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Fabricating Israeli History: The 'New Historians' (Israeli History, Politics and Society) 2nd Edition
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"Pandemic" by Sonia Shah
By delving into the convoluted science, strange politics, and checkered history of one of the world's deadliest diseases, Pandemic reveals what the next epidemic might look like--and what we can do to prevent it. Learn more
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Top Customer Reviews
When I read it, I was a little surprised by the fact that Benny Morris had made an error that wound up with him saying that in 1938, David Ben-Gurion had said "We must expel Arabs and take their places." In fact, as Karsh pointed out, using the actual source would have confirmed a typo here: Ben-Gurion actually wrote, "We do not wish and do not need to expel Arabs and take their places."
Yes, that was a big mistake on Morris' part, not checking the original source. And it was a big mistake to get something like this wrong. But I still pondered about how Morris could write something so unusual without checking it. After all, wasn't he aware of Ben-Gurion's other statements in the previous and following years? Wasn't he aware of how far this would have been from the statements of most of Ben-Gurion's political allies and supporters? Wasn't Morris aware of how insane it would have seemed to most Jews to prescribe a policy of war towards the much more numerous Arabs?
What Karsh appeared to be telling me was that some extremely unlikely speculations had been presented as history. It would be as if some historian quoted John Kennedy as President claiming that the Earth was flat in an important speech, after proposing that we send a person to the Moon.
Karsh did a careful job of coming up with the actual history here. And he then demolished Avi Shlaim's claim of "collusion across the Jordan." Here again, Karsh showed a situation in which a supposedly serious historian made a highly dubious claim and supported it with a single piece of highly disputable evidence.Read more ›
Any study of any of revisionist and leftist historians, so-called "new" for good reason, should be filtered through the eyes of Professor Karsh--and Anita Shapira's 10,000-word New Republic piece, "The Past is Not a Foreign Country." Both call to task Avi Schlaim and Benny Morris, who like Tom Segev, fail to explain the war and peace that has afflicted the Middle East since Israel's founding. These new historians all make one gross omission: They consider it irrelevant that seven Arab nations attacked Israel upon her founding in 1947, making no secret of their intention to destroy the new Jewish state. In 1947, Arab League Secretary General Azzam Pasha promised "a war of extermination," "a momentous massacre" to be remembered "like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades."
Nor do new historians bother to note that such words were followed by gruesome acts, about which the world has forgotten, given the ubiquity of biased news reports. In 1947 and 1948, for example, all but one of the 600 Jews captured by Arab forces, including many noncombatants and children, were murdered in cold blood--and mutilated beyond recognition. According to Dr. Eugene Narrett and Jerusalem Post reporter Sarah Honig, amid scenes of rape and other sexual abuse, the Jewish victims were dismembered, decapitated and photographed by their proud captors. In the Etzion settlements south of Jerusalem, three truckloads full of Jewish corpses were found sexually mutilated.
Current accounts of those years often do, however, detail supposedly heinous deeds of Jewish fighters-without appropriate context. In the so-called massacre at Deir Yassin some 200 Arabs were killed.Read more ›
Be intellectually honest.
Let evidence form the conclusions.
Any first-year history major should have that drilled into their heads. It's also a basic set of tenets for journalists, academics, and anyone else seeking truth among facts and fiction.
What I gain from Karsh's book is an objective perspective of the origin of the modern conflict in Israel. I am treated to primary sources, secondary accounts, and conclusions drawn directly from the evidence, and not wild imagination or heresay. The way it hangs together, and the way it is written, almost compels you to consider going through the bibliography to learn more. Presented in the context of an academic response to sloppy historiography, it is a scathing rebuttal that cannot be ignored.
Presented as an introduction to the conflict, it doesn't stand alone. More than basic familiarity with the facts of Israel's modern (re)birth as a nation is needed to understand a majority of the references. However, once a basic understanding is in place, this book should serve as the standard by which other accounts or works are judged.
Elaborating on the argument first made in his June 1996 article in the Middle East Quarterly, Karsh focuses on three main issues: David Ben-Gurion's alleged endorsement of "transferring" Arabs out of the territory to become Israel, "collusion" between the Zionist movement and King `Abdallah of Jordan to snuff out a Palestinian state, and secret British support for this joint effort. To establish his case, Karsh digs deeply into the documentary record, even going so far as to interpret crossed-out sections in Ben-Gurion's handwritten letters. That's all vital to making his case, but Karsh's key strength is the application of unprejudiced common sense to clarify issues clouded by the pseudo-scholarship of propagandists.
Middle East Quarterly, Sept 1997
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Over the past year, I've become very interested in Israeli historiography. In perhaps a backwards way, I started by reading the works of New Historians and have more recently been... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Kyle Stanton
A serious study of by a renowned historian challenging the fashionable wave of 'new historians' (who mix politics with history)Published 16 months ago by Tom Harrington
Prof. Karsh does a fabulous job of exposing the liars and spinmeisters aka The New Historians, the ones who've provided unnecessary and baseless fodder to the Israel-haters. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Cliff Pinto
This book is just the creation of the Israeli propaganda machine that aims at obscuring the very clear historical facts. Read morePublished on May 25, 2008 by M. Kandil
If the above excellent reviews leave you less than entirely convinced of the worthlessness of Morris' thesis [how could they? Read morePublished on January 20, 2007 by Kenneth D. Willis
This book is an important exposure of academic mendacity and intellectual dishonesty. Karsh carefully reads the ' so- called revisionist historians' and shows how they have... Read morePublished on April 27, 2005 by Shalom Freedman
In the late 1980s a group calling themselves the
'new historians', including Avi Shlaim, Ilan Pappe
and Benny Morris burst onto the scene, claiming to
have... Read more
Accusations that this book is "propaganda" cannot be further from the truth. I suspect that people who make such accusations have not read the book. Read morePublished on June 12, 2003
In this work, Karsh presents a credible academic refutation to the scholars who call themselves the "New Historians". Read morePublished on March 24, 2003 by Charles Givre