An Israeli activist with Israel’s pro-Palestinian “peace” group, Gush Shalom, Theodore Katz is also a protégé of Ilan Pappe, an Israeli revisionist historian who is marginalized even by other revisionists. Katz gained notoriety when he submitted a master’s thesis charging that Israel’s Alexandroni Brigade had committed a massacre at the village of Tantura during the 1948 War, shooting 200 unarmed villagers after they had surrendered. Surviving members of the Brigade sued Katz for libel. Katz accepted $8,000 from a PLO Minister to mount his defense. An Israeli court found Katz guilty, and Katz signed a statement admitting that he had garbled and fabricated evidence, though he later retracted his confession. Haifa University reviewed his thesis and found the same flaws. The University would not even accept Katz’ revised thesis.
Nonetheless, Katz is now on the lecture circuit as an “expert” about the Middle East conflict. Like other members of Gush Shalom and like Ilan Pappe, he simply presents pro-Palestinian propaganda and details Israel’s “crimes” over the past century in lurid colors. He does this gently, using the language of peace, justice and morality. Unrepentant, he still talks about the supposed massacre at Tantura, and throws in others as well. His particular contribution to the anti-Palestinian discourse is that Israel “silences” and censors those who expose Israel’s crimes and the falsity of the Zionist narrative, and that Israel forces everyone to accept the Zionist dogma. He uses his own unhappy experience with his thesis as the textbook case of this ideological oppression. Of course, he is unlikely to mention the reasons why his work was criticized and rejected. Katz is not above making up facts to suit his ideology, and he is willing to use dubious evidence and to take financial contributions from sources bent on promoting anti-Israel propaganda.
Among Katz’s most oft-repeated themes are these:
- I am a member of Gush Shalom because it is a peace group.
- My master’s thesis on the massacre at Tantura was rejected because Israel is trying to hide the truth about its atrocities in 1948.
- There was a massacre at Tantura in 1948 and 200 Arabs were ruthlessly slaughtered.
- Israel silences the ‘new historians’ and others who expose the ‘Zionist myth.’
- I am an independent historian with no bias. I only search for the truth.
Here are a few of Katz’s more troubling statements:
- “There were killings inside homes, in the cemetery, and on some of the roads leading to the village. They took every man alone to his house in the company of an officer and made him hand in his weapon. Then they killed each person inside his house. In the cemetery, there were 8 to 10 soldiers in charge of the massacre. The soldiers made people stand in lines of six and forced them to dig their own graves. Then they shot them. They captured more than 90 people, but 90 were surely killed inside the cemetery.”
- “This problem [The Arab-Israeli Conflict] and other problems can be solved depending very much on both George W’s, George W. Bush and George W. Sharon; they are somehow brothers and I never know who is worse than the other.”
- “Parellelicaly (sic) with building again and again that war wall — and it is not wall of peace, it is wall of war and every child knows it — and building on and on more and more settlements, we already understand that nothing is very serious there in that very bloody game of A. Sharon backed 100 percent by that George W.”
- “If there is to be talk about peace (sic) lets to stay that everyone that was arrested before has to go free and we are talking about thousands of thousands of Palestinians, not like after [the] Oslo agreement that suddenly in one day there was born, and that was Rabin not Sharon, there was born that expression of blood on the hand and what did Rabin and all of the Generals, and you know that Israel is full of Generals, more Generals than people. Everyone, what does he have on his hands, juice of roses or what? Every Israeli that was in the Army has blood on the hand.”
- “I’m not beginning to count now all of the terrorists that are involved now in the Israeli government ; there are too many. I am afraid the hour will be finished and I won’t be able to finish all of them. Every general there is very proud of more and more military operations that he has done in his personal career; and you know and all of us know that military operations bring to (sic) other terrorist and terrorists and terrorists, and this has no end.”
This profile is adapted, with permission, from Stand4Facts.org.