cried. But his pleas fell on deaf ears, and so, for propaganda purposes, to gain international sympathy and prompt hatred for an `evil Zionist power,’ the Mufti displaced his own brethren.

If so much is going to be made of the Palestinians “right of return,” what about that of the Jews? During the 1950s, roughly 300,000 Arab Jews were kicked out of their homes in Israel’s neighboring (Arab) countries, where many had dwelt for generations. No outcry arose from the international public when this happened; even today, it has been tidily swept under the rug of lies like those the speakers at Gaston weave. No reparations have been made for these men and women who, if they were among the lucky ones, managed to get out alive.

The Jews who were less fortunate were brutally massacred by the governments of those Arab countries they had called their homelands for so long.

The Jewish people never gave up their claim to that tiny strip of land wedged between much-larger Arab nations. There have been enclaves of Jews dwelling there since Roman times. That land has always rightfully been – and always will be – the land of the Jews.

Anath Hartman is a freshman in the College.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.