Ilan Pappé

Ilan Pappé
Born 1954 (1954)
Haifa, Israel
Residence United Kingdom
Nationality Israeli
Education BA (1978), PhD (1984)
Alma mater Hebrew University of Jerusalem
University of Oxford
Occupation Historian, political activist
Employer University of Exeter
Known for One of Israel's "New Historians"
Website Staff page at the University of Exeter

Ilan Pappé (Hebrew: אילן פפה; born 1954) is an Israeli historian and socialist activist. He is a professor with the College of Social Sciences and International Studies at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, director of the university's European Centre for Palestine Studies, and co-director of the Exeter Centre for Ethno-Political Studies.

Pappé was born in Haifa, Israel.[1] Prior to coming to the UK, he was a senior lecturer in political science at the University of Haifa (1984–2007) and chair of the Emil Touma Institute for Palestinian and Israeli Studies in Haifa (2000–2008).[2] He is the author of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2006), The Modern Middle East (2005), A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples (2003), and Britain and the Arab-Israeli Conflict (1988).[3] He was also a leading member of Hadash,[4] and was a candidate on the party list in the 1996[5] and 1999[6] Knesset elections.

Pappé is one of Israel's New Historians who, since the release of pertinent British and Israeli government documents in the early 1980s, have been rewriting the history of Israel's creation in 1948, and the corresponding expulsion or flight of 700,000 Palestinians in the same year. He has written that the expulsions were not decided on an ad hoc basis, as other historians have argued, but constituted the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, in accordance with Plan Dalet, drawn up in 1947 by Israel's future leaders.[7] He blames the creation of Israel for the lack of peace in the Middle East, arguing that Zionism is more dangerous than Islamic militancy, and has called for an international boycott of Israeli academics.[8][9]

Pappé supports the one-state solution, which envisages a binational state for Palestinians and Israelis.[10]

His work has been both supported and criticized by other historians. Before he left Israel in 2008, he had been condemned in the Knesset, Israel's parliament; a minister of education had called for him to be sacked; his photograph had appeared in a newspaper at the centre of a target; and he had received several death threats.[11]

Early life and education

Pappé was born in Haifa, Israel, to German Jewish parents who fled Nazi persecution in the 1930s.[11] At the age of 18, he was drafted into the Israel Defense Forces, serving in the Golan Heights during the 1973 Yom Kippur War.[1] He graduated from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1978, and in 1984 obtained his PhD in history from the University of Oxford, under the guidance of Albert Hourani and Roger Owen.[1] His doctoral thesis became his first book, Britain and the Arab-Israeli Conflict.[8]

Academic career

1948 Palestinian exodus

Main articles
1948 Palestinian exodus

1947–48 civil war
1948 Arab–Israeli War
1948 Palestine war
Causes of the exodus
Nakba Day
Palestinian refugee
Palestine refugee camps
Palestinian right of return
Palestinian return to Israel
Present absentee
Transfer Committee
Resolution 194

Mandatory Palestine
Israeli Declaration of Independence
Israeli–Palestinian conflict history
New Historians
Palestine · Plan Dalet
1947 partition plan · UNRWA

Key incidents
Battle of Haifa
Deir Yassin massacre
Exodus from Lydda and Ramle

Notable writers
Aref al-Aref · Yoav Gelber
Efraim Karsh · Walid Khalidi
Nur-eldeen Masalha · Benny Morris
Ilan Pappé · Tom Segev
Avraham Sela · Avi Shlaim

Related categories/lists
List of depopulated villages

Related templates

Pappé in a lecture in the Manchester Metropolitan University in 2008

Pappé was the Academic Director of the Research Institute for Peace at Givat Haviva from 1993 to 2000, and chair of the Emil Touma Institute for Palestinian Studies.

Pappé left the University of Haifa in 2007, to take up his appointment in Exeter, after his endorsement of the boycott of Israeli universities led the president of the university to call for his resignation.[12] Pappé said that he found it "increasingly difficult to live in Israel" with his "unwelcome views and convictions." In a Qatari newspaper interview explaining his decision, he said: "I was boycotted in my university and there had been attempts to expel me from my job. I am getting threatening calls from people every day. I am not being viewed as a threat to the Israeli society but my people think that I am either insane or my views are irrelevant. Many Israelis also believe that I am working as a mercenary for the Arabs."[13]

Katz controversy

For more details on The Katz controversy, see Tantura.

