On May 13, the MSNBC host brought on Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib to talk about her “Nakba” event at the U.S. Capitol, which, after being originally shut down by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, was held thanks to an intervention by Senator Bernie Sanders. The “Nakba,” or the “catastrophe,” refers to the day of the State of Israel’s establishment on May 15, 1948, which we are supposed to believe was and remains the cause of the Palestinian refugee situation and the lack of a Palestinian Arab state to this day.
Ayman, referencing Speaker McCarthy’s acts, told his audience: “You see, Republicans are not only on a mission to rewrite and erase our own American history, it seems now they want to do the same with the history of people outside of the United States.”
“The height of irony” would be an understatement, given that the “Nakba” narrative, as presented by Ayman and Tlaib, is one of rewriting a war of aggression launched on the nascent Jewish state into a story in which the aggressors are the victims.
Israel’s War of Independence began even before the State of Israel was declared in May 1948. Within hours of the United Nations voting to recommend partition in November 1947 – which would have seen the creation of both Jewish and Arab states – Palestinian Arabs began launching attacks on the Jewish community. While the Palestinian Jewish community had supported the partition plan, the Palestinian Arabs rejected it. Jamal Husseini, a relative of the Nazi collaborator Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Amin al-Husseini and leader in the Arab Higher Committee (which represented Palestinian Arabs in UN meetings), had promised, in reaction to the proposed partition plan, that “the blood will flow like rivers in the Middle East.” As a February 1948 report of the UN Palestine Commission documented, “Powerful Arab interests, both inside and outside Palestine, are defying the [Partition Plan] resolution of the General Assembly and are engaged in a deliberate effort to alter by force the settlement envisaged there.” Between the adoption of the partition resolution and the declaration of Israel’s independence, Jewish villages remained under constant attack by Arab forces. Jewish convoys and villagers were massacred, like in Kfar Etzion, where Arab forces killed over a hundred.
On May 15, 1948 – the day commemorated by “Nakba Day” – surrounding Arab armies invaded the State of Israel, which had just been declared. As Shany Mor points out in his timely piece on the subject, it was the “first major violation of Article 2 of the United Nations Charter, which forbade the ‘use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state’.”
Yet, Ayman’s audience was left completely unaware of any of this information.
The point is not so much that Palestinian Arabs didn’t suffer or weren’t displaced in one form or another, though many claims have proven to be wildly exaggerated or misleading.
Rather, it’s to suggest that if Ayman and Tlaib are going to complain that the history of the Palestinian Arabs’ displacement is being “erased” and “rewritten,” intellectual honesty and basic integrity demand they also mention that the reason Palestinian Arabs were displaced was because they launched a war against Jews to destroy the latter in their indigenous homeland.
But Ayman’s efforts went beyond just historical revisionism.
Talking about Tlaib’s “Nakba” event, Ayman said:
It all comes after a week in which the Palestinian Health Ministry confirmed that 30 Palestinians, six of them children, were killed. 90 more injured from Israeli air strikes launched on the Gaza Strip and all of this serves as a brutal reminder that yet another generation of Palestinians’ existence remains under deadly threat, just as their ancestors did 75 years ago.
No mention of the fact that those “air strikes” were launched on an internationally designated terrorist organization, Palestinian Islamic Jihad. No mention of the fact that 18 of those Palestinians were terrorist operatives (perhaps as many as 20, based on open-source information), nor of the fact that five Palestinians were killed by PIJ’s own rockets. Also left unaddressed are the 100+ rockets PIJ had launched at Israeli civilians a week earlier that prompted the IDF’s targeted killing of PIJ leadership on May 9. The 1,478 Palestinian rockets that came after are also omitted.
As with Ayman’s erasure of the Arab war launched to prevent and then destroy the Jewish state in its infancy 75 years ago, so too does Ayman erase the fact that PIJ – as well as other Palestinian terrorist factions – remains devoted to Israel’s destruction today.
Ayman was clearly not content to merely rewrite and erase history. He also chose to rewrite and erase current events.