Reviewed by Ludwig Watzal – Bonn
(Ilan Pappe, Ten Myths About Israel, Verso, London 2017.)
Particularly, in the US and some European States, the Israeli and Zionist versions of history are wide-spread. Israel’s narrative relies on a collection of myths aimed at bringing the moral right and the ethical behavior of the Palestinians into twilight and making their claim to their country appear as illegitimate. Israel’s negation of Palestinian existence in the Land of Palestine is, however, a falsification of history.
“Ten Myths About Israel” was published in Germany in 2016 under the title ” What’s wrong with Israel? The Ten Main Myths of Zionism”. The mainstream media ignored it, which could also be the case in the US. It’s sad but that how media power works in favor of Israel.
Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, who lives in exile in Britain, deals in this book with the myths of Zionism and exposes them as legends consisting of half-truths and fabrications of history. The Zionist narrative has only little to do with historical reality and truth.
The “Running Gag” of the Zionist historical narrative is the story of the “empty land” of Palestine, into which people without a land had finally returned after 2000 years of exile. The slogan of a country without a people, for people without a country, is the most prominent expression of the Zionist mythology. For Pappe, it’s less important whether the Jews existed as a people, rather than that the Zionists deny the existence of a Palestinian population but simultaneously claim that the State of Israel represents all the Jews of the world and does everything for their benefit and acts for them. Such a claim is just as daring as the identification of Zionism with Judaism because it takes Jews hostage for Israel’s despising policy.
The Zionists presented the colonization of Palestine with biblical rhetoric; this served only as a means to an end. The highest prophet of Zionism, Theodor Herzl, even considered Uganda and other places instead of the Zionist Promised Land. Finally, they found their roots in Palestine. “From then on, the Bible became both the justification and the guideline of the Zionist colonization of Palestine,” writes Pappe. He describes Zionism as a “colonial settler movement” and Israel as a “Settler Colonial State.”
The author points out that the expulsion of the Palestinians in 1947/48 was “ethnic cleansing.” Likewise, the 1967 June war, which is also called the Sixth Day War, was not an act of self-defense of the “little David” against an overpowering “Goliath,” but an Israeli attack on which the Israeli security establishment has minutely prepared for years.
The claim of being the “only democracy in the Middle East” is put in the right perspective. Israel resembles rather an “ethnocracy” than a democracy in the classical sense of the meaning. The “peace process,” which was highly praised by the Western political establishment ended in the acceleration of the colonization of Palestine and in the establishment of Palestinian regime that has to do the dirty work for Israeli occupier.
In his book, Ilan Pappe gives his backing for the historical truth that the Israeli political establishment must face if it is interested in peace. Israel’s security establishment abuses Judaism because it equates its Zionist expansionist and oppressive policy with Judaism. Enlightenment is, therefore, more than a necessity, which the book does excellently by deconstructing the mythological web that surrounds the history of the State of Israel.
This book is an absolute must for an interested public, the political and the media class to understand what Israel is all about.
– Dr. Ludwig Watzal works as a journalist and editor in Bonn, Germany. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com He runs the bilingual blog: Between the Lines.