Alex Brummer is a reasonable financial journalist. But that’s where it stops. In October 2014, when he was Chair of the International Division of the Board of Deputies, he wrote of the Jewish Community’s response to the wave of antisemitism which followed Operation Protective Edge that “much of the Jewish reaction to all this was unnecessarily panicky”. Imagine him saying this after the negativity directed at Muslims after the Charlie Hebdo shooting: “Much of the Muslim reaction to all this was unnecessarily panicky.” He wouldn’t dare, would he?
In November 2014 he voted for Yachad to join the Board. In 2015 Jonathan Arkush beat him to become Board President. Brummer could have used his position at the Mail to call out Corbyn’s antisemitism but apart from a few articles (one of which was two weeks before the election and on the coat-tails of the Chief Rabbi) he was silent.
Now he has letters in both the Jewish News and the Jewish Chronicle suggesting that more than 700,000 Palestinians ‘were forcibly displaced’ in 1948 and criticising the new Israel Ambassador for supposedly calling this a lie.
What Tzipi Hotovely said at the recent Board of Deputies meeting was 100% correct. She did NOT suggest that it was a lie that some Arabs were forcibly displaced. What she criticised was the distortions of the ‘Naqba’ – the Arabs chose to fight rather than accept the Jewish State, lost and then fabricated a story about mass displacement to try to destroy the Jewish State.
The statement that ‘700,000 ‘Palestinians’ were forcibly displaced‘ is sheer malevolent nonsense. First they were Arabs not Palestinians. Second we know from archives which have been released that most were advised by their leaders to leave temporarily as they knew that war would break out after the UN resolution granting Israel independence. And the Mayor of Haifa begged the Arabs in Haifa to stay put. Brummer needs to read Professor Efraim Karsh, see here and here.
Around 600,000 Arabs left their homes. Only a fraction was driven by Jews/Israelis and twice as many by Arabs. The vast majority simply fled in fear, disorientation, and lack of national cohesion.
In his (longer) JC letter Brummer claims that ‘renowned Jewish and other commentators and historians‘ support his Naqba history – that over 700,000 Arabs were forcibly displaced by Jews. Like who? Ilan Pappe?
The lies of the ‘Naqba narrative’ include that European Jews were imposters in Israel and that there should be no Jewish State in the Middle East. Brummer should be attacking these lies,not implicitly endorsing them.
If he is unwilling to do this let him stick to financial shmoozing at the annual IMF meetings in Washington.
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Four good letters in the JC (31/12) exposing Brummer’s idiocy, well done Gary Mond and Richard Millett and Lyn Julius and Robert Stone. Here’s the letter I sent:
” As a leading financial journalist it is especially disappointing that Alex Brummer misreported what Ambassador Hotovely said. She did NOT deny “the forcible displacement of more than 700,000 Palestinians”. But if she had, she would have been correct: Around 600,000 (not 700,000, see Professor Efraim Karsh) Arabs left their homes; only a fraction were driven out by Jews/Israelis and twice as many by Arabs. The vast majority simply fled in fear, disorientation, and lack of national cohesion. Mr Brummer claims that ‘renowned Jewish and other commentators and historians’ confirm what he erroneously states that the Ambassador denied (that 700,000+ Palestinians were forced out by Jews/Israelis). My request for names and references of these ‘renowned historians’ has thus far received no response.It is clear from the context that the Ambassador’s reference to the Nakba lie was to the genocidal falsehoods that followed the Arab failure to accept UN Resolution 181 (the Partition Plan): namely, the lies that European Jews were imposters in Israel; that there should be no Jewish State in the Middle East; that Zionism is racism; and that there was moral equivalence between the events of 1948 and the Holocaust. How refreshing to have an Israel Ambassador unafraid to court controversy in the interest of truth: surely an object lesson for Mr Brummer. “