Israel and Palestine: Reappraisals, Revisions, Refutations

Acclaimed reflections on the causes and consequences of the Israel-Palestine conflict.
With characteristic rigor and readability, Avi Shlaim reflects on a range of key issues, transformations and personalities in the Israel–Palestine conflict. From the 1917 Balfour Declaration to the 2008 invasion of Gaza, Israel and Palestine places current events in their proper historical perspective, and assesses the impact of key political and intellectual figures, including Yasir Arafat and Ariel Sharon, Edward Said and Benny Morris. It also re-examines the United States’ influential role in the conflict, and explores the many missed opportunities for peace and progress. Clear-eyed and meticulous, Israel and Palestine is an essential tool for understanding the fractured history and future prospects of the region.


  • “Highly recommended: Everyone interested in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict—general readers and academics alike—will want to consult this book.”
  • “A valuable collection.”
  • “Shlaim … provides a realpolitik reading of the history, demolishing the heroic and innocent image of Israel in its relations with the Palestinians.”
  • “Wonderful … Not often today do we find historians who are this honest and this bleak and this able to express truth so simply.”
  • “Shlaim does not aim at a comprehensive overview of the conflict so much as a running rebuttal of Israel’s version of it; an insurgency in the public relations war.”
  • “… a welcome and timely addition to the continuing debate on the Palestine-Israel conflict and its possible resolution.”


  • "Arendt herself was a Zionist, but this did not prevent her from speaking the truth" - Tariq Ali

    At the time she wrote her book on the Eichmann trial, Arendt herself was a Zionist, but this did not prevent her from speaking the truth and at a high personal cost. She was denounced by many she had known and a few very close personal friends in Israel and New York broke off all relations. The film on her life is definitely worth a watch. The extracts below from her book are worth reading in any case, but given that the soft left in the Labour Party has lost momentum and is tending to cave in to carefully orchestrated media and pro-Zionist campaigners, these extracts show that however misjudged Ken Livingstone's comments may have been they are not historically inaccurate. Yesterday the Deputy Chief of the IDF [Israeli Defence Force] declared that Israel was in a late-Weimar situation, i.e., on the edge of fascism. This would not have surprised Arendt but would have got the Israeli army chief suspended from the British Labour Party. - Tariq Ali

    Taken from Eichmann in Jerusalem by Hannah Arendt:

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  • On Israel and Anti-Semitism: A Reading List

    The storm over Labour's alleged "culture of anti-semitism" rolls on, with daily news of further suspensions and resignations - the latest of which is the suspension of anti-Zionist activist and Momentum member Jackie Walker because of a contrived controversy over a months old facebook comment.  

    The more allegations  emerge, the more the gap between anti-semitism and legitimate criticisms of Israel seems to be closing for the commentariat. As acclaimed scholar Norman G. Finkelstein recently stated in a interview for Open Democracy, the scandal "has nothing whatsoever to do with the factual situation; instead, a few suspect cases of antisemitism – some real, some contrived – are being exploited for an ulterior political motive." While real anti-semitism undoubtably exists, the string of warnings about "new anti-semitism" must not act as a cover for Israeli state actions. As the powerful statement released on behalf of the Jewish Socialist Group states "criticism of Israeli government policy and Israeli state actions against the Palestinians is not antisemitism," - the two must be clearly seperated.

    For more on Israel and Palestine, below is a Verso reading list on the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the politics of anti-Zionism.

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  • Anti-Semitism Real and Imagined

    As the British Labour Party leadership is once again the subject of a crisis over its alleged tolerance of anti-semitism, we present an extract from Alain BadiouEric Hazan, and Ivan Segré's Reflections on Anti-Semitism. The book dissects the various ways false accusations of anti-Semitism are used to stifle opposition to the Israeli state and to facilitate the subjugation of the Palestinian people. In this extract the authors consider the role of anti-Semitism in contemporary France. 

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