Stryg til en antisemitisk kandestøber

Diverse — Drokles on March 22, 2011 at 7:03 pm

I en anmeldelse af af den israelske historiker Ilan Pappes bog Det moderne Palæstinas historie kalder Anders Jerichow Pappe for “en fortræffelig historiker” og “grundig og kildebevidst.”. Sandt er det i hvert fald at Pappe er en favorit blandt tidens pseudointellektuelle antisemitter, som der jo findes i rå mængder på venstrefløjen. Pappe citeres også flittigt på flere danske blogs (ingen nævnt, ingen glemt). Men Pappe er først og fremmest propagandist, hvad han ikke engang lægger skjul på, og en simpel løgner. Historikeren Benny Morris tegner i The New Republic (en artikel det virkeligt er værd at læse i sin helhed) et Penkowa-lignende portræt af Pappe

Those who falsify history routinely take the path of omission. They ignore crucial facts and important pieces of evidence while cherry-picking from the documentation to prove a case. An apt illustration of this delinquency is Efraim Karsh, in Palestine Betrayed. At one point he tells us, quoting a news report from the Palestine Post, that the Palestinian Arab masses actually welcomed the UN partition resolution of November 1947, which posited the establishment of a Jewish state side by side with a Palestine Arab state, when a thousand other pieces of evidence—Haganah intelligence reports, newspapers, monitored Arab radio broadcasts, and the simple fact that Palestine’s Arabs went to war to stymie that resolution—tell us, with overwhelming persuasiveness, the exact opposite.

But Pappe is more brazen. He, too, often omits and ignores significant evidence, and he, too, alleges that a source tells us the opposite of what it in fact says, but he will also simply and straightforwardly falsify evidence. Consider his handling of the Arab anti-Jewish riots of the 1920s. Pappe writes of the “Nabi Musa” riots in April 1920: “The [British] Palin Commission … reported that the Jewish presence in the country was provoking the Arab population and was the cause of the riots.” He also quotes at length Musa Kazim al-Husayni, the clan’s leading notable at the time, to the effect that “it was not the [Arab] Hebronites who had started the riots but the Jews.” But the (never published) “Report of the Court of Inquiry [it was not a “Commission”] Convened by Order of H.E. the High Commissioner and Commander-in-Chief, Dated the 12th Day of April, 1920,” while forthrightly anti-Zionist, thereby accurately reflecting the prevailing views in the British military government that ruled Palestine until mid-1920, flatly and strikingly charged the Arabs with responsibility for the bloodshed. The team chaired by Major-General P.C. Palin wrote that “it is perfectly clear that with … few exceptions the Jews were the sufferers, and were, moreover, the victims of a peculiarly brutal and cowardly attack, the majority of the casualties being old men, women and children.” The inquiry pointed out that whereas 216 Jews were killed or injured, the British security forces and the Jews, in defending themselves or in retaliatory attacks, caused only twenty-five Arab casualties.

The bottom line of the Palin report of July 1, 1920, was that the Arabs “not entirely” unreasonably feared Jewish immigration and eventual political and economic domination, and that the Zionists had occasionally acted with “indiscretion” and political aggressiveness. At the same time, the report continued, in its complex account of the causes of the crisis, the British, too, through their “nonfulfillment” of promises, had contributed to Arab “alienation and exasperation,” as had deliberate incitement by various Arab leaders and journalists. Taken together, these were the wellsprings of the Arabs’ “panic” and rage. But it was the Arabs—the report concluded—who had resorted to murderous violence and attacked the Jews in “treacherous and cowardly” fashion. The picture painted by the Palin inquiry, despite its clear anti-Zionist bias, was far more complicated, nuanced, and balanced than that conveyed in Pappe’s “history.”

About the 1929 “Temple Mount” riots, which included two large-scale massacres of Jews, in Hebron and in Safed, Pappe writes: “The opposite camp, Zionist and British, was no less ruthless [than the Arabs]. In Jaffa a Jewish mob murdered seven Palestinians.” Actually, there were no massacres of Arabs by Jews, though a number of Arabs were killed when Jews defended themselves or retaliated after Arab violence. Pappe adds that the British “Shaw Commission,” so-called because it was chaired by Sir Walter Shaw (a former chief justice of the Straits Settlements), which investigated the riots, “upheld the basic Arab claim that Jewish provocations had caused the violent outbreak. ‘The principal cause … was twelve years of pro-Zionist [British] policy.’”

It is unclear what Pappe is quoting from. I did not find this sentence in the commission’s report. Pappe’s bibliography refers, under “Primary Sources,” simply to “The Shaw Commission.” The report? The deliberations? Memoranda by or about? Who can tell? The footnote attached to the quote, presumably to give its source, says, simply, “Ibid.” The one before it says, “Ibid., p. 103.” The one before that says, “The Shaw Commission, session 46, p. 92.” But the quoted passage does not appear on page 103 of the report. In the text of Palestinian Dynasty, Pappe states that “Shaw wrote [this] after leaving the country [Palestine].” But if it is not in the report, where did Shaw “write” it?

Actually, the thrust of the “Report of the Commission on the Palestine Disturbances of August, 1929,” which appeared in 1930, is completely contrary to what Pappe asserts (though it does list some non-lethal Jewish provocations—peaceful demonstrations, a newspaper article—as among the immediate triggers of the eruption of the Arab violence). The report states: “The fundamental cause, without which in our opinion disturbances either would not have occurred or would have been little more than a local riot, is the Arab feeling of animosity and hostility towards the Jews consequent upon the disappointment of their political and national aspirations and fear for their economic future.” As to the riots themselves, the report states: “The outbreak in Jerusalem on the 23rd of August [the start of the riots] was from the beginning an attack by Arabs on Jews for which no excuse in the form of earlier murders by Jews has been established.” The disturbances “took the form, for the most part, of a vicious attack by Arabs on Jews accompanied by wanton destruction of Jewish property…. In a few instances, Jews attacked Arabs and destroyed Arab property. These attacks, though inexcusable, were in most cases in retaliation for wrongs already committed by Arabs in the neighborhood in which the Jewish attacks occurred.”

Pappe repeatedly asserts, in order to demonstrate an Arab readiness for conciliation, that the Palestinian leadership in 1920-1922, including Hajj Amin, was “ambiguous” about Zionism and “was willing to compromise.” This is nonsense. Indeed, Hajj Amin was tried and convicted in absentia by a British court for helping to incite the murderous riots of April 1920.

To the deliberate slanting of history Pappe adds a profound ignorance of basic facts. Together these sins and deficiencies render his “histories” worthless as representations of the past, though they are important as documents in the current political and historiographic disputations about the Arab-Israeli conflict. Pappe’s grasp of the facts of World War I, for example, is weak in the extreme. He writes that the “Ottoman entry into the war was triggered by an incident in the Black Sea in December 1914.” In fact, the Ottoman Empire joined World War I with Russia’s declaration of war on Constantinople on November 1, following the bombardment of Sevastopol on October 29 by the Turkish cruiser “Yavuz Sultan Selim,” which was really the German cruiser Goeben manned by fez-wearing German sailors. Pappe tells us that Hajj Amin was commissioned as an officer in the Ottoman 46th division, at first serving as “assistant division commander to the governor of Smyrna,” thereby betraying his ignorance of the relevant Ottoman administrative and military structures (lieutenants are not “assistant division commanders”). Pappe maintains that Jamal Pasha’s Fourth Army “had failed to cross the Sinai Peninsula” in World War I—but the Turks crossed the peninsula and fought the British on the banks of the Suez Canal on February 2-4, 1915, and in their second invasion of Egypt, in August 1916, they reached Romani, just short of the canal. Pappe maintains that Allenby’s conquest of Jerusalem in December 1917 “concluded the [British] campaign in the Levant,” but of course it didn’t: Allenby’s army went on, in 1918, to conquer the rest of Palestine and Syria. Pappe notes that “the text of the Balfour Declaration remained unpublished” until February 1920, but it was published already in 1917. He refers to Raghib Nashashibi in 1923 as “a member of parliament”—what parliament?

Some of Pappe’s “historical” assertions are, quite obviously, politically motivated, but they are mistakes nonetheless. He refers to “statements made by Jewish and Zionist leaders about the need to build the ‘Third Temple.’” Husaynis often leveled that charge against the Jews, in order to incite the Muslim masses. But which important Zionist leader in the 1920s advocated the construction of a Third Temple? None whom I can name. Later Pappe reinforces this lie by remarking that “Palestinian historiography, including recent work that draws on newly revealed materials, suggests that the mufti’s concern was not baseless, and that there really was a Jewish plan to seize the entire Haram [Temple Mount].” Pappe offers no evidence for this extraordinary assertion.

Fortræffelig, grundig og kildebevidst? På skole- og gymnasielærernes foretrukne infosite er man i hvert fald af den opfattelse. Her kan man læse ganske injurierende om Herbert Pundiks rolle som krigsforbryder under Israels selvstændighedskrig under overskriften “Historien indhenter «eksperten»” baseret på Pappes forskning.

I 2006 udgav Pundik sin selvbiografi «Det er ikke nok at overleve», hvor han bl.a. fortæller om sin deltagelse i krigen mod palæstinenserne. Han ankom til Palæstina 6. maj 1948 og gjorde tjeneste i Aleksandrinobrigaden. En af de palæstinensiske landsbyer han fortæller om i bogen er Tantura, der lå på kysten mellem Tel Aviv og Jaffa. Han skriver herom:

Da vi ankom til Tantura … var indbyggerne flygtet i deres fiskerbåde, og landsbyen var folketom. Soldaterne der var kommet før os, havde travlt med at tømme husene for de ejendele, araberne havde efterladt. Tantura var en fattig by, og der var ikke meget at stjæle. Senge, skabe og nogle tæpper (…) Vores opgave var at søge efter våben i landsbyen. Vi gik fra hus til hus, rodede rundt efter gemmesteder.

Pundik fortæller videre at en gammel palæstinenser var blevet efterladt, og en sergent var i færd med at tortere ham, mens han afhørte ham om skjulte våben, som den gamle ikke kendte noget til. Manden var skræmt fra vid og sans og blodet løb ned af hans ansigt.

Med denne beretning om krigen skrev Pundik sig ind i den traditionelle israelske mytologi, hvor palæstinenserne forlod deres land af egen fri vilje. Denne myte stemmer blot ikke med den faktuelle historie. Palæstinenserne omtaler selv 1948-49 som «Nakba» (katastrofen), hvor 6-800.000 palæstinenserne blev etnisk udrenset - dræbt eller drevet på flugt. I 1980′erne gav det israelske militær israelske historikere adgang til deres arkiver, og historikerne opdagede nu at den israelske mytos var en løgn. Det var den palæstinensiske historie, der i store træk var korrekt.

En af de israelere der fik adgang til de militære arkiver var den fremtrædende historikere Ilan Pappe. Han skriver i sin bog The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine om Aleksandronibrigaden, at den havde til opgave at «rense» de palæstinensiske byer øst og nord for Tel Aviv. Derefter blev den beordret til at bevæge sig mod nord og sammen med andre enheder affolke den palæstinensiske kystlinie hele vejen op til Jaffa.

Aleksandronibrigaden «rensede» i sidste halvdel af maj - hvor Pundik altså gjorde tjeneste i den - adskillige landsbyer. Nogle få gjorde så kraftig modstand at de måtte opgives i første omgang, men de blev «rensede» i juli. Pappe fortæller bl.a. følgende om hændelserne:

Tantura var en af de største landsbyer som lå ved Middelhavskysten syd for Jaffa. Den havde ca. 1500 indbyggere som levede af fiskeri, landbrug og arbejde i Jaffa. Natten til den 22. maj blev den angrebet af Aleksandronibrigaden. Beboerne gjorde modstand. Der var skyderi fra husene, hvilket gjorde soldaterne rasende. Efter at landsbyboerne havde overgivet sig, drog soldaterne gennem landsbyen og skød folkene inde i husene og på gaderne i en sand blodrus. Indbyggerne blev tvunget ned på stranden. Mænd blev adskilt fra kvinder, og kvinderne blev tvunget til en nærliggende landsby, Furaydis. Mændene blev tvunget til at sætte sig ned og vente på at en efterretningsofficer, Shinson Mashvitz, som boede i bosættelsen Givat Ada i nærheden skulle ankomme.

Mashvitz ankom sammen med en kollaboratør, som havde en hætte over hovedet, og som udpegede nogle af mændene. De udpegede blev ført tilbage til landsbyen og henrettet. Disse mænd var opført i «landsbykartoteket», som var udfærdiget af Jewish Agency for hver eneste landsby i Palæstina. Det var mænd som havde deltaget i palæstinensernes oprør 1936-39, havde deltaget i angreb på zionisterne, havde kontakt til muftien eller andre forhold.

