Finding the truth amid Israel's lies
Publisher: Electronic Intifada
Date Written: 30/05/2018
Year Published: 2018
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX22499
The famous and by now overused expression that history is written by the victors can be countered in many ways. One way is by unpacking the victors publications in order to expose the lies, fabrications and misrepresentations, as well as their less conscious actions. A rereading of these open sources about the Nakba, mostly written by Israelis themselves, unlocks fresh historiographical perspectives on the big picture of that period while declassified documents allow us to see that picture in a higher resolution. This reprise could have been done at any moment between 1948 and today as long as historians were willing to employ the critical lens needed for such an examination. Rereading these open sources, especially in tandem with the numerous oral histories of the Nakba, reveals the barbarism and dehumanization that accompanied the catastrophe. The barbarism is common to settler communities in the formative years of their colonization projects and can sometimes be obscured by the dry and evasive language of military and political documents.
A deconstruction of Israels approved history is the best way to challenge a word laundrette that turns ethnic cleansing into self-defense, land robbery into redemption and apartheid practices into security concerns.
There is a sense, on the one hand, that after years of denial, the historiographical picture has been revealed worldwide with clear contours and colors. The Israeli narrative has been challenged successfully both in the academic world and in the public domain.
And yet there is a sense of frustration, given the limited access to declassified documents in Israel to scholars, even Israeli ones, while Palestinian scholars can hardly hope in the current political climate to have any access at all.
Going beyond the archival documents about the Nakba is, therefore, necessary not only for a better understanding of the event. It may also be a solution for researchers in the future, given the new Israeli policy on declassification.