Questioners who seek to challenge…not learn

While most Jews are ready to acknowledge Palestinian rights, it disconcerts Israel Bonan to meet people who do not accept Jewish refugee rights. They try to ‘dismantle the facts’ and argue that the Jews have no right to return as they left nothing of worth in their countries of origin. Even more galling, they claim the Jews were never ‘loyal citizens’ anyway.

“It is always disconcerting, at least to me, when I realize that many — and I mean a lot of — people still have no idea what happened to Jews from Arab countries before as well as after the establishment of the State of Israel.

“Myself, (I am a Jew who was born in Egypt) as well as a lot of other Jews from Arab countries, we have found our voices, and we started to describe our own refugee plight to others, be it individually or in internet forums and lists.

“Once in a while we come across a few who ask probing questions and who genuinely want to know about our experiences, while others only seek to dismantle whatever factual stories we bring to the discussions.

“Of the questions that seem to pop up most often, two questions are most important to this discussion; because they are invariably asked to challenge and not to learn, to tear apart a conciliatory point of view or to simply present an in- your-face argument that purports to negate anything of value we may have contributed to the discussion thus far.

“One, “…. Of course you have the right to return to Egypt, but do you want to? The Palestinians who lived in refugee camps since 1948 do! …”

“The second, a bit more cynical than the first; “… Out of curiosity, where was your loyalty? To Egypt? To Israel? What about the Lavon affair? …”
Let us address the questions in sequence. The first question can also be parsed into two inter-related topics, the first, while we have the right to go back to Egypt, do we want to?; while the second half of the question deals with the flip side of the coin that the Palestinians do want to go back.”

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