The Idea of Israel: A History of Power and Knowledge – Ilan Pappe

The Idea of Israel: A History of Power and Knowledge – Ilan Pappe

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In this groundbreaking work, Ilan Pappe looks at the continued role of Zionist ideology. The Idea of Israel considers the way Zionism operates outside of the government and military in areas such as the country’s education system, media, and cinema. In particular, Pappe examines the way successive generations of historians have framed the 1948 conflict as a liberation campaign, creating a foundation myth that went unquestioned in Israeli society until the 1990s.
The Idea of Israel is a powerful and urgent intervention in the war of ideas concerning the past, and the future, of the Palestinian–Israeli conflict.


Pappe's book explores is whether Zionism as the cornerstone of Israel has in fact been manipulated by the state and institutions such as universities and the media to provide a justification for the reality on the ground. The book comes at an interesting time for Israel and its neighbours. John Kerry's peace process refuses to die, despite elements on both sides seemingly united only in their opposition to it, and realities in a turbulent Middle East mean that Israel and traditional foes, especially those in the Persian Gulf, find themselves in rare agreement, especially in relation to the thorny issues of Syria and a nuclear Iran. – Independent

Ilan Pappé is a scholar and a pro-Palestinian political activist. He is one of the most prominent Israeli political dissidents living in exile, having moved from the University of Haifa to the University of Exeter. He is also one of the few Israeli students of the conflict who write about the Palestinian side with real knowledge and empathy. Pappé places Zionism under an uncompromising lens… The Idea of Israel is not a history book but a close study of the role of Zionist ideology in the making of modern Israel and of the continuing relevance of this ideology today in politics, the education system, the media, the cinema and Ashkenazi-Sephardi relations.– Avi Shlaim Guardian

Along with the late Edward Said, Ilan Pappe is the most eloquent writer of Palestinian history. – New Statesman

Even those who are familiar are likely to find Pappé's elegantly narrated account useful and stimulating... An excellent overview of the Israeli field of knowledge production and its relationship to the making of (the idea of) Israel. – Gil Hochberg Journal of Palestine Studies

Israel's bravest, most principled, most incisive historian. – John Pilger

An angry, polemical, eloquent, and often mordantly witty book… [an] uncompromising rebuttal of the foundation myths on which Israeli historiography has been based. – David Goldberg, Jewish Quarterly

An essential read for anyone trying to understand the politics and history of the Middle East. – Frontline

Paperback / 288 pages / January 2016 / ISBN 9781784782016