Disinformation and the Palestine Question: The Not-So-Strange Case of Joan Peters's From Time Immemorial

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Few recent books on the origins of the Mideast crisis have evoked as much interest as Joan Peters's study, From Time Immemorial (Harper and Row, 1984). 1 Virtually every important journal of opinion printed one or more reviews within weeks of the book's release. Harper and Row reported that scarcely eight months after publication From Time Immemorial went into its seventh printing. Author Joan Peters reportedly had two hundred and fifty speaking engagements scheduled during 1985. Reviewers have differed in their overall assessment of the book. But they have almost uniformly hailed the research and the demographic findings that are at the core of Peters's study. Jehuda Reinharz, the distinguished biographer of Chaim Weizmann, acclaimed Peters's ‘valuable synthesis’ and ‘convincing … new analysis’ in the Library Journal (15 April 1984). Walter Reich, in his Atlantic review (July 1984), wrote that if Peters's ‘arguments, especially the demographic one, are confirmed, they will certainly change [our] assumptions about the Arab–Israeli conflict’. Ronald Sanders, author of a monumental study of the Balfour Declaration, likewise opined in The New Republic (23 April 1984) that Peters's demographics ‘could change the entire Arab–Jewish polemic over Palestine’. In Commentary (July 1984), Daniel Pipes threw all caution to the…

Disinformation and the Palestine Question: The Not-So-Strange Case of Joan Peters's From Time ImmemorialNormanG.FinkelsteinEdwardSaid & ChristopherHitchens, Blaming the Victims: Spurious Scholarship and the Palestinian Question (London: Verso, 1988)
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