Controversial history prof alleges Israeli ethnic cleansing

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      A controversial Israeli historian—who claims that the Jewish founders of Israel perpetrated ethnic cleansing on Palestinians living in the Jewish state—will speak at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch as part of a cross-country tour. Ilan Pappe, who teaches history at the University of Exeter in England, told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview from Montreal that he hopes to rouse public opinion to persuade the Canadian government to “exert pressure” on Israel “to end the occupation as a first step towards a lasting peace in Israel and Palestine”.

      Pappe will discuss his 2006 book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (Oneworld) at 7 p.m. on Saturday (March 29). The book cites historical documents to state that 11 veteran Zionist leaders completed a plan in March 1948 for the “ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians from the new Jewish state, which was to attain independence two months later.

      “Once the decision was taken, it took six months to complete the mission,” Pappe writes in his book. “When it was over, more than half of Palestine’s native population, close to 800,000 people, had been uprooted, 531 villages had been destroyed, and eleven urban neighbourhoods emptied of their inhabitants. The plan decided upon on 10 March 1948, and above all its systematic implementation in the following months, was a clear-cut case of an ethnic cleansing operation, regarded under international law today as a crime against humanity.”

      Pappe told the Straight that he didn’t choose the term ethnic cleansing lightly, claiming that he studied it from legal and moral perspectives. “It’s very clear to me that the case of the expulsion of the Palestinians in 1948 is a classical example of ethnic cleansing,” he said. “I’m not just using it as an adjective to create sensation.”

      Moreover, Pappe claimed that there has been “creeping ethnic cleansing taking place in the last eight years in the Greater Jerusalem area and alongside the apartheid wall” that is being built to shield Israel from Palestinian attacks. “I’m also worried that if the Israelis feel that the Palestinian minority within Israel threatens their democratic majority, they would not hesitate to exercise ethnic cleansing in this case as well,” Pappe alleged.

      Vancouver resident Stephen Aberle, a member of the working group of Jews for a Just Peace, told the Straight in a phone interview that it is “essential” to read Pappe’s work to have an informed discussion about what is happening now in Israel and Palestine. Aberle, whose group, along with two Canadian Palestinian-support organizations, is sponsoring Pappe’s local talk, said that The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine had a “profound impact” on him.

      “The material that he has so meticulously researched is just crucial,” Aberle said. “I don’t see many ways to argue against the conclusions.”

      However, Paul Michaels, a spokesperson for the Canada-Israel Committee, told the Straight in a phone interview from Toronto that Pappe presents “an extremely one-sided view of history”, describing him as a “Marxist” and a “very marginal figure in Israel”.

      “He believes that history should be used in the service of political or ideological narrative,” Michaels claimed, citing a critique of Pappe’s work in The New Republic by Israeli historian Benny Morris. “And he sees Israel almost uniformly as negative and the Palestinians uniformly as helpless victims.”

      Michaels said that the CIC “strongly supports a two-state solution” with Israel and Palestine peacefully coexisting side-by-side. He claimed that Pappe, on the other hand, prefers a “binational solution”, in which Palestinians and Israeli Jews would live together in one larger nation. “He believes that Israel should disappear,” Michaels charged.

      Pappe, who speaks Arabic and relies on Palestinian sources as well as Israeli historical documents, told the Straight that he has a vision of a “democratic binational state instead of the racist state that Israel is today”. He said he is not opposed to the existence of Israel, and insisted that Zionism can be compatible with providing equal rights to anyone who is not Jewish.

      “I’m an Israeli Jew,” Pappe said. “I don’t deny it. I want very much to continue to live in my country, but I want to live in a democratic country. And I do it [his work] for the sake of both the Palestinians and the Jews.”



      Mat Loup

      May 26, 2008 at 9:52am

      <em>Submitted by e-mail </em>

      Gaza and Human Rights:

      Only a couple of weeks ago Israel remembered over 23,000 young men and women soldiers who fell in the defense of Israel so that Israel could survive as a free and democratic Nation. This year Israel is celebrating its 60th year of existence.

      Despite the fact that Israel has had to fight for its daily survival in wars, and terrorist attacks, and over the past eight years the southern villages has had daily barrages of missiles attacks, it is Israel who is the most humane nation in the Middle East.

      Israel is, and has been sending convoys of food, fuel and medicine to Gaza, in spite of the fact that Hamas and other groups attack these same convoys. And Israeli lives have been lost to keep these convoys rolling. And only last week terrorist of Gaza blew up a truck of explosives at a checkpoint from which these supplies are sent.

      Israeli Hospitals give full medical service to all minorities including those coming from Arab countries, as well as from Gaza and the West Bank. On the medical staff there are many doctors and nurses who are Christians and Moslems.

      At the Israeli Universities, all religions are represented, both as students and staff.

      Within the Israeli Knesset (parliament) there are many Arabs--even some who are outspoken in their anti Israel beliefs.

      Do you know that there are minority groups serving in the Israel Armed forces, such as Druize, Beduins, and Christian--many of whom are officers? Do you know that these same minorities serve in the diplomatic corp.?

      Much can be improved with respect to the Human Rights of Israeli Citizens, Jews and minority groups alike.

      With respect to Gaza, the citizens voted Hamas into power. What has Hamas done for its poor, and its refugees? Have they raised their standard of Living? Obviously not.

      With all the worldwide charity they have been receiving....what is being done? They have purchased and amassed arms to launch an ongoing attack on Israel. They have instilled fear and terror and poverty and amongst their own brethren.

      Do you know that in the schools in Gaza children are indoctrinated with hatred not only against Israel but against all non Moslem Infidels, which Include the USA and Canada? Do you know that In Gaza the physical education programs are militaristic, reminding one of the Nazi Hitler Youth prior to the outbreak of the Second World War?

      If you complain about the many roadblocks and inspections remember why these are put up--to stop those attempting to carry out terrorist activities.

      Do you know that terrorists use ambulances not only to transport weapons and explosives, but terrorists as well?

      So those persons who are really concerned for the well being and human rights, and justice should be campaigning against Hamas and other terrorist groups.

      In contrast Israel, despite being constantly attacked since its Declaration of Independence, can be proud of its achievements in the fields of medicine, engineering, high-tech education, and social welfare, and agriculture, settlement, land reclamation, and water programs and in making the desert bloom.

      Furthermore, their accomplishments in these fields are spread throughout the world including USA and Canada. So it just may be that you are using medicines, and other life saving products developed in Israel. When you go for a medical checkup you should be aware that many of the instruments, and techniques were developed in Israel.

      If you use a cellular phone, some of its integral parts were developed in Israel. If you fly, the fact that you get to your destination is due to the fact that many of the computerized systems in the aircraft, as well as that of safety and security, are based on Israeli inventions, (&quot;necessity in Israel is the mother of invention&quot;). If you use a computer or cellular phone remember that much of its hardware was developed in Israel.

      I also want to praise their Rescue Service, which quickly airlifts medical and trained rescue teams to disaster areas all over the world....including Moslem countries...most recently to the Chinese earthquake disaster.

      Visit Israel and see for yourself...

      Keep well.
      Keep smiling.

      <em>Joseph Zeev (Zabensky)
      (born in Winnipeg, Canada; raised and educated in Vancouver; active volunteer in the community programs; profession: engineer, and educator; proud grandfather of 5; now living in Modiin, Israel.)</em>


      Aug 3, 2010 at 10:40pm

      Yea you are right for the protection of Israelis we should kill arabs, take over their land, build a wall to enclose them, restrict them from water electricity and food,and Restrict them from any human rights.