Proven false 100 years ago, antisemitic ‘Protocols’ document is still being exploited

Proven false 100 years ago, antisemitic ‘Protocols’ document is still being exploited
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A picture taken on March 28, 2018 shows the Shoah Memorial in Toulouse, France during a gathering in memory of Mireille Knoll, an 85-year-old Jewish woman murdered in her home in what police believe was an anti-Semitic attack. (AFP)
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A picture taken on March 28, 2018 shows the Shoah Memorial in Toulouse, France during a gathering in memory of Mireille Knoll, an 85-year-old Jewish woman murdered in her home in what police believe was an anti-Semitic attack. (AFP)
Flowers, candles and a message reading
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Flowers, candles and a message reading "For an open and tolerant society - Antisemitism has no place here" are pictured in front of the Synagoge 'Hohe Weide' in Hamburg, Germany, on October 5, 2020, one day after an attack on a Jewish student. ( AFP)
emonstrators hold a banner reading
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emonstrators hold a banner reading "May 8th, commemoration, celebrate, fight against antisemitism" during a protest against the presence of far-right elements in the German police and other security services in Berlin May 8, 2021. (AFP)
A member of the Initiative against Anti-Semitism Gelsenkirchen holds a placard reading 'fight antisemitism — No matter where it comes from — #never again' during a vigil in front of the synagogue in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, on May 14, 2021. (AFP)
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A member of the Initiative against Anti-Semitism Gelsenkirchen holds a placard reading 'fight antisemitism — No matter where it comes from — #never again' during a vigil in front of the synagogue in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, on May 14, 2021. (AFP)
Placards are held up at a counter-demonstration to an anti-Jewish rally, held by a group of far-right protesters on Whitehall in central London on July 4, 2015. (AFP)
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Placards are held up at a counter-demonstration to an anti-Jewish rally, held by a group of far-right protesters on Whitehall in central London on July 4, 2015. (AFP)
Orthodox Jewish men walk in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights on February 27, 2019 in New York following a spate of anti-Semitic attacks that has brought back painful memories. (AFP)
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Orthodox Jewish men walk in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights on February 27, 2019 in New York following a spate of anti-Semitic attacks that has brought back painful memories. (AFP)
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Updated 06 August 2021

Proven false 100 years ago, antisemitic ‘Protocols’ document is still being exploited

Proven false 100 years ago, antisemitic ‘Protocols’ document is still being exploited
  • Extremists have great interest in the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” forgery as it validates their prejudices
  • Because of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the “Protocols” have been particularly appealing to some in the Middle East

WASHINGTON, D.C.: This summer marks the 100th anniversary of a journalistic triumph against hate. In 1921, The Times of London definitively demonstrated that the infamous “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” was nothing but a crudely plagiarized forgery. Yet despite that, the “Protocols” went on to fuel a century of hate, violence and even genocide against the Jewish people.

This disconnect highlights one of the greatest challenges faced by the press and international community today: Disproving something slanderous is not sufficient to prevent those who are unaware from believing it, especially if extremists have an incentive to keep promoting the slander.

In recent weeks, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) broke the news when our CEO exposed in Newsweek that Iran’s President-Elect Ebrahim Raisi chaired a foundation while it produced a horrifying 50-episode documentary to promote the “Protocols.”




Iran's newly elected President Ebrahim Raisi speaks during his swearing in ceremony at the Iranian parliament in Tehran on August 5, 2021. (AFP)

Even worse, under Raisi’s tenure, the foundation distributed the documentary to some of the millions of pilgrims that visit the Imam Reza Shrine in Mashhad under its control. The documentary, titled “The Devil’s Plan,” aired on some public television stations in Iran, and was even the subject of a quiz about the “Protocols” that pilgrims were urged to participate in at the shrine.

Raisi’s willingness to commit horrible crimes on behalf of Iran’s regime is already well-known. It therefore makes obvious sense that he would have willingly overseen the exploitation of holy sites and modern media to amplify the “Protocols” in service to Tehran’s worldview.

What is more surprising is the widespread ongoing use of the “Protocols” themselves, a full century now after they were proven to be false. Understanding that story can help all of us today as we grapple with the challenges posed by disinformation, including from Iran.

What the ‘Protocols’ allege

The “Protocols” emerged in the Russian Empire around the turn of the 19th century. They purport to be a series of secret meeting minutes from a summit of unnamed Jewish leaders to plot the imposition of a single world government under a dictatorial Jewish king.

