Why Jews need to talk about the Nakba
Saturday, May 14 2011|Noam Sheizaf
A personal journey
A childhood memory: A group of kids and their teacher on a school trip. They are walking through excavations, listening to explanations from a tour guide about their ancestors who lived there two thousand years ago. After a while, one of the kids points to some ruins between the trees. “Are these ancient homes as well?” he asks. “These are not important,” comes the answer.
Growing up in the seventies and the eighties you couldn’t miss those small houses scattered near fields, between towns and Kibbuzim and in national parks. Most of them were made of stone, with arches and long, tall windows. In other places they had cement walls. Sometimes all you could see was part of a stone fence, a couple of walls with no roof, or the rows of Indian fig that Palestinians used to mark the border of an agricultural field (it is one of history’s ironies that the Hebrew name of their fruit – the Sabra – became the nickname for an Israeli-born Jew).
Long time musical activist, song writer and poet, David Rovics, listening to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to the US Congress, wrote the following piece and the musical (video) response.
“For a long time now, every time I hear an Israeli patriot or apologist complaining that such-and-such a group or government won’t recognize Israel as a Jewish state, I always wonder — even if there is a good reason the Christians, Muslims and atheists of Palestine should live under some form of Jewish rule, how does one go about recognizing the legitimacy of a state that itself won’t disclose exactly what its borders are? How does that work? Nobody seems to know. Ask the next Israeli you meet and see what they say. Where are your country’s borders?”