Michael Lerner <rabbilerner@tikkun.org>

8/19/14

to me, Mark, letters

8-19

Dear Larry Hart,
We intend to put your piece on the Tikkun Daily blog, but only after you change the form from “You…[said x, y or z” to the form of “Levine and Hochberg assert that ……”  and then return to me ASAP.
Dear Mark,
       As is customary in Tikkun, when an article gets critiqued, the authors get a chance to respond to the critique. I’d like to print your response; along with Hart’s critique, because doing so makes the issues much more intelligible to our readers. So please hurry to respond. And it gives you another opportunity to explain what is wrong with the mainstream narrative.
       Thanks,
        Michael
On Tue, Aug 19, 2014 at 10:02 AM, Larry Hart <lhart916@gmail.com> wrote:

To: Webmaster

From:
Larry Hart
lhart916@gmail.com

Message:
Editor,
I had read their response to Jon Voight’s letter on the Worldpost.com.
Imagine my surprised when I found out here that this was an abridged
version from what they actually wrote.

Before I came to your site I wrote a response to their response and
submitted it to Huffington post, the sister site for Worldpost. My
original content was too long so I shortened it to 2500 words arguing
only the history of the 1948 war and left the rest for another time.

Since you reprinted the article here whether abridged or in its
entirety I would like to argue against, at least what the two
professors had asserted about that first war.

It’s not normally tikkun material but I have over the years been
incensed by New Historian themes and their rejection of the Jewish
side of the story. Their selective view of the history to promote
their agenda leaves out important material to give a rounded view of
the whole picture. As Historians that is what we all strive for. I
believe the New Historians are detrimental to the discipline of
history and puts us all at a disadvantage to understand this
complicated part of the world in its entirety.

So, in the interest of full disclosure and free speech I urge you to
at least print another view.

The following is what I have written and probably will submit again
until it reaches the readership that the two professors have reached
with their view.

Levine and Hochburg are classic examples of the “Socialism of fools”
gang. Don’t let this go unanswered.

Larry Hart

Los Angeles

Larry Hart <lhart916@gmail.com>

8/23/14

to Michael
Rabbi, you and Levine and Hochburg can refer to my filling in New Historian history as “maintstream narrative” but, it just won’t change what happened. And, as long as people like me are out here who care about this history, and make the effort to tell it in its entirety,  Left wing revisions will never be accepted as absolute by anyone who is interested in as close to the truth as they can get.  

Michael Lerner <rabbilerner@tikkun.org>

8/23/14

to me
Levine has already responded to the piece you sent and I haven’t had a chance to edit either piece yet. I’m not going to be adding more on to this discussion, because you simply seem incapable of grasping the fundamental reality that Israel refused to let 800,000 refugees return to Israel in 1949, despite international law requiring countries to allow the return of civilians fleeing their home in time of war, and that since 1955 Israel has been in alliance with the major colonial and imperial powers and been protected by them and has acted in ways that have continued to expand its boundaries (which it refuses to define) at the expense of the Palestinian people and their land. As a result, your repeating the historically discredited versions of the Zionist narrative are of little interest because they don’t even begin to come to grips with the actual history, but instead live in a fairy tale that enough people have heard over and over again that we don’t have to repeat for them. If you actually bothered to study the works of the Israeli historians and could refute them, that would be of interest, but that is not what you are doing or appear competent to do, so please don’t expect us to be doing more than publishing in Tikkun Daily blog your original submission, plus a response from LeVine.

Michael Lerner <rabbilerner@tikkun.org>

8/26/14

to me, Mark
I’ve finally given up on making sense of this exchange. Larry you sent one piece, then another, then another. Mark you responded to one or another, but I’m not sure which. The only way i can deal with this now is this: Larry, send the final version of your piece to me and to Mark. Mark, please see if whatever you wrote in response to Larry needs any changes based on the version he is sending to you. Then resend whatever you now want to ahve as the printed response to Larry and send that to me as well. Larry, you will not have the opportunity to respond to LeVine again–we allow a critique of articles from Tikkun, and the author to respond to those critiques, but we don’t let that go on and on and on.

Mark LeVine <mlevine@uci.edu>

8/26/14

to Michael, me
i’m sorry, larry, who are you? what are your credentials to be arguing what palestine was in the late 19th century? what languages do you speak? which archives have you visited? what archaeological sites are you familiar with? how many records of the islamic courts in various localities have you read? which consular reports? how many documents from various jewish/zionist bodies have you gone through?

before i take the time to engage this, please resend with full citations for all your arguments–not to someone else’s writings you are not qualified to judge (unless you are a credentialed scholar, which you have not indicated you are), but with primary sources beyond some pronouncements by arab leaders who lied to their people every day of the week for decades.  otherwise, i don’t understand why we are having this discussion to be honest.  the fact that you take a cable from azzam pasha as the gospel truth about what happened in 48 is, to be honest, ludicrous. you want to know what happened in 1948 during the war, read shlaim and rogan, whose volume is replete with the best scholarship by leading scholars using archival materials, or better yet, read nasser’s biography, as he was radicalized in part by the utter gap between the bull shit rhetoric of egypt’s leaders and the realities of poorly equipped, undermanned egyptian forces. or read the hagana intelligence files, or read the ISA files on the war, all of which i have done. precisely what archives have you visited and used to make your arguments?
b’shalom

Larry Hart <lhart916@gmail.com>

8/27/14
to Mark, Michael

i’m sorry, larry, who are you? what are your credentials to be arguing what palestine was in the late 19th century?  what languages do you speak? which archives have you visited? what archaeological sites are you familiar with? how many records of the islamic courts in various localities have you read? which consular reports? how many documents from various jewish/zionist bodies have you gone through?

 

I’m not presenting at a conference for publication. I am answering a highly politicized view of Israeli history. And, I want to be sure that people see both sides here. Or, more to the point, a more complete picture of what happened. So, don’t hide behind any scholarly level you think you have over me, just prove I’m wrong and you’re right in your interpretation of the facts.

 

before i take the time to engage this, please resend with full citations for all your arguments–not to someone else’s writings you are not qualified to judge (unless you are a credentialed scholar, which you have not indicated you are), but with primary sources beyond some pronouncements by arab leaders who lied to their people every day of the week for decades. Yes, they did. Good, we agree on something.   otherwise, i don’t understand why we are having this discussion to be honest. You think you are better than me because you have a PhD and I don’t? You really just need to read what I wrote and comment on it.  the fact that you take a cable from azzam pasha as the gospel truth about what happened in 48 is, to be honest, ludicrous. I take nothing as “gospel truth.”  If you read before and after those statements, what I’m doing is presenting examples of the atmosphere in May of 1948, nothing more. Can you show that the Arab States did not intend on destroying the Jewish State as it came into existence? you want to know what happened in 1948 during the war, read shlaim and rogan, whose volume is replete with the best scholarship by leading scholars using archival materials,

 

I read most of the New Historian works, including Schlaim and Rogan,  and I don’t deny their validity . Read my piece I talk about that.

 

or better yet, read nasser’s biography, that I haven’t read. Is it in English? But, I have read John Bagot Glubb’s biography. He was very clear on what his objectives were. He understood his limitations and his Legion’s abilities in this conflict. He was not undermanned or untrained. During May and June of 1948 it was the best fighting force in the Middle East.  as he was radicalized in part by the utter gap between the bull shit rhetoric of egypt’s leaders and the realities of poorly equipped, undermanned egyptian forces. or read the hagana intelligence files, or read the ISA files on the war, all of which i have done. precisely what archives have you visited and used to make your arguments?

 

 Read my piece then ask those questions pertaining to what I wrote. It’s all in there.

