Books: Non-Fiction

Ten Myths About Israel

Book. By Ilan Pappe.
An Israeli historian examines the most contested ideas concerning the origins and identity of the contemporary state of Israel.

Time Periods: 20th Century, 21st Century
Themes: World History/Global Studies

In Ten Myths About Israel, Israeli historian Ilan Pappe examines the most contested ideas concerning the origins and identity of the contemporary state of Israel.

The “ten myths” include:

1. Palestine was an empty land

2. The Jews were a people without a land

3. Zionism is Judaism

4. Zionism is not colonialism

5. The Palestinians voluntarily left their homeland in 1948

6. The June 1967 war was a war of ‘No Choice’

7. Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East

8. The Oslo Mythologies

9. The Gaza Mythologies

10. The Two-States Solution is the only way forward

Here is an excerpt from the introduction,

History lies at the core of every conflict. A true and unbiased understanding of the past offers the possibility of peace. The distortion or manipulation of history, in contrast, will only sow disaster.

As the example of the Israel-Palestine conflict shows, historical disinformation, even of the most recent past, can do tremendous harm.  This willful misunderstanding of history can promote oppression and protect a regime of colonization and occupation.  It is not surprising, therefore, that policies of disinformation continue to the present and play an important part in perpetuating the conflict, leave very little hope for the future.

Constructed fallacies about the past and the present in Israel and Palestine hinder us from undertanding the origins of the conflict. Meanwhile, the constant manipulation of the relevant facts work against the interests of all those victimized by the ongoing bloodshed and violence. What is to be done?

The Zionist historical account of how the disputed land became the state of Israel is based on a cluster of myths that subtly cast doubt on the Palestinians’ moral right to the land. .  .

This book challenges these myths, which appear in the public domain as indisputable truths.  These statements are, to my eyes, distortions and fabrications that can — and must — be refuted through a closer examination of the historical record.”

This is not a balanced book; it is yet another attempt to redress the balance of power on behalf of the colonized, occupied and oppressed Palestinians in the land of Israel and Palestine. It would be a real bonus if advocates of Zionism or loyal supporters of Israel were also willing to engage with the arguments herein.  After all, the book is written by an Israeli Jew who cares about his own society as much as he does the Palestinian one. Refuting mythologies that sustain injustice should be of benefit to everyone living in the country or wishing to live there. It forms a basis on which all its inhabitants might enjoy the great achievements that only one privileged group currently has access to.

Read a detailed description in this review in Mondoweiss.

Free e-book from Verso.

Verso Books | 9781786630193

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