‘We must expel Arabs and take their place’: Institute for Palestine Studies publishes 1937 Ben-Gurion letter advocating the expulsion of Palestinians

Israel/Palestine
on 19 Comments

From the Institute for Palestine Studies:

On 3 November 2011, the self-appointed media watchdog CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) informed the Journal of Palestine Studies of an incorrect citation in an article by Illan Pappé (“The 1948 Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine”) published in its autumn 2006 issue. The incorrect citation referred to a quotation by Israeli founding father David Ben-Gurion supporting the expulsion (“transfer”) of Arabs from Palestine. 

 CAMERA asked JPS to “issue a correction stating that the quote attributed to Ben-Gurion does not appear in the references cited” in JPS and its website “to prevent further erroneous uses of this quote.”   

CAMERA’s accusations (e.g., 3 February 2012) that Pappé “invented” or “fabricated” the quotation, suggesting that the Zionist leader had never supported transfer, led JPS to have the original source—Ben-Gurion’s 5 October 1937 letter to his son—translated into English. The letter vindicates Pappé’s reading of Ben-Gurion’s position on transfer and the essential accuracy of his article. While JPS regrets the lapses of citation, the 2006 article, fully consonant with the historical record, remains in our view an excellent summation of Zionist planning behind the Palestinian expulsions of 1948.

Here is the Journal for Palestine Studies official response to CAMERA (published in their winter 2012 issue), and a link to the Pappé article in question.

Also, the Institute has published a full English translation of the 1937 Ben-Gurion letter Pappe refers to (the Institute says it’s the first time an English translation of the letter has been published). It is a truly fascinating exchange between Ben-Gurion and his son Amos, who appears critical of his father’s decision to support a partition plan put forward by the Peel Commission. Here, Ben-Gurion describes how he sees partition fitting into the Zionist movement’s long term goals:

My assumption (which is why I am a fervent proponent of a state, even though it is now linked to partition) is that a Jewish state on only part of the land is not the end but the beginning.

When we acquire one thousand or 10,000 dunams, we feel elated. It does not hurt  our feelings that by this acquisition we are not in possession of the whole land. This is because this increase in possession is of consequence not only in itself, but because through it we increase our strength, and every increase in strength helps in the possession of the land as a whole. The establishment of a state, even if only on a portion of the land, is the maximal reinforcement of our strength at the present time and a powerful boost to our historical endeavors to liberate the entire country.

We shall admit into the state all the Jews we can. We firmly believe that we can admit more than two million Jews. We shall build a multi-faceted Jewish economy– agricultural, industrial, and maritime. We shall organize an advanced defense force—a superior army which I have no doubt will be one of the best  armies in the world. At that point I am confident that we would not fail in settling in the remaining parts of the country, through agreement and understanding with our Arab neighbors, or through some other means.

Here is the entire letter:

B-G Letter translation

19 Responses

  1. TheJeebus
    December 5, 2014, 12:07 am

    Docstoc states that the letter is public domain and donated by mondoweiss, yet it can’t be read without paying.

    • Annie Robbins
      December 5, 2014, 12:59 am

      thejeebus, try opening it on another browser. i can read it right on the page above without clicking on anything. perhaps you are in another country or something?

  2. Bing Bong
    June 25, 2016, 12:18 pm

    All of the comments that refute the MW interpretation of this letter seem to have gone.

    • Annie Robbins
      June 25, 2016, 12:25 pm

      all of the comments made when the article was published have disappeared. there are no more comments on mondoweiss from 2012. most of our commenting history has been erased. i don’t know if it will ever come back.

      • Mooser
        June 26, 2016, 12:49 pm

        ” most of our commenting history has been erased.”

        That is not good. Hopefully, the files are existing, but off-line, and can be recovered.
        I’m going to hope that the archives will be recovered.

      • amigo
        June 26, 2016, 3:11 pm

        ” most of our commenting history has been erased.”

        Mooser –“That is not good. Hopefully, the files are existing, but off-line, and can be recovered ”

        I just bet there are more than a few of the regular posters here , who are ecstatic .Jons S comes to mind.

        I don,t mind .Posting the truth is always easy and comes naturally. No real effort needed.

        You might be right about them being out there somewhere —-better to stay away from cloud technology though.

  3. Bing Bong
    June 26, 2016, 8:23 am

    That’s kind of a shame, that was a lot of material.

    • jon s
      June 27, 2016, 7:10 am

      Amigo,
      I don’t know why you think I would be ecstatic because of the loss of much of the comments archive. There’s nothing there for me to be ashamed of.

      Seriously: is this true? Are the earlier comments really gone? A technical glitch or a deliberate decision? What’s going on?

      • yonah fredman
        June 27, 2016, 8:25 am

        Jon s- apparently some one (assumedly a zionist) hacked mw and erased all comments before June of 2014. Doubts have been cast whether these comments will ever be seen again.

      • eljay
        June 27, 2016, 10:29 am

        || yonah fredman: Jon s- apparently some one (assumedly a zionist) hacked mw and erased all comments before June of 2014. … ||

        Zio-supremacists aren’t to blame for everything, but given their penchant for committing acts of injustice and immorality you’re wise not to rule them out.

      • Mooser
        June 27, 2016, 10:56 am

        ” There’s nothing there for me to be ashamed of.”

        Don’t worry “Jon s”! Every one of your sordid comments trying to pass off the murder of an innocent Eritrean man in Beersheva as a ‘terrorist attack on Beersheva’, is still there.
        All the weaseling you did about the IDF soldier is there, too.
        And I transferred a bit of it to my archive, by copying it into a comment, too. It’ll be there, don’t worry.
        Another wonderful story from the “histrionic homeland”.

      • Mooser
        June 27, 2016, 11:27 am

        “Doubts have been cast whether these comments will ever be seen again.”

        Don’t worry, “Yonah”, every single comment garnered the appropriate web-stat when it was submitted, whether published or not, and even if the comment is subsequently lost from the archive.
        So it’s not like your efforts have been wasted “Yonah”. In fact, I would think many of your comments qualified as “sessions” and that’s about as good as it gets.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 27, 2016, 12:00 pm

        jon, bingbong, amigo, mooser, eljay and everyone. i don’t feel i really understand this situation enough to be an informed source. but i will say i find it devastating. my understanding is they are not “gone” they are just not available and i don’t know if they are ever coming back. devastating.

        curiously it appears one of the articles that is gone (worldwide protest of gaza during 2014 summer slaughter) someone posting from the UK could see along with all the comments, so i don’t know if this is specific to the US, or perhaps the US and israel. i just do not know.

        i am sure there will be many people quite pleased our archives are gone. especially many of the more informative historical comments.

      • eljay
        June 27, 2016, 12:12 pm

        || Annie Robbins @ June 27, 2016, 12:00 pm ||

        I agree that the disappearance of content from Commenter archives – especially the more informative historical comments – is a great loss. I hope the possibility exists for the content to be recovered at some point.

      • Mooser
        June 27, 2016, 12:20 pm

        “What’s going on?”

        Uh-oh, I think “Jon s” is looking for a way to sue, or demand reparations for his lost comments.

      • Mooser
        June 27, 2016, 12:28 pm

        “is they are not “gone” they are just not available”

        Possibly “zipped” into a compressed file, and shunted off-line to make room on the server.

        I don’t know this, but I would assume that the more archives accessible on Mondo, the more storage cost, too.

      • amigo
        June 27, 2016, 1:13 pm

        I don’t know why you think I would be ecstatic because of the loss of much of the comments archive. There’s nothing there for me to be ashamed of.Jon S

        In which case Jon , will you join me in a demand for the ROR for “all ” expelled ” comments , even those who left voluntarily.

  4. jon s
    June 27, 2016, 10:43 am

    Maybe it was done by “hasbara central (management)” – to save costs. Now all those poor souls who are allegedly paid to comment, and are owed considerable sums, can’t prove that they’ve been hard at work.

    • Mooser
      June 27, 2016, 11:32 am

      ” Now all those poor souls who are allegedly paid to comment, and are owed considerable sums, can’t prove that they’ve been hard at work.”

      Yup, and when you think that Mondo got the web-stats when the comment is submitted whether it is unpublished or subsequently “lost” from the archive, it’s pretty ironic.

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