Fri Jul 12, 2024
July 12, 2024

Solidarity with Ilan Pappé

Last Monday, the Israeli historian Ilan Pappé (currently based in Great Britain) was detained by the FBI at the Detroit airport (USA). The agents interrogated him for two hours and then released him[1].

By Alejandro Iturbe

Pappé was born in Haifa (present-day State of Israel), in 1954, in a family of German Jewish immigrants. After finishing his studies, he was appointed Professor of Political Science at the University of Haifa. There he began his intense work as a historian, on the history of the Palestinian territory, the Jewish people, Zionism, and the creation of the State of Israel.

He presented the results of his research in numerous books such as The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, The Modern Middle East, A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples, and Ten Myths about Israel, which achieved international dissemination.

Pappé’s conclusions were very uncomfortable for Zionism. On the one hand, they refuted their myths about the history of the Jewish people. And on the other hand, they clearly stated that Israel was an artificially created state based on the violent expulsion of a significant part of the Palestinian people from their historical territory (through the Nakba), and on the persecution and repression of those who remained there.

Thus, he concluded that the Palestinians expelled from their lands had the right to return to their homeland, to join those who remained there, and that no solution would be possible as long as the current Zionist State of Israel subsisted. He developed his proposal for a future Palestinian state in a recent book he co-wrote with Palestinian professor and historian Ramzy Baroud [2].

Consistent with his ideas and convictions, Pappé began to develop a struggle in the field of ideas against Zionism and to express his solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people. He thus became the main exponent of a small minority of anti-Zionist Israeli Jews.

As punishment, in 2007 he was dismissed from his teaching position at the University of Haifa and, in fact, forced to leave Israel. He emigrated to Great Britain and, since 2008, has been Professor of History at the University of Exeter. From there, he has continued the dissemination of his works and made trips to several countries to give lectures, including the U.S. [3].

In 2017, he traveled to Brazil for the presentation of the Portuguese edition of his book A Limpeza Étnica da Palestina published by Editora Sundermann [4]. In the framework of the various activities that took place in São Paulo, militants of the IWL and the Brazilian PSTU (such as the Palestinian-Brazilian activist Sorayah Misleh) had the opportunity to share some talks with him. In them, in addition to the many agreements we have with his positions, we met a very kind human being with deep convictions.

In spreading and denouncing through various networks his arrest, Pappé said it was a “reaction of sheer panic and despair at the fact that Israel will very soon become a pariah state, with all the implications of such a status.”

The occupation with genocidal methods of the Gaza Strip by the Israeli army has shown the world, in a very clear way, the essence of the State of Israel and the continuity of the Palestinian Nakba. This new aggression has generated a strong wave of large mobilizations all over the world, repudiating Zionism and in solidarity and support to the Palestinian people.

As part of this process, thousands of young students from imperialist countries that “unconditionally” support Israel (such as the U.S., France, and Great Britain) took over several university centers and set up camps in repudiation of the policies of their governments [5].

Faced with this, the “Democratic” government of Joe Biden gave a repressive response. On the one hand, it repressed the students (as was the case with the Nixon administration at the time of the protests against the Vietnam War) [6]. On the other hand, it introduced in Congress a law establishing that any public repudiation of Israel will be considered “anti-Semitism” and, therefore, a crime. The Biden administration thus makes its own the fallacy of the Zionists that any and all criticism of Israel and its actions is equal to the anti-Semitism of the time when the Jewish people were persecuted in Europe [7].

The arrest of Ilan Pappé in Detroit is part of this repressive turn of the Biden administration. From the IWL, we repudiate this fact and express our deepest solidarity with him.


[1] Questioned by FBI – Renowned Historian Ilan Pappé Detained in Detroit – Palestine Chronicle

[2] ‘Our Vision for Liberation’ with Ilan Pappé & Ramzy Baroud – Politics For The People

[3] Ilan Pappé : There is an apartheid state called Israel (

[4] Ilan Pappé in Brazil – International Workers League (



[7] Zionism is not synonymous with Judaism – International Workers League (

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