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CAEF Letter to Ontario Minister of Education re School Boards adopting Nakba misinformation

April 8, 2024


Hon. Stephen Lecce

Minister of Education

Government of Ontario

Queen’s Park

Toronto, ON


Dear Minister Lecce,


School boards in Ontario are bringing politics into the classroom which you have affirmed is not appropriate and is counter to the updated Education Act. Whether this is due to a Director of Education’s politics, the pressure being exerted on a board of education by community groups, or is due to an individual teacher’s preferences, it is undesirable and must be stopped.


We ask that you immediately require the Peel District School Board to reverse its decision to have a “Nakba Remembrance Day” added to its “Days of Significance” calendar.


The "Nakba” - which means “catastrophe" in Arabic, is celebrated by those who object to Israel’s existence as the Jewish state in its ancient homeland. May 14th marks Israel’s National Day of Independence, but the Arab countries which lost the war against the Jews, experiencing defeat, then etablished May 15th, as their day of remembrance, which has become a day of Jew hatred, falsely claiming that Israel is not a legitimate country and showing maps without Israel. This is not education, but the spread of misinformation and hatred.


Peel Board’s including the “Nakba Remembrance Day” marks the first time a school board in Canada has officially adopted such an event which runs counter to the independence of a UN-mandated, sovereign, democratically elected nation, (the only democracy in the Middle East), and one of Canada’s long standing allies. This marks a dangerous precedent, with other school boards now facing mounting pressure to follow suit. Agitation for the Nakba Day is coming from people who do not value Canada’s history, diversity, democracy and our commitment to freedom and the rule of law.


There’s no day of significance to mark the loss of a British colony on July 4th, ie. American Independence Day. Canadians do not mark the end of WWII from the German perspective, but rather, we celebrate the victory of the Allies. It is unacceptable to consider a day marking the defeat which the Arab leaders themselves in 1949 recognized as due to their own failings.


Contemporaneous Muslim media makes clear that it was Arab leaders in 1947/1948 who commanded the local Arab population in Mandatory Palestine to “flee” their homes in anticipation of the genocide of the Jews — and an Arab populace which willingly obeyed that command.


On April 3, 1949 the Near East Arabic Broadcasting Station reported: “It must not be forgotten that the Arab Higher Committee encouraged the refugees’ flight from their homes in Jaffa, Haifa and Jerusalem”. (The Palestinian Delusion, The Catastrophic History of the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Spencer, 2019, page 83)


On October 12, 1963 the Egyptian daily Akbar el Yom reported that : “The 15th May, 1948 arrived…On that day the Mufti of Jerusalem ( the Grand Mufti Amin al-Husseini) appealed to the Arabs of Palestine to leave the country, because the Arab armies were about to enter and fight in their stead”. ("The Palestinian Delusion", ibid, page 83)


On April 9, 1953 the Jordanian daily Al Urdan reported: “For the flight and fall of the other villages it is our leaders who are responsible because of their dissemination of rumours exaggerating Jewish crimes and describing them as atrocities in order to inflame the Arabs..By spreading rumours 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”. See: The Palestinian Delusion, , page 83; . See also: The Massacre That Never Was: The Myth of Der Yassin and the Creation of the Palestine Refugee Problem, Professor Eliezer Tauber, 2021).


Even the contemporaneous reporting of The Economist makes clear that the “Nakba’ was self-inflicted. On October 3, 1948 “The Economist” reported: “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 Palestinian Delusion", page 82).


On August 19, 1951 the Beirut weekly Kul-Shay opined: “Who brought the Palestinians to Lebanon as refugees, suffering now the malign attitude of newspapers and communal leaders, who have neither honor not conscience? Who brought them over in dire straits and penniless, after they lost their homes? The Arab states, and Lebanon amongst them, did it”. ("The Palestinian Delusion, , page 84).


In 1955, the secretary of the Office of the Arab League in London, Edward Atiyah, admitted:


"This wholesale exodus was due partly to the belief of the Arabs, encouraged by the boasting of an unrealistic Arab press and the irresponsible utterances of some of the Arab leaders that it could be only a matter of some weeks before the Jews were defeated by the armies of the Arab states and the Palestinian Arabs enable to re enter and retake possession of their country". (The Palestinian Delusion, , page 84).


Furthermore, the Jordanian newspaper Filastin on February 19, 1949 stated: “The Arab States 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 Palestinian Delusion", , page 82-83).


Ahistorical revisionism today by in the tradition of Edward Said cannot change the true history of the self-inflicted "Nakba" as accurately reported by contemporaneous Arab and Muslim journalists. Also, Syrian intellectual Constantine Zureiq in August 1948 FIRST used term “nakba” as “a self- inflicted and humiliating wound caused by the Arabs themselves”.(Israel: A Simple Guide To The Most Misunderstood Country On Earth, page 114, Noa Tishby, 2021;


As Professor Richard Landes insightfully points out, the original meaning of "nakba" was "when we Arabs did it to ourselves". See : Can 'The Whole World' Be Wrong? Lethal Journalism, Antisemitism and Global Jihad, Richard Landes, page 195, 2022).


Further Zureiq imputed agency to the Arabs and made them responsible for their own humiliation. Zureiq’s own words make clear that “the Nakba” has nothing to do with Israel or the Jews: “When the battle broke out, our public diplomacy to speak of our imaginary victories, to put the Arab public to sleep and talk of the ability to overcome and win easily — until the Nakba happened….We must admit our mistakes…and recognize the extent of our responsibility for the disaster that is our lot”.(Israel: A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth, Ibid, page 114).


Only after 1968 did the antisemites of the PLO encouraged by the KGB and their Jew-hating allies on the Left and later Hamas pervert Zureiq’s clear meaning, create the fiction of Palestinian Arab victimhood, and make the Jews the villain.


Zaheir Mohsen was a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and a military commander of the PLO, and he declared "the Palestinian people" to be a propaganda invention. In a 1977 interview with the Dutch newspaper "Trouw", Mr. Mohsen acknowledged that "the Palestinian people" were a propaganda invention:


"The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct "Palestinian people" to oppose Zionism.


"For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa, while as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment we claim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan". (The Palestinian Delusion, Robert Spencer, 2019, pp 95-96.) Further, Spencer notes, “It is no accident that neither Mark Twain nor any of the series of English travelers who visited the area, nor anyone else who traveled through desolate Palestine over the centuries ever mentioned the "Palestinian" people..They spoke of encountering Muslim Arabs, as well as Jews, Christian Arabs, and others, but no one, among multitudes of people who wrote about Palestine, ever refers to any Palestinians.


Ahistorical narratives by anyone about "the Nakba" or " Palestine" cannot change history including the documented words of contemporaneous Muslim and Arab journalists.


CAEF asks that Mr. Minister that you take a leadership role in calling out the Peel Board’s inappropriate decision and advise all other Ontario School Boards that they are not to adopt the Nakba as part of any calendar of significance, nor to teach it as part of a distortion of history. It is to be understood for what it truly is, an Arab attempt to distort history, extort our educational system and import antisemitism that will harm our children, both Jews and non-Jews.


We look forward to your earliest reply.


Regards,




Andria Spindel, Executive Director


Cc Premier Doug Ford

Minister Jill Dunlop

Minister Michael Kerzner

Minister Doug Downey

Ms. Goldie Gemari, MPP

Ms. Robin Martin, MPP

Mr. Shimon Fogel, CIJA

Mr. Michael Mostyn, B’nai Brith Canada

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