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

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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

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“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… Read more »

“We shall build a multi-faceted Jewish economy– agricultural, industrial, and maritime. ” They didn’t succeed. Instead they built a consumer economy that imports 97% of its energy needs abd depends on Europe to buy its exports. Israel is not sustainable. “We shall organize an advanced defense force—a superior army which… Read more »

Here is the whole money quote: What we really want is not that the land remain whole and unified. What we want is that the whole and unified land be Jewish [emphasis original]. A unified Eretz Israeli would be no source of satisfaction for me– if it were Arab. .… Read more »

Except that according to CAMERA, the translation you are using left out the “not”. So you have a false translation there. Which doesn’t prove anything.

Do you think there was “projection” involved when the hasbara crew used to complain that a small Palestinian state was only a “first stage” in a plan to destroy Israel?