May 23, 2007

Zionist history

There's the history of zionism and there's zionist history. They're rarely the same. Now what am I saying? That there's an article on the subject of zionist historiography in The New Yorker:
Nowhere has revisionist history played a more crucial role in the political and moral consciousness of a nation than in Israel. The state came into being in 1948, and, almost immediately, its prehistory––the origins of Zionist ideology, the behavior of the British during the Mandate period, and, critically, the relationship with the Other, the Palestinian Arabs—became matter for schoolbooks, journalism, military indoctrination, scholarship, and public rhetoric. The founding generation that had come to Palestine and then fought what it called its war of independence against Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and other hostile neighbors was now in charge of its own story. To the victor goes the narrative. As in any fledgling state, that narrative tended to be set down in the most glorious terms—history as if written by a Hebrew-speaking Parson Weems. For a while, it was as if even the most basic facts could be wished out of existence. An entire group could be made invisible. “There was no such thing as Palestinians,” Golda Meir said in 1969
It runs to five pages and frankly I haven't read them all. I'll let you know how I get (got) on with it tonight. Enjoy!


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