New York Times Highlights the “Nakba” Narrative

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Following hot on the heels of The Guardian, the New York Times has also commemorated the Palestinian “Nakba” by featuring a radical anti-Zionist non-governmental organization called Zochrot.

NY Times Israel bureau chief Jodi Rudoren takes a road trip:

Using the new iNakba app, I saw scores of villages destroyed or abandoned as Israel became a state 66 years ago. …

“Nakba,” Arabic for “catastrophe,” is how Palestinians refer to the events surrounding Israel’s Declaration of Independence.

Yet nowhere does Rudoren explain the origins of the “Nakba,” caused by war of annihilation launched against the nascent Israeli state by neighboring Arab armies and local Arab militias. Instead, readers are treated to a one-sided view that paints the Palestinians as the sole victims. Perhaps Rudoren may wish to mention that Israel lost almost 1% of its population as over 6,000 Israelis were killed in the costliest of all Israel’s wars.

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But this isn’t the only missing context:

Zochrot, Hebrew for “remembering,” has for 13 years been leading tours of destroyed villages, collecting testimony from aging Arabs, and advocating the right of return for millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants.

This description of the Zochrot NGO fails to note the real meaning of advocating for a Palestinian “right of return.” Its implementation, which no Israeli government could ever contemplate, would result in the end of Israel as a Jewish state and its eventual replacement with an Arab-majority bi-national state.

While Zochrot may be portrayed by the NY Times as an NGO responsible for iPhone apps and historical tours, the missing information is revealing. According to NGO Monitor‘s profile:

  • Zochrot is an Israeli NGO established with the aim of “rais[ing] public awareness of the Palestinian Nakba” and “recognizing and materializing the right of return.” Promoting the right of return is equivalent to calling for the elimination of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.
  • As explained by Zochrot founder Eitan Bronstein, “When the refugees return, Jews will become a minority in the country.  Israel as a Jewish state will change radically, and it will no longer be defined as such.  Jews will no longer be able to determine their future…by themselves…. There may be Jews, most of them of European origin, who won’t be able to adjust to a non-Zionist reality, and prefer to use their other passport to move elsewhere…”
  • Zochrot supports a “One State Solution” or a “de-Zionized Palestine,” and refers to Israel as having an “ethnicized and racialized Zionist” system.
  • According to Bronstein, the “occupation” began in 1948, and “Without the right of return, we Israelis will be forever condemned to be occupiers.”

NGO Monitor goes on to outline Zochrot’s support for a one-state solution and the end of Jewish sovereignty, as well as the production of a highly disturbing video featuring a radical activist who visits the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and adopts the persona of the “Holocaust,” claiming to be “the best thing that ever happened” to the Jewish people.

How unfortunate then, that the New York Times considered a radical anti-Zionist NGO to be worth publicizing and that the “Nakba” could be presented with so little relevant context.

You can send your considered comments to the New York Times letters page - letters@nytimes.com - remembering to include your telephone number and address if you wish to stand a chance of being published.


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The above is how Haaretz chose to illustrate the tensions in U.S.-Israel relations. This cartoon by Amos Biderman is offensive ...