Today, London’s Guardian featured an Op-Ed by former Israeli Avi Shlaim – the post-Zionist new historian and Oxford don. Shlaim, surprisingly, insists on propping up his own credentials by writing, “I write as someone who served loyally in the Israeli army in the mid-1960s and who has never questioned the legitimacy of the state of Israel within its pre-1967 borders . . . ”
How that would somehow strengthen what follows it remains a mystery. After all, ideas, as well as historical interpretations, stand on their merits, not on the identity or resume of whoever is advocating them at a given time. This holds true especially with Shlaim, because much of his self-characterization amounts to a lie. He may have served loyally in the mid-1960’s, but he has repeatedly questioned the legitimacy of Israel, called it an “Ashkenazi trick,” supported the one-state solution and gone so far as to argue that “Zionism today is the greatest enemy of the Jews.” Should you not be a bit more honest, Mr. Shlaim?