Natalie Rothschild – potted Pappé

Natalie Rothschild begins her review of Ilan Pappé’s new book,

“The most astute observation in Israeli historian Ilan Pappé’s book Out of the Frame: The Struggle For Academic Freedom In Israel is that writing about himself was an ‘embarrassing’ experience. Rarely has so much poorly structured, skewed and conceited tripe been squeezed into 220 pages.”

Read on.

13 Responses to “Natalie Rothschild – potted Pappé”

  1. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Now, that’s what I call a review! Of all the things to like in it some are the following”

    “Is Israeli historian Ilan Pappé hated because he’s a brave dissident – or because he’s a pompous ass who wants Israel academia shunned?”

    “Reading Out of the Frame it is, in fact, not hard to understand why Pappé is so disliked by many in Israel. He comes across as pompous and narcissistic, insulting everyone around him while elevating himself to some kind of saintly status.”

    And this is, I think, the most telling comment of all in the review, concerning the Tantura episode in 1948:
    “This fable version of the controversy does no favours to Pappé’s efforts to reveal the facts about what happened in Tantura. If he is so convinced of the truth, why resort to fiction in an attempt to convince his readers of that truth?”

    That last sentence is a killer.

    It’s nice to know that others share our jaundiced view of Pappe’s view of himself and his relationship with evidence.

    • Thomas Venner Says:

      I wasn’t aware that Pappé was “hated” by anyone – I thought that he just found it difficult to get himself taken seriously because he had a very poor academic reputation, and the only people who respected him as a historian did so on account of their political beliefs.

      This also reinforces my belief in how inappropriate it is to use the term “self-hating Jews”. Far from being “self-hating”, most of these people are egomaniacs.

      • Brian Goldfarb Says:

        Or, as Anthony Julius once put it, “these people don’t hate themselves. It’s their parents they hate.”

  2. Karl Pfeifer Says:

    Thank you Natalie

  3. Ben Says:

    There was an interview with Pappe in one of the Israeli dailies a few months ago. He spoke of the difficulties his family had in adjusting to life in his new home in Exeter, and said that his children were homesick, and that they missed the warmth and fellowship that existed for them in Israel.

    Perhaps he will l go back to Israel in the end. But hopefully he will not, and you in England are very welcome to him.

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      Aren’t we just! Thanks for your good wishes re hosting Pappe.

      However, at least here he’s in good company in wishing for a boycott of Israeli universities and academics. In fact, he should be drowned in good friends welcoming yet another anti-Zionist speaking “as-a-Jew”.

  4. Karl Pfeifer Says:

    Yoav Gelber has published an excellent article on the Tantura Blood libel

    Click to access 05-12-14gelber-palestine-1948-appendix-III-the-tantura-blood-libel-english.pdf

    All articles on this affair are published on

  5. Noga Says:

    “My bias is apparent despite the desire of my peers that I stick to facts and the “truth” when reconstructing past realities. I view any such construction as vain and presumptuous. This book is written by one who admits compassion for the colonized not the colonizer; who sympathizes with the occupied not the occupiers.”

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      Or, as Dorothy Parker once famously wrote, of a book she reviewed, “Faithful Reader frowed up”.

      Thanks for the link.

  6. Yehuda Erdman Says:

    Natalie a good article but as some respondents have noted Pape thrives on the oxygen of publicity so why bother to even attempt to analyse his motives and behaviour. In a sense it is playing in to his hands. One knows that in a scholarly website such as this academics and others try to be fair and investigate the veracity or otherwise of certain personalities who hog the lime light in the arena. Pape is one of a number who are prepared to lend their names and “reputation” to all sorts of distorted attacks on Israel and the Zionist movement, which under the scrutiny of more balanced posts are seen to be illegitimate.

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      Yehuda, I suspect that we’re not writing comments to inflate Pappe’s ego. In fact, we’re not writing comments with him in mind at all. It’s all those other people out there who might not be aware of his motives in writing what he does and his lack, at least on occasions, of appropriate academic and intellectual rigour we’re writing for.

      It’s the same set of reasons that causes us to address the various denizens of different anti-Zionist organisations, proponents of a one-state settlement, etc, and never letting them have the last word, especially when they fail to bring evidence, logic and rationality to bear on the issues that concern us here.

      As I have good reason to know, there are lots of people out there who need to know that the intellectual traffic is far from one-way.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: