30 thoughts on “Tom Segev Critically Reviews Benny Morris’ new book, ‘1948’ – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
Comments are published at the sole discretion of the owner.

  1. One of the very first things I learned when studying history:
    Use quotation marks when you quote something. That’s why they’re called quotation marks. If you use them for other purposes, it’s very likely because you’re either not sure about something, which is bad, or because you’re dishonest about something, which is also bad.

    One of the things I learned a little later: There’s no such thing as an inevitable development. There is no reason to believe that the past had no freedom of decision, but the present does. (If you have a strictly deterministic world view, you’re off the hook. But then you gotta keep your mouth shut about morality.)

    1. Though not grammatically correct, many writers use quotation marks to express irony. Usage evolves.

      1. What “many writers” do isn’t that relevant regarding the standards of scholarly writing in the discipline of history. Note the correct use above, with footnote and citation omitted.

        In any case, irony is a form of being dishonest. It’s got its place, which is usually not in a scholarly history text.

        1. “In any case, irony is a form of being dishonest. ”

          You might be right about what should appear in a scholarly article or book, as people otherwise might misunderstand. But saying that “irony is a form of being dishonest” is silly–irony is a way of making a point which sometimes has more impact than a bald statement. The risk, of course, is that it might be misunderstood, either because the writer did a poor job or because the reader is stupid. I suppose one should not take for granted the intelligence of people who read scholarly works.

  2. And I’ll take Ramzy Baroud over either one of them, at the very least to cancel out the subtle, and not so subtle, dehumanization of the Palestinians that is found in most Zionist narratives.

    1. True that, Mary (although I would have said Edward Said or Rashid Khalidi because I haven’t read anything by Ramzy Baroud). That being said, however, I haven’t noticed any subtle or not-so-subtle dehumanization of Palestinians by Tom Segev. In fact, it seems to be his point as one of the “new” historians, to disspell the Zionist mythology and give credence and humanity to the Palestinian narrative.

      1. I agree with both Mary and Lisa (except that, for all his value, Said was not a historian).

        My comparison of Segev to Morris in this case was due only to the fact that Segev was the reviewer. I, too, could have mentioned others – too many for this limited space.

  3. I want to know what is in those photographs that Israel’s government is hiding. Too many members of my family were stripped & lined up against walls and shot due to their ethnicity. Anyone who does this – anyone! – is a criminal and needs to be behind bars.

    1. Shunra, you won’t get any photographs, but you will get a marvelous graphic picture of what happened in Khan Younis and Rafah, which are comparable, in Joe Sacco’s brilliant cartoon illustrated, “Footnotes to Gaza.”

      1. Sacco’s work is indeed an excellent piece of historical revelation (a graphic novel in too much of the word).

        But what I want is for the Israeli government to come clean about the crimes that it is hiding.

    2. The only real surprise is that the legal proceedings imply that the photographs still exist.

      Unless Mr Morris can describe the capital crime these women and children committed as individuals (the UN Charter does not allow collective punishments), and document a due legal process with evidence, representation and all, then these killings cannot be “executions” they can only be murders.

      When someone told Queen Elizabeth about Kuwaitis “executed” by Saddam Hussein’s men, she politely corrected them with the word “murdered”. It is the Queen’s English, after all.

    3. I agree Shunra. I have seen so many similar photographs of what happened to the Jews and other Nazi victims since I was young. Outrage and empathy is what they bring out, not a sense of degradation of the victims. (My parents had and extensive collection of books, and WW2 formed part of it. I am not sure they realized I was always reading everything. I only remember my father once gently pulling “Nacht und Nebel” by Floris Bakels from my hands saying: “Are you sure you want to read this?”)
      To say that respect for the victims is the reaon behind hiding these photographs is hardly convincing: Haven’t we all grown up with the pictures of those emaciated corpses from the Nazi camps? And has it not been a lesson to us?

  4. Segev has a very disappointing review of Avi Shlaim’s new book in a recent New York Review of Books. In it he praises Shlaim, another of the “new” historians, because he upholds the right of Jews to self-determination, yet Segev says nothing about the right of Palestinians to self-determination. Instead, Segev suggests that the Palestinians should simply end their struggle and go and live in Egypt and Jordan. I guess Tom Segev alone has the right to determine their future. Note that in this review there is no Palestine, only the “land of Israel”.

