Reclaiming the pro-Israel position back from the Right to counter demonization by the Left.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Palestine Betrayed Redux
Many of you have probably read Efraim Karsh's book but I've just spent every free minute of the last three days devouring it and must pass on my recommendation to those who haven't yet read it. I find it unputdownable, biased in exactly the way I like my biases, and finally a very chilling reminder of where (some of us believe) it all went wrong. Actually, it is a welcome corrective to the revisionist history that is now ubiquitous in the academic, political and media arenas. I'm sure that somewhere between these poles -- they fled/they were expelled -- there is a story that all parties will agree on...when pigs start to fly.
I've also read most of the reviews available online. Interestingly the vast majority of those published were written from the pro-Israel side. Apart from one slightly snarky, inside baseball, review by Benny Morris -- who found a bunch of inaccuracies but ultimately agreed with the main theses of the book -- the only negative, anti-Zionist review I could find was posted on pretty much all the solidarity sites out there. It was written by one, Jim Miles, not an historian, but a self described "Canadian educator and a regular contributor/columnist of opinion pieces and book reviews for The Palestine Chronicle. Miles' work is also presented globally through other alternative websites and news publications." He concludes that Karsh's analysis is the betrayal: "Karsh’s writing is a betrayal - a betrayal of truth, morality, and reality. Yes, the Palestinians were betrayed, yes they were betrayed by their own self-proclaimed leaders, but they were also betrayed by the presumption of Zionist moral superiority, by the British, the French and just about anyone else they came in contact with. That betrayal continues today, with the ignorance and arrogance of U.S. support for a militant, unforgiving, immoral occupation of a people who had little say in their own destiny as the imperial overlords fought to control and colonize their lands, farms, fields, towns, and villages, and to expel them in order to create a “pure” Jewish state.
“Palestine Betrayed” is a hoax - one that speaks the truth, yet conceals much more than it reveals, and creates a ’neo-revisionist’ canard about the Palestinian expulsion. In his own words, “rather than unearth new facts or offer novel interpretations”, Karsh has “recycled the standard [Zionist/Israeli] narrative of the conflict.”
I find fascinating that the book has not received more attention from those who would want to rubbish it. Where is Avi Shlaim's, Ilan Pappe's, etc., etc.? I suspect they either didn't want to give the book more prominence or are too busy to respond because they're burrowing through the British archives in order to contest some of Karsh's quotes revealing the Brits' collusion with the Arab side as well as the collapse of Palestinian morale mostly due to the Mufti of Jerusalem's blind hatred and intransigence.
Here are a few 'good' reviews to whet your appetite: