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 Scholarly Detachment is a Needed Remedy

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Temperance
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PostSubject: Scholarly Detachment is a Needed Remedy    Scholarly Detachment is a Needed Remedy  EmptyMon 30 Dec 2019, 18:50

I can easily get myself into senseless arguments and, true to form, I did so on Boxing Day in a friend's house, where, alas, I was a guest and should have known better. I started "discussing" the history of the Palestine/Israeli conflict with a member of the Labour party - a woman who was very left-wing, a Corbynista and person who, having worked in various areas of the Middle East, apparently knew far more than I about the terrible conflicts in those regions. She was violently anti-Zionist, but denied being anti-Semitic. That was not how she came across. I admitted great ignorance about the topic, but expressed the opinion that the conflict's historical roots are enormously complex, reaching back far beyond the British involvement and the various imperial - French and British - mandates of the last century.

 A very quiet and calm chap took my side and suggested that, if I had not already done so, I should read Anthony Julius and  Robert Wistrich. He added: "Scholarly detachment in your discussion is much needed, but is a quality rarely seen these days." I have never heard of the authors he mentioned. Recommended reading or not - and is "scholarly detachment" a virtue sadly unknown and unappreciated - but indeed much needed - in this, our brave new world?

Or is this, like so many topics these days, simply best avoided?
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Scholarly Detachment is a Needed Remedy    Scholarly Detachment is a Needed Remedy  EmptyMon 30 Dec 2019, 22:24

Temperance, there you have as usual pointed to a difficulty, which seems to exist in every historical discussion.

I met it nearly in every discussion on the history fora and in most documentaries about history. I mean the bias by the authors, which seems to
prevent them to take a neutral, not biased, honest position in the debate, which is based on real verified sources.

And your title is : "Scholarly detachment is a needed remedy", but even these academici with their high ranking university titles are many times biased. I mentioned already on this forum the French discussion: Aristote au mont Saint Michel and the German Historikerstreit.

Coincidentally I saw some days ago a documentary about Greece on the  French/German channel Arte and got gradually enerved by the statements of a French historian, who was discussed many times on French history fora. 
https://www.arte.tv/fr/videos/052423-002-A/grece-chronique-d-un-ravage-1956-2008/
https://www.arte.tv/fr/videos/052423-002-A/grece-chronique-d-un-ravage-1956-2008/

As I always look to the "about us" or sources, I learned
that it was made by a non-historian
https://www.feelmakers.com/en/directores/172/angelos-abazoglou
I suppose as living in Toulouse he is French based, but there were real historians in it as the French Annie Lacroix-Riz and I suppose as I heard the Greek historians also from the left-leaning orientation.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annie_Lacroix-Riz

As the discussion on a French forum of Geopolitics was a bit in the same vein of my difficulties, I put it last week on that thread:
http://geopolitique.passion-histoire.net/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=1364&sid=a9eeb2d90ea72ddf81c2010383286fec&start=20
(Why is it that difficult to discuss certain subjects)

And my conclusion would rather be for your problem:

Not only "scholary", but "detachment" tout court (simply, with nothing to add) is a needed remedy...to avoid an interminable debate...

But historical problems can be quite complex I agree. I contributed already on the BBC and later on several fora about the Palestinian question...nearly to death. And nevertheless I look always again if there is no new argument, which can help for a solution. And as said complex. I discussed it I think with nordmann in the time on the BBC. About the Israeli citizenship and the possibility to acquire it.
In the meantime there is perhaps more clarity among the complex material than in the time by the recent wiki:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_citizenship_law

But I agree, dear Temperance, detachment is not an easy task if one is oneself involved in the present history of one's own country or the ideals that one has set for oneself, as for instance left or right wing leaning or the more difficult middle where anybody seems to listen less and less to. Again way for the extremes as we already experienced, time and time again.

I give the example of myself in the nowadays severe crisis of the Belgian government, the Flemish region leaning to the right and the French speaking regions leaning to the left, if there comes no compromise at the end perhaps a kind of "Bundesrepublik" or even a split.
And I, as a proponent of the Southern Netherlands of before (the nowadays Belgium) and further the Low Countires of before (the nowadays Benelux) as I think how broader the links of a community, how better for the whole. As I think the same for North and South Italy...
And in that light it can happen that I seek for arguments in history, that sustain my claims for what I want  Wink  and sometimes to tease my contributors in the discussion, who have arguments for the split... Embarassed
As saying that the nowadays Flemings came only in existence since 1880...before there were only Flemings in the county of Flanders since the 9th century...and that Belgium already exists from the peace treaty of Westphalia in 1648... Wink Embarassed...

Kind regards from Paul.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Scholarly Detachment is a Needed Remedy    Scholarly Detachment is a Needed Remedy  EmptyTue 31 Dec 2019, 09:50

I suppose we have to define "scholarly" - we all fancy ourselves to be experts now. I was asking questions about the "Palestine Emergency" of 1938 and how, although everyone knows - or thinks they know -  about the Balfour Declaration, what about the Aliens Act of 1905? The woman I was talking to knew nothing about this - but then how much do I actually understand? Very little, if I am honest. We are all graduates of the University of Google these days, and some, usually the most vociferous, are pursuing their studies at the University of Twitter. It's best to hold one's tongue - wish I had done. May seem strange, but all this reminded me of the words of Henry VIII in his last speech to Parliament, made just before Christmas, 1545: his mention of the disputation - usually discordant and "jangling" (lovely word and so apt) - about religion, aka politics, going on in every alehouse and tavern resonates today. People then had the printing press, we have our Smart phones.



I am very sorry to know and hear how unreverently that most precious jewel, the word of God, is disputed, rhymed, sung, and jangled in every alehouse and tavern, contrary to the true meaning and doctrine of the same; and yet I am even as much sorry that the readers of the same follow it, in doing, so faintly and coldly. For of this I am sure, that charity was never so faint amongst you, and virtuous and godly living was never less used, nor was God himself, amongst christians, never less reverenced, honoured, or served. Therefore, as I said before, be in charity one with another, like brother and brother; love, dread, and serve God (to the which I, as your supreme head, and sovereign lord, exhort and require you); and then I doubt not, but that love and league, which I spoke of in the beginning, shall never be dissolved or broken between us. And, as touching the laws which be now made and concluded, I exhort you, the makers, to be as diligent in putting them into execution, as you were in making and furthering the same, or else your labour shall be in vain, and your commonwealth nothing relieved.


"Your commonwealth nothing relieved" - spot on, Henry.
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Scholarly Detachment is a Needed Remedy    Scholarly Detachment is a Needed Remedy  EmptyTue 31 Dec 2019, 11:03

This is a difficult theme, Temperance (at least it is to me).  I can feel strongly on matters at times so maybe I am as susceptible to "confirmation bias" as anyone.  I suppose I can try and look at the points made by an other side of an argument dispassionately.
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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: Scholarly Detachment is a Needed Remedy    Scholarly Detachment is a Needed Remedy  EmptyTue 31 Dec 2019, 11:17

I think another aspect in this is that discussions about an issue all too often become polarised. I see this particularly in politics but it also occurs in scholarly debate. Discussions become dialogues and one is either for or against, leave or remain, with us or against us, yes or no, black or white. In such an environment there is no attempt at achieving consensus or in persuading the other parties, and facts, recognising one's bias, detachment or trying to find some sort of 'truth' in the matter, all fall by the wayside as it becomes simply about 'winning' the argument.

Why not try to seek concord, especially when perhaps the middle way between the extremes is the best option, or at least the viewpoint commanding the widest acceptance? Henry VIII, as well as appealing for charity, sought concord. He started that Christmas Parliament address with:

"My well-beloved commons, I come here today to speak with you to set forth my mind and the secrets of my heart. There should be perfect love and concord in this realm but instead there is discord and dissension in every place. What love and charity is there amongst the clergy when one calls the other heretic and anabaptist, and the other calls him papist and hypocrite?"
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Scholarly Detachment is a Needed Remedy    Scholarly Detachment is a Needed Remedy  EmptyTue 31 Dec 2019, 12:26

I agree entirely with what you say, MM. Spot on words from both you and from the King. I remember the old BBC series about the Six Wives - the one where Anne of Cleves deals so cleverly and wisely with everyone, leaving her husband amazed and relieved that she could be so moderate, tolerant and understanding of his position. I'll see if I can find the scene on YouTube. Sensible old Anne - she outlived all the haters and the ranters, and lived on to enjoy years - if not of happiness - of comfort and security. Lesson for us all there, I think.


MM wrote:
 ...there is no attempt at achieving consensus or in persuading the other parties, and facts, recognising one's bias, detachment or trying to find some sort of 'truth' in the matter, all fall by the wayside as it becomes simply about 'winning' the argument.



Is it being sentimental to observe that over the years most of us have tried to do all that here at Res His (despite the odd hiccough, usually after too much alcohol)? It is a Res Historica tradition I sincerely hope continues into the new decade.

Fighting Fighting Cheers but always  study .





EDIT: BBC has blocked the series on YouTube. If I have time later, I'll find it on my ancient DVD and transcribe the relevant dialogue. Got to go out now.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Scholarly Detachment is a Needed Remedy    Scholarly Detachment is a Needed Remedy  EmptyTue 31 Dec 2019, 19:20

@Temperance wrote:
I suppose we have to define "scholarly" - we all fancy ourselves to be experts now. I was asking questions about the "Palestine Emergency" of 1938 and how, although everyone knows - or thinks they know -  about the Balfour Declaration, what about the Aliens Act of 1905? The woman I was talking to knew nothing about this - but then how much do I actually understand? Very little, if I am honest. We are all graduates of the University of Google these days, and some, usually the most vociferous, are pursuing their studies at the University of Twitter. 

Temperance,

indeed: "scholarly". I understood it as: "relating to serious academic study", and even more as: "work by serious academic historians, as the struggle between serious academici as in the "Historikerstreit"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historikerstreit
and Aristote au Mont Saint Michel by Gouguenheim
As it seems only to be known in the anglosaxon world by the biased article in the New York Times.
https://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/28/world/europe/28iht-politicus.2.12398698.html
The struggle divided the French academic world for months. In French, one can find hundreds of articles (one more biased than the other Wink)

And yes, the graduates of the university of Google and all that...
https://historum.com/threads/the-enlightenment-stolen-islamic-knowledge.96237/
and I plead guilty as I see this evening that I too started one
https://historum.com/threads/no-renaissance-without-islam.131305/
and the evergreen is still hot:
https://historum.com/threads/the-moors-civilized-europe-theory.98980/page-23

I wanted to comment more Temperance and give my opinion to MM also, but I have to leave...

See you all next year...and kind regards to all from Paul.
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Caro
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PostSubject: Re: Scholarly Detachment is a Needed Remedy    Scholarly Detachment is a Needed Remedy  EmptyTue 31 Dec 2019, 22:09

I am very surprised to see Henry VIII speaking in such a moderate and sensible way; portrayals of him over the years are of a more petulant character whose wives didn't last long. That is a very good quote. 

I am also surprised at how political and serious some of your ordinary discussions are: our usual ones concern the weather, who has died or is ill or is getting married and where, and generally daily concerns. (With the odd Trump comment thrown in.) Today the discussion will mostly be about the sky which is very oddly coloured today because of the Australian bushfires. One of my sons takes a great interest in more scientific matters but he is rather strong in his opinions.

Another thing that I find surprising is that people talk about writing after too much alcohol; I never consider that at all, perhaps because I never overdrink. (Two glasses of wine at the most, and none of my family do either. Though apparently my great grandfather was prone to drinking which might explain why my grandmother was strongly teetotal.) 

Sorry I have got off the subject of scholarly debate/discussion.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Scholarly Detachment is a Needed Remedy    Scholarly Detachment is a Needed Remedy  EmptyWed 01 Jan 2020, 11:01

Temp wrote:
...is "scholarly detachment" a virtue sadly unknown and unappreciated - but indeed much needed - in this, our brave new world?

Not amongst scholars, or at least those who retain the intended meaning of the word when being so described.

Without wishing to open the historical can of worms that is the modern state of Israel and its current geopolitical realities (at least not in this thread), it is still probably one very good example of just what you say - a topic that invites quite a lot of rather vocal comment motivated far less by a scholarly intention to actually understand the issues and far more by a desire to use highly subjective interpretations of specific aspects to the issue as often thinly disguised motifs for a rather separate argument and agenda being pursued by the commentators in question.

Your calm acquaintance who made the comment is quite correct. I would add Robert Fisk's collected articles as correspondent in the Middle East over 25 years to his recommended reading list. Fisk is a rare journalist in that he set about acquiring an exhaustive and dispassionate knowledge of the history of the region to better inform his judgements and assessments of current affairs, his articles often being of far more value as historical theses than as mere news reports, and delivered within the highly relevant context of recent events when committed to paper.

