The Economist reviews Shlaim’s new book ‘Israel and Palestine: Reappraisals, Revisions, Refutations‘:
WHAT makes historians change their minds? The Israeli “revisionists” who in the late 1980s began challenging Israel’s account of its conflict with the Arabs are notable not only for exploding the standard view of history but for how much they themselves have diverged since. Of the original four, Benny Morris has since pinned all blame for the breakdown of the peace process on the Palestinians and said that the mass expulsion of Arab-Israelis could be justified; Ilan Pappé, at the other extreme, left Israel for good in 2007 calling Zionism illegitimate and racist and advocating the return of all the Palestinian refugees. Avi Shlaim, the most classical historian among them—he is two years shy of retirement from his chair at St Anthony’s College, Oxford—also remains the most mainstream. (The fourth, Simha Flapan, died the year that his book on the birth of Israel was published.)
But Mr Shlaim’s own views have evolved too, and his latest book, “Israel and Palestine: Reappraisals, Revisions, Refutations”, provides an insight into how. It is an anthology of his essays and book reviews spanning the past quarter-century.”
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