On June 4, 2023, the Prince George Citizen published a letter to the editor from CJPME rebutting the false claims and reductive history in a letter from Robert Walker of the pro-Israel group Honest Reporting Canada, which had mislead readers about Palestine before the Nakba. Here is an excerpt from the letter:
The target of Walker’s attack – Chidiac – made the uncontroversial point that “before European colonization,” modern-day Palestine and its surrounding territories under the Ottoman Empire were generally defined by the peaceful coexistence of many religions including Christians, Muslims, and Jews. This is especially true in comparison to other empires in the world at that time, especially those in Europe. It’s by no means a fringe point and represents a mainstream conclusion among historians today.
Walker attempts to dismiss these historical facts in an effort to justify Israel’s brutal occupation. He points only to tragic events that occurred after European colonization in the lead up to the Nakba (Arabic for ‘catastrophe,’ the term refers to the violent expulsion and forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their land in 1948). Though it goes beyond my basic point, it should be noted that the events Walker references took place when violent Zionist paramilitary groups committed various atrocities. Such manipulative and revisionist arguments have no place in our public discourse.
"The target of Walker’s attack, Chidiac, made the uncontroversial point that “before European colonization,” modern-day Palestine and its surrounding territories under the Ottoman Empire were generally defined by the peaceful coexistence of many religions including Christians, Muslims, and Jews. This is especially true in comparison to other empires in the world at that time, especially those in Europe. It’s by no means a fringe point and represents a mainstream conclusion among historians today."Read more
CJPME’s media analysts were generally disappointed by Canadian coverage of the Nakba. It was too sparse and limited. However, we were glad to see Saltwire and The Telegram both make an effort to cover such an important historical event. Mr. Hynd’s letter gives a concise account of essential facts that will no doubt benefit your readers.Read more
"I was especially happy to see that you highlighted the art exhibition The Mathematics of the Palestinian Nakba75 curated by Palestinian architect Antoine Raffoul. It was insightful to listen to Antoine’s story about fleeing to Lebanon from Haifa with the bare necessities – an experience shared by many Palestinians who were forced to leave their rightful lands. The exhibition – based on the possessions Antoine’s father was able to carry and recover is an important documentation of the dispossession and systemic violence endured by Palestinians. It is also a testament to the history and deep connection that Palestinians have to their homeland."Read more
"The headline change, resulting in the replacement of the world “expulsion” with “displacement” downplays the fact that Palestinians were forced from their land and homes, and creates a factually inaccurate portrayal of the 1948 Nakba. By the time the State of Israel was declared on May 14, 1948, over 200 Palestinian villages had already been “emptied as people fled in fear or were forcibly expelled by Zionist forces, and approximately 175,000 Palestinians had been made refugees." Plan Dalet, adopted by Zionist forces in April 1948 sought to expel Palestinians and destroy, and depopulate Palestinians villages, resulting in at least 750,000 Palestinians forcibly expelled between 1947 and 1949."Read more
"Merci d'avoir inclut la perspective palestinienne de la Nakba. Pour les Palestiniens, ce moment de fête, de célébrations du sionisme et de la création d'Israël est un moment très sombre qui leur rappelle le fait que l'occupation militaire a commencé en 1967 est toujours active, de plus en plus active même."Read more
Although this is presented as Israel’s perspective, this historical account is nonetheless factually inaccurate. By the time the State of Israel was declared on May 14, 1948, over 200 Palestinian villages had already been “emptied as people fled in fear or were forcibly expelled by Zionist forces, and approximately 175,000 Palestinians had been made refugees.” The intervention by the armies of the neighbouring Arab states Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Iraq was partly a response to the large-scale ethnic cleansing campaigns being carried out by Zionist militias, among other reasons. To put it simply, the Nakba started long before the Arab armies got involved. To claim that the refugee crisis was the result of Arab armies “attacking” the territory is to turn the historical record on its head.Read more
"Palestinians continue to suffer from the settler-colonial and apartheid policies practiced by Israel. Palestinians in the occupied territories continue to endure ongoing ethnic cleansing through the forced expulsion in Sheikh Jarrah and Masafer Yatta, home demolitions in East Jerusalem, and daily military raids and violence. Israel also restricts Palestinian access to water, electricity, freedom of movement, healthcare, and family reunification. Moreover, Palestinians are subjected to racist and discriminatory laws that are preferential to Israeli Jews, creating a system of apartheid, as confirmed by international organizations including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, UN experts, and Israeli and Palestinian NGOs."Read more
Thank you for including Palestinian perspectives on the importance of commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Nakba
I appreciate that the article quoted Palestinian U.N. Ambassador Riyad Mansour who raised concerns about the importance of internationally commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Nakba both as a historical and ongoing injustice, as many Palestinians continue to be forcibly expelled from their land for the establishment of Jewish-Israeli settlements. I am glad that you quoted Palestinian foreign minister Riyad Malki who pointed to the failure of the international community and the U.N. to hold Israel accountable.Read more
"I was glad to see this segment which covered a rally organized by Palestinian Winnipeggers near the Manitoba legislature to commemorate 75 years of the Nakba, and the dispossession and violence that the Palestinian people have endured. I especially appreciated your interviews with members of the local Palestinian community, including Rana Abdulla, the founder of the Canadian Palestinian Association of Manitoba."Read more