The Women’s Studies department at Boston University is considering hiring a noted academic named Sarah Ihmoud; the offer is “imminent.” It’s easy to see why: Ihmoud would be a plum hire for the department, as she represents the cutting edge in academic thinking today. Her paper, “Sexual Violence, Women’s Bodies, and Israeli Settler Colonialism,” claims that the “rape and killing of Palestinian women was a central aspect of Israeli troops’ systematic massacres and evictions during the destruction of Palestinian villages in 1948.”
What could be trendier or more in demand? As colleges and universities all over the country follow the establishment Left into ever more vicious and open anti-Semitism, it is surprising that Ihmoud isn’t at the center of a bidding war among the nation’s top institutions of far-Left indoctrination, that is, what used to be known as institutions of higher learning.
Even in an environment that increasingly rewards and encourages anti-Semitism, Ihmoud’s venom is striking. “Israeli officials’ repressive policies and incitement against the Palestinian people,” she rages, “work to empower and embolden Israeli settler society to embody the power of the state and viciously attack Palestinians. This is clearly exhibited in the attacks on Palestinian women’s bodies inside Al-Aqsa mosque these last weeks in Jerusalem, by both settler publics empowered by the state’s military protection, and members of the state security forces.”
None of that happened of course. Nor did any of Ihmoud’s other claims. Israeli troops did not engage in “systematic massacres and evictions during the destruction of Palestinian villages in 1948.” As the forthcoming book The Palestinian Delusion: The Catastrophic History of the Middle East Peace Process shows, the Arabs, for the most part, left Israel because they were ordered to do so by Muslim Arab leaders. The Arab Higher Committee actually exhorted Arabs to leave the new State of Israel, and they obeyed in large numbers.
This action had been contemplated for a considerable period: in May 1946, fully two years before the State of Israel proclaimed its independence, Abdul Rahman Hassan Azzam, secretary-general of the Arab League, stated that “Arab circles proposed to evacuate all Arab women and children from Palestine and send them to neighboring countries, to declare ‘Jehad’ and to consider Palestine a war zone.”
When the war came, many of the Arab Muslims left of their own accord, to the consternation of others who were determined to wage jihad. The Arab newspaper Ash Sha’ab, based in Jaffa, lamented on January 30, 1948, that “the first group of our fifth column consists of those who abandon their houses and businesses and go to live else- where…. At the first sign of trouble they take to their heels to escape sharing the burden of struggle [jihad].”
Others left because the plan to get the Arabs out of harm’s way until the Jews were destroyed and Israel was defeated was being implemented. The Economist magazine reported on October 3, 1948: “Of the 62,000 Arabs who formerly lived in Haifa not more than 5,000 or 6,000 remained. Various factors influenced their decision to seek safety in flight. There is but little doubt that the most potent of the factors were the announcements made over the air by the Higher Arab Executive, urging the Arabs to quit…. It was clearly intimated that those Arabs who remained in Haifa and accepted Jewish protection would be regarded as renegades.”
The Jordanian daily Falastin complained on February 19, 1949, that “the Arab state which had encouraged the Palestine Arabs to leave their homes temporarily in order to be out of the way of the Arab invasion armies, have failed to keep their promise to help these refugees.”
The Near East Arabic Broadcasting Station confirmed this on April 3, 1949: “It must not be forgotten that the Arab Higher Committee encouraged the refugees’ flight from their homes in Jaffa, Haifa, and Jerusalem.” The Egyptian daily Akhbar el Yom on October 12, 1963, reported that the grand mufti had issued the same call to Arabs to leave: “The 15th May, 1948, arrived…. On that day the mufti of Jerusalem appealed to the Arabs of Palestine to leave the country, because the Arab armies were about to enter and fight in their stead.”
The Jordanian daily Al Urdun reported on April 9, 1953: “For the flight and fall of the other villages it is our leaders who are responsible because of their dissemination of rumors exaggerating Jewish crimes and describing them as atrocities in order to inflame the Arabs…. By spreading rumors of Jewish atrocities, killings of women and children etc., they instilled fear and terror in the hearts of the Arabs in Palestine, until they fled leaving their homes and properties to the enemy.”
Sarah Ihmoud proves that this rumor-mongering is still alive and well. In a sane world, such a dishonest propagandist wouldn’t be offered any academic position. But this is not a sane world. She will be quite happy among her like-minded colleagues at Boston University.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is The Palestinian Delusion: The Catastrophic History of the Middle East Peace Process. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.