Ilan Pappe & Avi Shlaim: Criticized by conservative website as members of a "Network of Expatriate Treachery"

Historians in the News

[Steven Plaut is a professor at the Graduate School of the Business Administration at the University of Haifa and is a columnist for the Jewish Press. A collection of his commentaries on the current events in Israel can be found on his"blog" at]

... Perhaps the best known Israeli academic expatriate who has made a career out of impugning and defaming Israel is Dr. Ilan Pappe, until recently a lecturer in political science at the University of Haifa, now at the University of Exeter in the UK. Pappe openly calls for Israel to be exterminated. He was the main inciter of the British academic unions to declare a boycott against Israeli universities. Pappe may be best known for having fabricated a "massacre" of Arabs by Jews in 1948, an imaginary massacre that never took place and for which no evidence whatsoever has ever existed. Together with a graduate student under his supervision, Pappe decided one fine morning that members of the Hagana Jewish militia had massacred Arabs in the coastal town of Tantora south of Haifa in 1948 during Israel's War of Independence. Journalists present at that battle witnessed no massacre. Even Arab propagandists had never alleged one had taken place. Arab survivors of the battle spoke of being helped and fed by the Hagana militiamen.

Pappe's graduate student later admitted in court that the whole story of the Tantora "massacre" was an invention. Pappe, however, continues to tout the "massacre" libel anywhere he can find himself an audience, and - since its invention - the story has become part of the official canon on every Islamofascist and anti-Semitic web site on earth, including Palestinian and Neo-Nazi ones. Pappe was not fired for that fraud, although he should have been, and today roams the world proclaiming that he is the "victim" of "persecution" by his old University of Haifa comrades. That claim was cited by the British boycotters as a justification for their own campaign against Israeli universities.

Pappe is not the only expatriate academic hater of Israel who has made Britain his home. The vogue hatred of Israel and Jews among the British chattering classes seems to have made Britain a welcoming refuge for such people. Of the expatriate defamers of Israel there, the one with the most serious academic reputation is Avi Shlaim, on the faculty at Oxford. Shlaim is a far-leftist who has made a career out of one-sided bashing and misrepresentation of Israel and the Middle East conflicts. Unlike many of the other expatriate anti-Israel propagandists, Shlaim actually has some bona fide academic publications, although he is much better known for his pitbull attacks against Israel, such as those he publishes in Palestinian propaganda journals. Such propagandizing seems to "count" as "scholarship" at Oxford these days, and not only there. In Shlaim's "research", the Arabs have always wanted peace and true democracy, while the obstacle to peace has always been Israeli wickedness and racist Zionist colonialism. He participates in the anti-Semitic (some would say Neo-Nazi) organization "Deir Yassin Remembered" and can be seen here in collaboration with Paul Eisen, a man widely regarded to be a Holocaust Denier who claims that there were no Jews murdered in Auschwitz gas chambers.

Shlaim was in the headlines recently for his struggle to get DePaul hatemonger Norman Finkelstein tenured on the basis of the latter's vulgar anti-Semitic screeds, a struggle that failed. While Finkelstein has never published a research paper in a refereed academic journal, Shlaim was willing to serve as Finkelstein's academic cheerleader because he identifies with Finkelstein's political agenda. Shlaim is one of two names that Finkelstein lists as recommenders for him on his own resume. The second name is Noam Chomsky. Neither is from the same purported academic discipline as Finkelstein. Shlaim is one of the people featured in Professor Efraim Karsh’s Fabricating Israeli History: The New Historians (Frank Cass & Co, Ltd. London, 2000), about pseudo-scholars inventing "New History." Shlaim's articles are standard fodder in classroom bashings of Israel at many campuses....

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