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Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-2001

  • ISBN13: 9780679744757
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Product Description
At a time when the Middle East has come closer to achieving peace than ever before, eminent Israeli historian Benny Morris explodes the myths cherished by both sides to present an epic history of Zionist-Arab relations over the past 120 years.

Tracing the roots of political Zionism back to the pogroms of Russia and the Dreyfus Affair, Morris describes the gradual influx of Jewish settlers into Palestine and the impact they had on the Arab population. Following the Holocaust, the first Arab-Israeli war of 1948 resulted in the establishment of the State of Israel, but it also shattered Palestinian Arab society and gave rise to a massive refugee problem. Morris offers distinctive accounts of each of the subsequent Israeli-Arab wars and details the sporadic peace efforts in between, culminating in the peace process initiated by the Rabin Government. In a new afterword to the Vintage edition, he examines Ehud Barak’s leadership, the death of President Assad of Syria, and Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon, and the recent renewed conflict with the Palestinians. Studded with illuminating portraits of the major protagonists, Righteous Victims provides an authoritative record of the middle east and its continuing struggle toward peace. Review
Making sense of any particular episode in the long and convoluted conflict between Arabs and Israelis can seem a Sisyphean task–engineering peace in the Middle East has become nearly clichéd in its complexity, with each individual dispute traceable back to years of anger, mistrust, and mutual misunderstanding fueled by cycles of violence and revenge. To add to this confusion, the historical record has been colored by “emphatic partisanship by commentators and historians from both sides, as well as by foreign observers,” adds Middle East historian Benny Morris. So what Morris has undertaken in this volume–an inclusive, dispassionate, and rigorous history of the conflict, from Zionism’s birth in the wake of the Russian pogroms through to the uncertain prospects for peace in 1999–is no mean feat.

A calm, balanced voice (although a controversial one among some who fear revisionism), Morris has previously proven his scholarship with such definitive titles as Israel’s Border Wars and The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem. Righteous Victims likewise doesn’t waver in its task, methodically unearthing the political and military roots of the struggle, from early friction between Zionist “colonizers” and native Arabs slowly through to the establishment of Israel and the bloody wars and terrorism that followed. –Paul Hughes

Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-2001


  1. Not at all even handed. Morris makes sweeping statements about what an entire group of people were thinking or feeling based on antidotal evidence at best. Anyone looking to this book to educate themselves about the history of the region should also know that the author has since recanted much of the editorializing he did in these pages. Besides being misleading, it’s dense, boring and long. I recommend it only in lieu of a sleeping pill. Look for my copy on the “used books” shelf.
    Rating: 1 / 5

  2. Benny Morris, has found fame because he has chosen to betray the truth, and embrace the lies of the Arab League, the PLO, and Hamas so he can sell more books, and get more money. The fact he is a “renegade” of sorts is what sells his trash. I think anyone looking for the truth behind Benny Morris should read Efraim Karsh’s essays and book “Fabricating Israeli History.” Morris basically dedicates his book to omitting key phrases from key people, taking things out of context, and overall distortion. Benny Morris is basically sealing the fate of the Jewish state with this kind of trash he writes.
    Rating: 1 / 5

  3. Morris’ review is coloured in his attempt to provide equity between Palestinians and Israelis. Historically, the bottom line is that Israel absorbed almost 1 million Arab and Perisan Jews, while the Arabs failed to absorb less than half a million displaced Arabs from the creation of Israel. (Population transfer was the original mandate for Israel, see League of Nations Mandates of 1917, which also created mandates for independent states such as Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt, and were affirmed in the first paragraph of the UN Charter) If you’re looking for historically documented facts, I suggest Joan Peters’ ‘From Time Immemorial’. She is a journalist who set out to write a pro-Palestinian book and ended up finding (in almost exclusively Arab sources) a strong history which debunks current Arab claims about refugees and the right of Israel to exist in all of the land west of the Jordan river. For instance, it is interesting that even the UN claims that only 20% of the Arab refugees were landowners (and that the other 80% were migrant workers from other Arab lands and not indigenous to Israel at all), and that these displaced persons were included in the refugee rolls because Arab countries refused to take them back [and they needed shelter and food, which UNRWA could provide). We find from Peters’ multiple Arab sources that Arabs openly stated repeatedly that they would use these non-refugees politically (and so far successfully) in attempts to destroy nascent Israel. Morris also completely ignored the facts that 1) until 1981, most Palestinian refugees held Jordanian citizenship, and 2) that Jordanian law, based on the Mandate from 1917, carries a clause which stipulated [until 1981] that all non-Jewish Palestians have a ‘right of return’ to Jordan. Peters’ book is completely annotated, and as I mentioned earlier, her sources are almost exclusively Arab, which lends her book a lot of validity and debunks the most basic premises’ of revisionist histories of the conflict.
    Rating: 1 / 5

  4. I really enjoyed this one. I don’t know where the other reviewers are coming from in calling it biased. I did not see that at all. Morris does not appear to be a fan of Ben Gurion, but he also did not give a lot of attention to the Israeli massacres in Lebanon. He is not into emotionalism in this book but more into just recounting the facts of history. This is not a book to build up one particular side or another on the issue. It is a good book to learn the actual history though.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  5. Do not believe the charges of anti-semitism.

    This book is critical of both sides but based on exhaustive research into primary sources: the files of the Israeli government and army. If you only want to hear the propaganda from one side or another, avoid this book.

    I would criticize the maps as inadequate, a detailed map of the region in the endpaper would have been just the thing. Also, the author assumes a familiarity with people and events in the area
    which went well beyond my knowledge, until I read the book.

    Update: 10 December 2002
    Wow. I got a ton of “unhelpful” votes for the above review. My review was not particularly well written, nor spell checked (now corrected!), nor was it detailed. But 17 out of 85 unhelpful? I wonder, wonder what is going on.
    Rating: 5 / 5


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