HARDtalk Speaks to Israeli historian, Ilan Pappe

HARDtalk Speaks to Israeli historian, Ilan Pappe

Ilan Pappe BBC Hardtalk
Hon. Dr. Ilan Pappe

HARDtalk speaks to Israeli historian,Ilan Pappe who says the record shows that Israel was born of a pre-meditated, deliberate programme of ethnic cleansing.


by William James Martin

On BBC’s news program Hardtalk, historian Dr Ilan Pappe answers questions from interviewer Stephen Sackur which begins with Mr Sackur describing Ilan Pappe as maintaining that the Jewish state is racist, born of a deliberate program of ethnic cleansing. This is a very interesting discussion, which takes the form of an adversarial debate.

Two topics were addressed:

1) “was there premeditated ethnic cleansing in 1948 as opposed to a wartime situation in which the expulsion of the Palestinian population was incidental”, as Benny Morris claims, and

2) “was the evacuation of the Palestinians justified or moral”, as Benny Morris again claims. The adversarial nature of the discussion was essentially a debate between Pappe and Morris, with Mr Sackur playing the role of Benny Morris.

MCS Ilan-Pappe-Ethnic-CleansingWhatever the history of the Jews and the relation of Jewish culture to the Zionist movement, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948 by European Jews is a cold hard fact as revealed primarily by the opening of Israeli military achieves from 1948 and carefully explored and revealed by Dr Pappe as well as Morris, Flapan, Masalha, and a few others.

Dr Pappe’s book. The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, published in 2006 is based on that primary research, and remains the most recent and most important explication of the events in Palestine of 1948. Pappe’s focus as a researcher, was directly relevant to the two issues up for discussion in the debate.

Dr. Pappe is widely reviled in his home country. He’s been living in exile in the U.K. Before he left Israel in 2008, he had been condemned in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament; a minister of education had called for him to be sacked; his photograph had appeared in a newspaper at the centre of a target; and he had received several death threats (wiki).


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  1. Between 1932 and 1941 Germany sent over 175000 Jews to Palestine. To France and USA and UK that was not enough. Who funded the operation? USA!
    BBC like CBC is packed with Zionists at control. I stopped listening when BS got heavy–massive killings of innocent Jews by the Nazis. Humbug!

  2. I highly recommend watching this interview. William James Martin is right.

    This is a very interesting discussion, which takes the form of an adversarial debate.

    Hon. Ilan Pappe, stands firm in his contention that the record shows that Israel was born of a pre-meditated, deliberate programme of “Ethnic Cleansing.”

    Some initial Pappe quotes from the interview:

    “Having a safe haven for people who were victimized, does not give them the license to victimize someone else”

    “Ethnic Cleansing is an operation at the end of which one ethnic group is being displaced by another”

    “Nobody can argue with the fact that half of Palestine’s people were expelled; half of Palestine’s cities and villages were destroyed; that Palestinians lost Palestine because Zionism created a jewish state. This is by even the most conservative definition an act of Ethnic Cleansing”

  3. The fact that bigoted Israelis revile Ilan Pappe further verifies that his views on Israel are accurate. His voice needs to be heard by all people– especially Jews– worldwide. – George Beres

  4. I’m not sure about this and Sackur’s involvement with the interview and how it was conducted. Previous posters have remarked about how Hard Talk is designed to interview its guests in a challenging manner. Sackur most likely used questions given to him by his researchers or producers. Given the way Dr Pappe swatted each question away with such ease leads me to wonder whether if there was something more going on than just poor research. I don’t know Sackur’s personal position on the I/P conflict, however his Wiki pages says his wife is Iraqi.

    Whatever the situation, this interview did nothing but good for the the Palestinian cause and nothing but embarrassment for Israel.

    • Sackur is obviously supported by the bought and paid for BBC propaganda machine, he is just the chosen mouthpiece. The servant carrying the water.

      • Hi Debbie,

        I have to say, I’m really not sure. Sackur is married to an Iraqi and lived in Jerusalem for a few years, so I’d say he’s better aware of the conflict than most journalists. Why would he serve up weak talking points as questions? Surely he must have known how easily they would have been refuted. I’m wondering if he actually “threw the fight”, so to speak.

        • Hello Steve,

          So you do believe that Sackur is his own man?

          Sackur is not the only rotten apple in the BBC barrel, but the entire rest of the barrel are also just as rotten, every last one of them.

          Let us not be hung up on the tools or the guns like Sackur, let us always remember whose finger it is on those triggers and whose eye it is behind the sights of those guns like Sackur.

  5. I think Sackur did an excellent job of being both devil’s advocate, as the program demands, and Benny Morris stand-in.

    The positions taken by Morris are influential and are accepted by many better informed Israelis who have been obliged to reluctantly accept that Palestine was not a ‘land with out a people for a people without a land’ nor that the Palestinian people fled Palestine in 1948 because they were told to by the leadership of the surrounding Arab states.

    Morris’s position got a fair expression in Sachur’s questions, but Pappe rebutted them handily, I my view.

    • @ wjm.

      Yes. I think Dr. Pappe did a better job of masterfully rebutting him. Michael Averko a New York based independent foreign policy analyst and media critic recently made a relevant point, worth noting :
      Quote //
      S. Cohen did something that I sense many academics and others shun, when he appeared on Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News show The O’Reilly Factor. S. Cohen masterfully interacted with the “No Spin Zone” not O’Reilly, who like it or not, has a good sized viewing audience. Those familiar with O’Reilly are aware that he gives a harder time (via interruptions) to people he disagrees with.

      The American public at large aren’t ardent Russia watchers ( RT / Press TV ?). Two people I know who regularly watch O’Reilly’s show acknowledged that S. Cohen made some cogent points. Hence, S. Cohen’s presence on The O’Reilly Factor served a constructive purpose. Effective advocacy in mass media TV and radio can make a difference. Some (like O’Reilly perhaps) might be pretty much set in their ways. There’re others more willing to change their opinions.

      In this day and age, it shouldn’t be considered so unconventional to seek contacting folks for the purpose of improving the coverage. This process can shoot a good number of blanks. There’re also the exceptions, which are beneficial to one degree or another.

      Groaning alone will not make a difference, as opposed to a civilly acceptable reaching out to others. Meantime, those with the desire and greater resources to seek an improvement, should appreciate and understand the need to offer greater opportunities, to those offering valid and underrepresented points of view.Unquote//

      The likes of Sackur and O’Reilly are nothing more than journalistic prostitutes.

      “Those who march behind genocide should be ashamed of themselves, not those who fight for what is right.”

      There are some Academics, the likes of Dr. Illan Pappe, Dr. Finkelstein, perhaps just a few, who do offer opinions that do cost them dearly. They lose their academic tenure, their jobs or means of livelihood, and often become targets of ridicule or threats. Some are even tortured or lose their lives.