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The biography and bibliography (in Italian) of Ilan Pappé, one of the greatest Israeli historians of our time
Biography of Ilan Pappé
Ilan Pappé was born on 7 November 1954 in Haifa to a couple of German Jews who arrived in today’s Israel in the 1930s to escape the first Nazi persecutions; at 18 he did compulsory military service with the Israeli army and was employed in the Heights of Golan during the Yom Kippur War. In 1978 he graduated from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in 1984 he obtained a PhD from the University of Oxford under the guidance of Albert Hourani and George Owen, dedicating himself in particular to the relationship between the United Kingdom and the birth of Israel, a theme that would accompany him throughout his life.
Between 1984 and 2006 he was a senior lecturer at the Department of Middle Eastern History and the Department of Political Science of the University of Haifa, while from 1992 to 2000 he was the founder and director of the Academic Institute for Peace in Givat Haviva and between From 2000 to 2006 he was president of the Emil Tuma Institute for Palestine Studies in Haifa. Due to his extremely critical positions towards the Israeli government and its relationship with the Palestinians, in 2007 he chose to definitively abandon his country to voluntarily exile himself in England, and currently teaches history at the department of Arab-Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter .
In addition to his university career, he was also a leading member of Hadash, the historic left-wing coalition in Israeli politics, also being a candidate in the 1996 and 1999 elections. Today he is considered one of the major representatives of the “New Israeli historians” , a new generation of scholars who has profoundly changed the way we look at Israel and its relationship with the Arab world.
Bibliography (in Italian)
At the moment, there are 12 works by Ilan Pappé published in Italian:
“Not in our name! Ebrei e israeliani contro l’occupazione” published by Prospettiva editore (2002)
The meaning of this collection of contributions is to offer food for thought and a cross-section of the ideas, opinions and arguments that animate the internal opposition of the Israeli and American Jewish communities to the atrocious war that the State of Israel is carrying on against the Palestinian people and their prolonged resistance and revolution.
“Parlare con il nemico”, published by Bollati e Boringhieri (2004)
Five Israeli and five Palestinian scholars meet to give life to a discussion that passes through “bridge narratives”. An expression that defines a historiographical effort made by historians belonging to societies torn apart by prolonged conflicts, to go beyond narratives and historiographies at war with each other. The main objective is the search for peace, the point of view is that of ethnic minorities and women, the method is that of cultural and social history and not that of the elitist and nationalist one. An attempt – against the Zionist thesis – to bring the Palestinians back into the history of Palestine, creating a relational social history “from below” which constitutes a challenge to the military history of the conflict.
“The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine” published by Fazi editore (2008)
In 1948 the State of Israel was born. But in 1948 the Nakba (‘catastrophe’) also took place, or the expulsion of around 250,000 Palestinians from their land. The Israeli vulgate has always narrated that in that year, upon the expiry of the British Mandate in Palestine, the United Nations had proposed dividing the region into two states: the Zionist movement agreed, but the Arab world opposed; for this reason, he went to war with Israel and convinced the Palestinians to abandon the territories – despite the appeals of the Jewish leaders to stay – in order to facilitate the entry of Arab troops. The tragedy of the Palestinian refugees, consequently, would not be directly attributable to Israel. Ilan Pappe, a researcher belonging to the Israeli New Historians movement, studied at length the documentation (including the military archives declassified in 1998) existing on this crucial point in the history of his country, arriving at a clear vision of what had happened in ’48 dramatically in contrast with the version handed down by official historiography: already in the 1930s, the leadership of the future State of Israel (in particular under the direction of the father of Zionism, David Ben Gurion) had conceived and systematically planned a cleansing plan ethnic group of Palestine.
” Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel’s War Against the Palestinians”, published by Ponte alle Grazie (2010)
Two of the most well-equipped and acute critics of Israeli policy in Palestine, the Israeli historian Ilan Pappé and the American linguist Noam Chomsky, join efforts with the aim of awakening an increasingly larger number of consciences but also of offering food for thought and new knowledge to the more experienced reader. Not only is the history of the conflict critically reconstructed, whose key episode – the Nakba of 1948 – is reinterpreted by Pappé as a true case of ethnic cleansing, but the nature and consequences are read with tools and arguments unavailable in our media of the attacks on Gaza in 2008 and 2009 and the assault on the “Freedom Flotilla” in 2010; the role that the United States has always played, even today under the Obama administration, in endorsing the illegal Israeli policy of colonization of the occupied territories is discussed; the various peace scenarios are envisaged, starting from the proposal of a single binational state advanced among others by Pappé and, more prudently, by Chomsky himself. The Arab-Israeli conflict is a fuse lit in the heart of the Mediterranean and involves the destinies of the world. For this reason, Last Stop Gaza is a book for anyone who wants to be informed and wants a peaceful and effective solution.
“Israele-Palestina. La retorica della coesistenza” published by nottetempo (2011)
“Although the history of Palestine, from its beginnings to the present, has been nothing more than a history of mere colonialism and dispossession, the world instead treats it as a ‘complex’ history, difficult to understand and impossible to resolve.”
