Guardian publishes letter by Gilad Atzmon ally Karl Sabbagh

Karl Sabbagh, the British academic and author of Palestine: A Personal History, had a letter published at the Guardian on Jan 9:

Harry Goldstein’s assertion (Letters, 7 January) that the Palestinians were “offered [a state] in 1947 and refused, preferring to make war on Israel“, must be challenged. The Palestinians were told that 56% of their existing state of Palestine was to be taken away and made into a Jewish state, even though half of the population of the “Jewish” area was Arab. Since the Jews made it clear they wanted even more than the 56% and would take it by force, the Arab armies, far smaller in number and less well-armed than the Jews, moved up to the border of the Jewish state, in an attempt to protect the remaining territory they had been allocated, and stop Israel taking those areas by force. They failed either to stop the Jewish armies or to prevent them expelling Palestinian Arabs from a land in which they had once formed 90% of the population. – Karl Sabbagh

Even by Guardian standards, this is an especially egregious distortion of historical reality.  

First, contrary to what Sabbagh implies, there was never an “existing state of Palestine”. Further, the suggestion that Jews were the belligerent party in 1947-48 represents a remarkable inversion, as it was the Jews (and not the Arabs) who accepted partition, despite the fact that it gave them only a small portion of the land previously promised to them. (Indeed, 77% of the landmass of the original Mandate for the Jews was excised in 1922 to create a fourth Arab state – today Jordan.)

Arab leaders didn’t unleash their armies merely to adjust the borders, but were completely clear that their goal was the total annihilation of the nascent Jewish state.

“I personally wish that the Jews do not drive us to this war, as this will be a war of extermination and momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Tartar massacre or the Crusader wars”. – Azzam Pasha, Secretary-General of the Arab League, October 11, 1947

To Arab leaders in the months before and after partition, a Jewish state of any size was intolerable.

Of course,  Sabbagh’s historical distortions concerning Israel’s creation aren’t at all surprising when you consider that he wrote a blurb for one of the most antisemitic books to be published in several years.

“Gilad Atzmon’s book, The Wandering Who? is as witty and thought-provoking as its title.  But it is also an important book, presenting conclusions about Jews, Jewishness and Judaism which some will find shocking but which are essential to an understanding of Jewish identity politics and the role they play on the world stage.” Karl Sabbagh 

(You can see more about Atzmon’s extreme antisemitism here.)

Finally, here’s a video of Sabbagh in a panel discussion about the book ‘The Wandering Who?’ heaping more effusive praise on Atzmon.

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22 replies »

  1. Even if he is completely wrong about a state of Palestine ,his tone is very moderate unlike your

    ” the total annihilation of the nascent Jewish state.” soaked as it is in alarmist bugle blowese ..attempting to attribute an extremism in the Arab people that had not been so apparent over the centuries as compared to the Christians obviously.

    To set him up as a friend of Atzmon is just weak if that is the only thing you have on him. Trial by association.

    • Berchmans, haven’t you paid work to do? Do you sit around waiting for new articles on cifwatch so that you can entertain us or give some specious meaning to your empty existence?

      And why not judge Sabbagh by association? You can often tell the worth (or in this case the lack of it) of a person by the company he chooses to keep. Y’know, rather like you and CiF.

      Incidentally, did you fall or were you pushed?

    • Are you really trying to claim that if the Arab armies had won it would not have meant the end of Israel?
      he’s also wrong about the strength of the Arab armies and about them stopping at the border. He’s an “academic” who makes blatant misstatements why shouldn’t he be called out ? Atzmon is a racist and a bigot, I have no problem with calling out people who align with him politically. Or are you trying to claim they were always good buds?

    • Oh, you must have missed the part at which Sabbagh says “I agree with everything (in Atzmon’s book) that I can understand.” It’s at 0:38 in the video.

  2. ” Incidentally, did you fall or were you pushed? ”

    Booted embarrassingly. Their biggest fan . I put up with their wimpy bullshit until Syria and something went inside me. I told them they were a pack of Union Jack loving etc you can guess the rest.

    Again I apologise for being a jerk

    • For myself I’ll accept your apology when you show evidence that you have ceased to be a jerk. Until then …..

      • But my faux pas was 4 years ago. Surely I should get some time off for good behaviour?

        As for the one Peter is always on about.. 7 years ago. Hes got an astonishing memory. I would send 10 posts a day which over 7 years is more than 10 ten k and he remembers the other duff one ? Hardly fair is it ?

  3. Funny how war in the Middle East began in 1947 with the split of the remainder of the British Mandate of Palestine and not, say, in the ’30s when the Brits first split the Mandate into a 74% chunk of Jew-free Palestine (i.e. Transjordan) and then placed an Iraqi family on the throne.

    Funny as in Ha-ha, not as in weird. Because, really, how can you not stop laughing at the dipshits who populate this planet?

    • “Jew-free ”

      You cant resist it can you ? This is of course a transliteration of “Judenfrei ” and you have won todays prize for trying to tar the Arabs as Nazis. You are so transparent that on a clear day one can see right through you.

      • Why?Jordan has a law banning Jews

        The following shall be deemed to be Jordanian nationals:
        (1)Any person who has acquired Jordanian nationality or a Jordanian passport under the Jordanian Nationality Law, 1928, as amended, Law No. 6 of 1954 or this Law;

        (2)Any person who, not being Jewish, possessed Palestinian nationality before 15 May 1948 and was a regular resident in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan between 20 December 1949 and 16 February 1954;

  4. The Arab armies, far smaller in number and less well-armed than the Jews, ?
    Is that why Israelis lost east Jerusalem and settelemnt in the west bank to Jordan. Is that Why egyptian came about 40 km south of Tel Aviv. How many war planes did Israel have so they would be able to fight back the egyptian airplanes who where bombing Tel Aviv. Why do arabs allways have to lie in order to justify their loosing in their wars with us.