Saturday, July 08, 2017

Guy Laron's book on 1967: how to describe Palestinian leaders vs how to describe Israeli leaders

From Guy Laron's The Six-Day War: The Breaking of the Middle East, Yale UP.
On Arafat: "an uninspiring public speaker (especially in English, which remained mediocre throughout his life), and with frantically rolling beady eyes". (p. 38).*
On Eshkol: "a bespectacled 72-year-old who had the appearance of a kind uncle" (p. 87).
Dayan and Peres: "who were both considered handsome and articulate" (p. 103).
Alon: "With his shock of curly black hair neatly combed back, and a handsome face dominated by drooping eyelids that gave him the air of a sleepy gazelle" (p. 113).
 The lousy Nation magazine published a free promotion of this typically racist and academically dishonest book. More about it in Arabic and maybe here too.

PS Had the author known Arabic he would have realized that in fact Arafat was a very strong and inspiring orator in Arabic. His command of Arabic and of grammar was not strong, but he had a great theatrical voice which he put to good effect in speeches.  Also, why should Arafat be a speaker in English? Were Shamir and Rabin and Ben-Gurion great orators in English?

PPS By the way, the book is really not about the war itself. It should have been titled: On the Eve of the War: the context of the 1967 war.