Men disse var ikke de eneste der blev henrettet. Nogle blev afhørt om et større våbendepot, som zionisterne mente skulle befinde sig i byen. Våbendepotet eksisterede imidlertid ikke, og da de afhørte ikke kunne svare blev de skudt på stedet.

De fleste henrettelser skete på stranden og ville være, fortsat hvis ikke folk fra den nærliggende kibbutz Zikhron Yakov var ankommet, og deres leder Yacobo Epstein havde stoppet henrettelserne.

Nogle af de overlevende fra massakren i Tantura bori dag i flygtningelejren Yarmuk i Syrien, og har stadig svære traumer efter deres oplevelser. Flere af dem har fortalt om begivenhederne, og deres beretninger gengives i Pappes bog. De angiver antallet af henrettede til mellem 90 og 125.

Pundik fortæller om to andre landsbyer foruden Tantura. Det drejer sig om Rosh-ha-Ayin og Majdal Zedek, som begge lå i det område der iflg. FN’s delingsplan for Palæstina skulle havde været en del af den palæstinensiske stat. De blev erobret af israelske styrker 11-12. juli 1948 og etnisk rensede. Pundik må enten have fortrængt sin deltagelse i de etniske udrensninger eller fortier den.

Det eneste, der forties er venstrefløjens åbenlyse antisemtisme. Afsløringer af, hvad der virkeligt skete dengang er altid en god historie, men problemet med den slags “nye historikere” er at tidshorisonten er mands minde og dette minde er svært at slette i et åbent samfund. Myter og løgne har derfor ikke gode kår, men enhver tid præger selvfølgelig tolkningen af moral og væsentlighed. Men der fremkommer ikke nyt materiale, der kan revolutionere den store historie . Højst noget, der kan bidrage til mindre kapitlers afklaring. Herhjemme kender vi gennem de seneste par årtier mange forsøg på at beskrive Danmarks beskidte rolle under besættelsen. Alt fra tvangsarbejde, politisk registrering, grådige fiskere og landmænd henover våbenproduktion og entreprenørvirksomhed for værnemagten til danskerne behandling af tyske flygtninge ved krigens slutning og lægeforeningens følgende prioritering af medicin tages med jævne mellemrum op i et forsøg på at gøre Danmark til en skurk på linje med Tyskland (og med flygtningehistorierne endda med tyskerne, som ofre for danskerne). Historierne er gerne ude af proportion og ændrer intet ved det afgørende billede af at det var Tyskland der indvaderede os for at gøre en ende på os som folk med en historie og forsøgte i samme moment at ombringe alle danske jøder. De stedse oikobober, som der er mange af på Danmarks Radio, som altid frembringer en dokumentarfilm hopper dog gladeligt på limpinden og tror hvergang at en interessant nuancering af et enkelt aspekt er en rygende pistol.

Så meget desto værre er det for Israel, hvis eksistensberettigelse konstant drages i tvivl. At tro at man kan finde et dokument, der afslører alle kendte historiske kilder, som ligegyldigt er i bedste fald idiotisk. Men med den iver man kaster sig over folk, som revisionisten Pappe og lignende ligner antisemitisk ønsketænkning. Benny Morris tager i New Republic artiklen historien om Tantura under behandling

In March 1998, a Haifa University student named Teddy Katz submitted a 211-page master’s thesis titled “The Exodus of Arabs from Villages at the Foot of Southern Mount Carmel in 1948.” It dealt specifically with the fate of two villages, Umm al-Zinat, on the Carmel, and Tantura, on the Mediterranean coast south of Haifa. The main focus was on Tantura. There, argued Katz, a middle-aged kibbutznik and a peace activist, the 33rd Battalion of the Alexandroni Brigade of the Haganah, the main Jewish militia that in the spring of 1948 was transformed into the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), on the morning of May 23 massacred about 250 unarmed villagers after conquering the village the night before. Katz described a systematic Nazi-style slaughter of groups of young men shot and dumped into trenches dug by other Arabs who were themselves subsequently shot, while the village’s women and children sat on a beach a few yards away.