Each of the document’s 24 so-called “protocols” is a chapter that focuses on a different aspect of this supposed Jewish plot, such as controlling all the world’s gold, governments, media, education systems, and Freemason societies. Other themes include anti-Jewish stereotypes such as greed, disloyalty, bloodthirstiness, supremacy, and moral corruption.




Theodor Herzl at the Second Zionist Congress in Basel in 1898. (Wikimedia Commons)

Some claim that the “Protocols” are the proceedings of the 1897 summit known as the First Zionist Congress that Theodor Herzl organized in Basel, Switzerland. Yet this ignores that the “Protocols” themselves actually pay little heed to Zionism, which was the entire focus of Herzl’s summit, held under scrutiny of the press corps and for which the minutes are publicly accessible in detail.

As the “Protocols” began to circulate outside Russia, the ADL’s forerunner organization and other Jewish-American groups issued a joint statement in 1920 rejecting them as “a base forgery.” The following year, The Times found definitive proof to that effect, in what the paper reflects could be “perhaps the greatest scoop by The Times” in its history.

What The Times found

In August 1921, The Times published a series of articles revealing how they discovered that enormous swaths of the “Protocols” were actually plagiarized from a much older work of fiction that had nothing to do with Jews.

Whereas several other passages in the “Protocols” were already known to be stolen from other works of political fiction, The Times found “the main basis of the forgery on which it was hung, or into which was incorporated, material from other sources.”




Title Page of the antisemitic work Serge Nilus, Great within the Small, The Protocols of Zion, 1905, Russia, an antisemitic hoax purporting to describe a Jewish plan for global domination. (Wikimedia Commons)

That book was Maurice Joly’s “Dialogues in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu,” a work of French political propaganda published in 1864. Joly sought to mobilize opposition at the time to Emperor Napoleon III by condemning and even demonizing powerful rulers in vague terms. The “Protocols” merely swapped in a shadowy council of unnamed Jews as its main villain.

The Times was given Joly’s book by a Russian expat in Turkey and verified a second in the British Museum. It seemed the “Protocols” were shoddily written “with the intention of furthering antisemitic propaganda in Russia, and at the same time with the idea of enhancing the autocratic power of the Tsar, as the one man who could save the world form the ‘Jewish Peril’.”

Subsequent refutations

More information about how and why the “Protocols” were forged in this manner emerged over time. In 1934-35, two Swiss Jewish groups took local Nazi agitators to court in Bern on defamation charges for publishing the “Protocols.”

The groups brought witnesses who debunked the claims about the 1897 Basel conference and a supposed Jewish-Masonic alliance, while the defense failed to bolster even its most basic claims.

Witnesses for the prosecution even included Russia experts who identified the Russian secret police agents by name involved in forging the “Protocols” in the hope of influencing Tsar Nicholas II while weakening reformists and scapegoating Jews for Russia’s hardships.

The court ruled for the prosecution, concluding “now it has been proven with the utmost clarity” that the texts “had been copied” from Joly’s work, most likely “to gain influence at the Tsar’s court.”

In the US, automaker Henry Ford published an adaptation of the “Protocols” as a series of articles in a local newspaper from 1920 to 1922 and in the form of a book called “The International Jew” that sold half a million copies.




The Ford publication The International Jew, the World's Foremost Problem. Articles from The Dearborn Independent, 1920. (Wikimedia Commons)

But facing possible legal penalties for spreading a forgery, Ford disavowed the “Protocols” in 1927 and apologized to the ADL. And in Russia itself, a Moscow court case in 1992 ruled in favor of a Jewish newspaper being sued for libel when it called an ultranationalist group antisemitic for serializing the “Protocols.”

Three Russian academics, agreed to by both the defense and the prosecution, uniformly gave testimony concluding that the “Protocols” were fake. And in 1999, a historian identified records from Russia’s archives proving what had been alleged by two expert witnesses at the 1934-35 trial in Switzerland: That the “Protocols” were crafted by an operative of Russia’s secret police named Matthieu Golovinski to demonize Jews and marginalize Russian reformers.

How a proven forgery spread

In spite of such refutations, the “Protocols” continued to spread, perhaps because they merely confirmed what many people already believed.

