lies about 1948



This is unequivocally false, and it’s infuriating that influential politicians such as Rashida Tlaib have spread this blatant lie to their supporters.

Between 1936 and 1939, the Arabs of Palestine revolted against the British. The reason for the revolt? They demanded an end to Jewish immigration to Palestine. Keep in mind, this was at the cusp of the Holocaust, and Jews in Europe were desperate to escape — but they had nowhere to go.

Some 500 Jews were slaughtered during this revolt, and in 1939, to appease the Arabs, the British passed what is known as the 1939 White Paper, essentially fully banning Jewish immigration. To Jews in Europe, this was a death sentence. 

Virtually Jewish immigration to Palestine between 1939 and 1947 was done illegally. Thousands died en route. Most were turned around by the British and imprisoned. 



Many will correctly point out that the Nakba, or the displacement or expulsion of 750,000 Palestinian Arabs, predates the Arab-Israeli War, since by the time of the Arab invasion on May 15, 1948, 300,000 Arabs had already fled. This is all true.

But what they are forgetting to tell you is that the war did not actually start on May 15, 1948; it started on November 30, 1947, the day after the Partition Vote, when Arab mobs in Palestine began attacking Jews near the Jaffa Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem, Arab gunmen ambushed two Jewish buses near Petah Tikva (killing 7), and Arab snipers shot at buses and pedestrians in Haifa, Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv. This marked the start of the first phase of the 1948 war, the civil war period, which raged on for months before the Arab invasion. 

The first 300,000 Arabs to leave tended to belong to the upper class — this included the family of the Palestinian Arab leadership of the time — and left because they had the means to do so. There are zero recorded expulsions in the first four months of the war. 

Between December and May 28, 1948, the Arab forces besieged 100,000 Jews in Jerusalem, with the stated intent of starving them to death. After months of the Jewish forces attempting to cut through the siege, during which Arab villagers continuously sabotaged them by destroying humanitarian aid trucks, the Jewish forces devised “Plan Dalet,” a pages long, hastily written plan in which one single sentence stated that, “in the event of resistance, the armed force must be destroyed and the population must be expelled outside the borders of the state.” Plan Dalet was never adopted as official policy. 

Plan Dalet was a response to Arab aggression, not the other way around. 



Again: this is a blatant lie.

Immediately following the Partition Vote, the Arab leadership in Palestine published a leaflet in Arabic: “The Arabs have taken into their own hands the Final Solution of the Jewish problem. The problem will be solved only in blood and fire. The Jews will soon be driven out.” 

This was, unequivocally, a genocidal threat. The Final Solution, of course, was the Nazi euphemism for their plan to exterminate the Jews. Keep in mind that this happened less than three years after the end of the Holocaust. 

But these weren’t just verbal threats. To reiterate from a prior slide, that very morning, Arab mobs in Palestine began attacking Jews near the Jaffa Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem, Arab gunmen ambushed two Jewish buses near Petah Tikva (killing 7), and Arab snipers shot at buses and pedestrians in Haifa, Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv. By all accounts, they started the civil war.

Similarly, the very next day after Israel announced its independence on May 14, 1948, in accordance with the end of the British Mandate and the terms of the Partition Plan, seven Arab armies from neighboring countries invaded.

Finally, massacres and expulsions did not only affect Palestinians during the war. In fact, proportionally speaking, more Jews than Palestinian Arabs were killed in 1948, many in brutal massacres. Additionally, 850,000 Jews were expelled from neighboring Arab countries, including 40,000 from the West Bank (then known as Judea and Samaria), East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. 



Another blatant falsehood. The neighboring Arab countries were preparing for an invasion before a single Palestinian Arab was displaced from their home. The only reason they didn’t invade sooner was because the British were still in charge. 

In the months leading up to the 1947 Partition Vote in the United Nations, Azzam Pasha, the General Secretary of the Arab League, threatened: “Personally I hope the Jews do not force us into this war because it will be a dangerous massacre which history will record similarly to the Mongol massacre or the wars of the Crusades…We will sweep [the Jews] into the sea.”

By early January, long before the Zionist forces went on the offensive (i.e. Plan Dalet) and long before a single expulsion, the surrounding Arab forces had mobilized and even carried out some attacks. 

