Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Who's really taking over the Negev?

The Bedouin are often portrayed as foreign invaders bent on seizing control of Israel's Negev Desert, but Zionist history suggests a different narrative.
The Bedouin welcomed the Jews of the First Aliyah to the Negev.
The myth of the takeover of the Negev Desert is being spread by an orchestrated campaign of supposed facts and biased research suggesting that the Bedouin are invaders – nomads who not very long ago came from Saudi Arabia or the Sinai Peninsula and are not native inhabitants of the Negev. The people behind this myth claim they are speaking in the name of Zionism and against its opponents. On this basis, it is easy to understand how the government's new proposal could be seen as generous, rather than insulting.
But to see how ungrateful and ungracious Israel's attitude toward the Bedouin is today, you need only peruse the writing of Zalman David Levontin, a Zionist activist and leader from the beginning of the First Aliyah, or Jewish immigration to Palestine around the turn of the 19th century. In his book “To the Land of Our Fathers,” Levontin writes about the encounters between the first Zionist immigrants and the Negev Bedouin. It turns out that even before Theodor Herzl wrote “The Jewish State," the Bedouin had invited the Zionist immigrants to settle alongside them. Today, though, the descendants of these Jews are brazenly calling the Bedouin "invaders," and doing so in the name of Zionism. 
 Levontine's writing focuses on the year 1882. The Bedouin are depicted as natives of the land. From his descriptions, it is clear they are permanent residents or semi-nomads, certainly not people without any connection to the place who have come from Saudi Arabia just to benefit from the fruits of Zionism.
Levontin was not biased in favor of the Bedouin. He critically describes their aggressive attitude toward immigrants in other places in the country. But of the Negev Bedouin he writes that relations between them and the Jews are good and that they invite the Jews to settle near them and buy lands from them cheaply

1 comment:

  1. Zionism is based on a set of lies. There is not one shred of truth in any of the collection of myths it's founded on. The truth is revealed one fact at a time and most people haven't seen much of it yet.