Friday, July 07, 2017

Guy Laron and the 1967 war

I don't have time to write about the book in details especially that I am serializing a critical review about it for Al-Akhbar: but I am rather surprised that some leftists are counting this book as a dissident or critical history of the war. The book suffers from all the major flaws and problems of classical Israeli Orientalism, including the disregard of the views of the Arab themselves and the academic dishonesty which is a feature of Zionist writings about the conflict.  The dishonesty is such that he tells a story about how Yasser Arafat (who he called "ruthless") (accompanied with Abu Jihad) once ambushed an opponent in Fath leadership (Yusuf Al-`Urabi) and killed him.  (see p. 40).  The footnote of the story takes you to two sources, a book by the Israeli journalist Ehud Yaari named "Strike Terror: the Story of Fatah".  I mean, how much objectivity does one expect from a book by that name?  However, Arafat and Abu Jihad were not even in that meeting when `Urabi was killed.  The story is well-known: `Urabi was having an argument with someone in an office (Arafat was nowhere around that place), and then a Fath members hears the yelling and enters the office shooting.  `Urabi was killed along with a guard of Yasser `Arafat.  And while Laron cites Yazid Sayigh's book, the account in the latter is totally different from the account of Laron (see Sayigh, p. 127).  And on and on.  Typically in those Israeli histories, what Arabs say does not count unless it is said in English by people who support Anwar Sadat.  There are six Arabic sources listed and barely used except Haikal and Murtaji (and he mistrusts the former and trusts the latter because he was anti-Nasser).