Monday, August 16, 2010

New Book on Balfour Declaration; Another on the Mandate

The new book is The Balfour Declaration: The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict by Jonathan Schneer.

I leafed through it briefly at Steimatzky in town and found but one reference in the index to Jabotinsky. That was enough to raise doubts.

With another new book by Norman Rose, 'A Senseless, Squalid War': Voice from Palestine; 1890s to 1948 which also, at first glance, seems a bit prejudiced, inadequate and less than factual, it would appear that another campaign to deride, denigrate and deprecate Zionism has been launched.

Will report back with a review soon.

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Anonymous said...

here's an excerpt from the book, WSJ also has a review

but I think the last paragraph says it all i.e. when he says as a given that life under Jewish landlords became harder for the peasants.

Maybe later on he gives an explanation but a historian worth reading wouldn't introduce a statement like that as self-evident and explain later, rather he would start by explaining that the new landlords had certain concepts/ideas/habits which resulted in ... (that's at least historians who write about Greece or Rome or Byzantium do it)

I hope I have made clear what I want to say ...

As a whole a historian who feeds me preconceived opinions like that isn't worth considering. I remember that the archive of the Atlantic has stuff from way back then on Balfour and at least two articles on a future Israel, one saying that the world will be saved by its establishment and one saying that Jews are incapable of running a state, reading that stuff is time spent well.


Anonymous said...

Why should we expect our enemies to argue our case when we won't/can't make it for ourselves?

This is slightly off topic, but I don't know who else would even know what I'm talking about. My husband and I spent part of our 25th anniversary visiting Beit Jabotinsky and the Etzel Museum. We had last visited Beit Jabotinsky during our engagement and hoped things had improved since then.

Maybe by the time our 50th anniversary rolls around, somebody in this country besides Etzel and Lechi veterans will have some idea of what Jabotinsky stood for, but I doubt it.

One gets the feeling that the current Likud hierarchy would just as soon the general public not learn anything about Jabotinsky's ideas. "Meet the new boss/Same as the old boss".

Jabotinsky remains a thinker whose time, evidently, has not yet come.

Maybe we need a rap version of the Beitar Hymn.

--Chana Siegel

Somebody had obviously spent a lot of money on an embarassingly kitschy, simplistic film and "multimedia experience" that failed to explain "had-nes", "pan basilea", the real significance of the Season or the sinking of the Altalena and Begin's refusal to retaliate.

Jabotinsky was ahead of his time not only in his advocacy of a Jewish army and his prediction of the destruction of European Jewry, but in his understanding of the failure of socialism and Communism. Evidently, nobody gets this at Beit Jabotinsky, and the Etzel Museum seems to have been constructed only for old veterans and their relatives.

YMedad said...


I can only agree, having tried to move things myself.

Anonymous said...

Upon visiting the center(s), we got the impression that some very slick media presentation people had sold a bill of goods to a bunch of old guys with no experience in this sort of thing. We did not have the heart to detail our rather stunned and embarassed critique to the very nice older people who seemed to be in charge. No doubt they spent the best years of their lives on this project and now a lot of effort and money had been spent on a schlocky monstrosity.

I just about tore kriah when the "multi-media presentation" on the film drama about the maapilim sprinkled water on us and blew fake smoke.

And still no one knows about Jabotinsky, no one knows anything of substance about the history of the great Revisionist movement. No one knows about Abba Achimeir and his nearly prophetic denunciation of socialism when nearly all the world was still in its thrall.

No one knows that there was ever a Zionist faction not weighted down by the baggage of socialism, a movement dedicated to the rights and responsibilities of the individual.

No wonder Israeli democracy is in such piss-poor shaky state. In American terms, it's as though the Constitution and the Federalist papers had been absconded with and produced as a musical by Bialystock and Bloom.

And why are so many of the peole who show up at the commemorative events so OLD? There is no effort to educate young Israelis, both secular and religious, whom I believe would find this philosophy liberating and rejuvenating.

O Tempora! O Mores!

Does anyone else out there even recognize the problem?

--Chana Siegel