Thursday, August 5, 2010

Selective amnesia

In a story about continuing insecurity in Iraq due to sectarian violence and the desire of many Iraqis to leave the country, Reuters describes the scope of the crisis:
"Fundamentalists told me over the phone: if you don't quit work we will either kill you or one of your children," said Ahmed, a father of a son and two daughters who said he was afraid to give his full name.

The journalist hopes to join over 4.7 million Iraqis who have left their homes since 2003, in what the United Nations refugee agency, the UNHCR, calls the worst humanitarian crisis in the Middle East since 1948. Some 700,000 people, half the Arab population of Palestine in May 1948, fled or were forced to flee from their homes after Israel was created.
Note here how Reuters cites a UNHCR reference to the humanitarian crisis in the Middle East in 1948 and amplifies on this by referring exclusively to the Palestinian Arabs who fled their homes in Israel.  Conveniently omitted, is any mention of the even-larger number of Jewish refugees expelled from Arab lands at around the same time: between 800,000 and 1 million Jews -- including 150,000 Iraqis -- were forced to flee their homes due to physical and political insecurity, i.e., persecution, property confiscations, and pogroms.

That these Jews were subsequently welcomed and assimilated into Israel as full citizens (unlike the Palestinians who were forced into camps in Arab countries) does not diminish the tragedy and magnitude of the crisis the Jewish expulsion represented.

Reuters and other standard-bearers for the Palestinians frequently highlight the plight of the Palestinian Arabs following the creation of the state of Israel, yet appear to have completely forgotten history when it comes to Jewish affliction.

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