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Simon Schama’s Israel whitewash

Israel/Palestine
on 158 Comments

As most readers will know, the British historian Simon Schama is one of the most acclaimed, visible, and popular contemporary historians. Before coming to the United States, he taught at Cambridge and Oxford, and since has held chaired professorships at Harvard and Columbia. He has written sixteen books, specializing on the French Revolution, Dutch history, British history, American history—and also on baseball and art; for awhile he was even the art critic for the New Yorker.

As well, Schama has written and starred in eleven popular TV documentaries on these subjects, on the BBC and PBS. This astonishing record leaves no doubt that Schama is a prolific and brilliant political and cultural historian, and a man of great personal charm and articulateness. He is also a man of vigorously stated strong emotions and strong opinions—that’s part of his charm, but the downside of it is that he can be something of a popularizer and an oversimplifier of complex and controversial issues.

And on contemporary Israel, Schama is something of a whitewasher.  I refer to the Story of the Jews, his current five part PBS documentary and soon to be a two volume book, in which his emotionalism, his strong but not necessarily persuasive beliefs and  opinions, and his tendency to oversimplify or, worse, ignore inconvenient facts, has created a serious problem–at least in the last program, where he takes on Zionism, the establishment of Israel, and the continuing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.* (I don’t know enough about the history of the Jews from the pre-Christian era until the 20th century to know whether his ideological and political preferences distort his historical story telling, although I have the strong impression that modern Biblical scholars and archaeologists will challenge some of his conventional history.)

The fifth and last program begins with a discussion of the origins of Zionism, and makes the case that the history of the persecution of the Jews justified the creation of the state of Israel, an argument I agree with–but not with Schama’s failure to even mention the problem created by creating that state in a land already the homeland of another people.

After that, the omissions and distortions steadily worsen, and while somewhat balanced by criticism of Israel, the total effect of the program is to perpetuate most of the myths of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that serious historians have long discarded.

1948: After noting the UN partition resolution of 1947 that created a Jewish state in Palestine, the program shows a long except from David Ben-Gurion’s speech of May 14, in which he announced that “the Jews have come home from their exile.” Ben-Gurion, of course, does not mention that for the last two thousand years Palestine had been the homeland of the indigenous Arabs—and neither does Schama.

Schama then continues: “the Arabs rejected the UN plan, as they had rejected every previous partition plan, and sent armies in.” There is no explanation of why the Palestinians might have considered it to be unfair and unacceptable that powerful outside forces had dictated that their two-thousand year old homeland was to be divided up with the Jews.

Nor does Schama the historian mention the established fact that Ben-Gurion and the Zionist leaders “accepted” partition only as a tactical first step, to be jettisoned as soon as they were strong enough to go well beyond the boundaries of the partition plan–by whatever means necessary.

Concluding this discussion, Schama says that after the 1948 war “an armistice agreement allowed Israel to expand its boundaries” (emphasis added), language that seems designed to obscure the fact that the “agreement” simply reflected force majeure, or the fact of the Israeli conquest.

The Nakba: Schama does mention the Nakba, which he describes as “the displacement, sometimes violently, of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from towns and villages,” some of whom “fled in fear,” some of whom went into exile because they were told to do so by Arab leaders, and some who “were driven out by force and terror.”

Even this apparently fair and forthright statement can be challenged as insufficient and partly misleading, but the real problem is what comes next, which is a substantially longer section on the departure of some 700,000 Jews from Muslim countries in the ensuing years.

Since this section is obviously intended to provide a moral balance to the Nakba, you know that it will begin with a “But.” And so it does: “But there are other memories and other catastrophes,” as the Jews who “had lived for centuries” in the Muslim countries of the Middle East “discovered suddenly that their home was no longer their home.”

Note that there is no claim that the 1950s “exodus”—his word—of Middle Eastern Jews was primarily driven by violence or government expulsion. Nor is any note taken of the fact that Arab outrage at the Nakba might have had something to do with precipitating whatever anti-Semitism and violence did occur.

In any case, while it is undoubtedly true that many Jews left Arab countries because of outbreaks of anti-Semitism and violence, many others went to Israel because they preferred to live in a Jewish state. Indeed, many of these Jews–particularly from Iraq—left because Zionist and Israeli organizations worked hard to induce them to come to Israel.

The 1967 War: Schama’s portrayal here is pure Hasbara, long discredited. Accompanied by an ominous map with arrows depicting armies from Syria, Jordan, and Egypt converging on Israel from all directions, the Arab attack is portrayed as massive, unprovoked, and aimed at Israel’s very existence—all myths long discredited by serious historians. In fact Israel provoked the Syrian attack in a number of ways and initiated the attack on Egypt even though Nasser did not intend to start a war. Some years later Menachem Begin, no less, admitted that the 1967 War was not a necessary war forced on Israel but a “war of choice,” started by Israel even though its survival was not at stake.

The Separation Wall: Schama is disturbed by the Wall, but he initially portrays it solely as a response to Palestinian terror, rather than as an implementation of the overall Israeli strategy of incorporating within its new boundaries all the land it conquered in 1967. To be sure, Schama then does mention that the Wall extends deep into the West Bank in order to include leading Jewish settlements in the heart of the occupied territories, and he even concedes that it has “made life for the Palestinians a daily ordeal;” even so, the weight of his presentation is to portray the Wall as an anti-terrorism measure. Indeed, he concludes that because he is not an Israeli, he doesn’t have “the moral right to condemn” the Wall, because before it was built Palestinians were killing hundreds of Israelis, but since then very few.

Even more fundamentally, nowhere does Schama raise the question of whether Palestinian terrorism is a response to forty-seven years of Israeli occupation, repression, economic warfare, assassinations, daily hardships and humiliations, outright murders and, indeed, Jewish private and state terrorism directed against the Palestinians. His failure to do so is not merely revealing, it is disgraceful.

One has to assume that Schama the historian knows better–or maybe he doesn’t, I don’t know which is worse.  In any case, his failure to use his charm, his charisma, his erudition, his way with words, his unassailable standing, his vast popularity, and the golden opportunity to use his national television platform to educate the American public–above all, us Jews–about the realities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is unforgivable.

*Even before the Story of the Jews, it was apparent that Schama is something of an apologist for Israel. According to Wikipedia: “In 2006 on the BBC, Schama debated the morality of Israel’s actions in the Israel-Lebanon War. He characterised Israel’s bombing of Lebanese city centres as unhelpful in Israel’s attempt to “get rid of” Hezbollah. With regard to the bombing he said: “Of course the spectacle and suffering makes us grieve. Who wouldn’t grieve? But it’s not enough to do that. We’ve got to understand. You’ve even got to understand Israel’s point of view.”

This post originally appeared on Jerome Slater’s website On the US and Israel

Jerome Slater
About Jerome Slater

Jerome Slater is a professor (emeritus) of political science and now a University Research Scholar at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He has taught and written about U.S. foreign policy and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for nearly 50 years, both for professional journals (such as International Security, Security Studies, and Political Science Quarterly) and for many general periodicals. He writes foreign policy columns for the Sunday Viewpoints section of the Buffalo News. And his website it www.jeromeslater.com.

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158 Responses

  1. American
    American
    April 10, 2014, 1:26 pm

    Personally I have never seen a Zionist who didn’t ‘whitewash’.
    When I pick up anything written by a believer in Israel that begins with ..’the world’s ‘irrational’ and historic and eternal hatred of innocent Jews justifies Israel’ …I go no further. Because this ‘irrational’ and faulty belief of their own will always be what they revert back to for whatever they have to justify.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      April 10, 2014, 3:54 pm

      “Personally I have never seen a Zionist who didn’t ‘whitewash’.”

      Of course they do. Because their ideology mandates Jewish supremacism and if they don’t whitewash, the only other end point is “might makes right.” And when “might makes right” meets an ethno-supremacism, the result is, as examples as varied as the antebellum South in the US to 20th C. Germany attest, a moral obscenity. So rather than question their premises, they whitewash, but eventually, at some point, on some issue, they all seem to always get to that point anyway.

    • justicewillprevail
      justicewillprevail
      April 10, 2014, 7:52 pm

      The truth of the terrorism which founded israel, and the continuing cruelty and bloodshed, are too horrific for zionists to allow into general discourse. So of course a gigantic whitewashing campaign has to be conducted to deny it all, not least to many of their own ranks. History has to be rewritten, geography and archeology perverted, new ‘ancient’ myths created – it’s a full time job all around the world. Unfortunately, facts keep surfacing inconveniently, as well as Israel’s overreach into other government’s business and policies.
      No wonder Schama tiptoes around it, whistling loudly as he does so.

    • Kay24
      Kay24
      April 11, 2014, 1:06 am

      Well said. This eternal whining about the world out to get them, the hatred for Jews, and the constant “woe is us” is getting to be lame, and has no impact with the world anymore. The deliberate ignoring of why Israel is one of the most disliked nations in the world, is never addressed, and the fact that on a daily basis, Israel is accused of human rights violations against unarmed civilians, a brutal occupation, world condemned (even by it’s only “ally”) land grabs and illegal settlements, and the abuse of little boys in Israeli prisons, does not seem to factor in their claims of eternal victimization. I also notice that confronted with the facts about illegal settlements, these zionists never refer to, or discuss, that crime.

  2. Woody Tanaka
    Woody Tanaka
    April 10, 2014, 2:09 pm

    I don’t expect better of Schama; you can’t blame a pig for wallowing in shit. But, Jerome, I do have to take issue with this statement of yours:

    “The fifth and last program begins with a discussion of the origins of Zionism, and makes the case that the history of the persecution of the Jews justified the creation of the state of Israel, an argument I agree with–but not with Schama’s failure to even mention the problem created by creating that state in a land already the homeland of another people.”

    How can you, with your belief that the creation of the Israeli state was somehow “justified” take issue with this? If one recognizes the problems that invading the Palestinians’ land and stealing it from them poses, then one could not reasonably say that that invasion and theft was justified. The way I see it, Schamas is simply being true to his ideology. To him, the Palestinians have no rights, as humans or otherwise, if it inconveniences those Jews in their Zionism project. (similar sentiments were aired by racists, bigots and supremacists of all kinds throughout history.) Your objection seems to rest on a desire to do the impossible: to find the creation of Israel “justified” and yet to condemn the human costs and the injustices which the creation of that state inevitably caused and for which there is no justification.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      Maximus Decimus Meridius
      April 10, 2014, 3:46 pm

      I agree. Shades of Jonathan Friedland-esque lib-zio cognitive dissonance here. The writer says the creation of Israel (on another people’s land) was justified, and acknowledges that a great wrong was done to the native people of Palestine. Yet if he believes that the creation of Israel was ‘justified’, then surely he is also saying that the suffering this caused to the Palestinians is also ‘justified’?

      Zionism is INHERENTLY disastrous to the native people of Palestine. You can’t have one without the other. Lib-zios want to believe that you can, and this is why their writing is always a convoluted exercise in moral evasion and distortion. If it’s painful to read – and it is – it must also be pretty painful to write.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        April 10, 2014, 4:59 pm

        Absolutely right, Max. But when push comes to shove, they’re always faced with the question: which do you abandon, your ethnocentrism or your liberalism and it is stunning to me how many just abandon their liberalism, as if the ideology which should be at the core of their very being as thinking and caring people can just be discarded like an old Band-Aid.

      • American
        American
        April 10, 2014, 8:59 pm

        ” which do you abandon, your ethnocentrism or your liberalism”….Woody

        I think its not liberalism you have to abandon but your humanity you have to abandon to be able to do what Israel has done…for 65 long, long, long years….victimized a people for a generation, for some of them’s whole, entire life.

      • Pixel
        Pixel
        April 11, 2014, 6:47 am

        ” which do you abandon, your ethnocentrism or your liberalism”….Woody

        Neither? Both?

        The key is loss of identity.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        Maximus Decimus Meridius
        April 11, 2014, 8:06 am

        ”which do you abandon, your ethnocentrism or your liberalism and it is stunning to me how many just abandon their liberalism,”

        Very true. When forced to choose between tribalism and humanitarianism, so many Zionists choose the former – though they concoct convoluted ‘rationales’ to convince themselves that the two can be reconciled (they can’t). It’s pretty much at the heart of the ”Progress except Palestine” philosophy which is so prevalent in the US.

      • Kathleen
        Kathleen
        April 12, 2014, 5:48 am

        “they can’t”

      • Mondowise
        Mondowise
        April 11, 2014, 1:05 am

        “Zionism is INHERENTLY disastrous to the native people of Palestine.”

        it’s inherently disastrous to all of humanity, including zionists…it’s anthropocentric ideology (not only the jewish supremacism component) is disastrous to all life.

      • Kathleen
        Kathleen
        April 12, 2014, 5:48 am

        At it’s very core Zionism is racist

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      April 10, 2014, 9:54 pm

      In sum, two wrongs don’t make a right, even if Mr. Slater thinks so. I found the PBS series a lush gush of Jewish sentimentality, paid for by desperately thin Goy tax dollars.

  3. W.Jones
    W.Jones
    April 10, 2014, 2:21 pm

    Dear Jerome,

    Since your last major article here, one of the commentors pointed out that there was a Jewish majority within the U.N.’s 1947 lines before the Nakba occurred.

    Previously, your view was that a “transfer” of Palestinians would have been needed to create a Jewish majority. I understand that there are always new facts like these coming up and that you prefer to write on your website.

    However, I would like to ask whether this new fact would alter your view about whether a transfer of the native Palestinian population was necessary?

    As you may be aware, the issue of millions of Palestinian refugees who cannot live in their homes is one of the most important problems in the Middle East today, and nationalists from Chomsky on the left to the revisionists on the right have supported preventing the refugees’ return.

    • Hostage
      Hostage
      April 12, 2014, 12:06 am

      Since your last major article here, one of the commentors pointed out that there was a Jewish majority within the U.N.’s 1947 lines before the Nakba occurred.

      Previously, your view was that a “transfer” of Palestinians would have been needed to create a Jewish majority. I understand that there are always new facts like these coming up and that you prefer to write on your website.

      Keep in mind that there had not been a real census in Palestine since 1932, so the idea of a state there with a Jewish majority was just that, not a fact based upon empirical evidence.

      A few days before the vote on the partition plan, the UN Ad Hoc Committee report, A/AC.14/32, dated 11 November 1947 noted the updated population figures supplied by the British mandatory government. They indicated that, from the outset, Arabs would constitute a majority of the population of the proposed “Jewish” state – 509,780 Arabs and 499,020 Jews. See pdf file page 42 of 69.

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones
        April 12, 2014, 1:46 pm

        Dear Hostage,

        You are showing interesting figures, and it would be interesting to see how the other person who posted about this would respond.

        In any case, they still could have drawn boundaries in a way that would create a Jewish majority without expelling people. In addition, over the next few years the Aliyah movement continued as the nationalists hoped and that would have made a much larger majority within those lines.

        I am also seeing if I can get J.Slater to reconsider his views about transferring the native population out of their homeland if I can solve his “demographic” dilemma.

      • talknic
        talknic
        April 12, 2014, 2:36 pm

        W.Jones “over the next few years the Aliyah movement continued as the nationalists hoped and that would have made a much larger majority within those lines”

        The Aliyah movement made a much larger majority within the Israeli Proclaimed UNGA re 181 lines by at least 1950 even if there had been RoR allowed

        From the Ad Hoc Committee report – The non-Jewish population of the Jewish state was 499,020 Jews and 509,780 Arabs (including the Bedouin)

        Roughly 156,000 remained in Israel according to wikI/Pedia

        From those figures 509,780 less 156,000 only 353,780 fled Israel’s actual “proclaimed” and recognized territory.

        Unlike the Jewish population, neither the Bedouin or the remaining and/or returning Arab population in Israel would have increased thru the influx and procreation of new immigrants, Arab Jewish refugees from other states and/or Holocaust survivors. Had return been allowed the total non-Jewish population was swiftly surpassed by Jewish folk. http://mondoweiss.net/2014/04/palestine-paradise-interview.html#comment-656804

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        April 12, 2014, 2:54 pm

        In any case, they still could have drawn boundaries in a way that would create a Jewish majority without expelling people.

        Obviously, since neither the majority nor minority proposals of the UNSCOP or General Assembly Ad Hoc Committee permitted any involuntary population transfers at all. The Nuremberg Charter had established deportation or forceable population transfer as a crime against humanity.

        I am also seeing if I can get J.Slater to reconsider his views about transferring the native population out of their homeland if I can solve his “demographic” dilemma.

        The officials of the Provisional Government of Israel had demanded that the Ad Hoc Committee add the territory of the Negev between Beersheba and Eilat to the territory allocated to the Jewish State by the UNSCOP recommendation. So, 60 percent of the territory of the Jewish state was in that largely uninhabited area that Ben Gurion had been planning on colonizing since at least 1937. See the Letter to his son Amos on that subject. http://www.docstoc.com/docs/117343519/B-G-Letter-translation

        What happened instead, was that the government of Israel waged a war of conquest and displaced the bulk of its Arab population, and then claimed that “their space” was needed for Jewish immigrants – and that in any event, Israel reserved the right “to replace them” with Jews from Arab countries who had expressed a desire to come to Palestine. http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/FRUS/FRUS-idx?type=goto&id=FRUS.FRUS1948v05p2&isize=M&submit=Go+to+page&page=1295

      • Jerome Slater
        Jerome Slater
        April 12, 2014, 3:29 pm

        W. Jones says: “I am also seeing if I can get J.Slater to reconsider his views about transferring the native population out of their homeland if I can solve his “demographic” dilemma.”

        I’ve addressed this issue a number of times, in various places, including in some version on Mondoweiss. It takes some space to develop the argument, so here I will give a very brief summary. Non or anti-Zionists need read no further, for there is only a “dilemma” if you accept the Zionist argument–as I do–that there was a genuine need for a Jewish state at the time Israel was established, but it could only be justified if the harm done to the Palestinians had been minimized.

        I also accept the premise that for there to be a secure Jewish state there had to be a substantial Jewish majority. The figures that I’ve seen is that in early 1948 there were some 500,000 Jews and 400,000 Palestinians in the area alloted by the UN partition plan to create a Jewish state–which was the language, not so incidentally, of the partition resolution. (There was also supposed to be an Arab state in the rest of Palestine, of course).

        If you take as a further premise, as did Ben-Gurion and other Zionist leaders, that a secure Jewish state needed something like an 80% majority–a premise I accept–then the math follows that some 220,000 Palestinians would have to “transferred” by some means or other to the proposed Palestinian state.

        Where I get off the Zionist train, however, is that if I believed that the only way that could occur was the way it did occur–the Nakba–then my position–as I’ve stated a number of times–IS THAT THE JEWISH STATE SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN CREATED.

        Thus, the central issue becomes–in my argument–if a stable Jewish majority could have been accomplished, not by the violent expulsion of some 750,000 Palestinians but by generously buying out 220,000 Palestinians, then that was justified. Could it have been? Who knows–it wasn’t tried.

        That’s the argument. To repeat the obvious–if you think that Zionism has no justification at all, now or in the past, even after the Holocaust, which is the position of most of those who comment on this website, many of whom appear to believe that Zionism, per se, was one of the worst crimes of the 20th century, then this argument is obviously irrelevant.

        In sum, it applies only to those who think that there was a good moral case for the establishment of Israel in part of Palestine but no moral case at all for the Nakba, and who therefore have a moral dilemma.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        April 12, 2014, 3:55 pm

        Jerome Slater,

        I am a non-Zionist (not an anti-Zionist) who is generally sympathetic to the idea of Jews enjoying a homeland in the Mideast, but who is pessimistic that this project is going to work out. But even if the project does fail, Jews will land on their feet.

        In the meantime, one can make one’s best effort to try to come up with a solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict that produces a good outcome for Zionism — but many of us are growing weary of the entire controversy. There are more important issues to focus on. This mess has dragged on far too long and has consumed too much valuable mental energy. There is very much the feel of an endless neurotic loop about it.

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones
        April 12, 2014, 4:28 pm

        Dear Prof. Jerome Slater,

        Thank you for taking the time to reply. Your answer was that even if one accepts the 1947 lines that created a 5 to 4 Jewish majority, this majority was not large enough, as a 80-20 ratio was required. I believe that you relied on Jewish immigration into the UN lines in making your answer, since you wrote that only about 200,000 Palestinians would need to be transferred, which without Jewish immigration would leave only a 5 to 2 ratio or 60% majority.

        My follow-up question, which I alluded to above, is Whether boundaries could have been redrawn to create a sufficiently large Jewish majority, particularly once the full aliyah of perhaps a million arrived as reinforcements?

        This aliyah would create about a 80% majority within the UN lines, and otherwise boundaries could have been redrawn accordingly, making population transfer unnecessary to achieve it.

      • puppies
        puppies
        April 12, 2014, 6:23 pm

        Slater – “Non or anti-Zionists need read no further, for there is only a “dilemma” if you accept the Zionist argument…”
        How nice. A believers-only sign. Move, nothing to see if you are an infidel. Nothing to see except the fact that this officially anti-Zionist site functions in no little part as a propaganda and discussion forum for Zionists (of the “liberal” variety, which to us the infidels doesn’t make a grain of difference.)
        At any rate, that Zionist viewpoint was interesting to read. The conclusion, for an enemy of the Zionist crime, is exactly the same as that to the screeds by nonliberal varieties of Zionists: get the hell out and don’t talk so much to cover up your do-do!

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        April 13, 2014, 4:01 pm

        Your answer was that even if one accepts the 1947 lines that created a 5 to 4 Jewish majority, this majority was not large enough, as a 80-20 ratio was required.

        Clarification: The figures in the September 1947 UNSCOP report noted erroneously that there were only 7,000 residents of the Beersheba district who were settled on the land and about 90,000 Beersheba Bedouins that it claimed were nomads, who would seek grazing further afield in dry seasons. They were deliberately excluded from the population totals of the Jewish state on that erroneous basis. The Jewish state would have only contained a 1,000 person Jewish majority if the 90,000 additional, estimated persons had been factored-in to the projected population.

        The UNSCOP report also noted that they posed a unique statistical problem. Unlike the rest of the population, the British government had not maintained a record of births and deaths for the Bedouins after the last official census in the 1930s. So they could not estimate the size of the Bedouin population growth with the same degree of confidence as the other communities. The mandatory government commissioned an RAF aerial survey and submitted revised population estimates to both of the General Assembly Ad Hoc Committees explaining that the Bedouins had been settled on the land for generations and had millions of dunams under cultivation. Subcommittee 2 worked on the one state solution and noted that the Jewish state would have an Arab majority from the outset.

        Subcommittee 1 worked on the partition plan. It did not include the revised population figures in its report:
        http://unispal.un.org/pdfs/AAC1434.pdf

        It convened a meeting and published a press release which noted the disparity between the updated figures and those employed by the UNSCOP Commission in its report. The Chairman explained the were not included because the Committee was anxious to conclude its work:
        http://unispal.un.org/unispal.nsf/9a798adbf322aff38525617b006d88d7/623e08e773cf0f8a85256a6f004df759/$FILE/gapal53.pdf

        As I noted the Negev was added and the borders were not adjusted to exclude Arabs. In fact, the Subcommittee working group on boundaries subsequently modified them at the request of the Jewish Agency to include a few thousand more Arabs in predominately Arab areas near Safed and the Lydda airport.
        * http://unispal.un.org/unispal.nsf/9a798adbf322aff38525617b006d88d7/d1d876b33013f21185256a7200552a42/$FILE/gapal59.pdf
        * http://unispal.un.org/unispal.nsf/9a798adbf322aff38525617b006d88d7/d79abcddd211b83285256a72005580d3/$FILE/gapal61.pdf

      • Jerome Slater
        Jerome Slater
        April 13, 2014, 4:31 pm

        W. Jones: You are right in questioning the ratio figures. Assuming that the figures are right–other estimates appear to differ somewhat–in order to assure an 80% Jewish majority, it would have been necessary to “transfer” about 300,000 Palestinians, not 220,000. Of course, there is nothing sacrosanct about 80%–I chose that number because that’s what Ben-Gurion thought had to be the goal. The larger point is that if violence had been avoided and the “transfer” done by generous recompensation, the injustice to the Palestinians would have been far less, and there would no longer be a “right of return” issue that has bedeviled the conflict since 1948.

        And just to drive home my larger point: regardless of the justification for the creation of a Jewish state in 1948, if massive violence had been the only way to do it, then the creation of Israel could not be justified.

        As for achieving the same ratio by Jewish immigration into the original boundaries as established by the UN, that possibility was no longer feasible after the expansion of Israel in the 1948 war. Also, note that the 80% Jewish majority that resulted from the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians has essentially not changed, despite the later immigration into Israel of millions (? I don’t know the exact number) of Jews. I’m not sure why this has been the case–it might simply be that the Palestinian birthrate was higher than the Jewish birthrate, thus cancelling out the Jewish immigration.

      • Rational Zionist
        Rational Zionist
        April 13, 2014, 4:37 pm

        Why do you wish to discuss hypothetical and cerebral points?
        The population figures from 1947 are of no relevance today.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        April 13, 2014, 5:19 pm

        How nice. A believers-only sign.

        I think you missed the point of the hypothetical exercise, where he said that the State of Israel should not have been established on the basis that it actually was, according to his believers-only criteria.

        I’m an anti-Zionist. But I’ve always had to acknowledge that the Jewish communities in the four holy cities of Palestine were effectively recognized as autonomous legal entities by mutual consent, even during the Ottoman era. The Jewish and Christian communities there had been the subject of legal protections contained in international treaties and the public international law of Europe, ever since the era of the Crimean war and the inclusion of Sublime Porte in the Concert of Europe. They undoubtedly were included in the “Certain communities” mentioned in Article 22(4) of the Covenant of the League of Nations, which recognized their existence as independent nations. In any event, they could not be deprived of their former status and autonomy under the guise being “liberated” by the Allied Powers. There’s ample precedent for other city states, even today, which have been admitted as full UN member states.

        The local Arab Jews and communities throughout Africa and Asia had assimilated the Sephardi Jews during a crisis without destroying relations with their Muslim and Christian neighbors. They could probably have saved many more of their beleaguered Ashkenazi brethren during the Holocaust, if they hadn’t already spoiled relations by exploiting the British military occupation, colonialism, and forced eviction of the fellaheen to pursue their goal of independent statehood. We can discuss anti-Zionist true-believer hypotheticals that might have resulted in a Jewish majority, with equal rights and protections for all, but that isn’t the way it happened.

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones
        April 14, 2014, 12:28 pm

        Dear Jerome Slater,

        Thank you for your reply. Whether Palestinians had to be “transferred” is important because it is a premise of what you and others see as a necessary “safe haven”. I see transferring a population out of its ancestral homeland to be problematic, even if the poor peasantry would take the compensation. It is helpful that you rule out force, but I worry that some people have an unfortunately “flexible” idea of what voluntary means.

        Leon Trotsky’s idea reminds me of yours, when in an essay proposing the possibility of Zionism under world Socialism, he wrote:

        Socialism will open the possibility of great migrations… It goes without saying that what is here involved is not compulsory displacements, that is, the creation of new ghettos for certain nationalities, but displacements freely consented to, or rather demanded by certain nationalities or parts of nationalities. The dispersed Jews who would want to be reassembled in the same community will find a sufficiently extensive and rich spot under the sun. The same possibility will be opened for the Arabs, as for all other scattered nations.

        http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1940/xx/jewish.htm
        His idea that “the Arabs” (his name for Palestinians) were scattered and should “return” is like the Zionists’ idea of “transferring” Palestinians whom they portrayed as nomads from “Arabia”. Further, considering Trotsky’s use of labor battalions and his military background, I question what would happen if the Arabs did not agree to what the “planners” saw as ideal, and how malleable his idea of the Arabs’ “free consent or request” would be. If only 55% of the Arabs “requested” to be transferred to Arabia, would that be enough to say “the Arabs” did?

        Granted, Trotsky explained in this series of essays that he saw integration to be the ultimate ideal result, not Zionism, which he considered a temporary option. He saw a world tribunal (like the UN) as providing the best answer, and he rejected the safe haven argument because he thought the Mideast was unsafe.

        I would be glad to hear your thoughts about Trotsky’s passage here, as it reflects: (A) that many others have made this claim about consensual or requested “transfer”, (B) I question how realistic it is that you would find 3/5 of Palestinians willing to be paid to lose not just their homes, but their ability for themselves and their children to have citizenship in their homeland – as you said it would negate the right of return, (C) I question how “consensual”, “desired”, or desirable this transfer of a population out of its homeland would be.

        Whether the population required “transfer” is also an important topic because similar claims about the most desired outcome are used nowadays to block the peace process and the right of return. While you are generous enough to say that you believe the “price” of the Nakba was not worth the creation of the “safe haven”, unfortunately many other Zionists do not agree with you.

        My main follow up question was whether the Israeli State’s borders could have been drawn to make a Jewish majority. Did you consider this possibility, considering how much district gerrymandering occurs in the US?
        I also asked whether Jewish immigration would have added to the ratio to make such a majority, thus making it easier to draw boundaries for that majority. Unfortunately, I don’t understand your answer that

        As for achieving the same ratio by Jewish immigration into the original boundaries as established by the UN, that possibility was no longer feasible after the expansion of Israel in the 1948 war.

        Since the UN says that a nation’s boundaries may not be expanded by territorial conquest, why do you believe that Jewish immigration into the UN’s boundaries was no longer feasible, Professor? May not the United Nations draw the state’s boundaries, or even redraw them, to create a Jewish majority without negating the refugees’ right of return?

  4. Maximus Decimus Meridius
    Maximus Decimus Meridius
    April 10, 2014, 2:31 pm

    What bothers me most is that this programme was aired last year by the BBC – an organisation funded by UK taxpayers, of which I am one. A public service broadcaster really shouldn’t be in the business of providing a one-sided take on history or current affairs.

    But then, this is pretty mild by the Beeb’s standards. This is the channel which refused to air a humanitarian appeal for Gaza, because it was too ‘political’. The same Beeb which, at the last minute, pulled a documentary questioning the Zionist myth of ‘exile’, only to air it months later on the relatively obscure BBC 4, followed by a ‘discussion panel’ feature 4 Zionists and no Palestinian. This is the same Beeb which recently, according to EI, promoted the view that East Jerusalem is Israeli.

    In other words, the Beeb is about as reliable as the New York Times. And btw, I must have missed out on Schama’s ‘charm’ and ‘charisma’. He’s always seemed fairly dull to me.

    • Daniel Rich
      Daniel Rich
      April 11, 2014, 1:33 am

      Q: What bothers me most is that this programme was aired last year by the BBC…

      R: That can’t be because of Danny Cohen being director of [BBC] TV, can it?

  5. miriam6
    miriam6
    April 10, 2014, 3:06 pm

    Well duh!!

    Simon Schama is presenting a historical documentary series on the ‘The Story of the Jews’ – NOT ‘The Story of the Palestinians’.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      April 10, 2014, 3:43 pm

      So when PBS does a series, “The Story of the Germans” and, in the section covering the 20th Century, completely ignores the Holocaust because it’s NOT “The Story of the Jews” then we won’t hear a peep out of you???

    • W.Jones
      W.Jones
      April 10, 2014, 3:55 pm

      Hello, Miriam. So do you think one of these days there is over a 1% chance we will see a cable TV series called “Story of the Palestinians?”

      :)

      • Kay24
        Kay24
        April 10, 2014, 11:11 pm

        Certainly not from the zionist media of the United States, for sure!

    • American
      American
      April 10, 2014, 4:15 pm

      Israel has forever changed the story of the Jews…..history will tell a different story in years to come.
      Gong on right now is the old, old story of the US dropping the Bomb on Japan….and being told a entirely different way…..on the horror of the US action.

    • justicewillprevail
      justicewillprevail
      April 10, 2014, 7:44 pm

      The ancient Jews were Palestinians, and their descendants are modern-day Palestinians.

  6. seanmcbride
    seanmcbride
    April 10, 2014, 3:27 pm

    In viewing all five episodes of Simon Schama’s The Story of the Jews, I was struck by the relentless main theme: Jews have been in conflict with “the nations” — one national enemy and Pharaoh after another — since the inception of Judaism to the present day, century after century.

    One would expect Schama to be eager to explore in depth the underlying causes of this peculiar historical phenomenon, but no go — his intellectual curiosity doesn’t take him there. And he is, of course, in his own words, a Zionist — that is, a Jewish nationalist.

    • lobewyper
      lobewyper
      April 10, 2014, 11:05 pm

      Sean wrote:

      “One would expect Schama to be eager to explore in depth the underlying causes of this peculiar historical phenomenon [the conflict with the nations], but no go — his intellectual curiosity doesn’t take him there.”

      Sean, no Jew emotionally wants to go there, because to do so would necessitate being “disloyal to the tribe.” A good part of this involves widespread Jewish indoctrination of their people with the beliefs that 1) they live in an essentially hostile (to them) world, 2) that the only really dependable lifeboat is the collective (the tribe), and 3) that to criticize the actions of the tribe is disloyal and puts one at risk of “excommunication” and severe punishment.

      Even many of the most enlightened Jews don’t want to address your question, because they fear that opening that door would amount to acknowledging that the conduct of at least some Jews during various historical periods has contributed signficantly to the hostility they have historically experienced. So, it’s not a question that would easily lead to serious and honest historical examination, and that is a tragedy, because I think that there are important lessons waiting for us-as a species-to learn from the history that you propose we should be examining.

      I would like to point out that no lesser a light than Raul Hilberg (The Destruction of the European Jews, Vols. 1-3) at least tiptoed around this issue, after he discovered that the Italians were especially resistant to giving up their Jews to the Nazis because of the degree to which Jews were “integrated into” Italian society. He did not, unfortunately, explore the specific factors such integration involved. But Hilberg was courageous enough to have at least raised this as a question deserving of historical examination. I don’t think Hilberg was ever accused of being a “self-hating Jew” for doing so. Why should not both Jews and non-Jews be able to explore the same issue without being automatically deemed self-hating or anti-Semites?

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        April 10, 2014, 11:37 pm

        lobewyper,

        I appreciate why most Jews would be reluctant to address this topic for the reasons you mention. Let me emphasize that my only motive for trying to open a dialogue on the subject is to reduce, not increase, tensions on this issue — to get all the crazy stuff from all our respective cultures out on the table where perhaps it can be tamed and brought under rational control to a degree. I am not trying to back Judaism into a corner with intellectual gotchas.

        I respect and draw inspiration from many aspects of the entire Jewish tradition (including Judaism). I am fully aware of the many problems in my own tradition (Western European, Christian). I think we need to try to sort out the good and bad from all our traditions collectively in a spirit of good will and helpfulness, and with the objective of keeping the human race from blowing itself to kingdom come.

        I’ve noticed that most cultural and ideological wars revolve around emotional and irrational ego issues that reasonable people should find easy to overcome if they make an effort.

        I *do* see contemporary Israel sliding into a dangerous “us vs. the world” mindset rooted in ancient biblical memes — the subject needs to be discussed with the purpose of trying to change this dynamic in a more positive direction — doing that is in everyone’s best interest.

      • lobewyper
        lobewyper
        April 11, 2014, 5:24 pm

        seanmcbride wrote:

        “I’ve noticed that most cultural and ideological wars revolve around emotional and irrational ego issues that reasonable people should find easy to overcome if they make an effort.”

        Thanks for your reply, Sean. I think that the indoctrination most Jews undergo all their lives starting with early childhood which I mentioned (above) is unfortunately more than an ego issue. It’s a matter of deeply ingrained attitudes and beliefs–the kinds of things that have become second nature and are thus extremely resistant to change. I do, however, admire your optimism about this.

      • lobewyper
        lobewyper
        April 11, 2014, 5:56 pm

        I just wrote about the “deeply ingrained attitudes and beliefs” stemming from early childhood indoctrination–an indoctrination that is reinforced during the entire life-span of many Jews, thus truly rendering it “second nature.”

        Where I think some of us go astray concerns the apparent belief that hasbara is always a conscious and deliberate attempt to distort historical reality. While this almost certainly true of some apologists, for many others hasbara IS reality, due to the lengthy and continuing indoctrination in the “us vs. them” mentality. Part of the tragedy (and sometimes overlooked) is that many hasbaratists cannot and do not recognize those aspects of their own personal belief systems for what they are in reality: Hasbara.
        +

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        April 11, 2014, 6:11 pm

        lobewyper,

        I wrote a short time ago about the “deeply ingrained attitudes and beliefs” stemming from early childhood indoctrination. This indoctrination is reinforced during the entire life-span of many Jews, thus rendering it “second nature.”

        I had no problem deconstructing my own cultural/ideological indoctrination (Roman Catholicism) and I have known many Jews who were able to undergo the same process of skeptical questioning regarding Judaism.

        But in truth many religious believers of all types are what I call “underwater” or sleepwalking — fully immersed in a small conceptual bubble without any understanding of the big and complex world outside that bubble. They sincerely and intensely believe the script they have been handed by the “authorities” in their culture.

        Why some people are independent thinkers and others are natural born herd members is quite a mystery.

        My experience in trying to conduct rational discussions with most religious Zionists (or Zionists who have been strongly influenced by religion) is, forget about it. It’s like beating your head against a concrete wall — their minds don’t work in the way one usually expects educated minds to work — open to real-world facts and evidence, logic, etc. They use information as a tool to rationalize their irrational beliefs in an utterly implacable way. They are true believers — ripe for the plucking by clever self-appointed priesthoods and cannon fodder for false messianic movements.

      • Kathleen
        Kathleen
        April 12, 2014, 6:00 am

        yes

      • lobewyper
        lobewyper
        April 12, 2014, 10:54 am

        seanmcbride wrote, in response to my pessimism about the possibility of reversing Jewish indoctrination starting in early childhood and continuing:

        “I had no problem deconstructing my own cultural/ideological indoctrination (Roman Catholicism) and I have known many Jews who were able to undergo the same process of skeptical questioning regarding Judaism.”

        Sean, my take on this is that it’s not so much Judaism (which has much to offer, BTW), but the sense of one’s “Jewishness.” The idea that as a Jew, one is different from non-Jews-and, often-superior to them, that non-Jews dislike and mistrust Jews, that the “tribe” is the only real haven of safety, etc. These attitudes affect (should I say, “infect?”) most Jews and are only partly associated with Judaism per se. And they are probably very resistant to change, and more so than religious attitudes, per se. I agree that many individuals are “sleepwalkers” using your terminology. I’m merely suggesting that one can sleepwalk to tunes other than purely religious ones, and that one can much more easily free oneself from the blinders of Judaism than from the sense of one’s “Jewishness,” which entails beliefs of one’s specialness, victimhood, and etc. Of course, as you point out, attitudes and habits of mind of the type we are lamenting are far from being limited to Jews.

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        April 11, 2014, 12:19 am

        Sean, no Jew emotionally wants to go there, because to do so would necessitate being “disloyal to the tribe.”

        What shocked me about that trailer was how Schama has turned this supposedly historical series into his own personal pilgrimage and clearly lost all sense of objectivity. I doubt he is even aware of his tribalism, while at the same time, proclaiming it. Who else than a messianic halfwit claims they are a descendent of a king who probably never existed.

        The phenomenon we are witnessing is much like the implosion of Rudoren, who came to Jerusalem looking like she might be brat of fresh of air, but has since devolved into a Likudnik.

      • Kathleen
        Kathleen
        April 12, 2014, 5:57 am

        Gilad Atzmon examines the issues that lobe brings up.

    • Sibiriak
      Sibiriak
      April 11, 2014, 12:03 am

      seanmcbride:

      In viewing all five episodes of Simon Schama’s The Story of the Jews, I was struck by the relentless main theme: Jews have been in conflict with “the nations” — one national enemy and Pharaoh after another — since the inception of Judaism to the present day, century after century.

      A very important observation. The creation of a grand “story” relentlessly expressing the theme you identified — this is Zionist myth-history.

      • Keith
        Keith
        April 11, 2014, 8:35 pm

        SIBIRIAK- “…this is Zionist myth-history.”

        Is this not also Jewish myth-history, or do you see a significant difference between the two? Speaking of myth-history, I believe that it was Napoleon who said that history was basically lies that were agreed upon. I would suggest that most history is a self-serving narrative imposed upon society by those with the power to do so.

        Getting back to Jewish myth-history regarding an unbroken chain of Jewish persecution and victim hood, Hannah Arendt had this to say: “…it was Jewish historiography, with its strong polemical and apologetical bias, that undertook to trace the record of Jew-hatred in Christian history, while it was left to the antisemites to trace an intellectually not too dissimilar record from ancient Jewish authorities. When this Jewish tradition of an often violent antagonism to Christians and Gentiles came to light, “the general Jewish public was not only outraged but genuinely astonished,” so well had its spokesmen succeeded in convincing themselves and everybody else of the non-fact that Jewish separateness was due exclusively to Gentile hostility and lack of enlightenment. Judaism, it was now maintained chiefly by Jewish historians, had always been superior to other religions in that it believed in human equality and tolerance. That this self-deceiving theory, accompanied by the belief that the Jewish people had always been the passive, suffering object of Christian persecutions, actually amounted to a prolongation and modernization of the old myth of chosenness and was bound to end in new and often very complicated practices of separation, destined to uphold the ancient dichotomy, is perhaps one of those ironies which seem to be in store for those who, for whatever reasons, try to embellish and manipulate political facts and historical records.” (Hannah Arendt)
        http://mondoweiss.net/2013/09/j-street-is-quick-to-pounce-on-nyt-piece-shrugging-off-end-of-jewish-state.html/comment-page-1#comment-594214

      • American
        American
        April 12, 2014, 11:56 am

        ” When this Jewish tradition of an often violent antagonism to Christians and Gentiles came to light, “the general Jewish public was not only outraged but genuinely astonished,” so well had its spokesmen succeeded in convincing themselves and everybody else of the non-fact that Jewish separateness was due exclusively to Gentile hostility and lack of enlightenment. ‘….Hannah Arendt

        This is what I absolutely cannot see how a sane person could accept.
        To believe that Jews were persecuted in every century since time immemorial for no reason other than some kind of irrational or inbred hatred of them in all others implies that there exist on earth one group of people, the Jews, who are purely innocent in all ways while all other humans on earth are guilty and evil.
        It would make Jews some kind of saintly and collectively superior beings on earth, not the same kind of earthly and flawed humans as the rest of mankind.
        To believe that there could exist a group of beings like that on earth is truly insane.
        And yet we see that belief expressed and promoted all the time when Zionist answers to complaints or condemnations of any of their actions is always– Anti Semites or the Oldest Hatred.

        Its beyond irrational.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      Maximus Decimus Meridius
      April 11, 2014, 4:20 am

      Does anyone know of any books/websites (other than Shlomo Sand) which explore Jewish history in a more dispassionate manner? What I mean is that they don’t take for granted the notion that the Jews have always been pure victims, for no reason other than the fact that they are Jews, and that gentiles simply ‘hate Jews’ out of irrational bigotry?

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        April 11, 2014, 9:13 am

        Maximus Decimus Meridius,

        Does anyone know of any books/websites (other than Shlomo Sand) which explore Jewish history in a more dispassionate manner?

        Try:

        [book; Norman F. Cantor; The Sacred Chain: The History of the Jews; 1995; Harper Perennial http://www.amazon.com/Sacred-Chain-History-Jews/dp/006092652X ]

        Cantor’s book is much more intellectually honest and tough-minded than Schama’s sentimental and blinkered take on the subject.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        Maximus Decimus Meridius
        April 11, 2014, 11:22 am

        Thanks for that. Unfortunately when I looked it up on Amazon.UK, it redirected me to Schama’s book!

      • MRW
        MRW
        April 12, 2014, 2:04 am

        MDM, read Israel Shahak?

      • Feathers
        Feathers
        April 11, 2014, 9:33 am

        Cultures of the Jews, David Biale, ed.

        Don’t have the book at hand just now so I can’t state who wrote the chapter on Jewish integration to Christian Europe in Middle Ages.

        That author explained how the relatively few instances of persecution of Jews were recalled, just as bad news is news but things that happen most of the time — like amicable relations with Christians — is not news.

        Further, instances of real tragedy, as when Crusaders traveling through Europe attacked Jews, were memorialized at the time by surviving Jews. Those memorials took the form of prayers & liturgy that were repeated routinely, and are repeated to this day. Some historians made the mistake of relying on the persistence of the liturgy to define persecution as a persistent historical pattern.

        The multivolume history of Heinrich Graetz is heavily slanted to emphasize persecution-and-survival — Schamas’s work is nowhere near original.

        It’s worth noting that Rabbi Stephen Wise and his wife were diligent students of Graetz’s history, as were many Jews of their generation. Wise was a zealot’s zealot in promoting zionism in USA.

      • American
        American
        April 11, 2014, 10:08 am

        Maximus Decimus Meridius says:

        April 11, 2014 at 4:20 am

        Does anyone know of any books/websites (other than Shlomo Sand) which explore Jewish history in a more dispassionate manner?
        >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

        There are some, but if they are Jewish authors they are called self hating and if gentile authors called anti semites.
        I found Solzhenitsyn’s book 200 Years Together to be very objective for a book whose subject was Jews in Russia and also gave a some historical facts about the Jews in other countries as it related to their various immigration waves into Russia.
        I think what I call ‘straight” history books—a pure reporting on history or any country’s history—that is not written about Jews as the sole subject is the best way to get a true picture of Jews in history.

      • Ellen
        Ellen
        April 12, 2014, 10:19 am

        Such a book, and an excellent one ( two volumes) is “The Monotheists…” By Peters, a historian.

        http://press.princeton.edu/titles/7585.html

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        April 12, 2014, 11:11 am

        Ellen,

        F.E. Peters is indeed essential reading on what could be termed “Abrahamist ideologies”:

        [book; F.E. Peters; The Monotheists: Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Conflict and Competition, Volume I: The Peoples of God; 2005; Princeton University Press http://www.amazon.com/The-Monotheists-Christians-Conflict-Competition/dp/0691123721 ]

        Winner of the 2003 Award for Best Professional/Scholarly Book in Religion, Association of American Publishers

        One of Choice’s Outstanding Academic Titles for 2004

        The world’s three great monotheistic religions have spent most of their historical careers in conflict or competition with each other. And yet in fact they sprung from the same spiritual roots and have been nurtured in the same historical soil. This book–an extraordinarily comprehensive and approachable comparative introduction to these religions–seeks not so much to demonstrate the truth of this thesis as to illustrate it. Frank Peters, one of the world’s foremost experts on the monotheistic faiths, takes Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and after briefly tracing the roots of each, places them side by side to show both their similarities and their differences.

        The key to understanding group human behavior is to investigate the core beliefs that energize and motivate it. Certainly Abrahamist religious beliefs are the key driver of contemporary conflicts surrounding Israel. They need to be thoroughly deconstructed.

      • Keith
        Keith
        April 11, 2014, 8:37 pm

        MAXIMUS- “Does anyone know of any books/websites (other than Shlomo Sand) which explore Jewish history in a more dispassionate manner?”

        I strongly recommend “Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years,” by Israel Shahak. It is a relatively short and easy read with lots of valuable info. Amazon has it used for $6.40. Shahak, now deceased, was a highly regarded Israeli dissident intellectual, a friend of both Noam Chomsky and Jeffrey Blankfort.

  7. gamal
    gamal
    April 10, 2014, 3:35 pm

    Paul Johnson ( amateur and nut-case), Andrew Roberts, Niall Ferguson, Simon Schama, Dan Snow, its a lineage of Imperial historians.

    The Imperial Archive: Knowledge and the Fantasy of Empire:
    by Thomas Richards

    This is very good combining litcrit with the much maligned information theory, you can read the intro etc for free.

    http://www.amazon.com/Imperial-Archive-Knowledge-Fantasy-Empire/dp/0860916057/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1397155121&sr=1-1&keywords=%22imperial+mythology%22#reader_0860916057

    Oxford and Empire
    The Last Lost Cause?
    Richard Symonds
    Clarendon Press
    392 pages | 16 pp plates, tables | 216x138mm
    978-0-19-820300-1 | Paperback | 18 June 1992
    Price: £38.00

    “Wherever he went in the Empire, Cecil Rhodes observed, he found Oxford men on top. This scholarly and entertaining book examines how and why Oxford dominated Imperial policy and administration through its network of classical graduates; how Oxford’s Imperialists and anti-Imperialists conducted their arguments in light of the history of Greece and Rome; and how proconsuls, missionaries, and teachers carried her traditions abroad. The conflicting hopes of what various groups in the University sought to obtain in the name of Empire are explored as well as the often bewildering impact of Oxford on the colonials who went there to study.”

    http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780198203001.do

    Dan Snow the next great historian: he is very well connected.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Snow

    • marc b.
      marc b.
      April 10, 2014, 4:51 pm

      I’m glad you raised this point, gamal, as it undermines slater’s credibility from the start. I think it’s fair to assume when you read some version of

      one of the most acclaimed, visible, and popular contemporary historians . . . specializing in the French Revolution, Dutch history, British history, American history, baseball, art, matchstick manufacture, etc. etc.

      that the ‘historian’ is a historian of a certain sort. ferguson is another of these types, as you point out, having a book published expounding on the latest subject of his unparalleled expertise almost as frequently as I change my underwear. it wouldn’t surprise me in the least that the most basic of inconvenient facts about Israel are completely unknown to schama.

      • American
        American
        April 10, 2014, 9:12 pm

        I don’t consider Schama a real historian if his History of the Jews was as it is described by commenters here. (I didn’t see it) Actually I did come across it flipping thru tv channels but by- passed it because I’m already overloaded on Jewish history from my MW association .
        It sounds as if it was more PR and propaganda for Jews or Israel.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        April 10, 2014, 11:01 pm

        why don’t you just admit that a “historian” in your pov is one that takes on the Palestinian narrative and completely discounts the Israeli narrative as one born out of ‘evil, malice and the desire for Jews to ethnically cleanse the entire partition of ALL but Jews. That is the kind of historian that you wouldn’t change your underpanties for every day.

      • MRW
        MRW
        April 12, 2014, 2:11 am

        @DaBakr,

        and the desire for Jews to ethnically cleanse the entire partition of ALL but Jews.

        You mean like Israeli historian Benny Morris wrote?

    • seafoid
      seafoid
      April 11, 2014, 12:43 am

      George Mallory was the imperial mountaineer who set out to conquer Everest in the name of the Empire in 1924. They could do anything they wanted.
      They found his body in 1999. He was Cambridge though.

      • gamal
        gamal
        April 11, 2014, 2:07 am

        As was Captain (Robert Falcon) Scott, of whom one Oxon said “Quaesivit arcana poli videt dei”, and then sniggered up his sleeve, with a little tweeking it would be a great Barack motto.

        ( He sought the secret of the Pole but found the hidden face of God)

        One of his guys, an Iniskillen Dragoons man Laurence Titus Oates, committted suicide with that famous British sangfroid walking out of his tent to his death in a raging arctic blizzard he informed his doomed comrades “I am going outside and I may be rather a long time” very very Cambridge where heroic failure is preferable to success. They took ponies to the Pole, Amundsen took dogs, and Shackleton lost not a single man, both very Oxford (not really but this is Schamhistory)

        Scotts last testament was “For Godsake look after our people”

        Costly mistakes must be paid for, as I am sure we are all about to find out.

  8. Rosebud
    Rosebud
    April 10, 2014, 3:50 pm

    Miriam, would that be any excuse for failing to be accurate?

  9. Rational Zionist
    Rational Zionist
    April 10, 2014, 4:01 pm

    Does it really matter?

    Great Britain was not formed peacefully.
    The US was not formed with the consent of the indigenous peoples, and neither was Australia.
    Sunnis kill Shi’ites who kill Suffi’s, etc.
    Please find me one country that can look at itself and openly admit that it did things wrong. NOw find me one that is willing to address past sins.
    Let’s give our country back to xxxxxx (fill in the blank).

    So let’s quit making Israel out to be the worst and only problem in the world.
    Please write to your elected representative and clean your own house first.

    • W.Jones
      W.Jones
      April 10, 2014, 4:28 pm

      Rational Zionist,
      Native Americans definitely should be allowed to become full citizens, and in fact should get tax breaks due to the mistreatment.

      Palestinians are one of the world’s biggest refugee population today. Let’s have them be full citizens in their homeland based on what you have said about overcoming injustice.

    • Shingo
      Shingo
      April 10, 2014, 4:36 pm

      The US was not formed with the consent of the indigenous peoples, and neither was Australia.

      Big difference Hasbrat.

      1. The US and Australia stopped doing it centuries ago, admit it was a crime, admit they did it, have apologists and tried to make repetitions and recognize these people as the original owners of the land.
      2. Those naïveté peoples are full citizens of the state and not 3rd class citizens denied right of return
      3. Israel continues to do perpetrate those crimes today, which makes it the problem.

      • puppies
        puppies
        April 10, 2014, 8:00 pm

        @Shingo – pls ditch your spellchecker

      • bintbiba
        bintbiba
        April 11, 2014, 7:14 am

        Ditto, Shingo.

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        April 11, 2014, 8:40 am

        My apologies. Iphone auto correct sorry.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        April 10, 2014, 9:44 pm

        Centuries? Try late 1870s buster. only 70 yr spread btween the last US genocide (and the US truly did try and destroy the native Americans culturally and bodily as wounded knee was a massacre of ‘ghost dancers’ praying for their form of messiah to come and save the last of them before complete and utter defeat). While the Israelis NEVER set out to destroy Arabs and their culture otherwise they would have been pretty foolish to allow the now 20% population full citizenship and voting (less conscription) rights. Plus-at the time the world did not differentiate between Arab culture in lebanon, Jordan and Syria from Arabs living in the Mandate.
        Had Israel completely ‘cleansed’ as many claim-they would very likely be having no problems now like they do and sites like MW would be focusing their efforts on 1st nations in the US not the 7cent. conquering 2nd , 3rd or 4th nations after Cannanites and Israelites, and so on.

        If one truly wanted to compare the US genocide of 1st Nations to what happened in Israel one would have to imagine that the US is comprised of basically Manhattan and some of Brooklyn and that the Natives retained ALL the rest of the US from east to west and the 20% of native Americans still living in and around Brownsville (and the east coast Indians are now lumped in with Navajo and Nez Pierce, etc) were fighting to regain all of Manhattan back through whatever means possible.

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        April 10, 2014, 10:36 pm

        Try late 1870s buster.

        There was no genocide in the 1870s buster and even then, the spread is 140 years seeing as Israel continues those practices to this day.

        While the Israelis NEVER set out to destroy Arabs and their culture

        Of course they did, they wanted the Arabs and their culture removed from Palestine.

        Plus-at the time the world did not differentiate between Arab culture in lebanon, Jordan and Syria from Arabs living in the Mandate.

        That’s as moronic as saying the world did not differentiate between European culture in Iraly, Speain, France and Greece from Europeans living in the elsewhere.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        April 10, 2014, 11:17 pm

        if they wanted to destroy Palestinian, Druze and Bedouin culture why did they allow so many to stay? I mean-since your interpretation of Plan D was that the Jews intended to ‘clean’ every last arab out of Israel-why were we so stupid as to allow so many Arabs to remain? And why did Israel extend voting and other rights of citizenship to them?

        okay-I get it. Wounded Knee-even if it took place later then I remember in the 1890s was the last big massacre before the 1st Nations ceased to organize battle plans against the policy of ‘manifest destiny’ the US used to steal back the Black Hills gold and secure the westward expansion of the US. Whats your beef? I got the date wrong?? it only makes the spread narrower in that only about 50 years separated the US genocide and you so-called Israeli genocide of ’48.

        And as for moronic? I get it. I say black and you say white. If you want to think ‘the world’ at large differentiated between Arab tribes in the relatively small area of the Mandate including Transjordan-have it your way. Not everything is an argument, except, it would seem in your world.

      • Daniel Rich
        Daniel Rich
        April 11, 2014, 1:37 am

        @ Shingo,

        Q: … in Iraly, Speain…

        R: It looks like you’d better leave those shrooms in the back of the garden where they are…

      • talknic
        talknic
        April 11, 2014, 2:16 am

        DaBakr “While the Israelis NEVER set out to destroy Arabs…” … Zionists did and they’re still trying.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        April 11, 2014, 9:08 am

        please cite sources where Zionist leaders specifically claim they want to “destroy the Arabs” and “rid ALL of the Arabs from the new Israel” and “wipe the Arabs off the face of the earth” and so on since you all are constantly making rferences to Hitlers war.

        * and please, don’t insult with interim war strategy to clear out one village or another perceived to be a threat. I am not ‘trolling’ (as you say?) or denying that these were carried out as part of an overall plan to secure borders of the new state. Nor am I denying that atrocities were carried out by Zionists as they were by Arabs upon Jews and yes, the Jews prevailed so in some views their atrocities seem more weighted

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        April 11, 2014, 10:49 am

        please cite sources where Zionist leaders specifically claim they want to “destroy the Arabs” and “rid ALL of the Arabs from the new Israel” and “wipe the Arabs off the face of the earth” and so on since you all are constantly making rferences to Hitlers war.

        “We must expel Arabs and take their places.”
        – David Ben Gurion, 1937, Ben Gurion and the Palestine Arabs, Oxford University Press, 1985.

        That was not an interim war strategy, that is what Avigdor Liberman even wants to do with the Arab citizens of Israel today.

        “We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population.”
        – David Ben-Gurion, May 1948, to the General Staff. From Ben-Gurion, A Biography, by Michael Ben-Zohar, Delacorte, New York 1978.

        “Israel should have exploited the repression of the demonstrations in China, when world attention focused on that country, to carry out mass expulsions among the Arabs of the territories.”
        – Benyamin Netanyahu, then Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister, former Prime Minister of Israel, speaking to students at Bar Ilan University, from the Israeli journal Hotam, November 24, 1989.

        There’s much more where that came from.

        or denying that these were carried out as part of an overall plan to secure borders of the new state.

        What borders might you be referring to?

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        April 11, 2014, 9:11 am

        @talksnic
        and continue to do the worst job of so-called ‘annihilation’ the world has never witnessed

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        April 11, 2014, 10:36 am

        and continue to do the worst job of so-called ‘annihilation’ the world has never witnessed

        There is no Palestinian state so it’s a pretty good job.

      • talknic
        talknic
        April 12, 2014, 12:52 am

        @ DaBakr “please cite sources ..”

        Shingo has provided plenty for you to ignore

        “and so on since you all are constantly making rferences to Hitlers war”

        Israel is in breach of Laws and UN Charter adopted in large part because of the treatment of our Jewish fellows under the Nazis. Rather Naziesque.

        “I am not .. denying that these were carried out as part of an overall plan to secure borders of the new state.”

        Far beyond the borders, in territories “outside of the State of Israel” … “in Palestine” http://pages.citebite.com/x1r0b4d1y6mkv

      • MRW
        MRW
        April 12, 2014, 2:58 am

        @Dabakr, you are several years behind in your MW archive reading.

        “While the Israelis NEVER set out to destroy Arabs and their culture”…and all your zioblather about Indians.

        Start with Hostage’s archive because no one has the time or energy to correct new ones like you with facts and docs except Hostage, who was involved with Middle East issues as a military international lawyer. For the rest of is, it’s the tedium of confronting willful ignorance.

        And your knowledge of Indians and Wounded Knee is from the movies. Keep your Israeli history to yourself and stop poaching ours. There is no comparison; our history with the 500 Indian tribes extends back over 500 years, and our form of representative government comes from Indian government.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      April 10, 2014, 4:53 pm

      Yes, it really matters, because people matter. And although you Zionists deny it by act, if not always by word, Palestinians are people with the absolute right to every human, political and civil right that is due to humans. And unlike the countries you mention, the terror and ethnic cleansing in Israel is ongoing, and with the aid of the Americans. So opposing the Zionists’ crimes is, as an American, cleaning my own house first.

    • seafoid
      seafoid
      April 10, 2014, 5:14 pm

      The Nazis did nothing wrong either buddy. If that is your argument.

      • Mondowise
        Mondowise
        April 11, 2014, 1:46 am

        “The Nazis did nothing wrong either buddy. If that is your argument.”

        BAM!!! and in so few words…very powerful…absolutely love it!

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      April 10, 2014, 10:23 pm

      @ Rationsl Zionist
      What do you imagine the Nuremberg Trials were all about? How about Tokyo Trials? They came after two world wars. Then came Israel.

    • Kay24
      Kay24
      April 10, 2014, 11:34 pm

      There is much to be done for the Native Americans, I agree. However, some of the things they are freely able to do are, they are able to travel in and out of the US freely, are able to move around any part of the US without blockades, checkpoints, and are not killed along any fence or checkpoint, their water is not controlled, homes are not demolished, fishing restricted, Native American kids are not dragged out of their beds in the middle of the night, terrified, and dumped in jail, with no legal representation or family visits, and not under occupation for decades.
      What happened in the past, and out of our control, does NOT justify what goes on TODAY, at this moment, in the Palestinian territories. Right now, we should hold a brutal occupier responsible for the deception, human rights violations, murders, and colonization of lands they do not have a right to. So your justifying these crimes are really, a bit weak.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        April 11, 2014, 9:33 am

        If the treatment of 1st nations were somehow able to be linked to Jews believe me-you and your compatriots would be doing a lot more then excusing their treatment as “What happened in the past, and out of our control, ” when it was only a mere 60-80 years before the creation of Israel. And I am sure the US gov’t would respond very vigorously to any acts of violent resistence (as evidenced by the over-reaction to the controversial 2nd wounded knee shoot-out). The US HAS erected a barrier on its southern border to keep out illegals while fully embracing the legal population of Hispanic Americans (as well-if your making non-comparisons between I/US)
        I could go on and on about the hypocrisy of Americans focusing in Israel instead of their own house including the foreign aid packages they SO freak them out- given to a number of Arab neighbors of Israel too, which in total-far exceed the 3b given to Is. That Palestinians were offered a FAR greater % of the land then the 1st nations now have possession of ala ‘reservation system’ and on and on.
        Ironically, I would not deny that looking at the history of the US the Palestinians could rightfully conclude that ‘never giving up, ever’ is a better strategy then the 1st nations who had chiefs who did recognize they were a defeated people (Black Elk, Sitting Bull,etc) that would have gladly enjoyed defeating the whites had they been able. I just don’t see the point of arguing that in the ‘battle over I/P there is room now-or in the next 2 decades -for a treaty that will satisfy the victors and the defeated. Please name me any nation in history-ever-that has willingly agreed to give up sovereignty-won through over 60yrs of war-to give their avowed enemy a treaty which grants them the ability and advantage to continue fighting if they so choose for complete sovereignty over the entire piece of land?.
        While groups like mw may be of some use in spreading one side of view I seriosly doubt it will have much imact on final status. Final status between ‘the Zionist Entity and the affiliated Palestinian leadership will be one of those things that happens when both sides are so worn down, so tired out that they just don’t care. I see more evidence of this among some Israeli elites and their progeny then among Palestinians but Israelis-like Americans-when pressed can rally together in a NYsecond. So-in reality-nobody is worn down and everybody is excited about what the future will bring. All in all I would say things are looking up for both Israelis and Arabs in WB. And in Gaza? Thats a big problem which-when the LEGAL blockade is lifted will be for the citizens there to sort out.
        and btw-while now its considered ‘absurd’-in the future you will be hearing more and more talk about a 3SS pak/ind/bang

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        April 11, 2014, 10:35 am

        If the treatment of 1st nations were somehow able to be linked to Jews believe me-you and your compatriots would be doing a lot more then excusing their treatment as “What happened in the past, and out of our control, ” when it was only a mere 60-80 years before the creation of Israel.

        The fact is that Israel was created AFTER WWII, which was a war which mainly established the principals of human rights, and rejection of conquest of territory by war. So the fact Israel was create only 100 years after the last abuses against indigenous populations is irrelevant.

        The US HAS erected a barrier on its southern border to keep out illegals while fully embracing the legal population of Hispanic Americans (as well-if your making non-comparisons between I/US)

        That’s right, the US HAS erected a barrier on it’s border, not in Mexico.

        I could go on and on about the hypocrisy of Israel insisting that it be given a pass because it is only doing what other states did 200 years ago, even though Israel’s raision d’etre is that it is needed to right wrongs of the past.

        given to a number of Arab neighbors of Israel too, which in total-far exceed the 3b given to Is.

        Actually that is false. Not only does aid to Arab neighbors of Israel NOT exceed the 3b given to Israel, but much of it is given to bribe Arab neighbors of Israel into being nice to Israel.

        That Palestinians were offered a FAR greater % of the land then the 1st nations now have possession of ala ‘reservation system’ and on and on.

        The land was theirs, it wasn’t anyone else’s to offer them.

        Please name me any nation in history-ever-that has willingly agreed to give up sovereignty-won through over 60yrs of war-to give their avowed enemy a treaty which grants them the ability and advantage to continue fighting if they so choose for complete sovereignty over the entire piece of land?

        But that is not what ha taken place. Israel sovereignty took place in May 1948. What took place after that was a land grab by aggression on Israel’s part. Of course, they always claimed it was self defence, but so did Nazi Germany.

        Final status between ‘the Zionist Entity and the affiliated Palestinian leadership will be one of those things that happens when both sides are so worn down, so tired out that they just don’t care.

        That may well be true. Israel will likely self destruct. The educated class are leaving and no one is migrating to Israel anymore. That will leave only the religious nut jobs and poor behind.

        BTW. The blockade of Gaza in ILLEGAL.

      • Kay24
        Kay24
        April 11, 2014, 12:46 pm

        Thank you Shingo, you responded better than I could. I agree with what you have said. May I add, the US wall will not cut through Mexican property, deprive their farmers of land, destroying orchards, or prevent them from visiting their families.
        From Wikipedia:
        “Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other Human rights groups have protested both the routing of the wall and the means by which the land to build the wall was obtained.[112] The Israeli women of Machsom Watch regularly monitor events at checkpoints and report their findings. In a 2004 report Amnesty International wrote that “The fence/wall, in its present configuration, violates Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law.”[113]

        They continue:

        Since the summer of 2002 the Israeli army has been destroying large areas of Palestinian agricultural land, as well as other properties, to make way for a fence/wall which it is building in the West Bank.

        In addition to the large areas of particularly fertile Palestinian farmland that have been destroyed, other larger areas have been cut off from the rest of the West Bank by the fence/wall.

        The fence/wall is not being built between Israel and the Occupied Territories but mostly (close to 90%) inside the West Bank, turning Palestinian towns and villages into isolated enclaves, cutting off communities and families from each other, separating farmers from their land and Palestinians from their places of work, education and health care facilities and other essential services. This in order to facilitate passage between Israel and more than 50 illegal Israeli settlements located in the West Bank.[113]”

      • Feathers
        Feathers
        April 11, 2014, 7:01 pm

        “The fact is that Israel was created AFTER WWII,

        Israel declared itself a state AFTER WWII, but it had acquired land, created political & cultural institutions, colonized extensively by ~1912 (see Etan Bloom, “Arthur Ruppin and the Production of Hebrew Culture in Palestine”)

        Bloom writes that Tel Aviv was built by 1910, in that location, near to Jaffa, in a bid to supplant Arab trade.

        “was a war which mainly established the principals of human rights, and rejection of conquest of territory by war.

        That sounds like a Schama whitewash of WWII. The second world war was a war for dominance & empire betw England & Continental European states. Both of those sides lost; USA won.

        It is still sold as “the good war” but that is a fiction the Allies have to sustain to cover up the crimes against humanity that the ALLIES perpetrated throughout the war, including casually overlooking Stalin’s starvation of millions of Ukrainians 1932-1934; Allied firebombing of 75% of Germany and six major cities in Japan, deliberately targeting women, children & refugees.

        Moreover, Nuremberg principles are, for the most part, acknowledged only in the breach. George W Bush anyone??

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        April 11, 2014, 10:47 am

        “If the treatment of 1st nations were somehow able to be linked to Jews believe me…”

        Please stuff your libels. No one believes them and you’re just demonstrating that you are not acting in good faith.

      • talknic
        talknic
        April 12, 2014, 1:06 am

        @ DaBakr got any evidence for your claims? Or are you just another flapping wailgob apologist for Israel’s illegal expansionist policies?

        “Please name me any nation in history-ever-that has willingly agreed to give up sovereignty-won through over 60yrs of war-to … “

        It has been illegal to acquire territory by war since at least 1933. http://pages.citebite.com/y1f0t4q1v4son

        Israel is required to withdraw before peaceful relations are assumed (see Israel/Egypt Peace Treaty http://wp.me/pDB7k-ZZ ) or plea bargain with the Palestinians who have been more than generous in their offers to cede 78% of their rightful territory to Israel for peace http://pages.citebite.com/e9p5s8u2yhcd

    • Abdul-Rahman
      Abdul-Rahman
      April 11, 2014, 12:04 am

      “Rational Zionist”,

      The claims you made have already been thoroughly dealt with by others, but allow me to speak on them also. First, you should be applauded in that you at least appear to acknowledge the crimes of the Zionist movement; as you seem to accept comparing them to the genocide of Native Americans. This at least puts you a step above Nakba deniers. But then again right wing ziofascists in Israel today are fond of chanting at Palestinian Israelis such things as “we have brought a Nakba upon you”.

      As for your attempted “analogy” or “argument”, it is just a little bit flawed and faulty! As others have noted; America, Canada, Australia, etc. have all apologized for what they did in an era before modern international law. And all of these states have done SOME things to try to “rectify” a portion of the historical wrongs done. These have been, in my opinion, mostly woefully inadequate but they are infinitely more than any Israeli regime (operating in the modern period of course) has even thought of doing (kind of hard for Israel to be making any form of restitution whatsoever, when they are still committing ongoing crimes of course).

      That leads to modern international law; the international law is on the Palestinians side and that is (in the end) all that matters in our modern world of international conventions.

      http://www.al-awda.org/facts.html

      http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/01/2013131101929493601.html

      etc.

      Another good article that already responded to this cheap “tactic” of your ilk, was this one (there are others like it) by Ali Abunimah back in 2010 http://mondoweiss.net/2010/12/abunimah-the-native-american-analogy-doesnt-work.html

      In concluding this very well written essay, Abunimah makes a very important point (again in response to the type of pseudo-“argument” you tried to advance here). I quote from Mr. Abunimah:

      “Finally, it is disingenuous to make this an issue solely about property rights. Property rights are a difficult issue that would affect a fraction of Palestinians and Israelis. Most Palestinians, however, could return to land in Israel that is currently empty. Israelis reject the right of return primarily on ethnoreligious grounds: they just don’t want too many Palestinians polluting the ‘Jewish democracy.'”

      With that, and the Palestinian refugees internationally guaranteed right of return to their homes in mind, I recommend reading the work of scholar Salman Abu Sitta “Palestine Right Of Return, Sacred, Legal, and Possible”

      A relevant article there: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2007/mar/29/salmanabusitta

      America, for instance, doesn’t have too many “white Christians” openly calling for an ethnocractic regime in the modern United States. Whereas the Israeli apartheid and ethnocractically based regime is today attempting to solidify their unjust ethnocracy even further.

      http://mondoweiss.net/2014/03/kerry-jewish-netanyahu.html

    • Sycamores
      Sycamores
      April 11, 2014, 7:07 am

      @ Rational Zionist

      the blame game doesn’t matter now

      you can’t ignore these inconvient facts

      we live now in different times.

      the trend now is decolonization, Israel stands out like a sore thumb in the modern age.
      Israel has fail as a state it fail to absorb itself into indigenous culture, Israel fail to endear itself with it neighbours. an arguably fail to be a safe haven for about half of the Jewish population in the world. just consider the size and techonically advance army it needs to allegedly protect itself, this would sent out alarming signals to anyone who has two brain cells to rub together.

      Decolonization after 1945

      Decolonization of European colonies in Africa

      Independence for India, Pakistan, Burma, Ceylon, Malaysia, Indonesian Archipelago and Indochina

      not to forget to mention the Republic of Ireland independence from British rule (it was 1949 before the state was officially declared).

      unlike the US where most the indigenous population was wipe out to gain it existence, Israel doesn’t have that luxury and so there is no comparsion between the two.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        April 11, 2014, 10:02 am

        “Israel has fail as a state…”

        wow.

      • Sycamores
        Sycamores
        April 11, 2014, 11:23 am

        fair enough DaBakr

        i should had added: as i see it Israel has fail as a state…

        and then i give three reasons why i think Israel has fail-

        …..it fail to absorb itself into indigenous culture, Israel fail to endear itself with it neighbours. an arguably fail to be a safe haven for about half of the Jewish population in the world. just consider the size and techonically advance army it needs to allegedly protect itself, this would sent out alarming signals to anyone who has two brain cells to rub together.

        but the overall message in my reply to Rational Zionist was that colonial states don’t all survive as the Decolonization list shows particularly in the last 60 or so years. just because the US owes it existence to European colonialism from the 16 to 19 centuries does not mean that israel colonialism of the 20 century will last.

      • talknic
        talknic
        April 12, 2014, 7:57 am

        @ DaBakr

        “Israel has fail as a state…”

        wow.

        Failed: To adhere to the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel.

        Failed: To write a constitution under which a legal election may be held. Israel has never had a legally elected Government, under the promised constitution.

        Failed: To adhere to the binding laws, UN Charter chapters and relevant conventions reaffirmed and emphasized in hundreds of UNSC resolutions giving the State of Israel hundreds of opportunities to adhere to the law which it has failed to observe

        Failed: to prevent its citizens from illegally settling in occupied territories where they are very likely to fall foul of the violence expected when one occupies another people and their territory.

        Failed: to withdraw from all non-Israeli territory as required by binding law, the UN charter and relevant conventions reaffirmed and emphasized in those resolutions post UNSC res 242 (read UNSC res 476 http://wp.me/pDB7k-W8 )

        Failed: to legally annex any territories it has illegally acquired by war since proclaiming it’s borders effective as of 00:01 May 15th 1948 (ME time) http://wp.me/pDB7k-Xk

        Failed: to tell the Israeli the truth about its proclaimed borders

        Failed: to tell its citizens it is selling them non-Israeli land in Occupied Territories

        Failed: To uphold the most basic of Judaisms tenets by lying, coveting other folks property, stealing, false accusations http://wp.me/PDB7k-Y#ignorance

    • Ellen
      Ellen
      April 12, 2014, 10:30 am

      At least you admit that Israel is being built upon a slow snuffing out of a people. So if you want to be left alone to continue these crimes, why is it that at the same time Israel demands endless “aid” from the American taxpayer ? That the support for this comes from “our house?”

      What, in the Zionist Colonial enterprise, is on it for Dick and Jane?

      Yes, a cleaning out is going on. Believe it or not, some members of Congress are beginning to smell the stench in our house.

  10. JaapBo
    JaapBo
    April 10, 2014, 4:02 pm

    I saw the documentary too, and liked the first four parts. The fifth is indeed awful.

    Schama continuously portrays Jews as victims and Palestinians as perpetrators, while in reality its rather the other way around. Did you know for instance that during the first five days of the Second Intifadah Israeli forces fired more than one million bullets and killed 47 Palestinians, most of them demonstrators, while the first Palestinian suicide attack was executed only four weeks into the Intifadah?

    On an emotional level Schama also expertly uses the Holocaust for whitewashing the unjustices perpetrated against the Palestinians. He calls Israel “a country born from the ashes of annihilation”, and “six million defeats for the Nazi program of total extermination”, and he calls “his” Zionism “the Zionism of necessity”. On the factual level several reservations can be made:
    • Zionism and its goals existed long before the Holocaust. The Holocaust is used a posteriori.
    • In 1948 the Nazi’s were defeated; Jews were save. What was the necessity?
    • Saving Jews was not Ben-Gurion’s priority . He wanted to save the Jewish people by rooting it in “Eretz Israel” (of course he had to uproot the Palestinian Arabs). In practice this meant for example that during WWII Ben-Gurion did not lobby for e.g. the destruction of extermination camps, but did lobby for Jewish refugees that had already escaped the Nazi’s to be transferred to Palestine. For Ben-Gurion, building Palestine had priority over saving Jews from the Nazi’s.

    Schama also says: “it was not just what the Nazi’s did to the Jews, but what everyone else failed to do that made the moral case for Israel”. But (apart from the fact that the Zionists under Ben-Gurion also failed) how can a genocide justify an ethnic cleansing of a people who had nothing to do with it?

    • W.Jones
      W.Jones
      April 10, 2014, 4:32 pm

      You have to get inside the mindset of a “land without a people”, ie that others don’t count, an idea not wholly different from the idea of European settlement in other continents.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      April 10, 2014, 5:03 pm

      “Schama also says: “it was not just what the Nazi’s did to the Jews, but what everyone else failed to do that made the moral case for Israel””

      This libel is one of the worst libels in history. Scores of millions of people died fighting to stop what the Nazis were doing to the Jews (and others) and millions of others had their lives forever destroyed. Dozens of millions of people. Who did the only thing that could have been done to save the Jews who were able to be saved. And for some little … like Simon Schama to have the gall to not only question that sacrifice, but to spit in the face of those who made it??? Disgusting. Lower than the lowest.

    • eljay
      eljay
      April 10, 2014, 5:17 pm

      >> … “it was not just what the Nazi’s did to the Jews, but what everyone else failed to do that made the moral case for Israel”.

      There was not, there is not and there cannot ever be a moral case for a supremacist “Jewish State” or for any supremacist state.

      It’s amazing how hard Zio-supremacists fight against justice, equality, accountability and morality.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        April 10, 2014, 10:27 pm

        What’s amazing is how much goy taxpayer money they eat up blaming the goys for everything.

  11. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    April 10, 2014, 4:46 pm

    “Nor does Schama the historian mention the established fact that Ben-Gurion and the Zionist leaders “accepted” partition only as a tactical first step, to be jettisoned as soon as they were strong enough to go well beyond the boundaries of the partition plan–by whatever means necessary.”

    The tactical nature of the Ben Gurion acceptance of the partition plan could have been exposed had the Palestinians accepted the partition plan. I understand why the Palestinians didn’t accept it, but this historical footnote is not something that I would expect any television show to include. It is for a truly in depth historical analysis, rather than for a tv show. Slater is in effect saying, why is Schama a Zionist like himself and not a Zionist like me. No, Schama is not a skeptic out to highlight the skeptical angle on the issue. That’s you, Slater. This is not a valid critique of Schama, only a valid footnote to history by those who wish they would get to make their own tv programs.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      April 10, 2014, 5:15 pm

      “The tactical nature of the Ben Gurion acceptance of the partition plan could have been exposed had the Palestinians accepted the partition plan.”

      So? Besides blaming the victim, what would be your point?

      “but this historical footnote is not something that I would expect any television show to include.”

      Why not? Given the fact that Israeli appologists still trot the fact that the Palestinians did not want to give away half of their country as a basis for the oppression and terror that’s been inflicted on them by the Jews there for three generations, would it not be a proper thing to note that the entirety of the supposed generous Jewish offer to “share” Palestine through partition was a giant lie? Wouldn’t a historian seeking to actually understand “the History of the Jews” wish to explore this act of duplicity in the establishment of “the Jewish State,” so-called, and the brutal and racist bigotry of “Israel’s Founding Father”??

      “No, Schama is not a skeptic out to highlight the skeptical angle on the issue. That’s you, Slater. This is not a valid critique of Schama.”

      Do you think it academically appropriate for someone who holds himself out as a historian to produce propaganda? To lie by omission? To pass off falsehoods because he agrees with the brutal occupiers?

    • Donald
      Donald
      April 10, 2014, 10:11 pm

      I was about to reply to this in detail, Yonah, but Woody says what I would have said. After generations of one-sided pro-Israel propaganda in the US (I don’t know about Great Britain), why can’t a historian be straightforward about the dark stains in Israel’s history? I’m not asking for a Mondoweiss comment section style full throated denunciation of Zionism in every aspect–just an empathic description of how both sides experienced the mid-20th century and honesty about the behavior of all sides. I’ve seen it done–Sandy Tolan’s “The Lemon Tree”, for instance, which tells the history of Israel as seen by two families, one Palestinian whose family was driven out of its home and one a Jewish family living in that home, who in turn fled to Israel after the Holocaust. (I’ve now forgotten the details–I should reread that book soon. It humanizes both sides.)

      “This is not a valid critique of Schama, only a valid footnote to history by those who wish they would get to make their own tv programs.”

      So why don’t we see Jerry’s version, or Rashid Khalidi’s version, or Ali Abunimah’s version of history on these shows? PBS isn’t giving all views on what they surely know is a contentious subject–they’re letting Schama peddle his slanted history as fact.

    • seafoid
      seafoid
      April 11, 2014, 5:38 pm

      Yonah

      If the North Koreans rolled up with the Chinese and demanded half of Israel would you agree to it ? Most of them have been starved for the last 50 years, suffering enormously. Say the Chinese rigged the UN and took out the IDF – what would you do ?

  12. LisaAK
    LisaAK
    April 10, 2014, 5:55 pm

    I saw just a few minutes of this episode when it aired . . . and I was horrified, but not surprised, that someone who is considered a historian, would present Zionist propaganda as history. I set my DVR to record the encore presentation, and thanks to this article, I don’t feel obligated to watch it anymore and I can free up some space on my DVR.

    I just wanted to add that the “nakba” is always presented as simultaneous to, or in reaction to, the invasion by Arab countries after Israel declared its independence on May 14, 1948. That is not true. The most well-known massacre is of Dayr Yasin, for example, which began on April 9, 1948 – over a month before Yom HaAtzmaout. During the time the partition plan was being drafted, Arabs made up 2/3 of the population of Palestine and owned 93% of the land. Nevertheless, under the partition plan, the Jewish state was given 55% of the land. Thus, the “problem” for the Zionists at the time, was that they were still a minority, even within the designated Jewish state. Thus began the ethnic cleansing that Palestinians refer to as the Nakba. Zionists, however, always present it as the Arabs referring to Israeli independence as the catastrophe. By doing so, they can re-frame history within the anti-Semitism paradigm: like the European countries previously, the Arabs simply didn’t want the Jews there – ignoring the real issue which was, of course, the theft of land and the organized terror by the Haganah, Irgun, and the Stern Gang, to drive out the Palestinian population to create more favorable demographics.

  13. joemowrey
    joemowrey
    April 10, 2014, 7:55 pm

    “…and makes the case that the history of the persecution of the Jews justified the creation of the state of Israel, an argument I agree with…”

    So, let me get this straight. Because Jews were persecuted and genocided by an ultranationalist ethnocracy, they created their own ultranationalist ethnocracy in order to be safe. Right. Who could have foreseen any problems with that plan?

    I’m always amazed when intelligent people so offhandedly suggest that Zionism is a good idea. And exactly how many ultranationalist ethnocracies have succeeded over the course of history? Oh, but this time it will be different.

    Sounds like crazy talk to me.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      April 11, 2014, 8:10 am

      ” and makes the case that the history of the persecution of the Jews justified the creation of the state of Israel, an argument I agree with–”

      I would like to see that alleged argument spelled out in formal terms.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        April 13, 2014, 6:18 pm

        most countries throughout the course of history have been mono-ethnic, and have lasted not merely centuries but millennia (see China; or India with its endemic deadly Hindu-Islamic clashes)

        Here’s your wake-up call Chinese and Indian are not mutually exclusive ethnic groups: The government of China officially recognizes 56 different ethnic subdivisions in its population, including about 100 million people who aren’t members of the majority Han Chinese ethnic group. FYI, unlike Zionists, they are not exaggerating when they point to successive Chinese governments and representatives of Han Chinese culture who have maintained a “continual presence” in Tibet for over 2,000 years. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ethnic_groups_in_China

        The Indian people include more than two thousand ethnic groups, including the Chinese. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_people

    • dmm
      dmm
      April 13, 2014, 3:18 am

      They just created a Jewish Homeland you blathering drama queen; and most countries throughout the course of history have been mono-ethnic, and have lasted not merely centuries but millennia (see China; or India with its endemic deadly Hindu-Islamic clashes)… it’s only comparatively lately that we have these multicultural democracies… and THOSE are the as yet short-lived ones who will prove themselves or not. But the Jews have been around longer than any of the current religions, and are therefore likeliest to prevail in this case as well. Seen any Hittites or Edomites at the bar lately?

      • LeaNder
        LeaNder
        April 13, 2014, 7:17 pm

        Don’t worry, dmm dear, it’s not just to you. Hostage can be really mean to all of us nitwits. My advise: It helps to avoid pretense.

        If he is around don’t even try to impress with nationalist fairytales. He is fast like an eagle and strikes without mercy. Exactly in these cases.

        Today his response ended up above yours, so don’t miss it. Happens here sometimes. Since you are new, I thought I might as well point it out to you. You can also click on your name and check in your profile if someone answered to any of your earlier comments. Only in this case it wouldn’t appear.

        Odd no idea what it is with the present and/or missing reply interfaces.

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        April 13, 2014, 10:39 pm

        They just created a Jewish Homeland you blathering drama queen

        On someone else’s homeless you blithering racist supremacist.

        But the Jews have been around longer than any of the current religions, and are therefore likeliest to prevail in this case as well.

        The Jewish faith will prevail yes, Israel, not likely.

        Seen any Hittites or Edomites at the bar lately?

        Seen any Hebrews or Isralites?

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        April 13, 2014, 10:42 pm

        See above for a reply by Hostage.

  14. DaBakr
    DaBakr
    April 10, 2014, 9:23 pm

    so-on the one hand the author cites Schama as a “brilliant..historian” and then later claims his history of the 1967 war has “long been discredited with serious historians”.

    First I would say that is not an accurate reflection of what “serious historians” are claiming as only a very particular few discount the basic unfolding of the facts surrounding the 67 war-as if there weren’t millions of people around who LIVED it and are-for some mysterious reason-either totally wrong about what actually happened or bamboozled by a grand conspiracy. As if there weren’t 100s of Arab, Israeli Euro and US newspaper accounts to read about as the events unfolded. That Nasser didn’t say what he said and Jordan wasn’t asked to stay out. uh-huh.

    Second-is Schama now considered a non-serious historian?

    Third- in reference to this so-called ‘hasbarist’ I would simply state that there is not one single narrative element to the creation of and continued thriving of the State of Israel that is not now-by pro Palesitinian and anti-Zionist scholars-disputed. Every battle. Every ‘massacre’ every single act is now claimed by one side to be a complete misrepresentation by the other.
    This authors half-attemps to pretend like he has some basic level of support for Schama’s scholarship and premise eventually shos that he is of the crowd that disputes every historical ‘fact’ about Israel up and until the few historical revisionists change the tone of the ‘battle of narratives’ by giving false weight to the fact that a few of these revisionists were Israeli and/or Jews while there has never been a serious Arab effort to support ANY part of Israeli narrative in a scholarly tome lest they be threatened or worse by the culture they live in-one of complete censorship of ANYTHING remotely tied to Jews or Israel in all the neighboring Arab regimes including the 2 who have tenuous treaties with Israel.

    • Shingo
      Shingo
      April 10, 2014, 10:43 pm

      so-on the one hand the author cites Schama as a “brilliant..historian” and then later claims his history of the 1967 war has “long been discredited with serious historians”.

      There is no contradiction. What Slater has pointed out is that Schama has sold out and put tribalism before professional integrity.

      First I would say that is not an accurate reflection of what “serious historians” are claiming as only a very particular few discount the basic unfolding of the facts surrounding the 67 war

      You can say what you want, but you’d be wrong. –

      There were millions of people around who LIVED the build up to the Iraq war in 2003 who were indeed bamboozled by a grand conspiracy of lies. There was no mysterious reason.

      As if there weren’t 100s of Arab, Israeli Euro and US newspaper accounts to read about as the events unfolded.

      As if there weren’t 100s of US newspaper accounts to read about as the events unfolded in 2003 in the lead up to the Iraq war.

      That Nasser didn’t say what he said and Jordan wasn’t asked to stay out. uh-huh.

      That’s a bit like saying that because Badghdad Bob was talking tough, Iraq posed a threat to the US/British coalition in 2003.

      I would simply state that there is not one single narrative element to the creation of and continued thriving of the State of Israel that is not now-by pro Palesitinian and anti-Zionist scholars-disputed.

      And there is no one one single narrative element to the creation of and continued thriving of the State of Israel that is not now-by pro Zionist, that is not now-by anti-Zionist scholars-disputed.

      Your point or are you just here to ramble and troll?

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        April 11, 2014, 9:00 am

        ramble. don’t know what troll is.

    • DaBakr
      DaBakr
      April 10, 2014, 11:46 pm

      well, I admit i am completely moronic to think anybody could ever

      about Israel

      and why it has been so extremely successful more then the founders could ever imagine

      and why the surrounding Arab states are so far behind its not even a joke

      all due to some ‘big zionist plot’ conceived and hatched by evil sub-humans who could care less about any humanity other then Jewish people.

      such a moron. such a fool. oh my time is coming. we will be sorry. 60yrs of such utter BS..

      please somebody ban me forever from this accursed site as its a sucking void of nonsense as addictive as a bee is to pollen. I wish I was a sabra as I am too soft on both outside and in. my neighbor, and he’s Druze (who thinks there will be 2S but not for a long time) for fks sake tells me “your wasting your time” . so yes, I am a moron.

      * funny story about my neighbor: oh, never mind. i guess even a man born of Palestinian and Druze parents can’t make a joke about Arabs.

      • pjdude
        pjdude
        April 11, 2014, 8:00 pm

        I’m any state would have been successful if they were bankrolled the way israel was and is. As it stands israel economy is very unhealthy as it’s dependent on such things continuing. If it would have had to succeed with out the bankrolling it would have collapsed decades ago

      • talknic
        talknic
        April 13, 2014, 8:15 am

        DaBakr “why it has been so extremely successful more then the founders could ever imagine”

        Uh? Simple, although some Jewish folk and institutions owned ‘real estate’ in Palestine, it was minuscule compared to the the ‘territory’ given completely gratis for the Jewish state and;
        Israel has illegally acquired by war some 50% of the territories that remained of Palestine in 1948 after Israel was proclaimed as “an independent republic within frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947” , exploiting the resources, collecting money from the sale of land and taxes from Israeli citizens now illegally populating those illegally acquired territories. Added to which there have been since 1897, billions upon billions of diaspora dollars, billions of US aid dollars poured into it and huge outside investments in the illegal settlements.

        “and why the surrounding Arab states are so far behind its not even a joke”

        The Arab States are part of ye olde colonial divide and conquer tactic, with the wealth and power kept out of the hands of the population and in the hands of those the colonialistas favoured.

        “all due to some ‘big zionist plot’ conceived and hatched by evil sub-humans who could care less about any humanity other then Jewish people”

        If you say so. The Zionists have however, certainly plotted to take all of Palestine.

        “such a moron. such a fool. oh my time is coming. we will be sorry. 60yrs of such utter BS..

        Well if you believe Israel didn’t declare any borders for example, you certainly have been sucked in.

        “please somebody ban me forever from this accursed site..”

        Why, you could simply not come here spreading your nonsense…. which BTW give folk the opportunity to counter your nonsense with well sourced statements from the Israeli Government and its leaders, the actual words of documents, logic, the kind of things of which the Hasbara is bereft.

        “my neighbor, and he’s Druze”

        Why should we believe that story from a person who has come here and lied?

    • Daniel Rich
      Daniel Rich
      April 11, 2014, 3:58 am

      @ DEBKA DaBakr,

      You forgot your Tee-shirt.

      • Ellen
        Ellen
        April 12, 2014, 10:42 am

        Wow, that is one freaky place!

        Keep the fight alive ….

        The Jewish Internet Defense Force (JIDF) makes no representations as to accuracy, currentness, correctness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any ….

      • Sumud
        Sumud
        April 13, 2014, 9:03 am

        That guy is a freak Ellen – obsessed with ‘rooting out online anti-semitism’ but no problems advocating the murder of muslims, arabs and anyone else opposed to jewish supremacism, and spreading the most vile and slanderous propaganda.

        During the Free Gaza Flotilla he said on his twitter more than once that Israel should just sink the ships and kill ALL the activists. You know – mass murder.

        The content is not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company or individual. This site’s intention is to do no harm, to not injure others, defame, or libel.

        Yup, sure.

  15. seafoid
    seafoid
    April 11, 2014, 12:29 am

    Schama gets his inspiration from the same empty hasbara well as the rest of them. Such a glorious history and such a grubby present.

    • W.Jones
      W.Jones
      April 11, 2014, 2:26 am

      Dear Seafoid,

      Armenians suffered a genocide of 1.5 million, and in 1960, Armenia’s population was still under 2 million. For centuries they lived as persecuted citizens under the Turks.

      I don’t know if you have noticed, but some Israelis and their supporters are quite zealous, particularly about IP politics. This has sometimes been ascribed to the need for a state, a reaction to centuries of persecution, etc. My question is why aren’t Armenians this way? And yes, I have met a number of Armenians.

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        April 11, 2014, 12:20 pm

        I wonder the same thing. Armenians just get on with it.

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones
        April 11, 2014, 2:53 pm

        Yes. Armenians got genocided by the Mongols, by the Muslims, got conquered by Russia, genocided by Turks, perhaps half their people, lived under subjugation for many centuries as dhimmis, finally got their country in 1991 fully independent. And they still have separatist conflicts with Nagorno-Karabakh. Theoretically, many of the same conditions can be found.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        Maximus Decimus Meridius
        April 11, 2014, 3:03 pm

        Zionists would probably argue that that’s because Armenians have their own state. Mind you, so do Jews, and yet apparently that’s still not enough.

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        April 11, 2014, 4:22 pm

        I think it might be linked to intermarriage.I don’t think the Armenians have the same hangups about who qualifies as Armenian .
        Zionist Jews have an incredible fragility – Israel is not enough.

        Edward Said said in 1991 that Israelis would never have the psychological security they crave.

      • Walid
        Walid
        April 11, 2014, 4:55 pm

        seafoid, they don’t honestly crave it because if they’d actually attain it, their doom and gloom narrative with a serving of Holocaust guilt that has helped them get away with murder and theft wouldn’t fly.

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        April 11, 2014, 5:33 pm

        Walid

        They are paranoid , at least the ones I know.
        That IDF militarism has really done mental damage.

        I think they are afraid of the tables being turned and the Arabs visiting their cruelty on them. They are afraid of the IDF losing.

        http://todayspictures.slate.com/20070326/images/NYC53267.jpg
        http://mediastore2.magnumphotos.com/CoreXDoc/MAG/Media/TR7/8/a/c/2/PAR103805.jpg
        http://www.magnumphotos.com/C.aspx?VP3=SearchResult&ALID=2K1HRGWQXB51

        Some bot will pop up now and say the IDF will never lose

        WTF

      • Walid
        Walid
        April 11, 2014, 5:49 pm

        “I think they are afraid of the tables being turned and the Arabs visiting their cruelty on them. They are afraid of the IDF losing.

        seafoid; living inside all those high concrete walls and electrified fences is surely not helping their state of mind. They must feel as the elephants at the zoo; they can sleep where they want to but it has to be inside the walled area. I wonder what they feel when they travel on the outside. they must be constantly looking over their shoulder.

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        April 11, 2014, 6:06 pm

        Walid

        all that gratuitous airport security reinforces the shtetl feel of Israel

      • Walid
        Walid
        April 11, 2014, 6:26 pm

        “all that gratuitous airport security reinforces the shtetl feel of Israel”

        seafoid, if it would be for Israel only, it could pass, but it’s being gradually and surreptitiously imposed on the rest of the world. Most US and Canadian international airports are now complying with their guidelines if not under their direct security management since 5 or 6 years and by now surely also some European ones that have subcontracted their security to them. Must the whole world adapt to allow Israelis to maintain that feel wherever they go?

  16. Abdul-Rahman
    Abdul-Rahman
    April 11, 2014, 12:45 am

    I’m a little surprised more hasn’t been made of the fact that Schama’s “background” seems to be more in the world of art and various facets of modern European history (along with art history as well).

    This was actually one of the principal “angles” of attack that was made against the work of Shlomo Sand. That is that Professor Sand is a specialist in modern history (specifically nationalism). Of course the zios who made these silly attempts at attack, were apparently unaware that Sand’s work was clearly (and specifically) a critique of the modern Zionist movement and the historiography it developed. As Sand said in this interview from this site itself; http://mondoweiss.net/2012/12/shlomo-sand-on-zionism-post-zionism-and-the-two-state-solution.html “The first book is not about Jewish religion and history. The book was and is about the Zionist historiography that deals with Jewish history.”

    It should also be noted there that Sand noted his work was also a general critiquing on the teaching of “history” (or as some joke generally, his-story) in the general Israeli milieu.

    But we don’t have to even go this angle on Schama’s work. His pathetic “lobbying” for Zionist oppression is transparent, empty, and disgusting. Not that I expected anything else from a self-proclaimed Zionist like Schama; who also has been criticized for writing an “economic history” of the Dutch Republic that very noticeably left out any actual mention of slavery or colonialism.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      Maximus Decimus Meridius
      April 11, 2014, 10:00 am

      That’s a good point. TBH, I think at this stage Schama is more of a ‘celebrity historian’ like Niall Ferguson or Michael Wood than a serious academic writer. So his specialisation doesn’t really matter – he’s just a well-known face who can ‘sell’ assorted popular histories to mostly undiscerning TV viewers and readers. Who knows if he even researches his own stuff these days (Ferguson certainly doesn’t)?

      As I said above, my main beef with this is that the series was shown on the taxpayer funded BBC. As a some time UK taxpayer, it irks me that my tax money is being used to fund soft – and not so soft – propaganda for Israel.

  17. lyn117
    lyn117
    April 11, 2014, 1:53 am

    And here is a rather long quote from the “PBS Editorial Standards and Policies”. Seems like the episode rather violated PBS standards. We should write the ombudsman.

    A. Fairness

    Fairness to the audience implies several responsibilities. Producers must neither oversimplify complex situations nor camouflage straightforward facts. PBS may reject a program or other content if PBS believes that it contains any unfair or misleading presentation of facts, including inaccurate statements of material fact, undocumented statements of fact that appear questionable on their face, misleading juxtapositions, misrepresentations, or distortions. To avoid misleading the public, producers also should adhere to the principles of transparency and honesty by providing appropriate labels, disclaimers, updates, or other information so that the public plainly understands what it is seeing. For example, content that includes commentary, points of view, or opinion should be appropriately identified, as should all sources of funding. Transparency also suggests producers maximize attribution of information and limit the use of anonymous sourcing to those cases when there is no alternative and the information is essential. Content that contains adult themes or other sensitive material should contain an appropriate disclosure. Producers should treat the people who are the subjects of, who appear in, or who are referenced in the content they produce with fairness and respect. PBS will reject content if, in PBS’s judgment, it unfairly treats the people or misrepresents their views. Fair treatment of individuals generally requires that a producer represent the words and actions of the people portrayed or identified in a way that presents their strongest case, and gives individuals or organizations that are the subject of attack or criticism an opportunity to respond. Fairness also requires that a producer be willing to consider all relevant information and points of view.

  18. Mondowise
    Mondowise
    April 11, 2014, 1:59 am

    “The fifth and last program begins with a discussion of the origins of Zionism, and makes the case that the history of the persecution of the Jews justified the creation of the state of Israel, an argument I agree with…”

    too many problems with this to list or explain them all, some already mentioned in comments. here’s just a couple more:

    if every group of persecuted people created their own state, we’d be a world of islands, disconnected and isolated from each other (e.g., women would have their own state.) this would not foster peace, nor would it teach humanity to embrace diversity or coexistence.

    there is no justification for the persecution of anyone, so cannot justify creation of a state due to persecution by persecuting another.

  19. Sibiriak
    Sibiriak
    April 11, 2014, 2:02 am

    the program shows a long except from David Ben-Gurion’s speech of May 14, in which he announced that “the Jews have come home from their exile.”

    The notion of a grand “exile of the Jewish People” is mythological, not historical.

    See:

    Israel Jacob Yuval, “The Myth of the Jewish Exile from the Land of Israel”

    http://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&type=summary&url=/journals/ckn/v012/12.1yuval.html

    (https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B-5-JeCa2Z7hV2szWm1VYmVlckE/edit?pli=1)

    http://consortiumnews.com/2014/01/02/israeli-scholar-disputes-founding-myth-3/

    Israel Bartal, dean of humanities at the Hebrew University:

    “Although the myth of an exile from the Jewish homeland (Palestine) does exist in popular Israeli culture, it is negligible in serious Jewish historical discussions…

  20. Pixel
    Pixel
    April 11, 2014, 6:43 am

    I saw this on the PBS website but didn’t watch. That it was airing seemed not to be a coincidence. Everywhere you look, these days, there seems to be more and more attempts at creating positive press.

    Funny thing is, it may backfire. The more this kind of thing is pushed in people’s faces, the smaller the jump will be in their finally making the connections. Once the facts are out there, The Lie becomes much clearer to see, especially if you got a recent dose of it.

  21. Pixel
    Pixel
    April 11, 2014, 9:33 am

    The Story of the Jews is being aired nationally from WNAT in New Jersey

    Their telephone number is 212-560-1313, Press “0” to leave a comment with a live person and/or suggest additional programming — perhaps a historically-accurate, unbiased version of “The Story of the Palestinians”?

    Do comments to PBS stations make a difference? Yes, if there are enough of them.

  22. russgreen
    russgreen
    April 11, 2014, 10:02 am

    Thanks for writing about Schama’s biased documentary. Schama summed up his bias when he said during the program. “I am a Zionist. How could you not be?”

    Even worse, on my public television station in Kentucky, right after one of the episodes of “The Story of the Jews,” they aired a travel documentary called something like, “Israel, the Royal Tour.” This turned out to be a 60-minute campaign commercial for Benyamin Netanyahu, who was the star of the show. It was stomach-turning. I was appalled that public television would air what was essentially a political advertisement disguised as a travel documentary. I wonder if they got paid to run that. I fear public television is going down the same sad path that public radio went down several years ago: selling out to commercialism, and giving up on public media’s former commitment to unbiased reporting.

    • seafoid
      seafoid
      April 11, 2014, 5:34 pm

      “I am a Zionist. How could you not be?”

      Common decency

      • dmm
        dmm
        April 13, 2014, 3:33 am

        Common is definitely the word for you. But the attribute is ignorance.

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        April 13, 2014, 10:00 pm

        Common is definitely the word for you.

        Decency is definitely an attribute beyond your comprehension.

    • Kathleen
      Kathleen
      April 12, 2014, 6:12 am

      You can be sure that the Public Relations firms hired to help rebrand Israel and cultivate a new surge in support for Israel have huge influence on the BBC, NPR (Diane Rehm had Schama on about this new documentary) etc.

      • talknic
        talknic
        April 12, 2014, 7:28 am

        @ Kathleen … You can be sure that the Public Relations firms hired to help rebrand Israel and cultivate a new surge in support for Israel have huge budgets

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        April 12, 2014, 12:25 pm

        @ Kathleen
        The BBC has some out pretending Kerry did not tell Congress Israel was responsible for the deteriorating peace talks; BBC has now said Kerry’s poof speech meant equal blame on both parties even though he clearly said Israel is to blame for such.

  23. oldgeezer
    oldgeezer
    April 11, 2014, 9:35 pm

    I only managed to 3 of the 5 parts. Like others I thought the entire thing was a bit one sided. I expected that and sometimes you only see what you expect to see. Even the tone of the narration was intended to convey a gentle peaceful nature.

    I did find one part rather out of synch with that. I’m not sure which part it was as they’re been erased off the dvr and I didn’t have all of them to begin with.

    He is interviewing a settler (40’s perhaps) and asks him what territory he wants to see as part of Israel. It takes a couple of digs. The settler tries to avoid the question. Finally he answers with a grin well the Kingdom of David would be nice but it’s not that likely now… The grin is more malevolent than light hearted. The camera then focuses on the settler’s gun.

    Whether Schama intended this, or perhaps some production staff. Perhaps it slipped through. Regardless it speaks volumes.

  24. seanmcbride
    seanmcbride
    April 12, 2014, 11:24 am

    lobewyper,

    Ethnocentrism (which I think you are describing) is, as you argue, probably more primal than religion — although they are sometimes fused in ideological systems and cultures.

    All of us naturally and understandably feel ethnocentric pride and loyalties to one degree or another, whether we are Jewish, Irish, Italian, Chinese, Turkish or whatever — the question is, to what degree. Some people from all ethnic traditions become fanatical on the subject. Most of us try to overcome a strictly ethnocentric way of looking at the world because militant ethnocentrism usually leads to bad outcomes and because it is too constraining.

    Jewish ethnocentrism, both religious and secular, is obviously a major contemporary issue — it is impossible to ignore in the aggressive and self-absorbed rhetoric of Jewish pro-Israel activists. And it is probably going to lead to a bad outcome.

    • lobewyper
      lobewyper
      April 13, 2014, 9:57 pm

      Sean, I generally agree with your views. Yes, militant pro-Israel activists are a definite problem. What I find interesting is the ever-rightward movement of Israelis generally. The predisposition to this movement is to be found, in my opinion, in the Jewish indoctrination that one is different from non-Jews, should in certain matters remain separate from them (e. g., discouragement of intermarriage). and of the widespread perception among Jews that they are often being threatened and victimized (even by Palestinians). I don’t know if the latter tendency is common among the highly ethnocentric or not. I would think it would be possible to be ethnocentric (e.g., “Irish and proud”) without seeing oneself as particularly subject to victimization. I also agree that ethnocentrism is a natural human tendency (to which IMO we all are genetically predisposed).

  25. tommy
    tommy
    April 12, 2014, 11:27 am

    Creating the state of Israel in Palestine was a horrible decision made by the victors of WW II, who victimized another population to succor one of the victims of the war. Since that decision was made lawful by the UN, the borders established by the Mandate should be upheld by the rule of law, and Israel’s expansion denied.

    My critique of Schama would be from the one episode I saw where he venerated the Jews over the Greeks because of their ‘word.’ Ridiculous. Greek writings are more important to the advancement of mankind, and Western culture in particular.

  26. NickJOCW
    NickJOCW
    April 12, 2014, 3:11 pm

    Simon Schama has never impressed me as an historian. He is an history populist, distinguished from a true historian by being one who starts with a concept and scissors and pastes selected bits of evidence to fill it in. He is very successful and provides a good read which is his purpose, but it is not history. This is is not the place for a dissertation on what makes an historian, suffice it to suggest it is closer to what makes a good detective, someone who eschews the obvious, nags at assumptions and coaxes alternative interpretations from the evidence by exercising an ingenuity closer to the methods Poe gives Dupon in The Murders in the Rue Morgue. Schama wrote a best selling account of The French Revolution without, as he later confessed, ever having come upon the Journal d’une femme de 50 ans, readily available in English as The Memoirs of Madame de la Tour du Pin. This did not in any way affect the success of his undertaking but perhaps it illustrates the methods with which he contents himself. His work is closer to faction or the historical novel than History and needs to be viewed that way.

  27. Citizen
    Citizen
    April 13, 2014, 9:51 am

    Well, Floridians who actually tune in to PBS are getting their 5 hours fill of Isn’t Being Jewish Wonderful?

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