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Orchestrated Panic

Yitzhak Laor: The Never-Ending War, 1 November 2007

1967: Israel, the War and the Year That Transformed the Middle East 
by Tom Segev, translated by Jessica Cohen.
Little, Brown, 673 pp., £25, May 2007, 978 0 316 72478 4
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... In his excellent book, which reads like a Bildungsroman of a generation that lost its soul, Tom Segev accurately depicts Israel’s 1967 politicians and generals as irrational, aggressive and hungry for power. His research took in an immense quantity of minutes from contemporary meetings and even he seems disappointed at what he discovered. There ...

Balfour, Weizmann and the Creation of Israel

Charles Glass: Palestine, 7 June 2001

One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs under the British Mandate 
by Tom Segev, translated by Haim Watzman.
Little, Brown, 612 pp., £25, January 2001, 0 316 64859 0
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Ploughing Sand: British Rule in Palestine 1917-48 
by Naomi Shepherd.
Murray, 290 pp., £12.99, September 2000, 0 7195 6322 4
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... when Ernest Bevin was Foreign Secretary and Zionist forces were attacking the British. However, Tom Segev points out that the British Army, as it withdrew from Palestine a year later, was careful to hand over its main military bases to the Zionist forces even as it attempted to protect Jaffa’s Arabs from eviction. For Israel’s new historians, among ...

At the Allenby Bridge

Jeremy Harding: Crossing the Jordan, 25 June 2009

... Operation Refugee allowed for an intake of 20,000; in the event only 14,000 got in. ‘And so,’ Tom Segev writes in 1967, his extraordinary study of the Six-Day War, ‘Israel missed the great opportunity offered by the victory’ to heal ‘the malignant wound … left by the War of Independence’: in less than two decades, ‘the 600,000 Jews living ...

‘It was necessary to uproot them’

Charles Glass: Post-Zionist historiography, 24 June 2004

A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples 
by Ilan Pappe.
Cambridge, 333 pp., £15.99, January 2004, 0 521 55632 5
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The Gun and the Olive Branch 
by David Hirst.
Faber, 624 pp., £16.99, August 2003, 0 571 21945 4
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The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited 
by Benny Morris.
Cambridge, 664 pp., £70, January 2004, 0 521 81120 1
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... the revisionist right. It is not as simple as that. ‘A few days after the capture of Jaffa,’ Tom Segev writes in 1949: The First Israelis (1985), Giora Yoseftal, Chief of the Jewish Agency’s Department of Immigrant Absorption, went to see how many new immigrants could be settled in the town. Many of the streets were empty when he arrived, the ...

We Are Conquerors

Adam Shatz: Ben-Gurion’s Obsession, 24 October 2019

A State at Any Cost: The Life of David Ben-Gurion 
by Tom Segev.
Head of Zeus, 804 pp., £30, August 2019, 978 1 78954 462 6
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... as he was to the needs of those around him, however, he had a rare ability to lead; to convey, in Tom Segev’s words, ‘a feeling that he knows what needs to be done … People believed in him because he believed in himself.’ He was a man of action, all of it directed at a single goal: building the Jewish state in Palestine. If this meant ...

Cleansing the Galilee

David Gilmour, 23 June 1988

The Birth of Israel: Myths and Realities 
by Simha Flapan.
Croom Helm, 277 pp., £25, October 1987, 0 7099 4911 1
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Collusion across the Jordan: King Abdullah, the Zionist Movement and the Partition of Palestine 
by Avi Shlaim.
Oxford, 676 pp., £35, May 1988, 0 19 827831 4
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The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-1949 
by Benny Morris.
Cambridge, 380 pp., £30, March 1988, 0 521 33028 9
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... Middle East History at the Hebrew University, and several younger historians such as Avi Shlaim, Tom Segev and Benny Morris. A handful of older men have also encouraged the re-examination of Israel’s past, including the late Simha Flapan, a pioneer of the state’s early days, and Dr Israel Shahak, president of the Israeli League for Civil and Human ...

Indecision as Strategy

Adam Shatz: After the Six Day War, 11 October 2012

The Bride and the Dowry: Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians in the Aftermath of the June 1967 War 
by Avi Raz.
Yale, 288 pp., £25, July 2012, 978 0 300 17194 5
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... now 45-year-old occupation. The story of Israeli policy in the late 1960s has been told before, by Tom Segev and Gershom Gorenberg among others. But no one has provided as thorough – or as damning – an account as Avi Raz, a former reporter for Ma’ariv who has read every pertinent document in every available archive, in Hebrew, Arabic and ...

Feeling Good about Feeling Bad

Nathan Thrall: Liberal Zionism, 9 October 2014

My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel 
by Ari Shavit.
Scribe, 447 pp., £20, February 2014, 978 1 922247 54 4
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... decades by the Israeli revisionists known as the New Historians – Benny Morris, Avi Shlaim and Tom Segev, for example – although he congratulates himself rather too many times for having dared ‘touch the fire’. But he doesn’t merely describe what happened in 1948: he attempts to justify it, and his book is in large part a moral defence of ...

Is Palestine Next?

Adam Shatz: The No-State Solution, 14 July 2011

... Eastern theocracy, or sliding into a Balkans-style civil war between Jews and Arabs. The historian Tom Segev told me that Israelis today remind him of ‘the Japanese who lived under the nuclear reactor. Israelis know the explosion will come, but they don’t know how to stop it.’ Palestinians may be frustrated, but they’re not gloomy about their ...

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