For example, in his 1925 manifesto “Mein Kampf,” Adolf Hitler displayed an awareness that the “Protocols” were identified by mainstream media as a forgery. Yet he was so convinced that his hatred toward Jews was warranted that he described such refutations as “the best proof that they are authentic.”

And he referred to the “Protocols” as a means to achieve his political ends, writing that once the public can be convinced to believe in them, “the Jewish menace may be considered as broken.”




Placards are held up at a counter-demonstration to an anti-Jewish rally, held by a group of far-right protesters on Whitehall in central London on July 4, 2015. (AFP)

His Nazi Party began their campaign against Germany’s Jews in 1933 with a boycott of Jewish-owned shops, calling it a defense against the “Basel Plan,” an allusion to the “Protocols.” Ultimately Nazi Germany published and distributed more than twenty editions, and the book was even used to teach children in some German schools.

By legitimating the myth of a Jewish conspiracy aimed at world domination, the “Protocols” contributed to the Nazi genocide of six million Jewish men, women and children. Yet it was after Hitler’s defeat that the “Protocols” reached their widest audience, gaining a global footprint in the second half of the 20th century.

Controversies over the “Protocols” were reported in 1968 not just in Poland but also Lebanon, where 200,000 copies were reportedly set to be published for distribution to Francophone Africa. And in 1972, they were the subject of stories not just involving the education minister in Greece, but also Libya’s former leader Muammar Qaddafi, who kept a stack on his desk and told visitors “you must read it.”

The ADL noted that by the 1970s the “Protocols” were documented in Latin American countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Panama, and also published by then in both India and Pakistan. Other editions emerged in Japan in 1987, in Mexico in 1992, and in Indonesia in 2003.

The ‘Protocols’ in the Middle East

No one region has a monopoly on the “Protocols” today. For example, a June 28 opinion poll of US adults found that, out of those respondents who believe in the far-right conspiracy theory QAnon, 49 percent of that subgroup believe the “Protocols,” too. Yet because of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the “Protocols” have also been particularly appealing to some audiences in the Middle East.

Scholars documented 102 different instances of the “Protocols” published as a book or newspaper series in Turkey between 1946 and 2008, versus only three times before that.

The ADL documented in a pamphlet called “The Protocols: Myth and History” that from 1965 to 1967 “about 50 books on political subjects published in Arabic were either based on the ‘Protocols’ or quoted from them.”

Extremists have had the greatest interest in the “Protocols” because it validates their position. Hamas’s 1988 charter declared: “Today it is Palestine, tomorrow it will be one country or another. The Zionist plan is limitless … when they have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’.”

Likewise, Iran’s fundamentalist regime has been propagating the “Protocols” since its earliest years. The Iranian leader’s Islamic Propaganda Organization has been publishing and distributing the “Protocols” since the 1980s.

The foundation that President-Elect Raisi ran until several years ago, and that produced its 50-episode film series on the “Protocols” under his tenure has also been publishing its own hardcopy editions since the 1990s.

And in 2003, Hezbollah’s Al-Manar broadcast a 29-part series based on the “Protocols” called “Al-Shatat.” The film’s production was facilitated by the Assad regime, but diplomatic pressure led Syrian state TV to drop it, and French officials forced Al-Manar off Eutelsat over the film.





Supporters of Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah listen to him via a screen during a rally  in Khiam, Lebanon, on August 13, 2017. (Reuters file photo)

Yet moderate forces have sometimes raised up the “Protocols” in regrettable ways as well, such as in 2002 when Egyptian state TV and a private station broadcast “Horseman Without a Horse,” another multi-episode documentary based partly on the “Protocols.”

In response to complaints, state TV cut parts of the film and added a disclaimer, but it was rebroadcast both in Egypt and abroad. The film’s star brags it inspired the sale of two million copies of the “Protocols.”

Arab News published an op-ed noting that the “Protocols” were “long since shown to be a fake” and that even if only one percent of “Horseman Without a Horse” is based on the book, “that’s 1 percent too many.”

Asharq Al-Awsat published an interview with a Palestinian academic criticizing the film and calling the text “a fictitious book” that harms Palestinian advocacy. In 2008, Egypt’s Grand Mufti called the “Protocols” a “fictitious book which has no basis in fact.”

Both in the Middle East and in other regions too, the myth of a Jewish cabal controlling the world is still quite common in some circles today, even if the “Protocols” are not explicitly mentioned.

