Re: Jeremy Valentine’s Jan. 10 letter, “Ethnic cleansing myth.”
As an Israeli-Canadian born in then Palestine, who served in Israel’s army, including three of its wars, I find Valentine’s letter strange. Most of his assertions are incorrect and incomprehensible.
Many books and articles were written about the Palestinian refugee problem. Many were not written by “revisionist” historians; some were actually written by “mainstream,” academics (e.g. Anita Shapira and Alon Kadosh).
I also suggest Valentine read a book I co-authored in 2011 (Israeli Rejectionism); it may fill the void in his knowledge about what happened in Palestine in 1947-48. If he is not interested in reading a whole book, may I suggest the text of Plan Dalet, conceived by the Jewish leadership prior to 1948. It describes a plan to remove the majority of Arabs from what later became Israel.
Fact: More than one million Arabs (total population 1.6 million) were either expelled or escaped from British Mandatory Palestine. This is well-established and Valentine’s claims do not change this fact.
Furthermore, just because Israel may be surrounded by non-democratic states doesn’t make Israel a democracy as Valentine suggests.
I read many publications from 1947 to 1948, and, while the term “ethnic cleansing” was not yet invented at that time, the allusion to expulsions and massacres was abundant. When preparing our book, we tried to find evidence of “Jews begging Arabs to stay.” Except for a very mild statement by Haifa’s mayor (Shabtai Levi), we could not find any additional pleas.
Glubb Pasha, the British commander of the Jordanian Legion, was not a historian, but he was right: a huge number of Arabs were pushed out before the war began on May 15, 1948.
An old Jewish saying states: “Wise men, be careful with your words.” It behooves Valentine to pay attention.
Zalman Amit, Lunenburg County