Phi Beta Cons

Historiographical Battle Over the Six-Day War

A brigade of self-proclaimed “new historians” is attempting to prove that Israel had hostile intentions in 1967 – that is, as Michael Oren writes in JTA reports, to contradict the established image of “a country and leadership deeply fearful of military confrontation, and desperate to avoid one at almost any price.”
This debate is “ferocious” and of immense consequence. It involves “issues that have a profound impact on the lives of millions of people: Israel’s security, the rights of Palestinian refugees, the future of Jerusalem.”

According to the revisionist historians, the Six-Day War came about not as a consequence of Arab bellicosity but rather in response “to socioeconomic factors within Israel, as a tactic by the nation’s leaders to distract attention from their failed domestic policies.”

Oren sets the record straight:

Far from even hinting that Israel deliberately brought about the conflict, the record shows that Israel was desperate to avoid war and, up to the eve of battle, pursued every avenue in an effort to avert it — even at great strategic and economic cost to the nation.