The Politics of Partition, 1921-1951: King Abdullah, the Zionists, and Palestine

The Politics of Partition, 1921-1951: King Abdullah, the Zionists, and Palestine

The Politics of Partition, 1921-1951: King Abdullah, the Zionists, and Palestine

The Politics of Partition, 1921-1951: King Abdullah, the Zionists, and Palestine

Synopsis

In this reissue of the abridged paperback edition of his critically acclaimed Collusion Across the Jordan, Professor Shlaim chronicles King Abdullah's relationship with the Zionist movement from his appointment as Emir of Transjordan in 1921 to his assassination in 1951. With a new Introduction, placing the book in the wider context of the on-going debate about 1948, this masterly and authoritative study is essential reading for all those interested in the politics of the Middle East.

Excerpt

In a review of the original edition of this book, Bernard Josephs wrote in the Jewish Chronicle: 'In his preface to Collusion across the Jordan Dr Shlaim insists that he does not relish slaughtering holy cows. Yet their carcasses litter the landscape of this major contribution to the history of the Middle East conflict.' From my present perspective, ten years on, I feel compelled to admit that my claim not to relish the slaughtering of sacred cows was slightly disingenuous. As someone who went to school in Israel and served in the Israeli army, I had fully subscribed to the official line on the causes, character, and course of the Arab-Israeli conflict. It was only as a result of two decades of further research and reflection in the relative tranquillity offered by British universities that I began to harbour heretical views.

This is not to say that I embarked on this book with the express purpose of slaughtering the sacred cows that I had been educated to respect and revere during the first two decades of my life. Rather, I came to realize that the history I had been taught at school, like any other nationalist version of history, is one-sided and self-serving and that some of what passed for history was little more than the propaganda of the victors. Consequently, I set out to give my own account of the struggle for Palestine without regard for the sacred cows of any of the players in this struggle. But I would be less than totally honest if I deny that I began to derive a certain pleasure from the targeting of sacred cows of Zionist history precisely because of the fierceness with which they were defended.

A word about the history of this book might be of interest. The original hardback edition of the book was published in 1988 under the title Collusion across the Jordan: King Abdullah, the Zionist Movement, and the Partition of Palestine. An abridged and revised paperback edition was published in 1990 under the title The Politics of Partition: King Abdullah, the Zionists, and Palestine, 1921-1951. The reasons for the change of title and the . . .

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