Robert Capa’s famous photo of a Jewish refugee from an Arab country in the Shaar Ha’aliya camp near Haifa, c.1951
Not all refugees are created equal, Sarah Honig writes in the Jerusalem Post – the Palestinian refugees are the world’s darlings, while the story of the Jewish refugees from Arab lands has been erased and falsified. Even this image of a Jewish refugee girl taken in a tent camp or ma’abara in Israel was promptly hijacked by Arab propaganda and falsely hyped into a Palestinian Arab poster child.
Palestinians have always postured as the Jewish state’s victims, even if it was
they who had attacked Israel. They were rendered refugees in a conflict of their
own instigation, launched with the boastfully broadcast intention to “throw all
the Jews into the sea” – i.e. perpetrate genocide and ethnic cleansing.
Nonetheless, a mere four years after the Holocaust (which the Arabs collaborated
in and cheered) the UN could pass up no opportunity to single out the Jewish
state for blame.
Given this mindset, no special succor was dispensed to
Jewish refugees. The Brits chased them on the open seas to prevent their rickety
“illegal” boats from reaching the Jewish homeland. Those caught were
incarcerated in forbidding camps, under shocking conditions, after having just
emerged from the Nazi nightmare.
Things were no better in Europe’s
Displaced Persons camps, where Jews resided “legally.” Bombastic American Gen.
George Patton regarded exiled and traumatized Holocaust survivors as sinister
scum. He confined the Jews in DP camps under his command, within barbed-wire
enclosures, in stark contrast to his treatment of German civilians – admiration
for whom he never bothered to hide.
Jewish refugees from the Middle East
– who outnumbered the Palestinian refugees, who had resided in the various
currently Arab countries long before the first Arab appeared on their soil, who
didn’t launch wars against anyone, who left behind far greater property than
Palestinians ever had, who were terrorized and robbed in full view of the
uncaring international community – were never even counted as refugees. To this
day world opinion adamantly refuses to concede that an exchange of populations
had taken place here.
Facts will never be allowed to interfere with
popular prejudice – not so long as any refugee episode can be linked to some
Jewish aspect or another.
There’s no end to the shameless perversion of
truth. Soon after Israel’s independence, the young, embattled country was
covered with tent cities full of refugees, many of them from Arab countries. In
early 1950, legendary photographer Robert Capa captured the image of a tiny
weeping girl in Haifa’s Sha’ar Ha’aliya transit camp.
In no time, the
Arab propaganda machine hijacked the evocative image, falsely hyping it as that
of a pint-sized Palestinian refugee crying her heart out. She became an instant
poster child among self-professed humanitarians.
Nobody cared that she
was, in fact, a Jewish refugee crying her heart out. The corrected caption put
the picture out of mind. As we said – not all refugees are created equal.