Pappé publicly supported an M.A. thesis by Haifa University student Teddy Katz, which was approved with highest honors, that claimed Israel had committed a massacre in the Palestinian village of Tantura during the war in 1948, based upon interviews with Arab residents of the village and with an Israeli veteran of the operation.[14] Neither Israeli nor Palestinian historians had previously recorded any such incident, which Meyrav Wurmser described as a "made-up massacre",[15] but, according to Pappé, "the story of Tantura had already been told before, as early as 1950... It appears in the memoirs of a Haifa notable, Muhammad Nimr al-Khatib, who, a few days after the battle, recorded the testimony of a Palestinian."[16] In December 2000, Katz was sued for libel by veterans of the Alexandroni Brigade and after the testimony was heard, he retracted his allegations about the massacre. Twelve hours later, he retracted his retraction. During the trial, lawyers for the veterans pointed to what they said were discrepancies between the taped interviews Katz conducted and descriptions in Katz's thesis.[17]

Katz revised his thesis, and, following the trial, the university appointed a committee to examine it. The assessment of the revised thesis was highly mixed, but overall it was failed.[14][18] Pappé continues to defend both Katz and his thesis.[19][20] Tom Segev and others argued that there is merit or some truth in what Katz described.[18][20][21] According to the Israeli New Historian Benny Morris: "There is no unequivocal proof of a large-scale massacre at Tantura, but war crimes were perpetrated there."[22]

Political activism

In 1999, Pappé ran in the Knesset elections as seventh on the Communist Party-led Hadash list.[23]

After years of political activism, Pappé supports economic and political boycotts of Israel, including an academic boycott. He believes boycotts are justified because "the Israeli occupation is a dynamic process and it becomes worse with each passing day. The AUT can choose to stand by and do nothing, or to be part of a historical movement similar to the anti-apartheid campaign against the white supremacist regime in South Africa. By choosing the latter, it can move us forward along the only remaining viable and non-violent road to saving both Palestinians and Israelis from an impending catastrophe."[24]

If it is possible Israel's conduct in 1948 would be brought onto the stage of international tribunals; this may deliver a message even to the peace camp in Israel that reconciliation entails recognition of war crimes and collective atrocities. This cannot be done from within, as any reference in the Israeli press to expulsion, massacre or destruction in 1948 is usually denied and attributed to self hate and service to the enemy in times of war. This reaction encompasses academia, the media and educational system, as well as political circles.[25]

As a result, then University of Haifa President Aaron Ben-Ze'ev called on Pappé to resign, saying: "it is fitting for someone who calls for a boycott of his university to apply the boycott himself."[12] He said that Pappé would not be ostracized, since that would undermine academic freedom, but he should leave voluntarily.[26] In the same year, Pappé initiated the annual Israeli Right of return conferences, which called for the unconditional right of return of the Palestinian refugees who were expelled in 1948.

Critical assessment

Ilan Pappé's books have been praised by Walid Khalidi, Richard Falk, Ella Shohat, Nur Masalha and John Pilger among others.[27]

Those critical of his work include Benny Morris,[28][29] Efraim Karsh,[30][31][32][33] Herbert London and Steven Plaut,[34] as well as professors Daniel Gutwein[35] and Yossi Ben-Artzi[36] from Haifa University. Pappé has replied to this criticism.[19][20][37][38][39]

In 2012, the Journal of Palestine Studies (JPS) translated and published the 1937 Ben-Gurion letter after the pro-Israel media monitoring group CAMERA reported an error in an article that Pappé wrote for the JPS after CAMERA informed them that a quote in the article had been incorrectly attributed to Ben-Gurion.[40][41] Nonetheless, the JPS stated that the translated letter confirmed that, regardless of Pappé's citation errors, the underlying interpretation of the letter provided by Pappé's article and book was sound.[42] CAMERA countered by providing the original, handwritten letter by Ben-Gurion, and charged not only that the pertinent phrase had been incorrectly translated, but that the article also incorrectly interpreted the context of the letter.[43]

