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Israelis in Non-Israeli Universities
Avi Shlaim, St. Antony's College, Oxford, fabricates some "New History"


The anatomy of hating Israel
By Avraham Tal, Haaretz

"Israel's error, then and now" is the headline of an article by British-Israeli historian Avi Shlaim, a professor and researcher at St. Antony's College, Oxford. Shlaim, whose article was published August 4 in the International Herald Tribune, is one of the "new historians." Like many of his peers, he is preoccupied with the systematic invalidation of the Zionist narrative in the Israeli-Arab conflict. This article is an example of a one-sided "academic" discussion, slanted against Israel and filled with hatred for the Jewish state. It's worth examining several examples of this hatred.

Shlaim compares the present war in Lebanon to Operation Grapes of Wrath, which took place there in 1996, and claims that both campaigns represent the same trend: the avoidance of diplomacy and the reliance on military force to meet diplomatic objectives. In both cases, claims Shlaim, "Civilian leaders accepted uncritically the advice of the military." (The fact that a minister voted against a massive response to Hezbollah's provocation on July 12 apparently proves nothing). Why did these leaders uncritically accept the recommendation of the military? "In order to bolster their popularity with the Israeli public."

And here is the detailed scientific explanation: "Shimon Peres, who became prime minister after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, tried to recast himself from Mr. Peace to Mr. Security. [Prime Minister] Ehud Olmert, who succeeded the hawkish Ariel Sharon, is trying to prove that he can be just as tough and decisive when Israel's security is at stake."


These are therefore the reasons for the military campaigns: the personal ambitions of the leaders. Not a single word about the political and security background that led to the deteriorating situation that Israel, including its prime minister, did not want.

Shlaim is forced to admit that Hezbollah's attack was unprovoked and that the militia "captured two Israeli soldiers" (eight dead and a murderous diversionary shelling of border communities are of no importance to him). After this happened, "Olmert presented only a military plan of action to his security cabinet." That's clear, since after all he wanted to position himself as the successor of the tough Sharon. "The option of negotiations on a prisoners' exchange was not even considered," complains Shlaim. Apparently the proper response to unprovoked aggression is negotiating over the aggressors' conditions.

The two Israeli campaigns "involved the deliberate targeting of civilians in flagrant violation of the laws of war." Here Shlaim mentions the statement by Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Dan Halutz, who was asked when he was commander of the air force what he felt when dropping a bomb on a civilian target. Halutz replied that he felt nothing more than the slight shudder of the bomb being released, and that was it. Halutz was referring to the bombing of a Gaza building where a Palestinian arch-terrorist had been located. And this is the scientific conclusion from Halutz's statement: "The reply speaks volumes about the depth of moral depravity of Israel's top soldier."

The article speaks not a word about the murder of innocent people by Palestinian suicide bombers, the emissaries of the victim of the Gaza bombing; nor about Hezbollah's systematic shelling of civilian communities in order to kill as many Jews as possible. In the entire 1,200-word article the words: "Katyusha," "rocket" and "missile" do not appear even once. Shlaim sings a song of praise to Hezbollah, which he considers not only an authentic Islamic resistance movement (in light of the decline of the Lebanese Army), but a movement that empowers the poor and the underprivileged. Throughout the article, there is absolutely no mention of Syria, Iran or the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

Operation Grapes of Wrath ended after the disaster in Qana, where 102 refugees were killed "by a barrage that was later described by Amnesty International as deliberate." Shlaim did not have the intellectual honesty even to consider the possibility that such a disaster was opposed to the Israeli interest, and that it may not be logical that this was deliberate. He mentions the second Qana disaster in the hope that it would "yet prove to be the tipping point in this ugly war." This hope did not come true, as we know, because the West had not yet realized that the attempt to destroy a murderous terror organization should be forsaken.

Shlaim states, "No strategic gain would justify in moral terms the death and destruction that Israel has visited on its defenseless neighbor. ... Killing children is wrong. Period. A 'war on terror' cannot be won by a democratically elected government acting like a terrorist organization." In Shlaim's distorted worldview, the Israeli government operates as a terror organization, whereas Hezbollah is a legitimate Islamic resistance movement.

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