« Degeneration of a New York Times Headline, Part II | Main | Voice of America Wrong on American Veto »

December 30, 2014

Shavit's Lydda "Massacre" Reaches Israel

Ari Shavit

Ari Shavit has won enormous adulation among American Jews for his book, My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel, in which he movingly recounts the early years of struggle to establish Israel but which also alleges Jewish fighters committed a massacre in the town of Lydda during the 1948 War of Independence.

So striking was the Lydda story that The New Yorker excerpted a version of it as a stand-alone article -- one critiqued by CAMERA for its inflammatory distortions and omissions.

CAMERA was hardly alone in challenging Shavit's account. Scholar and President of Jerusalem's Shalem College Martin Kramer deconstructed the implausible Lydda charges in a July 2014 Mosaic magazine article and now has presented much of this information to an audience of Israeli veterans of the 1948 war, including some who fought at Lydda.

Because Shavit's book was published in English, most Israelis have been unaware of its massacre allegations. When Professor Kramer spoke to the veterans as part of a December 4 panel sponsored by the Galili Center for Defense ‎Studies, the response to claims of a "revenge" atrocity against Lydda's Arabs was shock and anger. Kramer recounts:

The reactions tumbled forth in immediate response ‎to Shavit's text. I heard gasps of disbelief and angry asides.

He reports the anguish of some of the audience:

At this ‎point, none of them is up to challenging a well-connected media celebrity of Shavit's caliber, and ‎the persons specifically accused by him are gone. An elderly gentleman came up after my ‎presentation and asked if I intended to publish my article in Hebrew. We ourselves can't set the ‎record straight anymore, he pleaded.

So, while Ari Shavit is reaping accolades across America for a book with shoddy, unsubstantiated charges of a Jewish atrocity, those who actually fought in the War of Independence hope their countrymen will come to understand one of their most celebrated journalists has gone abroad and defamed them all.

Posted by AL at December 30, 2014 03:40 PM


I read an article on titled "1948 "Palestinian exodus from Lydda and Ramle". It said that IDF intelligence officer Yeruham Cohen said that 250 people lost their lives. It also said that people were shot running out of their houses. Sounds like a massacre did take place. And you say you believe in "accuracy". Maybe you ought to do research before writing commentaries.

Posted by: Derek at January 2, 2015 05:48 PM

Population transfers have occurred after WWII. In view of the Arab countries expelling over a million Jewish people and confiscating land and homes 120,000 Sq. Km. which is 4 times the size of Israel and the British in violation of the San Remo Treaty of 1920 took 80% of the land allocated to the Jewish people and set up a new Arab State for the Arabs which is Jordan today. (this is after the same Allied Powers set-up 21 Arab States). It is only logical to implement a population transfer. Israel has resettled the million Jewish refugees from Arab countries, it is about time the Arab countries should resettle the Arab-Palestinians and stop this tragedy to continue.

Posted by: YJ Draiman at January 4, 2015 04:35 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)