The Marxist “New Historians” of Israeli History and the 1948 war


The Marxist left has a tactic which takes a postmodern approach to the pre modernist era, judging earlier geopolitical events by 21st century standards. This is not unusual; most Left wing intellectuals use this tactic to formulate an accusational narrative against modern western nations and their histories.

Nowhere is this strategy of Left wing propaganda stronger than in the legitimacy of the State of Israel, particularly its actions during the 1948 War of Independence. Israeli leftists, most pronounced in this regard precisely because they were born Jewish, grew up in Israel, and served their time in the IDF, gives the anti-semitic non Jewish left and its ally in this crime the Muslim world, led by Muslim academia in the west, a stronger voice in leading the fight against Israel’s existence.

I paraphrase here but I am sure haters of Israel will affirm that statements like the following are totally justified on these grounds. “See, even these “righteous” Jews know their country is a criminal enterprise.”

Leftist historians have a tendency to cherry pick a smorgasbord of historical facts to build a narrative which suits their politics. So much so that for those who are versed in Israel’s history one gets the impression when reading Shlaim, Pappe, Segev, Shahak and other “new historians” accounts of what happened in 1948 that they are all unfamiliar with military history. That isn’t the case. They know what happened; they just refuse to point to the proper documents to explain it. Their preference is to explain it themselves in their own words, colored by a Marxist view of history.

Building on a tradition begun by Edward Said in his work, “Orientalism,” they engage in a selective postmodern approach to prove their arguments. They display a complete disregard for the type of warfare of the time and play on 21st century sensibilities to create a paradigm where Israel is the offending party then as now.

Said’s work, lauded in the west’s ivory halls as a landmark study and seminal work, focuses the historical narrative on the Muslim world into a different direction. His work, so protected by the leading leftist thinkers in the west, we now are forced to look at Muslim history and its collision with the west through his narrative, relegating all histories about that world that came before the publication of “Orientalism” as naïve, biased and “Eurocentric.” Said’s basic thesis is to convince the reader to judge 19th century actions, colonial and otherwise, with the last half of 20th century post modernist enlightened thinking. This obviously puts those previous actions on a par with evil although England and other imperial powers were only following what they thought was the expansion of ideas and modernism.

For a full review of the book check it out on the Amazon site here,  or go this URL  to read it on my site on the web, click here

It is impossible to judge how much influence Said had on “New Historian” thinking but holding to his dismissal of western history of those events, these new histories attempt to discredit Israel’s total existence even to the point of accusing Israel of its actions without providing the reason Israel might have acted in that way, not unlike Said’s accusations against 19th century Britain.

Probably the most obvious, simply is not considering how wars were fought before smart warfare in the 1980s began to change the order of battle in any war. Holding Israeli leaders accountable for forced expulsions, psychological warfare, whispering campaigns, and bombing civilian areas in 1948 does not take into account the way wars were fought during that time.

German bombing raids on England during the blitz designed to terrorize and kill civilians resulted in 40,000 people losing their lives.  The Allies bombed Dresden for no apparent strategic reason other than to send a message of fear and terror into the German population, killing 25,000 innocent civilians. More than 125,000 dead Japanese resulted from the Americans firebombing of Tokyo in 1945.

All this only a few years before Israel’s war of Independence.

This was the way wars were fought. But, you will never get Ilan Pappe or the others to admit it. The myopia that transcends through the “new historians” and their supporters unfortunately is a revised and highly distorted view of actually what happened, and designed to condemn Israel, not chronicle history. In short, it is the main focus of the Palestinian narrative industry.

Yes, the Jews bombed civilian areas. Yes the Jews expelled certain towns behind their lines and yes, the Jews even committed isolated atrocities.  In the fog of war the purity of arms usually gets dragged back and forth over the white and black smearing out the grey in the middle. Most western armies fought war in this fashion.

It’s unfortunate that war has to be so ugly, but that is what it is. The Palestinian narrative industry just won’t accept it.

The word “massacre” is often misrepresented in “new historian” works.  Construed with “extermination” massacres are used to show Israeli brutality when in actuality these are battles which Israel overwhelmingly dominated the enemy. Much higher casualty counts on the Arab side are used as a cause celeb to condemn the Jews for their victory. Deir Yassin is one of those battles which is still discussed today.

Go here if you really want to read about what happened at Deir Yassin and the politics that drove it. And, the evidence to support the lies about Deir Yassin perpetrated by the left click here 

Of course, the Palestinians have made great use of words like “massacre” and “extermination” over the last 66 years and with the help of the “New Historians” have propagandized it to their distinct advantage. Absolutely egregious techniques for historians to possess, but their Marxist backgrounds demand it from them.

It would be nice if Avi Shlaim would tell us why did the Israeli declaration of Independence call for peace instead of war, declaring to the world media on May 14th 1948 one day before hostilities began. Or if Tom Segev  or Ilan Pappe would admit that Israeli policy in the months leading up to the war was to try and make Res 181, the partition of Palestine, work to a peaceful end.

In regard to Israel’s use of psychological warfare, the Japanese used Tokyo Rose, and the Americans started Voice of America with sending German messages into Germany during World War II telling them they better surrender because the allies are coming.

Very effective psychological campaigns.

Israel during the 1948 conflict used them masterfully. They should be praised for their excellence in this, not condemned as sneaky, deceitful Zionist Jews.

Until the late 1980s bombardment, massive force, and overwhelming the enemy and getting him to surrender the quickest way possible was common strategy. This is what most reputable traditional historians conclude was Israel’s motives during the war of 1948.

But when the Arabs attacked all bets were off. Israel won because they dominated their enemy, and possessed a-backs-up-against-the-wall fight or die attitude. While the Arabs were conflicted half the time as to why they were even there. But, sadly, the “New historians” took the events of 1948 in a very different and distorted direction.

Don’t fall for it.