On the wider issue of the benefit of detachment, whether scholarly or not, I would suggest that this is always good advice. Besides the obvious advantage of such detachment allowing one at least to see beyond the trees to the forest itself, it is also true that a lack of detachment, often an involuntary involvement in an issue and indeed that which may even have prompted serious assessment of the issues in the first place, is also probably the very worst starting point from which to deduce anything at all with any useful measure of neutrality. However this is not to say that such a neutral stance is always impossible to achieve when addressing even those issues in which one has emotionally invested oneself to any degree, and one tried and trusted method is to educate and discipline oneself to always at least attempt to employ some degree of detachment from all issues, however difficult this might be. In all cases where this approach is adopted by individuals and evidence of such discipline can be deduced we tend to agree, whether we agree with those individuals' specific assessments or not, that at least a degree of intelligence has also in some way been applied.

I draw the line however at this point, just short of describing such intelligence as a "remedy". In some cases of course it can contribute to a remedy, but in itself it is not enough to guarantee such an outcome. There are even some issues in which emotional engagement simply cannot be avoided, and some indeed where it is in fact mandatory - for example where a completely detached assessment might even be equated with trivialisation of the issue and detrimental on that basis towards a resolution at all. In real life issues I suppose both approaches are present and required, though what really matters is the extent to which one approach or the other is applied. The mix is never quite the same, and nor can it ever be.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Scholarly Detachment is a Needed Remedy    Scholarly Detachment is a Needed Remedy  EmptyWed 01 Jan 2020, 22:36

All these interesting replies on this first day of 2020. I had the intention to reply to most of them, but see, already nearing midnight overhere. Perhaps tomorrow more time...
In any case I thank you all for your pertinent replies to this thread, from which I have learned a lot.

Kind regards, Paul.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Scholarly Detachment is a Needed Remedy    Scholarly Detachment is a Needed Remedy  EmptyThu 02 Jan 2020, 09:15

@nordmann wrote:


I draw the line however at this point, just short of describing such intelligence as a "remedy". In some cases of course it can contribute to a remedy, but in itself it is not enough to guarantee such an outcome. There are even some issues in which emotional engagement simply cannot be avoided, and some indeed where it is in fact mandatory - for example where a completely detached assessment might even be equated with trivialisation of the issue and detrimental on that basis towards a resolution at all. In real life issues I suppose both approaches are present and required, though what really matters is the extent to which one approach or the other is applied. The mix is never quite the same, and nor can it ever be.

Ah - sense and sensibility. In the novel of that title, Jane Austen presents us with the same ideas, but it is perhaps pertinent to note that one of that work's warnings - one of its most hurtful ironies - is that romantic (in the wider sense of the word) enthusiasm - what I think you mean by "emotional engagement" - is liable to be misused by others as a device for falsifying emotion. Sensibility can be corrupted into a callous and cynical sentimentality, as it was by the  later Victorians, who made "fine feeling" an art form, and turned it into a convenient form of social absolution. Virtue-signalling, or the parading of one's compassion - pitying the poor or the political underdog - can often mean that one can enjoy the pleasant sensation of virtue without the hard work of coming up with rational explanations and resolutions. The heart can smugly congratulate itself on having "felt" and then go on about its crass business. The application of intelligence - that stern Apollonian virtue - somehow gets ignored. That appears to be going on around us all the time these days - certainly on Twitter and other outlets for "feelings". As in most things in life, I agree that a balance is needed - balance and honesty.

I should like to start a discussion about the history of the Can of Middle Eastern Worms - not to make the worms wriggle, simply to try to find some clarity on this difficult topic. However, I hesitate to open such a new thread, as I sincerely do not wish to expose the management to the online abuse that can make things so difficult, external abuse that even our sedate political discussions here provoked last year. Advice please, sir.

I have ordered two Fisk books from Amazon, my current university bookshop. I'm looking forward to having something to get my teeth into after all the nonsense of the Festive Season. I hate feeling so ignorant.
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PostSubject: Re: Scholarly Detachment is a Needed Remedy    Scholarly Detachment is a Needed Remedy  EmptyThu 02 Jan 2020, 22:39

@Caro wrote:
I am also surprised at how political and serious some of your ordinary discussions are: our usual ones concern the weather, who has died or is ill or is getting married and where, and generally daily concerns. (With the odd Trump comment thrown in.) Today the discussion will mostly be about the sky which is very oddly coloured today because of the Australian bushfires. One of my sons takes a great interest in more scientific matters but he is rather strong in his opinions.

Caro, I think it all depends on the environment. If I look around me (here in Belgium) most people are discussing as you described in your paragraph. Even people with a higher diploma or university, can be only interested in the weather fore cast and all that. But there are a lot of exceptions in my opinion, as the ones, who are interested in local politics (I mean here, local as politics in the own country) which tend to enlarge to geopolitics, as local politics are connected with the larger frame of the world politics.

