Gilad Atzmon: Pappe's Discomfort!
Ilan Pappe is an important voice. One of those courageous historians, brave enough to open the Pandora box of 1948. Back in the 1990s Pappe, among a few other Israeli post Zionists, reminded Israelis of their original sin, the orchestrated, racially driven ethnic cleansing of the indigenous people of Palestine, the Nakba. But like many other historians, Pappe, though familiar with the facts of history, seems either unable to grasp or reluctant to address the ideological and cultural meaning of those facts. In his recent article, When Israeli Denial of Palestinian Existence Becomes Genocidal, Pappe attempts to explain the ongoing Israeli dismissal of the Palestinian plight. Like Shlomo Sand, Pappe points out that Israeli President Shimon Peres' take on history is a fabricated narrative. So far so good, but Pappe then misses the point. For some reason, he believes that Peres' denial of the Palestinian's suffering is a result of a cognitive dissonance, i.e. a discomfort experienced when two or more conflicting ideas, values or beliefs are held at the same time. But what are those conflicting ideas or values upheld by Israelis and their President, which cause them so much discomfort? Pappe does not tell us. Nor does he explain, how Peres has sustained such discomfort for more than six decades. Now, I agree that Peres, Netanyahu and many other Israelis often exhibit clear psychotic symptoms, but one thing I cannot detect in Peres' utterances or behavior is any discomfort. I obviously believe that Pappe is wrong here, expulsion, ethnic cleansing as well as the ongoing abuse of human rights in Palestine, are actually consistent with Jewish nationalist supremacist culture, and also with a strict interpretation of Jewish Biblical heritage. Pappe writes, The perpetrators of the 1948 ethnic cleansing, were the Zionist settlers, who came to Palestine, like Polish born Shimon Peres, before the Second World War. They denied the existence of the native people they encountered, who lived there for hundreds of years, if not more. Here Pappe is correct, but then he continues: The Zionists did not possess the power at the time to settle the cognitive dissonance they experienced: Their conviction that the land was people less, despite the presence of so many native people there, But Pappe fails to point at any symptom of such a dissonance. Could it be that the Director of the Palestine Studies at the University of Exeter is just ignorant? Certainly not, Pappe is far from being ignorant. Pappe knows the history of Zionism and Israel better than most people. He knows that Zionist settlers like 'Polish born Shimon Peres' were ideologically and culturally driven.