“Out of the Frame: The Struggle for Academic Freedom in Israel” published by Zambon editore (2012)
“Out of the Frame: The Struggle for Academic Freedom in Israel” is an autobiographical essay that allows us to understand how and why a young left-wing Zionist Israeli begins and continues, paying a very high price, a path to escape from the hegemonic ideology in his country.
“A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples” published by Einaudi (2014)
Positioned as a bridge between three continents, Palestine has been the object of interest of all international powers since the nineteenth century: from the Ottomans to the English Empire, to the European Zionists, to the post-war superpowers. Over the course of the twentieth century, its territory – and Jerusalem, the holy city of three religions – ended up becoming the home of two peoples, who sometimes knew how to collaborate, but who more often suffered the consequences of the aggressive policies of the military and those who held firmly in power. In this book Pappe retraces the history of Palestine in a story that “tries to place alongside the narratives of the exploiters and the exploited, of the invaders and those who are invaded, of the oppressors and the oppressed”. A book based on documents in Hebrew, Arabic and European languages, which has raised an international debate on the interpretation of the most vulnerable node in world politics.
“On Palestine” published by Fazi editore (2015)
Does it still make sense today to talk about Palestine and Israel using expressions such as “peace process”, “two-state solution”, “partition”? Does it make sense to continue with an empty political debate, playing into the hands of the Zionists and maintaining the status quo? The theses of Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappé collected in this volume revolve around the idea that the time is ripe for a change of direction. Dwelling on the Israeli-Palestinian issue means condemning an entire population to oblivion, therefore, according to the two authors, it is necessary to denounce Israel’s nature as a colonizing country, push the international community to take a firm position against its occupation policies and Above all, think in terms of a single multi-ethnic state, where Palestinians and Israelis can coexist with mutual respect for human rights. This is a new approach, the cornerstones of which arise first and foremost from the need to overcome the hypocrisy of the Israeli lexicon; no longer a “peace process”, therefore, but “decolonization” and “regime change”. As Pappe writes, there is a need for “a new discourse that analyzes reality instead of ignoring it”, therefore “if we want to overcome the conceptual paralysis imposed on us by the two-state solution, anyone who is in a position to do so – at any level – should propose a political, ideological, constitutional and socioeconomic structure that applies to all the inhabitants of Palestine, not just the State of Israel”.
“Di storia in storia” published by Oedipus (2016)
The book is Ilan Pappe’s lucid analysis of the history of Palestine from its origins, through the occupation and planning of the ethnic cleansing of 1948, up to today and answering some questions: what is Israel? a democracy? A militarized democracy? A state with an army or an army with a state? And what are the European and Western responsibilities? Finally, what is the role of the historian and what is the figure of the intellectual. Ilan Pappe concludes with a highly topical reflection on the autonomy of the academic world. Bilingual edition: Italian/English.
“The Biggest Prison on Earth: A History of the Occupied Territories” published by Fazi editore (2022)
In this comprehensive exploration of one of the world’s most protracted and tragic conflicts, Pappe uses recently declassified archival material to analyze the motivations and strategies of the generals and politicians, as well as the decision-making process itself, that laid the foundations of the occupation . From an investigation into the legal and bureaucratic infrastructure put in place to control over a million Palestinians, to the security mechanisms that vigorously enforced that control, Pappe paints a picture of what is in effect the largest prison in the world.
“Ten Myths About Israel” published by Tamu (2022)
The “Ten Myths About Israel” are ten historical narratives constructed to legitimize the founding of Israel in Palestine and the maintenance of a brutal occupation. Ten pillars that are rooted in European nationalism and imperialism, and, apparently paradoxically, in anti-Semitism. With the weapons of historiography, the Israeli Jewish scholar Ilan Pappé refutes the ten myths one by one, going through the various phases of the Zionist project starting from the first colonies of the 19th century until today. It guides us into an issue in which we recognize the most urgent problems of our time: the use of a racial discourse to fuel a colonial regime, the advance of the far right and Islamophobia, the war for the power of pass on historical memory and its sources. The search for a solution then pushes us to open our eyes to the open wounds of our society. Afterword by Chiara Cruciati.
“Ultima fermata Gaza” published by Ponte alle Grazie (2023)
Two of the most well-equipped and acute critics of Israeli policy in Palestine, the Israeli historian Ilan Pappé and the American linguist Noam Chomsky, join efforts with the aim of arousing an increasingly larger number of consciences but also of offering food for thought and new knowledge to the more experienced reader. Not only is the history of the conflict critically reconstructed, whose key episode – the Nakba of 1948 – is reinterpreted by Pappé as a true case of ethnic cleansing, but the nature and consequences are read with tools and arguments unavailable in our media of the Israeli attacks of the last fifteen years; the role that the United States has always played in endorsing the illegal Israeli policy of colonization of the occupied territories is discussed; the various peace scenarios are envisaged, starting from the proposal of a single binational state advanced among others by Pappé and, more prudently, by Chomsky himself. The Arab-Israeli conflict is a fuse lit in the heart of the Mediterranean and involves the destinies of the world. For this reason, “Last Stop Gaza” is a book for anyone who wants to be informed and wants its peaceful and effective solution.
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