by Phyllis Chesler
Deir Yassin in the 1930s
It's getting worse, far worse. Now, it is almost everywhere, in most publications, in so many languages, in school and university curricula, at conferences, in demonstrations, in countless petitions, in the mouths of celebrities, and at the United Nations.
I'm talking about Jew hatred, anti-Zionism, and Very Big Lies. This cannot end well; at least, it never has.
We know that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion was a forgery, a Russian-concocted pamphlet published in 1903 that alleged a Jewish plot to dominate the world. Nevertheless, people still believe it, especially in the Arab and Muslim world, and among racially marginalized communities of hate in the West.
We know this was a Big Lie. That was then.
But now, fast forward to 2021 and I'm stunned by what Navi Pillay and the United Nations are currently up to. As we all know, the U.N. has never stopped a single genocide or ended a single human rights atrocity.
The only thing it has really done is legalize and institutionalize Jew and Israel hatred. Pillay, former U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, now leads a well-funded "Commission of Inquiry." The Jerusalem Post described the commission as "an unprecedented open-ended war crimes probe against Israel."
Pillay was a supporter of the Goldstone Report, which condemned Israel for defending itself from Hamas's attacks on civilians in Israel in 2008. Over time, Judge Richard Goldstone expressed regret that his report "may have been inaccurate." Goldstone revealed that Israel did not target civilians as a matter of policy. In 2011, Goldstone wrote: "If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a very different document."
Professor Anne Bayefsky, director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, describes this latest UN initiative as "Pillay's Pogrom" and the "most hostile and dangerous anti-Israel body the U.N. has ever created."
In reports, speeches, and resolutions, the United Nations has long charged Israel with practicing "apartheid." It is a rallying cry meant to link Israel to South African racism. However, it is not Israel that practices apartheid—it is Arab and Muslim countries. For example, in most Muslim countries today, infidels such as Christians, are fiercely persecuted, segregated, and increasingly murdered.
In terms of gender apartheid, Muslim women have historically been segregated, forcibly face veiled, married as children, forced to enter polygamist marriages, subjected to female genital mutilation, and "honor" murdered by their families. Most Muslim female lives are lived apart from all men except close male relatives.
Yet, the U.N. has spent more than 50 years legitimizing this Big Lie. The U.N., and the just departed Archbishop of South Africa.
Yes, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, perhaps, the most influential Jew and Israel hater of his time. His death has just garnered 6,444 words in the New York Times. He was never held accountable for his comparison of South African-style apartheid with alleged Israeli apartheid; of course not. But after quoting American LGBT supporters and the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King's youngest daughter, the Times states:
"Palestinian leaders also mourned Archbishop Tutu, a forthright critic of Israel's actions towards Palestinians."
"His support for Palestine was an embrace of love & empathy," said Hanan Ashrawi, a Palestinian former peace negotiator, praising his commitment to "our shared struggle for justice and freedom."
This too, is a blood libel with potentially terrifying consequences.
This latest U.N. attempt to demonize and delegitimize the Jewish state through Pillay's inquiry is also a Big Lie. We must understand it in the context of some other lethal lies.
In the mid-20th century, the alleged massacre at Deir Yassin was another fabrication – one that still is believed, certainly in the Islamic world, and among some Western elites.
But now, I am holding in my hands a handsomely presented and exquisitely well-documented book, The Massacre That Never Was: The Myth of Deir Yassin and the Creation of the Palestinian Refugee Problem. Written by Bar Ilan University Professor Eliezer Tauber, it painstakingly documents what actually happened.
Men fought and, for a variety of reasons, the Jews won. The numbers involved were small. There were, according to Tauber, "about 120 (Jewish) attackers and 70-80 (Arab) defenders. Arabs were "killed, not massacred." But they lost. The Arab village fought alone with no reinforcements and no support from neighboring Arab villages. Most of the Arabs who were killed in Deir Yassin were combatants, men of fighting age, not women, children, or the elderly as has been alleged.
However, the shame of losing was impossible for the Arabs to bear. What drove the Arabs out of Deir Yassin and almost everywhere else, was eerily similar to what many Arab/Palestinians do today. They embed themselves and their weapons among their women, children, and elderly. They surround themselves with vulnerable human shields, and then when Israel targets terrorist launching sites and infrastructure, claim that it viciously sought out women and children.
Such deceptiveness is true in Gaza in the 21st century.
But in April 1948, the Arab/Palestinians spread rumors of a terrible, truly ghastly massacre in Deir Yassin, one that never took place—and, they alleged, wildly, and falsely, that rapes had also taken place which, in Tauber's view is what led to the mass Arab exodus. Tauber writes:
"The impact of Deir Yassin went far beyond Jerusalem and the surrounding villages and spread all over Palestine, causing fear and driving people to leave. A woman from Safad related hearing of the rapes and killings in Deir Yassin. Another refugee woman attributed the flight from Haifa to the fear of what the Jews were going to do to women, as they heard that women and girls were raped in Deir Yassin and the bellies of pregnant women and girls were slashed."
Slashing pregnant bellies characterizes Christian pogroms and Muslim farhuds against Jews; it is not something that Jews have done.
However, in 1948, according to Tauber, Husayn Fakhri al-Khalidi, secretary of the Arab Higher Committee, insisted that "25 pregnant women, 50 breast feeding mothers and 60 other girls and women were slaughtered like sheep" in Deir Yassin. A native of the city "wrote to an acquaintance in Egypt that the Jews used axes in Tiberias and Deir Yassin to chop off hands and legs of men and children and did 'awful things' to women."
Once again, Arabs, Muslims, Christians, and Cossacks do this to Jews in pogroms and farhuds. Jews have not been known to do so.
In 1948, Israeli intelligence analyzed the causes for Palestinian flight and found that such false rumors and exaggerated beliefs were a "decisive accelerating factor" in the Arab exodus.
Israel did not exile the Arabs. Only Arab rumors, Big Lies, did. They provoked shame in a shame-and-honor culture and it worked.
Tauber's work has yet to be reviewed in all the venues that have welcomed the belief in this alleged massacre. Either his work on Deir Yassin will not be widely reviewed or it will be savaged. I hope that I'm wrong.
I am hardly a scholar in this area, but it seems to me that the myth of this alleged massacre may have functioned just as the 20th century Al-Dura myth has in our current century. The entire world wanted to believe that Israelis would purposely, wantonly, and viciously kill an Arab child, sheltering in his father's arms. It did not happen.
And yet, blood libels against the Jews never quit, they seem to live on forever.
Phyllis Chesler is an Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies at the City University of New York (CUNY), and the author of 20 books, including Women and Madness, and A Family Conspiracy: Honor Killings. She is a Senior IPT Fellow, and a Fellow at MEF and ISGAP.
"Either his work on Deir Yassin will not be widely reviewed or it will be savaged. I hope that I'm wrong." Unfortunately I believe the author's first guess is probably correct, particularly in days such as they are now, where lying and wide acceptance of lies appear to be the norm.