And there is perhaps also an element of predestination, when one grows up in an environment of critical thinking and that have not to be in a family of "studied" people. My parents for instance, only to their fourteen educated, were interested in geography and local history, even by the interwar period and WWII into global politics. Even here in Belgium there was much turmoil, as between far right and far left and as a special for Belgium  the struggle for the Flemish emancipation, which ended as in WWI, into collaboration instigated by the German occupier. And due to this background there were many as them. And there were perhaps in Europe countries, which had related circumstances as Czechia and Slovakia to call but one.

But that environment is not enough in my opinion, when one want to discuss, one has to come with arguments that are based on facts and realities. And I think, if one is interested, one has to learn to discuss in such a manner.
But one has to have a background to feed the discussion and therefore one has to do "honest" research, which is not easy.
In my case, were it the history messageboards, where I learned along the years a lot of thought. But as one can only focus on one field (perhaps the erudite nordmann can do it on several fields at the same time) in my case it was the general history of the world and the geopolitics and on the other side the European history and politics. I can even not think, as on the Historum site, to discuss about the American Seccession war, as there are overthere that many erudites that are way more educated in that files than I ever will be able, even if I started immediately now.

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Scholarly Detachment is a Needed Remedy    Scholarly Detachment is a Needed Remedy  EmptyFri 03 Jan 2020, 22:32

nordmann, I read now your message for the third time, and yes it is in your usual elegant, but to the point, way, in my opinion, a correct survey of the question. I tried to find something, but found nothing to add or to comment to this complete "tour d'horizon".

Kind regards, Paul.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Scholarly Detachment is a Needed Remedy    Scholarly Detachment is a Needed Remedy  EmptyMon 06 Jan 2020, 08:47

Temp wrote:
I should like to start a discussion about the history of the Can of Middle Eastern Worms - not to make the worms wriggle, simply to try to find some clarity on this difficult topic. However, I hesitate to open such a new thread, as I sincerely do not wish to expose the management to the online abuse that can make things so difficult, external abuse that even our sedate political discussions here provoked last year. Advice please ...

In the light of recent events in the Middle East I imagine the bots are being mobilised even as we speak. From an administrative point of view it's a pain holding DoS assaults at bay (a lot of work for such a little site as this one). However at the same time the roots of enmity in that region are quite a bit more complex than generally stated and are none the less essential to understand - especially now I would say.

Discussion of the topic is therefore a good thing - particularly a discussion grounded as much as practically possible in actual historical research. However such discussion, if published for general consumption such as on an internet forum of any size shape or form (like this one), would also be best conducted by people who at least have started to research the subject with as much "scholarly detachment" as they intend to employ vocally. This would help avoid the fate of 99% of such "forum discussions" that the internet tends to promote in which vitriol, ignorance, obtuseness and dishonesty make a louder noise than any "sense or sensibility" could ever generate. It would also make the effort in withstanding robotic assaults on our little web presence more worthwhile.
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PostSubject: Re: Scholarly Detachment is a Needed Remedy    Scholarly Detachment is a Needed Remedy  EmptyMon 06 Jan 2020, 23:15

@nordmann wrote:
Discussion of the topic is therefore a good thing - particularly a discussion grounded as much as practically possible in actual historical research. However such discussion, if published for general consumption such as on an internet forum of any size shape or form (like this one), would also be best conducted by people who at least have started to research the subject with as much "scholarly detachment" as they intend to employ vocally. This would help avoid the fate of 99% of such "forum discussions" that the internet tends to promote in which vitriol, ignorance, obtuseness and dishonesty make a louder noise than any "sense or sensibility" could ever generate. It would also make the effort in withstanding robotic assaults on our little web presence more worthwhile.
 
nordmann, in fact I spent the whole evening, trying to get embedded again in my former research about the Jewish-Palestinian relationship starting with Theodor Herzl interwoven with the British role in Palestine. But it is indeed a can of worms, and should be approached as neutral as possible. I am not sure that I have above my neutrality enough knowledge to be "scholarly". Perhaps if Temperance and you join me?

Kind regards, Paul.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Scholarly Detachment is a Needed Remedy    Scholarly Detachment is a Needed Remedy  EmptyWed 08 Jan 2020, 14:23

I am ploughing my way through two books: Enemies and Neighbours - Arabs and Jews in Palestine and Israel, 1917- 2017 by Ian Black, and The Great War For Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East by Robert Fisk.

