We can’t say we were surprised that Jewish refugees did not feature in president Obama’s much vaunted speech in Cairo.
But many people have found shocking the extent to which he has ‘bought into’ Arab propaganda. This holds that there is an equivalence between Jewish and Palestinian ‘narratives’:
As the inimitable Petra Marquardt-Bigman puts it in The Guardian:
While it is clear enough from history that Zionism predated the Holocaust, Obama’s speech leaves room for the popular Middle Eastern misperception that the Jews were “compensated” for the Holocaust with a state in Palestine. In a speech that amply quoted religious scripture and did not shy away from sensitive subjects, there could perhaps have been a mention of the yearning for the Land of Israel and Jerusalem that is an integral part of Jewish prayer and ritual. Moreover, given that Obama was trying to establish a certain symmetry by describing Jews and Palestinians as “two peoples with legitimate aspirations, each with a painful history that makes compromise elusive”, it would have been arguably more persuasive and indeed more appropriate to refer to the hundreds of thousands of Jews who were driven out of Muslim countries in the wake of the UN partition plan of 1947. After all, watching Obama’s speech in Cairo meant for some Israeli Jews to see the American president in their hometown.
In reality the plight of the Palestinians is the unintended by-product of an antisemitic genocidal project-gone-wrong. This genocidal project was originally Hitlerian and the Palestinian leadership was its driving force. Radicalised Arabs connived in it and sympathised with it. They have never been called to account for their part in it.
To be frank, the 1948 Arab genocidal project (“This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades” – Azzam Pasha, sec-gen of the Arab League) was carried out on two fronts – it was a war against the Jews of the Arab world, and it was a war against the Jews of Palestine. The struggle to ‘ethnically cleanse’ Jews from the Arab world was a resounding success; but in Palestine the Jews miraculously defeated the Arab campaign to destroy them in the only corner of the Middle East they can call their own.