cover image THE ROAD TO JERUSALEM: Glubb Pasha, Palestine and the Jews

THE ROAD TO JERUSALEM: Glubb Pasha, Palestine and the Jews

Benny Morris, . . I.B. Tauris, $35 (320pp) ISBN 978-1-86064-812-0

Morris is one of the leading figures of the "post-Zionist" school of history, challenging what he sees as untenable myths regarding Israel's nature and founding. He is best known for asserting, in The Birth of Palestinian Refugee Problem 1947–1949, that systematic dispossession of Palestine Arabs was, at the time of Israel's founding, a conscious Israeli policy. The second intifada has seemingly altered his views on Israeli culpability in the current political situation, as a recent series of colloquies between Morris and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, published in the New York Review of Books, makes clear, but this book continues his revisionist historical work. John Bagot Glubb, better known as Glubb Pasha, was a British officer who commanded Jordan's Arab Legion, the best Muslim fighting force in the Middle East, between 1936 and 1956. He has a corresponding reputation, fuelled by his post-retirement writings and speeches, as pro-Arab and anti-Israel, to the point of being seen as anti-Semitic. Morris makes sophisticated use of primary sources to present a more nuanced evaluation of Glubb as someone simultaneously loyal to the British government and the state of Jordan. He finds that Glubb accepted on pragmatic grounds the agreement King Abdullah made in principle with Israel's Golda Meir for the partitioning of Palestine. According to Morris, however, when Glubb and Abdullah entered the 1948 war, they did not seek the annihilation of Israel. Instead they waged limited war for limited objectives previously conceded by the Yishuv. Morris contends that Arab policy as a whole during the war followed on this action: it was designed to hurt the Jews, score domestic political points and compensate for Jordan's projected gains, but not to destroy Israel as a state. (Oct. 7)

Forecast:Expect this book to generate national review coverage, and discussions of Morris's work in general. Since this book's orientation seemingly contradicts Morris's take on the current situation, expect a plethora of political weekly column inches devoted to finger pointing and calls for clarification—a process that will itself make news.