Published work




  1. 1 2 3 "Power and History in the Middle East: A Conversation with Ilan Pappe". Logos. 3 (1). Winter 2004. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
  2. "Ilan Pappé: profile". University of Exeter. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
  3. "Ilan Pappé: publications". University of Exeter. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
  4. Ettinger, Yair (26 November 2002). "A new candidate for the Hadash coalition: Attorney Dov Hanin of Tel Aviv". Haaretz (in Hebrew). Retrieved 17 May 2012.
  5. "List of candidates רשימת מועמדים" (PDF). Israel Democracy Institute. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
  6. "(List of candidates) רשימת המועמדים". Knesset. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
  7. Pappé, Ilan (2007) [2006]. The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. pp. 86–126.
  8. 1 2 Wilson, Scott (11 March 2007). "A Shared History, a Different Conclusion". The Washington Post. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
  9. Lynfield, Ben (12 May 2005). "British Boycott Riles Israeli Academics". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
  10. Negev, Ayelet (15 March 2008). "Ilan Pappe: I'm not a traitor". Yedioth Ahronoth. Retrieved 18 May 2012. [T]here needs to be one state here that isn't Jewish nor Palestinian, but a state of all its citizens, like in the US.
  11. 1 2 Arnot, Chris (20 January 2009). " 'I felt it was my duty to protest' ". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
  12. 1 2 Traubman, Tamara (26 April 2005). "Haifa University president calls on dissident academic to resign". Haaretz. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
  13. Paul, Jonny (1 April 2007). "Academic slams Israel for land grab". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
  14. 1 2 Segev, Tom (23 May 2002). "His colleagues call him a traitor". Haaretz. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
  15. Wurmser, Meyrav (2001). "Made-Up Massacre". The Weekly Standard. 6 (48). Retrieved 17 May 2012.
  16. The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, p. 137.
  17. Ratner, David (9 February 2012). "PA paid legal defense fees of 1948 Tantura affair historian". Haaretz. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
  18. 1 2 Amit, Zalman (11 May 2005). "The Collapse of Academic Freedom in Israel; Tantura, Teddy Katz and Haifa University". CounterPunch. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
  19. 1 2 Pappé, Ilan (2001a). "The Tantura Massacre, 22–23 May 1948" (PDF). Journal of Palestine Studies. 30 (3): 5–18. doi:10.1525/jps.2001.30.3.5. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
  20. 1 2 3 Pappé, Ilan (2001b). "The Tantura Case in Israel: The Katz Research and Trial" (PDF). Journal of Palestine Studies. 30 (3): 19–39. doi:10.1525/jps.2001.30.3.19. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
  21. Goldenberg, Suzanne (10 December 2001). "Confronting the past". Retrieved 20 May 2012.  'The question of whether the Alexandroni Brigade troopers did indeed murder residents of Tantura and the place of the entire episode in the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians still remains,' the historian Tom Segev wrote in the Ha'aretz newspaper.
  22. Shavit, Ari (8 January 2004). "Survival of the fittest". Haaretz. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
  23. "1996 election results for Hadash—Democratic Front for Peace and Equality". Retrieved 17 May 2012. (Pappé is No. 7)
  24. Pappé, Ilan (24 May 2005). "Back the boycott". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
  25. Pappé, Ilan (2005). "The Process That Never Was". In Podeh, Elie; Kaufman, Asher. Arab-Jewish Relations: From Conflict to Resolution?. Brighton: Sussex Academic Press. p. 244.
  26. Traubman, Tamara (27 April 2005). "Haifa U. academic remains steadfast in support of boycott". Haaretz. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
  27. "Advance praise for The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine". Oneworld Publications. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
  28. Morris, Benny (22 March 2004). "Politics by Other Means". The New Republic. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
  29. Gutwein, Daniel (2003). "Left and Right Post-Zionism and the Privatization of Israeli Collective Memory". In Shapira, Anita; Penslar, Derek Jonathan. Israeli Historical Revisionism: From Left to Right. London: Frank Cass Publishers. pp. 16–8.
  30. Karsh, Ephraim (1996a). "Rewriting Israel's History". Middle East Quarterly. 3 (2): 19–29. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  31. Karsh, Ephraim (1996b). "Historical Fictions". Middle East Quarterly. 3 (3): 55–60. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  32. Karsh, Ephraim (2002). "The Unbearable Lightness of My Critics". Middle East Quarterly. 9 (3): 63–73. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  33. Karsh, Ephraim (2006). "Review: A History of Modern Palestine by Ilan Pappé". Middle East Quarterly. 8 (1): 82–83. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
  34. Plaut, Steven (2009). "Review: The Israel/Palestine Question: A Reader, 2nd ed. by Ilan Pappé". Middle East Quarterly. 16 (2). Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  35. Gutwein (2011). "Left and Right Post-Zionism", p. 100.
  36. Ben-Artzi, Yossi (2011). "Out of (Academic) Focus: on Ilan Pappe, Out of the Frame: The Struggle for Academic Freedom in Israel" (PDF). Israel Studies. 16 (2): 165–183. doi:10.2979/israelstudies.16.2.165. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  37. Pappé, Ilan (1996). "My Non-Zionist Narrative". Middle East Quarterly. 3 (3): 51–52. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
  38. Shehori, Dalia (5 May 2004). "One man's history is another man's lie". Haaretz. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
  39. Pappé, Ilan (30 March 2004). "Response to Benny Morris' "Politics by other means" in the New Republic". The Electronic Intifada. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
  40. Pappé, Ilan (2006). "The 1948 Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine" (PDF). Journal of Palestine Studies. University of California Press. 36 (1): 6–20. doi:10.1525/jps.2006.36.1.6. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  41. "University of Exeter Gives Pappé a Pass on Invented Ben-Gurion Quote". 3 February 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  42. The Editors of the JPS (2012). "JPS Responds to CAMERA's Call for Accuracy: Ben-Gurion and the Arab Transfer" (PDF). Journal of Palestine Studies. University of California Press. 41 (2): 245–250. doi:10.1525/jps.2012.xli.2.245. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  43. "Journal of Palestine Studies Compounds its Ben-Gurion Error". CAMERA. 9 April 2012. Retrieved 18 May 2012.

External links

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