Rashid Khalidi: David Ben-Gurion and Israel’s Expulsion of the Palestinians

The Journal of Palestine Studies / Palestine Studies TV
YouTube – 31 March 2012

Ben-Gurion and the Transfer of Arabs

On 3 November 2011, the self-appointed media watchdog CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) informed the Journal of Palestine Studies of an incorrect citation in an article by Ilan Pappé (“The 1948 Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine”) published in its autumn 2006 issue. The incorrect citation referred to a quotation by Israeli founding father David Ben-Gurion supporting the expulsion (“transfer”) of Arabs from Palestine.

CAMERA asked JPS to “issue a correction stating that the quote attributed to Ben-Gurion does not appear in the references cited” in JPS and its website “to prevent further erroneous uses of this quote.”

Ilan Pappé

Ilan Pappé

CAMERA’s accusations (e.g., 3 February 2012) that Pappé “invented” or “fabricated” the quotation, suggesting that the Zionist leader had never supported transfer, led JPS to have the original source — Ben-Gurion’s 5 October 1937 letter to his son — translated into English. The letter vindicates Pappé’s reading of Ben-Gurion’s position on transfer and the essential accuracy of his article. While JPS regrets the lapses of citation, the 2006 article, fully consonant with the historical record, remains in our view an excellent summation of Zionist planning behind the Palestinian expulsions of 1948.

In the links below, readers will find JPS’s official response to CAMERA (published in the winter 2012 issue), the full English translation of Ben-Gurion’s letter (to our knowledge never published before), the original Hebrew (from the Ben-Gurion Archives), and a link to Pappé’s article. Because CAMERA has cited Benny Morris in support of its position (also in an article by a CAMERA official 12 November 2011), we are posting a long 2004 interview with Morris which unequivocally elaborates on Ben-Gurion’s “transferist” aims. Be sure to check back, as we will be publishing other materials related to the controversy in the coming weeks.



JPS Response to CAMERA, Winter 2012
Ilan Pappé’s 2006 article in JPS
English translation of the David Ben Gurion 1937 letter
Original David Ben Gurion letter (Hebrew)
Benny Morris 2004 interview on the 1948 expulsion

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