Israeli ambassador to the United States Michael Oren’s column in today’s New York Times is part of what the Zionist project has attempted to do for the last 60-plus years: erase the Palestinian narrative out of existence and deny that the Nakba ever occured.
Oren’s Op-Ed piece urges the Palestinian Authority to recognize Israel as the “nation-state of the Jewish people” because affirming Israel’s “Jewishness” is the “very foundation of peace, its DNA. Just as Israel recognizes the existence of a Palestinian people with an inalienable right to self-determination in its homeland, so, too, must the Palestinians accede to the Jewish people’s 3,000-year connection to our homeland and our right to sovereignty there.”
The ambassador states that Palestinians won’t do that because “Palestinian identity as a people has coalesced” around denying Israel’s rightful place as Jewish state, and that it would mean throwing away the Palestinian right of return. Oren is right about the Palestinians not wanting to recognize Israel as a Jewish state because it would negate the right of return, but he’s silent about the other core reason: Israel is emphatically not a Jewish state, because twenty percent of their population are Palestinian citizens of Israel, survivors or descendants of survivors of the Nakba, or the catastrophe, which refers to the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians from their land during the fighting that began in 1947.
Oren’s rhetorical erasure of the existence of Palestinian citizens of Israel is purposeful, because bringing their existence up would demolish any exclusive Jewish claim to the land of Israel. It would also bring up uncomfortable questions like: If Israel is a Jewish state, how come there are 1.5 million Palestinian citizens of Israel who are not Jewish? Where did they come from? What would declaring Israel as a Jewish state mean to them? Were they there before Israel was created? What happened to them?
Answering those questions truthfully would blow a giant hole through the Zionist narrative of denying the Nakba ever occurred and affirming Israel’s exclusive Jewish character. Oren’s job is to further that narrative.