According to Sir John Bagot Glubb, the British commander of Jordan’s Arab Legion, “Early in January, the first detachments of the Arab Liberation Army began to infiltrate into Palestine from Syria. Some came through Jordan and even through Amman…They were in reality to strike the first blow in the ruin of the Arabs of Palestine.”



This is a lie for two reasons:

(1) the modern borders of Israel and the Palestinian Territories are quite literally a British invention, dating back to the 1920s. Before that, during the Ottoman period, what is now known as Israel and the Palestinian Territories was divided into various viyalets, like so: 

(2) Between 1939 and 1947, the Arabs in Palestine were offered various iterations of a “one state solution,” with an Arab majority state in all of the territory encompassing the British Mandate, on the condition that the Jews already residing in the territory were absorbed as equal citizens. The Arab leadership rejected every single one of these proposals. Their problem was not with the terms of the partition; their problem was with Jews. 



This is a common claim among those who insist Israel is a colonial project. It’s also a very frustrating claim because it’s blatantly untrue.

First, the British abstained from the Partition Vote to begin with. The Americans only decided to vote in favor of partition at the very last minute.

During the war, the British aided the Arab forces in both official and unofficial capacities. For instance, the British supplied, equipped, and aided the Jordanian and Egyptian Arab Legion. British military officer Sir John Bagot Glubb even commanded the Jordanian Arab Legion.

As for the United States, it quite literally led an arms embargo against Israel in 1948. 



Anti-Zionists frequently cite an out of context quote from Theodor Herzl about the “removal of the poor” as proof that the Zionist movement intended to displace Palestinians from the start. Except they conveniently leave out what comes next: “It goes without saying that we shall respectfully tolerate persons of other faiths and protect their property, their honor, and their freedom with the harshest means of coercion.”

The early Zionist immigrants did not come to Palestine bearing arms. It was only after 18-year-old Moshe Barsky was murdered in 1913 that they began forming self-defense units to guard the kibbutzim. The Jewish paramilitaries — the Haganah, the Irgun, and Lehi — were not formed until after the Arab massacres of Jews in the 1920s, when the British officers failed to protect the Jewish community from violence. 

Jewish land purchases in Palestine during the British Mandate were perfectly legal. About 52.6 percent of the lands were purchased from absentee Arab landowners from elsewhere in the Arab world; 24.6 percent from wealthy Palestinian landowners; 13.4 percent from the government, churches, or foreign companies; and only 9.4 percent from Palestinian fellaheen (farmers, peasants). 

Before the Arab antisemitic pogroms of the 1920s and 1930s, the future first prime minister of Israel and longtime head of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, David Ben Gurion, made statements such as “we do not intend to marginalize the Arabs, or to displace them from their lands and take their place” (1915) and “had Zionism desired to evict the inhabitants of Palestine it would have been a dangerous utopia and a harmful, reactionary mirage” (1918). 



No one gave anyone anything. Many decades before the Holocaust — a horror no one could have possibly predicted — the Jews, just like others in the Middle East, including Arabs, Assyrians, Kurds, and more, lobbied to the colonial powers to make their case for a homeland. 

But it wasn’t just political lobbying; the Jews put blood, sweat, and tears into state-building. In the course of just a few decades, they built an entire infrastructure, including governmental institutions, universities, a healthcare system, agricultural innovation, and more, which is what later enabled Israel to become a functioning state to begin with. All of this took place decades before the Holocaust. 

And when all else failed, the Jews also revolted against the British. In fact, it was the Jewish insurgency, during which the Jewish paramilitaries facilitated illegal Jewish immigration and attacked British military and police targets, that finally prompted the British to leave Palestine. The British didn’t just hand anything over — they were kicked out. 

With the British having washed their hands off the problem, in May 1947, the United Nations created the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine, or UNSCOP, to investigate the best course of action. UNSCOP planned to interview both the Jewish and Arab leadership. The Jewish Agency saw this as an opportunity for the Zionists to plead their case, but the Arab Higher Committee boycotted the committee, incensed that Jewish aspirations were being considered at all. 

Had the Arabs agreed to actually engage with the investigators, they likely could’ve been given what they asked for. 

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