Israel and the Arab Coalition in 1948
In this seminar Avi Shlaim, professor
of International Relations at the University
launches into the heart of scholarly debate about the foundation of the state
Rather than accepting the Zionist account of what happened between the Arab
states and Israel
in 1948, Shlaim re-examines the traditional narrative about the birth of Israel.
He suggests that the Zionist account of the first Arab-Israeli war is deeply
flawed, as it places most of the responsibility for the conflict on the Arab
side. For Shlaim, Zionist accounts portray Israel
as the innocent victim of unremitting Arab aggression.
In this controversial and political
assessment, Shlaim suggests that it is time to reassess the portrayal of Jews
as victims of the Arab coalition. Instead he argues that throughout the
conflict Israel had the military edge over its Arab adversaries and Israeli
leaders exploited divisions within the Arab coalition. Whether the reader
agrees with Shlaim's appraisal or not, this seminar offers a crucial
perspective on the defining moment in Arab-Israeli history.
This seminar is based on Chapter 4
of The War for Palestine: Rewriting the History of 1948, which offers a
full account of a momentous event in the history of the contemporary Middle
East. Through existing primary and secondary sources, the book re-examines the
role of all the participants in the Palestine War.
key milestones in the progression of the Israel-Arab conflict of 1948.
Israel’s strategy and tactics in dealing with the Arab coalition in 1948.
the heroic Zionist version of the War of Independence with a historical
account that suggests the Arab coalition was badly coordinated and deeply
- Evaluate the social and political forces involved in the construction of different historical narratives.
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