henrymakow.com — May 16, 2017
Ilan Pappe’s new book demolishes the myths about Israel but leaves the largest one standing, that Israel was primarily intended as a Jewish Homeland rather than a proxy for Rothschild imperialism & the New World Order.
He dismisses the only practical (“two-state”) Palestinian solution and instead calls for an end to Israel’s racist ideology. Can a leopard change his spots?
Ten Myths About Israel, Ilan Pappe, Verso Books (2017)
The historian Ilan Pappe’s latest work, Ten Myths About Israel, is a useful primer for people just becoming familiar with the Palestinian liberation struggle – but it is far more than that. It is also a valuable tool for veteran organizers seeking to explain cogently and simply how Israel’s foundational myths and ongoing propaganda perpetuate the oppression of the Palestinian people.
While concise at 192 pages, Ten Myths About Israel points readers to many of the seminal works in Palestinian and Israeli historiography.
What are the 10 myths? Pappe divides the book into three sections: “Fallacies of the Past,” “Fallacies of the Present” and “Looking Ahead.”
The six myths of the past include the well-known saying, “a land without a people for a people without a land,” the conflation of Zionism and Judaism, Zionism as a national liberation movement and the alleged voluntary flight of Palestinians during the 1948 war.
The three myths of the present era are the claim that Israel is a democracy, that the Oslo accords represented a genuine peace process rather than a “ploy to deepen the occupation” and that Israel’s multiple attacks on Gaza were simply acts of self-defense.
The final myth looking ahead is that creating two, separate states for Israelis and Palestinians is the only way to achieve a just peace.
Although some of these topics may seem well traveled and the myths largely debunked, Pappe brings fresh scholarship and insights to each. In the process, he reveals how these past myths are still very much operational in the present.
Take, for example, the shopworn fabrication that Palestine was largely empty of people when Zionist colonists first settled there and the corresponding claim that Palestinians are an “invented people.” In rebutting this myth, Pappe brings forward largely neglected works like Rashid Khalidi’s book, Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness.
Few would argue today that Palestine was largely uninhabited at the time of Zionist colonization. However, the second myth – that Jews represented a people or nation without a land – is seldom challenged. Pappe probes the settler-colonial claim that the Jewish “nation” is simply returning to the land from which it was supposedly expelled more than 2,000 years ago.
Drawing on the work of Israeli historian Shlomo Sand and others, Pappe notes there is no credible historical evidence that the Jews of Roman Palestine were forcibly exiled in 70 CE. The far greater likelihood, he maintains, is that they remained on the land with many converting first to Christianity and then to Islam.
Pappe shows that the notion of a Jewish nation in diaspora originated with Christian Zionists and often aligned itself with anti-Semites seeking the expulsion of European Jews through their “return” to Palestine. Zionism was only later transmuted into a modern-day “national liberation movement.”
Pro-Zionist organizations often attempt to disguise their narrow ethnocentric aims with the argument that Jews are simply reclaiming what is rightfully theirs as an indigenous people.
Although he tips his hat to Sand’s research, Pappe argues that what really matters is not so much the historical inaccuracy of the claim but how this “genesis narrative” denies the rights of Palestinians and “leads to political projects such as genocide, ethnic cleansing, and oppression.”
Or as The Electronic Intifada contributor Raymond Deane put it in his review of Sand’s The Invention of the Jewish People: “Ultimately, the case against the Jewish state cannot be based on an unseemly tussle for genetic primacy, but on a discourse of fundamental political and human rights.”
THE PEOPLE OF THE LIE