Columnist in Saskatchewan-Based Magazine Accuses Israel of Ethnic Cleansing

Earlier this year, Israel celebrated the 75th anniversary of its independence, marking three-quarters of a century since the modern-day Jewish State was reconstituted in its ancient homeland.

Since May 1948, Israel has faced a ceaseless onslaught of violence and terrorism, perpetrated by its neighbours and terrorist groups, as well as a disinformation campaign waged in order to rewrite the country’s history and reframe it as a foreign interloper in the Middle East.

A recent column by Rana Nazzal Hamadeh in Briarpatch Magazine, a publication based in Regina, Saskatchewan, describing itself as a politics and culture outlet, is only the latest salvo in this effort.

In her column entitled: “A reading list on Palestinian refusal,” Hamadeh, a Palestinian-Canadian visual artist, sought to inform readers that the “nakba,” the Arabic word for catastrophe which refers to Israel’s creation in 1948, “refers to the mass ethnic cleansing of Palestine,” whereby Israel sought to “silence, eliminate, erase and otherwise dominate every aspect of Palestinian life and land.”

The claim that Israel carried out ethnic cleansing is as widely-repeated as it is utter fiction. Israel’s War of Independence began after the country was proclaimed in 1948, when surrounding Arab armies sought to invade and destroy the nascent Jewish State.

Fearing that the sizeable Arab population inside Israel would be caught in the middle of the anticipated slaughter inside Israel, many Arab leaders encouraged their community members to leave the country, expecting that they would return after Israel was destroyed.

Since then, Israel’s Arab population has soared by more than 500 percent, hardly commensurate with what would constitute “ethnic cleansing,” and a tone-deaf insult to those peoples around the world who suffered and endured true genocide and ethnic cleansing.

Hamadeh’s accusation that Israel has sought to “silence, eliminate, erase and otherwise dominate” Palestinian life is similarly without merit or factual basis.

One cannot seriously accuse Israel of attempting to lord over the Palestinians while wholly ignoring the reality that the Palestinians would likely be enjoying self-determination in an independent state if only their leadership had ever sought peace with Israel.

Israel has repeatedly made attempts to further the cause of a Palestinian state. From the 1993 Oslo Accords to its 2000 Camp David peace offers, to its 2005 unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, Israel has negotiated in good faith, and often made painful concessions for peace.

Regrettably, these endeavours have repeatedly been met with Palestinian silence and inaction at best, and an outburst of violence at worst. Had the Palestinian leadership negotiated in good faith with Israel, cut its funding to Palestinian terrorists and their families, and halted the anti-Israel incitement in Palestinian schools and media, there very well may be a Palestinian state today.

Hamadeh, clearly not content to only accusing Israel of ethnic cleansing, also proclaimed it a “settler-colonial” country. This remarkable statement, which tacitly argues that Israel and the Jewish people have no historical claim to the land, is a masterclass in deceit.

While the modern-day State of Israel is only 75 years old, it is built upon three thousand years of uninterrupted Jewish history in the land of Israel. For millennia, Jews have lived in their ancestral homeland – Judea – and no amount of contemporary historical revisionism can change this incontrovertible fact.

Hamadeh’s column, in addition to being a primer on anti-Israel disinformation, also provides a “reading list” of five Palestinians.

One of the books, written by Mohammed El-Kurd, is described as a “razor-sharp collection of stories on Palestinian refusal, longing and rage,” according to Hamadeh.

Though Hamadeh evidently opts not to share with her readers the checkered identity of Mohammed El-Kurd, he is one of the world’s most prominent anti-Israel activists today. El-Kurd has accused “Israeli Jews” of attempting to “invade” Jerusalem’s Old City, has shared images with explicitly antisemitic undertones on social media, has praised Palestinian terrorists, and accused the Jewish State of harvesting Palestinian organs – a modern day blood libel.

As to Hamadeh herself, on her personal blog in 2012, she compared Israelis to the Nazis by saying that: “[Benjamin] Netanyahu and [Adolf] Hitler are the same – The only difference is the name!” According to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, this statement was bona fide Jew hatred. 

As well, via Twitter in 2018 (see the full thread of the now deleted tweet here), she defended Palestinian terrorism, writing:

“Hamas is a political party with an armed resistance wing. Palestine is under illegal military occupation, siege, & subject to an apartheid system with the goal of ethnically cleansing us from our historic land. We have the right to resist & Hamas maintains that right.”

“Even if we don’t support Hamas’s social or political policies, even if we as individuals believe in the power of unarmed resistance, we can’t deny the right to armed resistance. We can’t shy away from talking about Hamas because Israel says that ‘Hamas = Terrorist.’”

“We have to uproot & disrupt the discourse. There can be no excuse for israeli violence on Palestinian life. Because stones and knives and rockets and Hamas are responses to colonization & ethnic cleansing, they are not attacks.”

We can’t be afraid to talk about stone throwing or Hamas. Their resistance is legitimate. If we shy away from this conversation, those things become a powerful weapon for the zionist media when it needs to justify the horrific violence of israeli apartheid.”

Hamadeh’s column is impressive in one area: her noteworthy ability to include so many half-baked anti-Israel charges into one single article.

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