    1. I just found it & you’re right–Segev presents an absolutely ludicrous “solution” for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:

      The two-state solution is a widely accepted principle, but by no means the only possible or necessarily the best way to guarantee the Palestinians a better future. They might be better off if they lived in internationally administered areas, a solution that might be particularly appropriate for Gaza. Alternatively the West Bank and its Arab inhabitants could become part of Jordan, where, as Shlaim points out, Palestinians already form a majority of the population. Notwithstanding the complex internal problems of Palestinian representation in an enlarged Jordan, there is no reason not to reconsider the possibility that Jordan would become a free and democratic Palestinian state, including the West Bank, perhaps also Gaza. As part of Jordan, the Palestinians may find it easier to give up some of the relatively small parts of the West Bank now inhabited by Israeli settlers, who are most likely to stay where they are.

      Shlaim is a strong supporter of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The late King Hussein granted him a fascinating interview about his secret contacts with the Israelis, which was published in these pages and is included in this volume, and Shlaim wrote a biography of the king.[2] About five years before he died in 1999, Hussein made peace with Israel, giving up the West Bank and East Jerusalem; and Shlaim lists the many possibilities for a settlement that Israel has neglected to pursue, but the major one he never mentions: that as a condition for peace, Hussein should have taken back the West Bank and its Palestinian inhabitants, just as Egypt should have taken back Gaza as part of the 1978 peace agreement with Israel. Instead Israel decided to continue the occupation of those territories with their hostile populations.

      I thought better of Segev before this and never read anything by him that sounds as ludicrous.

    1. see richard,

      even when you post something where one new historian disagrees with another, you get guys like andrew….who use a broad brush to paint all israelis as nazis

      very nice….on the eve of tisha b’av

    2. When I see the garbage someone like you posts I see ignorant Anti-Semite whose comment reflects his own Facist thinking.

      Shame on Richard for not warning you on such a degrading and false remark.

      Oh, excuse me, he’d only comment if someone had said that about Palestinians.

      Correct me if I’m wrong… where’s your reprimand?

      1. When I see the garbage someone like you posts

        READ THE COMMENT RULES! I mean it. Read them. If you disagree or don’t like another comment use real arguments instead of grandstanding rhetoric like this. If you continue using such language you will lose yr comment privileges. And DO NOT tell me how to run my blog. Don’t do it. EVER.

  5. I am puzzled by this review because I just read Segev’s “One Palestine, Complete,” and in it he states that the flight of Arabs was a mix of panic and expulsions, I think he said something to the effect of “50/50.” He also started referring to Arab acts of terror that long preceded Jewish acts of, as he put it in the book, “counter-terrorism.” Now they were all expelled? Now its all the Jews’ fault? Hmmm. This review seems every bit as ideological as he claims Morris’ book to be.

    1. I doubt it was 50/50 & as far as I’m concerned the panic was induced by the Jewish violence so in effect all were expelled. If you flee for yr life & escape w/o a scratch on you you’ve still been expelled if a Palmachnik could’ve come along & put a bullet through yr eyes if you’d stayed.

  6. Mr. Silverstein,

    I’m from US Texas and New Mexico. I’m studying various writers’ renditions of Jewish and Arab history where the two overlap. I’ve worked in the field of trauma management for nearly thirty-five years. My work now is focused upon the use of individual and systemic trauma by offensive trauma managers (people, organizations and movements) who and which use terrorism as a means of achieving their various goals. I’m looking for a literature (books) referral that addresses, covers or otherwise attempts to portray-represent a Mideast history beginning at the end (2001) of Morris’ book “Righteous Victims” of and continuing until the current period for this comment (Feb 2011). If there are instead chronologies of the period provided on websites that you might recommend, I would appreciate that as well.

    I’ve just completed the referenced (above) Morris text, “Death Orders,” “A New Shoah,” and Melanie Phillips’ most recent work. I read Morris’ book because it was referenced to provide a revisionist perspective. I found all of those efforts to be valuable for my interests, no matter any criticisms I might have had of them.

    If you or any of those adding comments to this Blog respond to this request for referral, I thank you for your consideration of it.

    Jesse W. Collins

    1. I’m not sure why you’re only reading texts with a far-right slant. If that’s your personal angle we probably don’t have much to add that would help you. Your comment is very vague and hard to follow in terms of what specifically you’re seeking. Perhaps you can clarify and others can recommend books for you. But if you have your mind made up, please don’t waste our time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *