The High Stakes in the History Wars in Israel

14 Dec

Michael Oren, the noted historian and once Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, noted that “great wars in history eventually become great wars about history,” and Israel is perhaps the classic case in point.

Historian Daniel Gordis astutely reflects on the challenges of writing a history of the modern state of Israel. Read his cogent piece here: History News Network | The High Stakes in the History Wars in Israel

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3 Responses to “The High Stakes in the History Wars in Israel”

  1. jhubers December 14, 2016 at 10:31 am #

    I applaud his effort even while noting that what is so often the case with Israeli historians or commentators in general, which is how the Palestinians don’t figure into his thinking much at all. The critical players are the Israelis, it is their story he wants to be sure is heard, while the Palestinians voices remain muted or fade into the background. We need to be attune to Israeli sensibilities – how it will play to this audience – which means that little is done to allow the Palestinians a voice in determining how this narrative should be read. And Americans have been so sensitized to the Israeli narrative that few can even identify the key Palestinian players in this story. And when they are mentioned, it is more as the initiators of the conflict, rather than the victims.

    Morris remains my go-to source for this conflict. His “Righteous Victims” does what few other histories have done – makes an attempt to tell the story based on both sides. The fact that both Palestinians and Israelis are critical of his attempt suggests to me that he is much closer to the truth than other historians have been .

  2. jhubers December 14, 2016 at 10:32 am #

    Poor wording here – better: . . . even while noting that he falls into the pattern that is so often the case with Israeli historians . . .

  3. jhubers December 14, 2016 at 10:36 am #

    One more comment here which shows the author’s bias: ” . . a nation reborn.” This ignores the fact that there hadn’t been a Jewish state for over 1,000 years, and that the state that was created had little in common with that previous theocracy. The Palestinians, rightfully I believe, consider the Israeli state to be the last breath of western colonialism at a time when the colonial project was being abandoned in all other parts of the world. This is also a misreading of the situation given the persecution of Jews, but in terms of how it played out to the Arabs who were also seeking an independent state post WW I, it is hard to read it any other way.

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