Since most nations gain independence in armed struggle of one sort or another, armed struggle in which some civilians inevitably suffer, then by the “logic” of the ranteurs about “Naqba Denial” the existence of all those states should also be deemed catastrophes. But Israel alone is singled out for condemnation. ~Steven Plaut
Is it really? Not by everyone. The Greeks and Armenians remember their experiences with the forced expulsion of hundreds of thousands of their people for the sake of an ethnically homogenous nation-state in much the same way, or in even stronger terms: as the Megali Katastrofi or as the Tseghaspanut’yun respectively. The Turkish government goes out of its way in the case of the Armenians to actively deny genocide and prosecutes those of its citizens who even hint that the extermination of the Armenians was planned and deliberate (as, of course, it was). Naturally, any state that understands that its foundation lies on the graves of the innocent or is based on the forced expulsion or relocation of hundreds of thousands of civilians will be keen to ignore the record or deny the memory of these events. Do such past crimes “delegitimise” the current state? I don’t think so. But the continued refusal to recognise the crimes for what they are is certainly not a legitimate method of defending a state against unreasonable or excessive attacks.
Of course, the “inevitable” suffering of the civilian population during such conflicts is rather more inevitable when there is a plan of expulsion that results in massacres. The final justifications in Plaut’s article, citing the far worse death tolls in the mayhem after the Partition or the ethnic cleansing and starvation of Germans after WWII, are typical diversionary moves. Plaut does not, of course, care a whit about the German victims of these expulsions, nor would any attention be brought to their case except that the scale of suffering and devastation helps to make what happened to the Palestinians seem unimportant. Rather than an old stand-by excuse that ”lots of bad things happened in that war,” Plaut has offered a different excuse: “lots of worse things have happened in other wars, which means that these events are irrelevant.” He can impugn the integrity of some (though not all) of the revisionists, but he cannot wish away evidence.