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The emigration did take place over an extended period of time, but it was far from evenly spread. What you saw was a wave of violence accompanying the first Arab-Israeli war. At that point a great many wanted out, but many countries refused permission. Under international pressure, certain countries at certain times opened their borders at which point there was mass flight.

There were also those who first tried to stay, given that they saw themselves as Jewish Arabs and who had no interest in becoming Israelis, but later decided that it simply wasn't worth it, leading to second waves. There's also the understandable fact that faced with  pogroms and intense government anti-Jewish propaganda and discrimination just a short period after the Holocaust, most Jews weren't interested in gambling.

Sure the pattern wasn't the same as the Naqba, but that doesn't mean that it didn't happen. Nor does the Israeli government's use of the events in its propaganda change the reality of what happened. I personally happen to think that Palestinian refugees outside the 1967 borders should have no claims on Israel (or any other refugees in any other place after a couple decades). However, I'm not going to go running around claiming the Palestinians left voluntarily under Arab encouragement - a myth long propagated by pro-Israeli propaganda.

by MarekNYC on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 04:06:20 PM EST
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