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This is truly an amazing book

Reader comment on item: Fabricating Israeli History: The "New Historians."

Submitted by Ron (United States), Aug 6, 2003 at 01:50

This is truly an amazing book. Efraim Karsh is one of the premier scholars of Middle Eastern History. And this book is truly a testament to his vast knowledge and familiarity with the subject. However, this is not a history book, nor is it a book for beginners. Yet, it is a devastating critique of the pseudo-scholarship that has been plaguing the study of Middle Eastern History since the time of the so-called ‘new’ Historians, Benny Morris and et al.

The book is broken down into different sections of varying lengths, each dealing with a supposed archival discovery about Israel’s ‘Original Sin’. The first is a basic introduction where the author points out that there is actually nothing new about what the ‘new’ Historians are claiming to document. In fact they are just regurgitated half-truths, conspiracy theories and propaganda that has been floating around in the Arab and the Soviet Union. Then Karsh sets out to demolish everything these new Historians stand for.

With skill and precision Karsh first takes Benny Morris to task on his interpretation of Ben-Gurion and the topic of ‘transfer’. This assessment has been so devastating that even Benny Morris himself had to admit that, "Karsh has a point. My treatment of transfer thinking before 1948 was, indeed, superficial". Sadly even after Morris has admitted that he was in error some people, actually still believe Morris was correct! What does it take to convince these people?

The next section is dedicated to Avi Shlaim’s theory on the supposed ‘collusion’ between the Jewish Agency in Palestine and King Abdullah in Jordan. Like the previous section this one will also leave the reader amazed as to lengths the these self professed ‘new’ Historians have gone to fabricate history. Then Karsh moves on to demolish other myths that the ‘new’ Historians have propagated, each one as skill full and intelligent as the previous.

This book is not a simple reinterpretation of texts, as some people would have you believe. It is however a damming indictment set out to prove that the ‘new’ historians have manipulated archival material and in some cases fabricated meetings that never took place. Dr. Karsh does not force interpretations down the readers’ throat. Instead he places the original text side by side with the manipulated (‘new’ Historian version) and allows the readers to make their own decisions. Other times he proves that the ‘new’ Historians use each other so they can propagate their false claims. For instance Ilan Pappe tries to expand on Avi Shlaim’s collusion theory by stating Britain knew about the deal. Pappe cites Shlaim’s book ‘Collusion’ which is a near-verbatim version of Ilan Pappe’s earlier work ‘Britian and the Arab-Israeli Conflict’. However, Pappe ‘provides no reference whatsoever of this (false) claim’ (Fabricating, p.110, see notes). By imbedding false assertions and referencing each other the ‘new’ Historians thought that they had committed the perfect crime.

There isn’t much left to be said. This book is one that is a must to be read by all people who think they know Israeli history.
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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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