I  am feeling very unscholarly indeed at the moment - Lord what a difficult topic this is -  and I need to finish both books before I think of starting a thread.

One preliminary comment though - and I do hope this isn't a crazy thing to say - a quotation from the Peel Commission report of 1937, quoted by Ian Black at the beginning of his Chapter 5, 1936-1939, made me think that Palestine during the last century had many similarities with Ireland:



An irrepressible conflict has arisen between two national communities within the narrow bounds of one small country. There is no common ground between them. Their national aspirations are incompatible.
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PostSubject: Re: Scholarly Detachment is a Needed Remedy    Scholarly Detachment is a Needed Remedy  EmptyWed 08 Jan 2020, 22:09

@Temperance wrote:
I am ploughing my way through two books: Enemies and Neighbours - Arabs and Jews in Palestine and Israel, 1917- 2017 by Ian Black, and The Great War For Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East by Robert Fisk.
I  am feeling very unscholarly indeed at the moment - Lord what a difficult topic this is -  and I need to finish both books before I think of starting a thread.
 
Temperance, I too am feeling very unscholarly about this difficult question, although I did some research in depth over the years for the several fora.
When you said the "Balfour declaration" there rang a bell and I thought that I mentioned it here too. And see after a quick search found it...
https://reshistorica.forumotion.com/t1268-the-balfour-declaration
And I think the book that I mentioned in this thread about the Thirties of the new Israel was this (I seem to recognize the flap of the book. But it is vanished from the local library) Only a 9 dollar, if you could check it for me, if it is in this book that I found the facts mentioned in my thread. I am nearly sure as there was also a chapter about the "kabbalah" that I didn't read, because too "heavy" for me.
https://www.amazon.com/Berlin-Jerusalem-Memories-My-Youth/dp/1589880730
As I see it from the content, it would have to be in the Jerusalem chapter from page 161 on.

PS. Temperance, if I have time, I will try to start a thread about the origins of the Palestine/Israel question and hope for your help. But as I have only time in the evenings I can't promise that much. How older I grow, how more work I have.

PPS. To give an example about reading books for a forum. As I mentioned in the thread about the Carolingian Palace School, I wanted to contribute to another evergreen on the French forum: The so called fall of the roman empire (of Gibbon reknown). I mentioned two books and a thesis from a student. I have the two books received now via the help of the granddaughter (second hand for about 30 British pound), but have still to read them in depth to start there the discussion again. Perhaps when in March to the sun on holiday i will find time to do it.

PPPS. Temperance, I am so glad to see you again. You are much needed overhere and for history questions, and for other social aspects of life as wit and all that...

And as always, kind regards from Paul.
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LadyinRetirement
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LadyinRetirement

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Join date : 2013-09-16
Location : North-West Midlands, England

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PostSubject: Re: Scholarly Detachment is a Needed Remedy    Scholarly Detachment is a Needed Remedy  EmptyFri 10 Jan 2020, 15:00

With regard to what Caro said, I think outside the forum there is discussion about less profound matters and watching Sky News (YouTube version) there seemed to be as much time being given to what Harry and Megs will do next as to the subject of the Saluting the Flag thread here or what is happening in the Middle East currently.

I know we have to be careful because of people who have nothing to do with this board possibly posting offensive stuff (to nordmann "off-list").  It's a pity in some ways that we have to take care when discussing something we may feel passionately about.  I know I was hurt by something on the board a few months ago but hopefully I'm back on an even keel now*.  One will never please all the people all the time.  I usually refer to what is now called "Israel" as "The Holy Land" because "Israel" could offend some people and "Palestine" could offend others but the big boss of my then firm said "The Holy Land" offended him because he was an aetheist.** He could have been joking - about being offended, not about his lack of religious belief.

Of course there has always been a tendency to think of times past, including in one's own lifetime to have been better than the present day.  We were discussing at the U3A New Year lunch on Tuesday how it has become perhaps more difficult to have a debate with people.  I saw something on an internet forum (which I read but didn't partake in) something like (I'm paraphrasing)  "Anyone who defends (insert name of a certain duchess who has been in the news recently) must be a paid shill for her PR team".  I've seen that argument (that someone with a different opinion is a paid "shill" or "troll") - used in relatively lightweight arguments such as whether a certain fantasy show that ended last year ended with merit or not.

* "Let's see how long that lasts?" are you thinking.

** Autocorrect changed that word to 'athirst'!!!!
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