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Press Release
May 15, 2023
Contact: Sarah Stern
(202) 601-7422

EMET Wishes to Express our Profound Gratitude to Speaker Kevin McCarthy for Cancelling a “Nakba” event in the House, and our Equally Profound Disappointment to Senator Bernie Sanders for Hosting the “Nakba” Event in the US Senate

(May 15, 2023, Washington, DC) – EMET is immensely grateful to Speaker Kevin McCarthy for canceling a “Nakba”  event at the Capitol Visitor Center that was supposed to occur on Wednesday. As grateful as we are to Speaker McCarthy, we are equally disappointed in Senator Bernie Sanders for misusing his capacity as Chair of the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee and hosting it within the US Senate, today.

We sincerely applaud Speaker McCarthy for his courageous recognition that the purpose of this meeting was to cast the very establishment of the State of Israel as a “Nakba”, (meaning a catastrophe in Arabic), and to falsely accuse Israel of expelling Palestinians from their homes during its defensive War of Independence, and accusing it of being an “apartheid state”.

Instead, Speaker McCarthy held a bipartisan conference, last Wednesday, celebrating the 75th anniversary of Israel, our one dependable democratic ally in the increasingly volatile  Middle East.  In a later statement to the press, Speaker McCarthy stated: “It’s wrong for members of Congress to traffic in antisemitic tropes about Israel. As long as I’m Speaker, we will support Israel’s right to self-determination and self-defense, unequivocally and in a bi-partisan fashion”.

This statement remains incredibly valuable up to this moment. Last week, Israel was subjected to an onslaught of 1,000 missiles coming from Gaza into Israeli towns and communities because a Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist decided to refuse Israeli medical treatment and starve himself to death. As a result of this, citizens living in southern Israel had a mere 15 seconds to run into their bomb shelters and sealed rooms.

Israel retains the right, according to Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, to defend its civilian population, and will continue to do so. It is about time that all of Israel’s neighbors recognize that Israel is here to stay.

Rep. Roberta Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), scheduled the event, which included several organizing groups that support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, an antisemitic effort to wage both an economic and ideological war against Israel’s existence and accuse it of being “an Apartheid state.”

We must point out that as opposed to “Apartheid South Africa”. in the state of Israel, Arab citizens enjoy full and equal rights along with their Israeli brethren and serve in the Israeli Knesset, or Parliament, have served and are currently serving as justices within the Israeli Supreme Court, serve as doctors, lawyers, pharmacists and attorneys within the state of Israel. Israel is also the “safe haven” where gay members of the Arab world and journalists who are in trouble with their regimes for speaking out, feel free to seek refuge.

Speaker McCarthy clearly recognizes the falsehood of this anti-Israel revisionist history.  EMET applauds his stand in support of truth in the US Congress. Unfortunately, Senator Bernie Sanders refuses to educate himself about the vital facts of both Israeli and Palestinian history:

The origins of the so-called “Nakba” are clear. Israel was formed via a vote of the United Nations which partitioned British Mandate Palestine into two independent states, one Jewish and one Arab. The entire Arab world, including the Arab population of Palestine, rejected partition and the formation of a Palestinian state alongside a Jewish one. The armies of five Arab countries and two Arab militias attacked the newly born Jewish state the day after it was declared. The surrounding Arab countries and the local Palestinian leadership exhorted the Arab population to leave in order to allow their armies the ability to destroy the fledgling Jewish state. They expected to be victorious quickly, after which the Palestinian Arabs could expect to return to their homes, having eliminated Israel. The lie that the Palestinian Arabs were expelled by the Jews has been amply documented in the archives of cities such as Haifa, among others, where a great effort was made to convince Arab residents to stay.

The so-called “Nakba” of the Palestinians was thus a consequence of their own decisions, that of their failed leadership, and that of the Arab world, at the time. It resulted from the war of aggression and attempted annihilation of the Jewish homeland. The Palestinians continued to experience a “Nakba” inflicted by their own Arab brethren after the war as a result of the refusal of the surrounding Arab countries to which they fled to absorb and integrate them. They were maintained as a political football by claims of the Arabs of a “right of return” to Israel proper in order to eliminate its Jewish character. To date, the Palestinians claim hereditary refugee status, and the “right of return” afforded no other post-WWII refugee group. They have rejected a state of their own as a part of a peace treaty eight times since 1937 and continue to do so to this day. They reserve a non-existent “right of return” and a claim to the world’s sympathy and financial largesse. The “Nakba” of wasted lives of generations of Palestinians continues, as does the squandering of billions in Western aid bestowed on the Palestinians on the condition of progress toward peace, a commitment they have never implemented.

The continued betrayal of the Palestinians at the hands of their own leadership and that of the surrounding Arab states is not the only “Nakba” to arise from this period the blame for which can be placed squarely on the shoulders of the Arab world. Among the most significant was the closure of Mandate Palestine to the endangered Jews of Europe in the form of the White Paper of 1939 as a direct result of Arab pressure on the British. Violent attacks against the Jews from the 1920s on, most notably in the Arab revolt of 1936, contributed to the British decision to restrict crucial Jewish immigration. How many thousands or millions of Jews could have been saved from the Nazi Holocaust had the doors of the Jewish homeland been open to them? The role of the Palestinians and the Arab world in this Nakba is rarely acknowledged.

The other forgotten Nakba perpetrated by the Arabs upon the Jews was the expulsion of entire Jewish communities from Arab countries forced to leave after the creation of the State of Israel. From 1947 to the 1960s nearly 850,000 Jews were expelled from Arab lands where they had lived for centuries and their property expropriated. Unlike Palestinian Arab refugees who fled to Arab states, they were welcomed and successfully integrated into Israel with full civil rights and financial assistance. These Jewish refugees left behind property four times that of the Palestinian refugees often arriving penniless in Israel.

Says Sarah Stern, Founder and President of EMET, “The true “Nakba” is one that the Arab leadership continues to inflict on both Palestinians and Jews, alike. It is 75 years of Palestinian leadership which has continuously rejected offers to compromise, to have a two-state solution, and to accept Israel’s right to exist within safe and defensible borders. It is the Palestinian leadership’s perpetuation of the 1948 conflict that leads to a prevailing psychology of victimization by the Palestinian Arabs, rather than one of taking responsibility for, and getting on with their own lives. Generations of Israelis have endured constant conflict, years of “intifada”, and perpetual terrorism against innocent Israeli civilians. Now, this is compounded by the looming threat of genocide from an Iranian nuclear bomb.”

Continues Ms. Stern, “It is a great tragedy that the Palestinian people have also suffered greatly, as generation after generation has been sacrificed to the goal of eradicating their Jewish neighbors, dooming their own children to face an early death as “shahids”, (martyrs), condemning them into a perpetual conflict. We are profoundly grateful to Speaker Kevin McCarthy for recognizing this, and remain just as profoundly disappointed with Senator Bernie Sanders for his abject failure to do so.”

About The Endowment for Middle East Truth
Founded in 2005, EMET is a pro-American, pro-Israel, and pro-human rights, foreign policy think tank and policy shop in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit

About The Endowment for Middle East Truth
Founded in 2005, EMET is a pro-American, pro-Israel, and pro-human rights, foreign policy think tank and policy shop in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit

About the Author

Sarah Stern
Sarah Stern is founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET).

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