Barry Shaw

A massacre that never was. Fact over fiction

The Jordanian Netflix movie, Farha, dived in its ratings after viewers found the content to be yet another anti-Israel hit job portraying Israeli soldiers killing innocent Arab civilians. Doubtless it will be promoted for television Oscars by the hate-Israel communities around the world.

Although Jordanian director, Darin Sallam, says her movie is based on what she had heard from her father, neutral and Israeli viewers say it is the Netflix equivalent of UNRWA indoctrination material taught to impressionable Palestinian teenagers leading them to hate Israelis and kill Jews, but now released on a global scale.

The director claims that her movie is based on “real incidents” and the echoes of Deir Yassin are caught up in the theme of the movie.

“I’m not afraid to tell the truth” she said in 2021 when the film premiered at the Red Sea International Film Festival. But is it the truth?

Nobody has researched what happened in Deir Yassin for so long and in such detail more than Eliezer Tauber, renowned Middle East historian and former dean at Bar Ilan University.

The results of his dispassionate deep dive into the Battle of Deir Yassin included identifying every fatality and how each one died in that Arab village, and the results of his exhaustive research can be read in his book “The Massacre That Never Was,” which was published in Hebrew in 2018.

An English translation was rejected by American academics because his findings went against their preferred and preconceived misinformation that stands as “academic content” on Western left-wing campuses.

Later this book was uploaded onto Amazon in English. For those who seek the truth, this is where you will find it. Here are the facts.

Deir Yassin was an Arab village with barely a thousand inhabitants in the 1940s.

The Arab world declared war on the nascent Jewish state immediately after the Arabs rejected the United National General Assembly resolution to partition Palestine and the vote that approved the establishment of the Jewish State of Israel in November 1947.

Jerusalem had a Jewish majority, most living in the Old City which was surrounded by hostile Arab villages.

The British who governed the Palestine district of the failed Ottoman Empire from Jerusalem, were antisemitic Arabists, despite their obligation to use their best endeavors to facilitate the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.

When the Arab war against the Jews began in 1948, Jewish Jerusalem was cut off from the rest of Israel, put under siege by both the British-trained and equipped Jordanian army and by armed Arabs supporting the aim of the invading Arab armies to kill the Jews, steal their property, and destroy the Jewish state.

The fable that Israelis massacred innocent Arab civilians is a propaganda fiction.

Where there was an actual massacre was the Arab slaughter of 79 Jewish doctors and nurses not far from Deir Yassin close to Shimon Ha Tzadik, more commonly known as Sheikh Jarrah.

This is where the real Nakba/Disaster happened.

Seventy-nine doctors and medical orderlies, including 23 female nurses, were slaughtered by Arab gunmen on April 13, 1948, as their medical convoy tried to reach the Hadassah Hospital.

No Nakba for this massacre. No Arab apology. No call for the UN or the ICC to investigate. No mention of this atrocity in the Netflix movie, Farha.

To prevent massacres and the starvation of the besieged Jews in Jerusalem, the nascent Israeli volunteer army was forced to forge a route to relieve the capital by pacifying or conquering the surrounding Arab villages.

Deir Yassin was one such place.

Deir Yassin had enjoyed economic ties with nearby Jewish villages and kibbutzim prior to the Arab invasion, but it had already joined the Arab war against the Jews, starting in 1920 with the incitement of Haj Amin Al-Husseini which began with the Nebi Musa riots where Jews were killed, raped, and injured in Jerusalem’s Old City. This Arab pogrom against Jews spread from Hebron up to Tel Hai in the north. Escaping the British, Al-Husseini went to Baghdad where he incited the infamous Farhoud against Iraqi Jews. Between June 1-2, 1940, 200 Jews were slaughtered and a thousands injured. Another Jewish Nakba at the hands of hate-filled Arabs. Haj Amin Al-Husseini once again escaped the British for Berlin where he joined Hitler in planning the Final Solution of the Jewish Problem in the Middle East.

The Arabs were slaughtering Jews decades before the establishment of a Jewish State. Deir Yassin played a violent role in the Arab Revolt of 1936-1939.