And in my own work, I do encounter copies of the “Protocols” sold by private exhibitors at state-run book fairs in parts of the region, including one taking place in Egypt this past month. I have also found them in some state textbooks, yet thanks to education reformers this has become far less common today.

Defending against disinformation today

On June 22, the US Department of Justice seized 36 websites linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its proxies, many of which had a record of spewing blatantly hateful and untrue propaganda targeting Saudi Arabia, America, Israel, and the Jewish people. And some of them have routinely invoked the “Protocols” for propaganda purposes.




Iranian Revolutionary Guard celebrate after launching a missile in an undisclosed location in Iran on July 3, 2012. (AP file/IRNA, Mostafa Qotbi)

Such disinformation can be dangerous. Another IRGC-run site disrupted by the Justice Department in 2020 was AWD News, once the number one web domain promoted by Iranian trolls on Twitter.

In 2016, AWD News baselessly reported Israel had threatened Pakistan with nuclear weapons if it entered Syria, and in reaction an account for Pakistan’s defense minister actually tweeted, and then deleted, a warning that “Israel forgets Pakistan is a Nuclear state too.”

Thankfully, the internet and social media also offer new tools for countering disinformation. There are good primers on how to identify fake news, for example. Social media platforms and governments are being encouraged to take an array of actions to help push hate and extremism back to the Internet’s fringes.

Where defamation is legally actionable, brave litigants may also be able to ask courts to stop the publication of treatises like the “Protocols.”

But most of all, the digital world provides vast new spaces for all people of good conscience to speak out. To debate such controversial ideas, and to spread accurately grounded messages of intercommunal and interfaith tolerance, countering hateful myths such as the “Protocols” and explaining how we have known for a full century that they are simply without basis.

_______________________

David Andrew Weinberg is the Anti-Defamation League’s Washington Director for International Affairs.


US vice president Kamala Harris, officials heading to UAE to pay respects

US vice president Kamala Harris, officials heading to UAE to pay respects
Updated 5 sec ago

US vice president Kamala Harris, officials heading to UAE to pay respects

US vice president Kamala Harris, officials heading to UAE to pay respects
  • Trip is the highest-level visit by Biden administration officials to oil-rich Abu Dhabi
DUBAI: A high-powered American delegation led by Vice President Kamala Harris flew to the United Arab Emirates on Monday to pay respects to the federation’s late ruler and meet with the newly ascended president.
The trip is the highest-level visit by Biden administration officials to oil-rich Abu Dhabi, intended to be a potent show of support as the US administration tries to repair troubled relations with its partner.
The delegation includes Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, CIA Director William Burns and climate envoy John Kerry, among others.
The UAE named the Abu Dhabi crown prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan its new president following the death of his half-brother last Friday.
Underscoring Abu Dhabi’s great influence in Western and Arab capitals, an array of presidents and prime ministers descended on the desert sheikhdom over the weekend to honor the late Sheikh Khalifa, praise Sheikh Mohamed and solidify ties. French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson were the first European leaders to jet to the UAE capital.
Before heading to Abu Dhabi, Harris said she was traveling on behalf of President Joe Biden to offer condolences on the death of the long-ailing Sheikh Khalifa and to shore up America’s crucial relationship with the UAE.
“The United States takes quite seriously the strength of our relationship and partnership with the UAE,” Harris told reporters. “We are going there then to express our condolences but also as an expression of our commitment to the strength of that relationship.”
Blinken was first to touch down in Abu Dhabi before talks with his Emirati counterpart. It was widely expected officials would address the UAE’s long-simmering frustrations about American security protection in the region as well as tensions that have emerged between the countries over Russia’s war on Ukraine.
UAE is a key Russian trading partner and member of the so-called OPEC+ agreement, of which Russia is an important member.
After taking office, Biden lifted a terrorist designation on Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels that have fired missiles and drones at the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and is trying to revive Tehran’s tattered nuclear deal with world powers — an accord that Gulf Arab states fear could embolden Iran and its proxies.
America’s abrupt and chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan last summer and its long-term foreign policy goal of pivoting away from the Mideast and toward China has added to Gulf Arab concerns.

