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Ken Livingstone and Israel
Last uploaded : Saturday 27th Jan 2007 at 04:01
Contributed by : Dr Yoram Shifftan


Dear Carol

I enjoyed reading your article about Ken Livingstone's remark. What also annoys is that in addition every single allegation KL and his ilk throw at Israel is factually the inversion of the objective truth. For example his statement that the Israelis have thrown out the Arabs 60 years ago when they created Israel.

In fact the Israelis then pleaded with the Arabs to stay and there are many documents, e.g. the respected non-Jewish group from the Hague (Migration in Europe) who in 1957 issued a report describing how Arab leaders in 1948 said that those Arabs that will not leave Palestine in front of the invading Arab countries (in fact those that did move, moved very short distances often remaining within the same areas of Palestine) will be considered traitors (we know how they treat the 'traitors') and be punished.

Those that were courageous enough not to leave are precisely the Arab citizens of Israel today. Under no case was a single Arab village attacked unless they attacked first (e.g. as described in a recent radio program in Israel by the left-wing historian colonel and Dr Meir Pail, now at Tel Aviv university, then in the Hagana) .

On the contrary, the report above has produced copies of leaflets (which I have) telling how the Hagana, and also separately the Jewish workers of Haifa, produced leaflets that were spread among the Arabs pleading with the Arabs to stay and not to listen to their leaders. Special missions were sent to the Arabs trying to convince them to stay and promising them safety and encouraging them toward common happy life together. But many were intimidated by Arab leaders to leave.

There are now many confirmations that this is really what happened by Arab leaders and journalists, and other Arabs themselves(for example some are found in a recent article in PMW, Palestinian Media Watch, and in the the website of the American Arab journalist


including e.g. a Syrian PM of the time) that Arab leaders at the time put pressure on the Arabs of Palestine to leave.

I recall in 1948, when I was between 6 to 7, my parents and me, standing on the balcony, and watching a long line of Arabs, leaving Zarnuga, an Arab village in a Rehovot suburb, and I recall like today, how the adults around me were expressing astonishment, that these Arabs were leaving their village without any pressure on them on the part of the Jews. They just decided one day to move. Later I heard how this showed how much they did not really feel at home in Palestine. Indeed most of them were new comers attracted from neighbouring countries by the economic and other such as health advantages brought to Palestine by the Jews of Palestine (originally this was rejoiced at, see the 1919 Weizmann-Feissal agreement).

In general the problem is that the accepted anti-Israel allegations are accepted like facts whereas in reality they are lies. I specialized over many years in the Hasbara (PR) in general and in relation to international law in particular, in particular in relation to the most common slogans thrown at Israel such as the occupation, illegality of the settlements... the reality is that the inverse of these allegations are the truth.

Until 1992 when Oslo began, official Israel was denying these lies. But in a self-defeating behavior, it is forbidden from 1992, as dictated by the very top of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for Israeli diplomats in public domain such as radio and tv to deny these lies, and as a result even diaspora Jews and Israelis who want to help Israel do not know the facts which are not included in the Israeli education system and in the media even in Israel.

In the diaspora the embassies stopped producing the same material they used to distribute until 1992 which could be used by advocates for Israel, including students, Zionist youth movements, Zionist Christians and others. Unfortunately, organized Jewish organizations align themselves with the line of the government of Israel of the day, even though I warned them against it a number of times over the years. This includes Bicom,the Zionist Federation, and the Board of Deputies of British Jews. The main problem is that even when Israel-friendly representative and Arab-friendly representative are brought together simultaneously in public domains such as Radio and TV, the Arab one will keep focusing on "the occupation", "illegality of the settlements", "Israel not abiding by UN resolutions", and "apartheid", whatever the subject is. The Israeli representative will not refute these allegations, and therefore so admit that they are true, which they are not.

This is the single most destructive reason for Israel's image deteriorating: the non-reference to the allegations thrown at Israel by official Israel on these public domains.

In other words the Jews have themselves to blame, I have written much about this self-infliction; my last piece is:



Dr Yoram Shifftan


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