« Organization of UK Universities: "We Reject Outright" Boycott of Israel | Main | How Syria Deceives the Press on Fatah al-Islam »

June 05, 2007

Six Day War Myth

Tom Segev's book on the Six Day War is premised on the myth that Israel wasn't facing an existential threat. Segev does not use Arabic sources

In an interview with the Jerusalem Post, Six Day War historian Michael Oren tackles a central myth surrounding the the war:

In an interview on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the outbreak of war on June 5, 1967, Oren said his research of documents in Arab countries had revealed clearly that the Arabs had planned to destroy Israel.

Although this seems obvious to Israel sympathizers who hold to the traditional story of the Arabs' responsibility for the outbreak of war, the intervening decades have seen the promulgation of a myth that Israel was not really in danger.

"The biggest myth going is that somehow there was not a real and immediate Arab threat, that somehow Israel could have negotiated itself outside the crisis of 1967, and that it wasn't facing an existential threat, or facing any threat at all," said Oren, who is a senior fellow at the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies at Jerusalem's Shalem Center and author of Six Days of War: June 1967. He noted that this was the premise of Tom Segev's book, 1967: Israel, the War and the Year That Transformed the Middle East. "What's remarkable is that all the people alleging this - not one of them is working from Arabic sources. It's quite extraordinary when you think about it. It's almost as if Israel were living in a universe by itself. It's a deeply solipsistic approach to Middle East history."

For more Six Day War myths, see here.

Posted by TS at June 5, 2007 03:22 AM


Thanks for linking to the J-P interview with Professor Oren. For whatever reason, the NYT chose to include an op-ed piece from Segev, whose thesis seems to be easily deconstructed by Oren. Too bad the Times' readers won't benefit from Oren's insights.

Posted by: Bruce Levine at June 5, 2007 01:02 PM

Read Tom Segev's piece in the NYT! It offers us a window into the hyper-analytical, yet simplistic, pathology that's gripped many Israelis. Scariest of all is the "you blew it" line.

Posted by: Maven at June 7, 2007 03:23 AM

Guidelines for posting

This is a moderated blog. We will not post comments that include racism, bigotry, threats, or factually inaccurate material.

Post a comment

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)