Queen of the Pogrom-Deniers

by Rafael Medoff

Queen Rania of Jordan has introduced a new term into 21st century discourse: pogrom-denier.

“It hasn’t been independently verified…that Israeli children [were] found butchered in an Israeli kibbutz,” the queen said in an interview on CNN. “There’s no proof of that.”

Yet really, the queen shouldn’t be surprised that Israel’s enemies are capable of such horrors. After all, her own country’s troops committed nearly identical atrocities against numerous Israeli Jews during the 1948 war.

The Jordanian army, then known as the Arab Legion, played a central role in the war against the newborn Jewish state, often operating alongside Palestinian Arab terrorist forces that were in many ways precursors of Hamas.

R.M. Graves, an official of the British administration in Palestine at the beginning of the war, wrote in his diary (published in the 1949 book Experiment in Anarchy) that “the mutilation of the Jewish dead” was “a common practice” among the Arab forces. After one attack, he wrote: “Some heads were cut off the bodies of the fallen Jews and have been carried round Jerusalem as trophies of victory. A British member of my staff met a younger in the German Colony yesterday, who showed him a handful of severed fingers.”

The renowned investigative journalist John Roy Carlson (Arthur Derounian) worked undercover in Arab areas in and next to Israel during the 1948 war. He wrote of the aftermath of one Arab attack near Jerusalem: “The next day on sale everywhere in the Holy City were gruesome photographs of the battle: the burnt and mutilated bodies of Haganah men…had been stripped of clothing and photographed in the nude….Arabs carried them in their wallets and displayed them frequently…”

Contemporaneous sources reveal the same facts. To cite just one of many examples, a Jewish Telegraphic Agency report on January 19, 1948, summarizing Arab attacks in recent days, mentioned that a Jew murdered by Arabs in Jerusalem “was mutilated and his body was partially burned,” while “an unidentified Jewish male was found near Haifa with the head severed from the body.”

Uri Milstein’s four-volume History of Israel’s War of Independence, the definitive study of the subject, chronicles the 1948 war battle by battle. Again and again, he refers to actions by the Jordanians or the Palestinian Arabs that sound as if they were taken straight from accounts of the October 7 pogrom.

A Jewish truck from Kibbutz Negba was ambushed on the Kiryat Gat-Ashkelon Road on December 6, 1947; the driver and passenger fled. When their bodies were later found, they showed “signs of abuse.” Three days after that, a patrol from Kibbutz Gvulot encountered Jordanian troops near the village of Shu’ot. “British troops later brought the mutilated corpses of the dead to Kibbutz Gvulot,” Milstein reports.

On December 11, a Jewish convoy from Jerusalem to Gush Etzion was ambushed by Arab forces. Yaffa Mundlak, a medic who survived, recounted: “When our bullets ran out, the Arabs went down to the road and slaughtered the [Jews] one by one. There was a girl there. They yanked up her head by the hair and shot her in the forehead…Most of the others were killed. The Arabs mutilated the corpses and burned the truck.”

A convoy from Mikveh Yisrael was attacked as it passed the Arab town of Yazur on January 22. “All seven men in the pickup were killed, some instantly in the explosion, the other wounded victims beaten and stabbed to death by [the Arab attackers], who then abused the corpses…”

On February 2, Arabs ambushed a Jewish vehicle going through the Sheikh Jarrah of Jerusalem. They murdered two Jews, “burned the car and mutilated the bodies.”

After the last defenders of Gush Etzion surrendered on May 13, the Arab Legion forces murdered the prisoners, “stripped the corpses, looted them, and then mutilated the bodies until they were difficult and almost impossible to identify. One body was decapitated.”

The list of such examples goes on and on, and much of it sounds remarkably similar to what we know the Hamas pogromists did on October 7, from murdering wounded prisoners and burning Jews alive, to mutilations, decapitations, and sexual violence. We know that all happened from the videos that the killers themselves posted on social media; from the transcripts of the murderers’ telephone calls; from the confessions that captured terrorists have given; and the countless eyewitness testimonies of the survivors. This is the evidence that the queen of Jordan denies.

With her charm, elegance, and Western education, Queen Rania, like her husband King Abdullah II, is often regarded as the epitome of reason and moderation. Her descent into pogrom-denial, however, undermines that perception.

One may wonder whether the queen of Jordan is so ignorant, and so enamored of conspiracy mongering, that she honestly believes the atrocities stories are all fabricated—presumably as the result of a conspiracy by the

governments of Israel and the United States, together with world Jewry and the international news media.

Or perhaps it’s just that she is so dishonest and cynical that she denies the atrocities, even though she knows they happened, simply in order to undermine world sympathy for Israel.

It’s hard to know which possibility is more troubling.

(November 2023)