As Palestinians mourn their Nakba, the UK must acknowledge its responsibility by Ahmad Samih Khalidi
Next year is the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. It behooves the UK to face up to its role in the dispossession of the Palestinians.
(Photograph: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images)
Today marks the 68th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe): the Palestinians’ dispossession and the loss of their homeland. Yet while the Palestinians’ plight remains without redress, in the UK over the last few weeks we have witnessed a different, if related, debate, which has deflected attention to another issue; that of antisemitism in the Labour party.
Few genuine supporters of the Palestinian cause can be ignorant of the distinction between antisemitism and anti-Zionism. Indeed, this distinction has long been part of the Palestinians’ national and political discourse, and has been embraced and cultivated as a matter of demarcating a sharp line between racism and opposition to a political ideology.
Anyone who knows anything about the history of the Palestine-Israel conflict should thus be well aware of the danger of evoking the Nazis when talking of Israel or Zionism, not only because the analogy is in principle repugnant, but because it distorts the true character of this conflict. Whatever else this may be, it is emphatically not a rerun of Hitlerite attempts at extermination.