In 1948, when the Jewish fighting force was heavily outgunned and outmanned by the Arab armies, the Haganah intelligence over-estimated the number of Arab fighters in the Deir Yassin village but under-estimated their fire power.

In the confusion of battle, the lead Jewish force trying to enter the village mistook the Arab guard for Jewish soldiers which led to a bloody pitched battle during which the Arab inhabitants were warned to leave the village. This was confirmed by Arab survivors.

There are accurate reports of Arab women acting as snipers and male fighters disguised as women and Arab men who mingled with the female prisoners being escorted out of the village. Some Arab snipers shot Arabs who were helping the Jews transport wounded Arabs out of the village.

Despite the intense fighting, some 700 villagers were able to flee. In the end 101 were killed in the battle.

Eliezer Tauber dedicated decades of research, checking, and cross-checking the fatality lists. He cross-listed genealogical records. He was able to obtain the exact circumstances in which 84 were killed. Most were men though some were women fighters. There was no evidence of rape, another false accusation against the Jews and another Nakba lie.

After the battle, one Irgun officer, who was not present at Deir Yassin, thought it useful to boastfully inflate the number of dead Arabs. But the person most responsible for the Deir Yassin lies was the secretary of the Arab High Committee, Hussein-al-Khalidi, who asked Arab journalist, Hassim Nuseibeh, to exaggerate the numbers of dead and to invent crimes to draw Arab countries to their cause against the Jews.

Echoes of this anti-Israel strategy resound today.

Khalidi instructed a group of survivors to participate in the false narrative. He is quoted as telling them, “We want you to say that the Jews slaughtered people, committed atrocities, raped and stole gold.”

There were some who admitted there were no rapes. “There was no pregnant woman who had their throats slit. It was propaganda to justify the invasion of the Arab armies.”

When the battlefield was inspected, all the dead were fully clothed with no signs of abuse or mutilation.

Survivors admitted that most of those killed, including the dead women, were among the fighters. None of the Arab witnesses saw any abuse of women or children.

According to one Palestinian researcher, the outlandish and unproven fantasies of rapes and mutilations were rumors created by Arabs in other villages taking their possessions and fleeing eastward to Jordan or south to Gaza. This and the orders and rumors spread by the Arab Higher Command.

Elsewhere, however, Jews defending Kfar Etzion, surrendering to armed Arabs, were slaughtered. Over a hundred Jews were killed by Arabs chanting “Deir Yassin! Deir Yassin!” 

This chant was heard as other Arabs slaughtered the doctors and nurses near the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of east Jerusalem.

These scenarios are emblematic of the Arab narrative of the conflict and have persisted until today. Jews are falsely accused of the very atrocities their enemies executed.

This false narrative echoes in the hallways of academia and is uploaded onto TV screens on Netflix.

Eliezer Tauber accessed documents in the IDF archives. He waded through the testimonies given by 90% of the Deir Yassin survivors. He checked the testimonies of Jewish fighters and found that both narratives closely resembled each other into “one combined narrative.”

Tauber writes that Deir Yassin was not a “peaceful” village but was instead fortified with a large quantities of machine guns and automatic weapons, and that the village had received an arms shipment from Egypt just five days before the battle.

The battle took ten hours and “when the battle ended the shooting stopped” the Israeli fighters did not randomly shoot civilians after the battle ended as they are accused of doing.

Of the villagers who did not escape or killed, two hundred were captured by Israeli soldiers and released to the Arab area of Jerusalem.

It was Arab leaders, Al-Khalidi and Hassam Nuseibeh, who competed against each other to pervert the truth into the myth that generates the contemporary narrative for political gain that has perpetuated the conflict and obstructed peace with a mountain of lies for decades.

Perhaps the biggest victim of this negative obstacle has been Arabs who call themselves Palestinians who today are living the lies of the past instead of forging a positive future.

The truth is contained in Tauber’s book “The Massacre That Never Was.”

Barry Shaw,

International Public Diplomacy Director,

Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.

About the Author
Barry Shaw is the Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies. He is also the author of ‘Fighting Hamas, BDS and Anti-Semitism,' '1917. From Palestine to the Land of Israel, 'BDS for IDIOTS,' and his latest work 'A Tale of Love and Destiny,' the dramatic life of a Jewish heroine.
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