First commercial flight in 6 years leaves Yemen’s Sanaa

First commercial flight in 6 years leaves Yemen’s Sanaa
The first commercial flight in nearly six years took off from Yemen’s Houthi-held capital. (File/Reuters)
Updated 43 min 25 sec ago

First commercial flight in 6 years leaves Yemen’s Sanaa

First commercial flight in 6 years leaves Yemen’s Sanaa
  • The Yemenia plane carrying 126 passengers, including hospital patients needing treatment abroad and their relatives

SANAA: The first commercial flight in nearly six years took off from Yemen’s Houthi-held capital on Monday, a major step forward in a peace process that has provided rare relief from conflict.
The Yemenia plane carrying 126 passengers, including hospital patients needing treatment abroad and their relatives, took off from Sanaa for the Jordanian capital Amman just after 9:00 am (0600 GMT), AFP journalists saw.
Before take-off, the plane was taxied through an honor guard of two fire trucks spraying jets of water.

 


Sanaa’s airport has been closed to commercial traffic since August 2016.

Flights cancelled after dust storm hits Iraq

Flights cancelled after dust storm hits Iraq
Flights at Baghad International Airport were cancelled after an intense dust storm hit Iraq.  (File/AFP)
Updated 16 May 2022

Flights cancelled after dust storm hits Iraq

Flights cancelled after dust storm hits Iraq
  • Flights were disrupted at Baghdad International Airport

Flights at Baghad International Airport were cancelled after an intense dust storm hit Iraq.

Videos circulating online showed a yellow hue eveloping the Iraqi capital city, impeeding vision and distrupting flights. 


Lebanon vote brings blow for Hezbollah allies in preliminary results

Lebanese electoral staff start counting votes for parliamentary elections in Beirut, on May 15, 2022. (AFP)
Lebanese electoral staff start counting votes for parliamentary elections in Beirut, on May 15, 2022. (AFP)
Updated 16 May 2022

Lebanon vote brings blow for Hezbollah allies in preliminary results

Lebanese electoral staff start counting votes for parliamentary elections in Beirut, on May 15, 2022. (AFP)
  • Initial results indicated wins for at least five other independents who have campaigned on a platform of reform and bringing to account politicians blamed for steering Lebanon into the worst crisis since its 1975-90 civil war

BEIRUT: Iran-backed Hezbollah has been dealt a blow in Lebanon’s parliamentary election with preliminary results showing losses for some of its oldest allies and the Lebanese Forces party saying it had gained seats.
With votes still being counted, the final make-up of the 128-member parliament has yet to emerge. The heavily armed Shiite Muslim group Hezbollah and its allies won a majority of 71 seats when Lebanon last voted in 2018.
The current election is the first since Lebanon’s devastating economic meltdown blamed by the World Bank on ruling politicians after a huge port explosion in 2020 that shattered Beirut.
One of the most startling upsets saw Hezbollah-allied Druze politician Talal Arslan, scion of one of Lebanon’s oldest political dynasties who was first elected in 1992, lose his seat to Mark Daou, a newcomer running on a reform agenda, according to the latter’s campaign manager and a Hezbollah official.
Initial results also indicated wins for at least five other independents who have campaigned on a platform of reform and bringing to account politicians blamed for steering Lebanon into the worst crisis since its 1975-90 civil war.
Whether Hezbollah and its allies can cling on to a majority hinges on results not yet finalized, including those in Sunni Muslim seats contested by allies and opponents of the Shiite movement.
Gains reported by the Lebanese Forces (LF), which is vehemently opposed to Hezbollah, mean it would overtake the Hezbollah-allied Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) as the biggest Christian party in parliament.
The LF won at least 20 seats, up from 15 in 2018, said the head of its press office, Antoinette Geagea.
The FPM had won up to 16 seats, down from 18 in 2018, Sayed Younes, the head of its electoral machine, told Reuters.
The FPM has been the biggest Christian party in parliament since its founder, President Michel Aoun, returned from exile in 2005 in France. Aoun and LF leader Samir Geagea were civil war adversaries.
The LF, established as a militia during Lebanon’s 15-year civil war, has repeatedly called for Hezbollah to give up its arsenal.