 

Like Michael Lerner you also wrote and began making accusations and questioning what was in my email without reading it first. In Lerner’s case he even resorted to ad hominem attacks. Are you guys just so not used to having a credible opposing response to your view on Israeli history that you just write it off before you even read it? Please read the entire retort, then comment.

thank you for sending the final version larry, i’m still not sure which is which because there are older parts. It was sent in the same chronological order you wrote to Jon Voight. I can’t make it any planer than that. plese send clean and fully referenced. i see upon second look that you indeed have some references. you are flat out wrong about pre world war 1 palestine, You mean that Palestine was in a state of modernization when the first Zionists settled there? Fine, show me where that is wrong. however. i suggest you check your sources. i have not had time to go through everything else but will try to do so where you provide sources.

Lh

 

 

 

Larry Hart <lhart916@gmail.com>

8/27/14
to Michael

I was shocked by your stream of conscious  criticism of my work against Levine and Hochburg. I thought your magazine stood for free speech, full disclosure and transparency. That you would  shy away from debate and use such shotty excuses to justify it was very surprising. The inclusion of refugees which was never mentioned and the ad hominem attacks, were stunning.  I would have expected more from you, Rabbi. well, ok then, its your magazine. In a way I am relieved. I have taken on so many of these debates in my time I really wasn’t looking forward to it. But, in the interest of the innocent who sit on the fence and wants to understand both sides I would agree to do it. Anyway, I have answered your charges below. They are really for my own clarification of what I had done with Levine and Hochburg.  Read them or don’t read them, respond or don’t respond or just delete right now. I don’t really care.

Levine has already responded to the piece you sent and I haven’t had a chance to edit either piece yet. I’m not going to be adding more on to this discussion, because you simply seem incapable of grasping the fundamental reality that Israel refused to let 800,000 refugees return to Israel in 1949, despite international law requiring countries to allow the return of civilians fleeing their home in time of war

I grasp it fine. This is obviously a reach on your part since I never mentioned the refugees in my rebuttal to Levine and Hochburg. I find it amusing and somewhat beneath someone of your stature to bring something into the argument which was not part of the debate, unless you didn’t really read my piece. Maybe you just looked at the first few lines of criticism and just formulated my Neandrathal and uninformed view of history. And, if you didn’t read it and  we have never spoken before, at least I don’t think we have, how do you know what my position is on the refugees?

, and that since 1955 Israel has been in alliance with the major colonial and imperial powers and been protected by them

You mean like the U.S or France? Yes Israel aligned itself with those countries that agree with its governing philosophy. You are aware that 1955 is the exact year when the first of Soviet intrusions into the Middle East set the Arabs on a course for war against the Jewish State by providing arms and super power backing. I don’t understand why you think Israel should be condemned for forming those same alliances in its own defense with western style democracies. Do you think it doesn’t have the right to match what its enemies are doing? Do you think it’s unfair somehow? Ask yourself this question. Does a sovereign state have the right to defend itself against aggression? If you think that was wrong I would be interested in knowing how you think Israel should have reacted in the 1950s and 60s to the build up of Soviet arms and influence into Egypt and Syria.

 

and has acted in ways that have continued to expand its boundaries (which it refuses to define) at the expense of the Palestinian people and their land.

Like Levine you’re not being totally honest with that statement. Israel’s southern borders are indeed defined, It has a treaty with Egypt and Jordan describing where those countries border ends and Israel’s begins. When and if we can ever bring the others to comply with Res 242 and 338 that will be resolved as well. But, I think you know that.

As a result, your repeating the historically discredited versions of the Zionist narrative are of little interest because they don’t even begin to come to grips with the actual history,

First, discredited by who, the international Marxist Left  and Islam? Who else other than these two groups will discredit the history in its entirety? I didn’t discount most of the assertions of Levine and Hochburg. I only added to them which, admittedly, provides a more rounded view of the entire story, one which they and you apparently don’t want to see.  Sorry, but this is how we get at historical truth. You and your left wing associates must understand that selective politicized history like that of the new historians on Israel will not stand the test of time. As I ended my piece I told you that you need to re assess and concentrate in the future on a more balanced view.

Second, I am not denying new historian accounts, only their methodology in interpretation. Facts are facts and cannot be disputed. As someone who studies the history of this conflict myself and is not that proficient enough in Hebrew to read those docs I am thankful for Shliam, Flappan, Segev, Pappe, Morris, Shahak etc. for providing the properly cited history from the documents released from 1977 onward. I fully appreciate the work they put into their treatises. I wouldn’t have that info otherwise. I have read them extensively, have their books in my library, and refer to them on a regular basis. You might have noticed I cite them here in my piece, if you took the time to read it. I only take issue with their analysis of those facts. Their selective methodology of drawing conclusions that are skewed toward a political bent which seeks to undermine Western democracy, by criticizing one of those democracies. That is unconscionable because it gives people like you and others a platform for disseminating a distorted view of the history. You should all be ashamed for standing against your own people’s defense in surviving over there in that cesspool they call the Middle East.  It’s a crime against academia which should not be tolerated. Its revisionist in nature, and these professors in Israel and others in the English speaking world should be reprimanded by their institutions.

Third. My goal is only to fill in what the New historians tend to leave out of their historiography which helps to skew their analysis  on the history. Levine and Hochburg displayed that selective approach in their response to Jon Voight. I couldn’t just sit there and let them get away with that, could I?

 

but instead live in a fairy tale that enough people have heard over and over again that we don’t have to repeat for them.

I think you have left out the children of each generation who we have a responsibility to show them as much Israeli history, both good and bad, as we can. They deserve our honesty and conscientiousness in presenting something that comes as close to the truth as possible. So, you are wrong rabbi, not “enough people have heard over and over again.” By the way is that your view on Holocaust studies as well?

If you actually bothered to study the works of the Israeli historians and could refute them, that would be of interest, but that is not what you are doing or appear competent to do,

This is why I think you really did not bother to read my entire piece. If you did then I think you know that isn’t true.  I refuted Levine and Hochburg’s letter with solid research formulating a different conclusion.   I wrote my interpretation of the facts, an interpretation that does not get enough exposure these days.  based on the primary sources of that history wherever possible, and secondary when they aren’t. We owe it to the historical record to refute all Left wing distortions about Israel and its history in that conflict. And, I think you know that what I say is valid otherwise why would you stoop to ad hominem attacks on my competency.

I am not against you. We  are the same people, raised in the same culture, with the same values passed down from our parents. I just want you to temper your criticism of your own people and direct it where it really belongs, against The Marxist left that stands with our enemies.

so please don’t expect us to be doing more than publishing in Tikkun Daily blog your original submission, plus a response from LeVine.

Ok.

 

 

Mark LeVine <mlevine@uci.edu>

10/19/14

to Michael, me, letters
hi larry and michael. i must apologize for being out of touch on this. i have been out of the country much of the time when not teaching and having other things to finish. i will try finally to get to this during the week. thanks for your patience.

best

Michael Lerner <rabbilerner@tikkun.org>

10/29/14

to me, Mark
Larry Hart on Oct. 9th: Naw, too much time has past. I’ve moved on. you have it, I sent it a couple times. If you want to answer go ahead. If not I don’t care. It’s an exercise in futility anyway because the rabbi will not allow me to respond. Look for me in the twitterverse. That is better way to get my word out there.
So, Mark, I think this debate is not going to happen because Larry Hart is withdrawing from it as stated above. If, Larry, you change your mind, please send your latest to Mark. However, I tend to agree with you–though for different reasons. The articulation of Mark’s position was merely a restatement of the Israeli hasbarah that our readers have heard over and over again throughout their lives, and it has been shown to be filled with misleading or straight out false claims about the history. Of course, since Tikkun welcomes debate on these topics I was willing to have Larry’s position stated, and then challenged by Mark, and then maybe a five hundred word response from Larry (not more). But I have no intention of opening the space to a debate beyond that unless Larry makes points that have not been heard before from the Israel/Netanyahu lobby.

 

Jewish community examiner

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field