Katz had been supervised by a Haifa University historian named Kais Firro, and had been encouraged in his research by Pappe, who served as his spiritual guide. The student had based his thesis on extensive interviews with refugees from Tantura who lived in the West Bank and in Israel, and with veterans of the Alexandroni Brigade. He had not worked in the Haganah or IDF archives, and his massacre story was based on no documentation, Israeli, British, or Arab.

The thesis was awarded a 97 by Firro, a Druze historian, and by two other professors, an Ottomanist and a social scientist—none of them experts on the 1948 war; and in June 2000, Katz was awarded an M.A. “with distinction.” But by then the trouble had already started. In January 2000, the Israeli daily Maariv published a long magazine piece based on the Katz thesis, and on fresh interviews with some of Katz’s interviewees, that in effect supported the massacre allegation. Alexandroni veterans complained, and the following month Maariv published a second piece quoting the veterans at length, in effect denying the massacre allegation. In both pieces, the veterans had denied that a massacre had occurred of the type Katz and some of his Arab interviewees alleged (though some had hinted at “dark deeds” having taken place).

Meanwhile the Alexandroni veterans hired a lawyer (a left-winger who had represented Peace Now in several cases) and sued Katz for libel. Going through Katz’s taped interviews and his thesis, the lawyer, Giora Erdinast, discovered a series of distortions, discrepancies, and outright inventions. When the court was presented with these findings, Katz broke down—some said he suffered a nervous breakdown or a minor stroke—and agreed to recant: “I did not mean to say that there had been a massacre in Tantura…. Today I say there was no massacre at Tantura.” This was in effect accepted by the court as its ruling, and Katz was ordered to publish his recantation. He never did (it was eventually published by the Alexandroni veterans). Instead he recanted his recantation and appealed to Israel’s Supreme Court. But the high court upheld the lower court’s decision.

Parallel to this process, under pressure from several professors, the University of Haifa established a committee to review Katz’s thesis and evidence. It, too, discovered distortions and discrepancies. In his thesis Katz had “quoted” passages that did not appear in his interview tapes. The university annulled the thesis, but allowed Katz to submit a revised version. In September 2002, Katz resubmitted his thesis, now expanded to 568 pages. Again, inexplicably, he was supervised by Firro. He corrected the misquotations but he remained unrepentant: the Alexandroni troops, he still claimed, had massacred dozens, perhaps hundreds, at Tantura on May 23, 1948.

The university appointed a committee of five examiners. But again it bungled the matter. Two of them were clearly not experts on 1948, and two of the others had a few years earlier published (along with a third historian) an apologetic book effectively clearing the IDF of a massacre in Lydda during the 1948 war. Three of the examiners gave the thesis less than a 75, effectively failing it. The university authorities then compromised again and awarded Katz an M.A.—but of the “non-research” variety, preventing him from pushing on to a Ph.D. within its precincts.

Both times around, Katz had produced a poor piece of work. But this did not mean that there had been no massacre in Tantura. I decided to look into the matter myself, starting with the archives. I found that there is no evidence in the available documentation to show that there was a large-scale or systematic massacre in Tantura. And this is strange, indeed unique, if such a massacre had occurred, because in the case of all the other known massacres of Arabs that occurred in 1948, there is some sort of written corroborative evidence—an IDF report; a British, American, or United Nations cable; a monitored Arab radio transmission. About some of the Israeli massacres—Deir Yassin in April 1948, Dawayima and Eilaboun in October 1948—there are multiple and detailed reports in available Israeli, British, and United Nations documentation. (In recent months the IDF archive has inexplicably and illogically re-classified much of the Deir Yassin material that was open to researchers in the early 2000s.)

Regarding Tantura, there is written evidence that there were small-scale atrocities during and perhaps after the conquest of the village, including the shooting of a handful of captured Arab snipers. And one IDF document, from June 1948, obliquely speaks about an act of “sabotage” in the village, without further explication. But no document even obliquely mentions a “massacre.” There is not a single piece of written evidence from 1948 asserting a large-scale massacre (and 250 dead would have constituted the largest massacre to have occurred in the 1948 war).

Hvis det drejer sig om bevidst at fordreje sine kilder er Pappe fortræffelig. Pappes sensationelle historieskrivning, der er et opgør med en gigantisk zionistisk løgn/myte, som Israel har spundet om sig selv og resten af verden ind, i lægger sig i flugt med venstrefløjens nedarvede anelser om jøder og dermed Israel, som dem der lyver os andre noget i øret.

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