“A NEW BEGINNING“
An opposition candidate also made a breakthrough in an area of southern Lebanon dominated by Hezbollah.
Elias Jradi, an eye doctor, won an Orthodox Christian seat previously held by Assaad Hardan of the Syrian Socialist Nationalist Party, a close Hezbollah ally and MP since 1992, two Hezbollah officials said.
“It’s a new beginning for the south and for Lebanon as a whole,” Jradi told Reuters.
Nadim Houry, executive director of Arab Reform Initiative, said the results of 14 or 15 seats would determine the majority.
“You are going to have two blocs opposed to each other — on the one hand Hezbollah and its allies, and on the other the Lebanese Forces and its allies, and in the middle these new voices that will enter,” he said.
“This is a clear loss for the FPM. They maintain a bloc but they lost a lot of seats and the biggest beneficiary is the Lebanese Forces. Samir Geagea has emerged as the new Christian strongman.”
The next parliament must nominate a prime minister to form a cabinet, in a process that can take months. Any delay would hold up reforms to tackle the crisis and unlock support from the International Monetary Fund and donor nations.


Nakba memories and resistance: The right of return remains in refugee diaries

Nakba memories and resistance: The right of return remains in refugee diaries
Updated 16 May 2022

Nakba memories and resistance: The right of return remains in refugee diaries

Nakba memories and resistance: The right of return remains in refugee diaries
  • Palestinian cause ‘alive and growing’ in Gaza camps, researcher says

RAFAH, GAZA STRIP: Abu Ahmed Adwan was five when his family was forcibly displaced during the Nakba in 1948. They sought refuge in a camp in the city of Rafah, adjacent to the Palestinian-Egyptian border in the far south of the Gaza Strip.

Adwan grew up in the alleys of the Barbara camp, which got its name from the original village that was abandoned by the Adwan family and other families that settled together.

“We were neighbors in Barbara before the Nakba, and here we are in the camp until the return,” Adwan, now in his late 70s, told Arab News.

Today he is the mayor of his village (the chief of the refugee families from the village of Barbara), and despite spending his life as a refugee, he still believes in the right of return.

“We will return one day, and if we pass away, our children and grandchildren will return and rebuild the country.”

Estimates by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees show that the number of refugees in the Rafah camp grew from 41,000 in 1948 to more than 125,000 today. Residents in one of the largest camps in the Gaza Strip live in overcrowded houses in narrow streets. In Gaza, refugees represent more than 70 percent of the population of almost two million people.

Adwan uses a large map of the village of Barbara, which tops one of the walls of his meeting hall in his home, to describe the village he visited for the last time about 35 years ago.

He classifies his constant talk of Barbara, and the refugee stories linked to the memory of the Nakba, as a “kind of resistance” in order to keep the memories of past generations alive and encourage the restoration of stolen rights.

He said: “Today’s generation is more aware than their parents and grandfathers than the generation of the Nakba, and the experience of the Nakba in 1948 cannot be repeated again.”

Mohammed Adwan, born in 1970, is a freed prisoner of an Israeli jail. He said: “The camp is the storehouse of the revolution since the Nakba, and the fathers and grandfathers are its fuel by constantly talking about Palestine with all this nostalgia.”

He added: “We will return sooner or later.”

Adwan said that refugee camps play a role in “resisting the occupation, forming the awareness of successive generations and preserving the national memory.”

He added: “It was important to preserve the names of our original towns and villages, by calling them to the refugee camps, as this is a resistance to the factors of time, and the occupation’s efforts to falsify reality and distort Palestinian geography.”

The growing population in the camp led to mixing with city neighborhoods. Simple houses built from brick and roofed with asbestos have largely disappeared, replaced by concrete houses.

A researcher in refugee affairs, Nader Abu Sharekh, said that stories told in the homes of the camps, generation after generation, have made the Palestinian cause “alive and growing.”

The families of each village and city destroyed in the Nakba gathered in neighborhoods inside the new camps to draft names. They used original names from their homeland, out of love for the land and adherence to the right of return, and to keep the names and meanings present in memory. In each camp there are streets bearing the names of original homes.

“In the camp, the events of the Nakba are present, and the right of return is an absolute belief,” Abu Sharekh said.

“In wedding parties, they sing historic songs from before the Nakba like Ataba, Mijna, Dabke and Dahia.

“These traditions remained in circulation, so that the homeland remains a title to joy, and the right of return remains in the refugees’ diaries.”

In the camp, old women still wear traditional dress rich in color.

People have allotted part of their yards to plant something that reminds them of their lost orchards and farms. Sometimes the space is used to construct a hut or tent.

Some of the refugees still bake using traditional clay ovens modeled on the kind lost in their destroyed towns and villages.