acquiescence of the Palestinians was neitherto be expected nor sought; (2) that successdepended on Great Power(s) support—firstOttoman Turkey, then Great Britain—withIsrael as “strategic asset” as
quid pro quo
;(3) that regional alliances must besubordinate to a framework in the interestsof the Great Power(s) (16-20). Zionism hasfailed: “What is the
of Zionismin the contemporary world save as anoutpost of [in Gershom Scholem’s words inthe 1930s] ‘reactionary and imperialist forcesagainst the resurgent East’?” (20).
Ch. 2: A Land Without a People.
From Time Immemorial
was a“threadbare hoax” supported by “theAmerican intellectual establishment” (xxxix). The book “is among the most spectacularfrauds ever published on the Arab-Israeliconflict” (22; 21-45; “The weight of theevidence suggests that Peters’s demographic‘study’ is a carefully contrived, premeditatedhoax” ). An account of its reception; itwas widely praised and promoted in the U.S.,and lost its status only when Britishreviewers began to pan it—but Americanshave rarely repudiated it (45-50).
Ch. 3: ‘Born of War, Not by Design.’
Acritique of Benny Morris’s
The Birth of thePalestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-1949
(1988), which argues that the Palestinianexodus was an inadvertent unplanned resultof war and mutual fear (52). Morris does notregard his sources sufficiently critically (53-56). He is right to dismiss the argument thatArab broadcasts urging Palestinians to flee toclear the battlefield, of which there is noevidence whatsoever, but does not go farenough (56-60). His own evidence indicatesPalestinians were systematically andpremeditatedly expelled, particularlystatements from members of Mapam (UnitedWorkers Party), who in 1948 were saying that“Jews too have committed Nazi acts”—
Morris’s argument to the contrary that theywere not expelled (60-80). Morris’semphasis on military events motivated by“security” obscures the aggressiveideological motivations that motivated the“politics” of the actors (80-87).
Ch. 4: Settlement, Not Conquest.
Thischapter is principally a critique of AnitaShapira’s
Land and Power
(1992). Like otherconquerors, Zionists claimed they wereoccupying land that was, essentially,deserted (89-98). Like other conquerors,they have reinterpreted their own aggressionas self-defense (98-110). Like otherconquerors, they mystified the use of forceas tragically necessary but supposedlyexecuted with humanity and efficiency (110-16). Ironically, Zionist ideology pervasivelyresembles Nazi ideology (116-20).
PART II: WAR AND PEACECh. 5: To Live or Perish.
This chapterexamines the background to the June 1967war, with a focus on the interpretation of events by Israeli Ambassador to the U.N.Abba Eban [1915-2002]. He justifies Israel’sconduct in the war by effacing Israel’sprovocation of Egypt and Israel’sresponsibility for failed diplomacy (124-30).Israel’s claim that it faced destruction was afalse (130-37). In the aftermath of the war,opinion was divided between those who sawIsrael as the aggressor and those whothought blame was shared; the claim thatIsrael was attacked in force in June 1967 isfalse and a myth; in fact, Israel preemptivelyattacked (137-41). Israel’s purposes were:to avoid a diplomatic breakthrough; todiminish Nasser’s standing and forestall“Arab ‘radicalism’—i.e. independence andmodernization”; and to “fulfill its territorialdestiny”; and to “recover its spent élan”(141-44). Eban’s interpretation of U.N.Security Council Resolution 242 is notsustained by the record (144-49).
Ch. 6: Language of Force.
Thebackground to the October 1973 war.Contrary to the standard depiction, “Egypt(and Jordan) desperately sought a negotiatedsettlement after the 1967 war. Israel,however, refused to budge from theconquered territories in exchange for peace.With all diplomatic options exhausted, Egyptwent to war, displaying impressive—andunexpected—military prowess. Israelaccordingly agreed after the war to the samediplomatic settlement Sadat had offered itbefore the war. In a word, it was Israel, notEgypt, that ultimately bowed to force” (151;150-71).
Ch. 7: Oslo: The Apartheid Option.
OsloII (300 folio-size pages) gave the Palestinians