The Road to Jerusalem: Glubb Pasha, Palestine and the Jews

Overview

General Sir John Glubb, the last British pro-Consul in the region, could be seen as midwife to the birth of the modern Middle East - a birth as painful and tortuous as its subsequent history. Glubb Pasha was the British commander of the Arab Legion during those crucial years between 1939 and 1956, which were to witness the collapse of the Palestine Mandate and the establishment of the State of Israel. As well as analysing Glubb's personal vision of the Middle East and its peoples - a surprisingly racial vision ...
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Overview

General Sir John Glubb, the last British pro-Consul in the region, could be seen as midwife to the birth of the modern Middle East - a birth as painful and tortuous as its subsequent history. Glubb Pasha was the British commander of the Arab Legion during those crucial years between 1939 and 1956, which were to witness the collapse of the Palestine Mandate and the establishment of the State of Israel. As well as analysing Glubb's personal vision of the Middle East and its peoples - a surprisingly racial vision that would condition his politics - this book examines his reactions to the Arab Revolt and the periodic plans to partition Palestine into Arab and Jewish states. It offers the first in-depth account of his thinking and actions during 1948, as he led his small army into Palestine and war against Israel. His aims and actions - which lie at the very heart of the controversy between 'Old' and 'New' Israeli historians of the Arab-Israeli conflict - are carefully detailed using contemporary British, Arab and Israeli sources. This masterful account of Glubb the soldier, strategist and pro-Arab mouth-piece, based on hitherto unseen classified documents, will become a vital addition to the literature on this defining period in Middle Eastern history. It will be required reading for students, academics and anyone interested in the impasse which has dominated Middle Eastern affairs for over half a century.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Morris is one of the leading figures of the "post-Zionist" school of history, challenging what he sees as untenable myths regarding Israel's nature and founding. He is best known for asserting, in The Birth of Palestinian Refugee Problem 1947-1949, that systematic dispossession of Palestine Arabs was, at the time of Israel's founding, a conscious Israeli policy. The second intifada has seemingly altered his views on Israeli culpability in the current political situation, as a recent series of colloquies between Morris and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, published in the New York Review of Books, makes clear, but this book continues his revisionist historical work. John Bagot Glubb, better known as Glubb Pasha, was a British officer who commanded Jordan's Arab Legion, the best Muslim fighting force in the Middle East, between 1936 and 1956. He has a corresponding reputation, fuelled by his post-retirement writings and speeches, as pro-Arab and anti-Israel, to the point of being seen as anti-Semitic. Morris makes sophisticated use of primary sources to present a more nuanced evaluation of Glubb as someone simultaneously loyal to the British government and the state of Jordan. He finds that Glubb accepted on pragmatic grounds the agreement King Abdullah made in principle with Israel's Golda Meir for the partitioning of Palestine. According to Morris, however, when Glubb and Abdullah entered the 1948 war, they did not seek the annihilation of Israel. Instead they waged limited war for limited objectives previously conceded by the Yishuv. Morris contends that Arab policy as a whole during the war followed on this action: it was designed to hurt the Jews, score domestic political points and compensate for Jordan's projected gains, but not to destroy Israel as a state. (Oct. 7) Forecast: Expect this book to generate national review coverage, and discussions of Morris's work in general. Since this book's orientation seemingly contradicts Morris's take on the current situation, expect a plethora of political weekly column inches devoted to finger pointing and calls for clarification a process that will itself make news. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Foreign Affairs
The story of Glubb Pasha, like that of T. E. Lawrence, will ever attract attention. Both were subjects of the British Empire who "adopted" Arabs (or some of them) and then worked for those they chose to serve. It was a time when a British subject could be the long-time commander of an Arab army — in Glubb's case, the Jordanian Arab Legion from 1939 to 1956. But did such men really see no conflict between service to both the United Kingdom and Arabs? This biography of Glubb pays close attention to his 36 years in Jordan, ending when King Hussein summarily dismissed him in 1956. From the vantage point of one pivotal player, it also reviews the three-part diplomacy and war revolving around the Arabs of Mandate Palestine, the Zionists, and the United Kingdom. The most detailed and interesting part of this book treats the time surrounding the 1948 war. Morris depicts Glubb as a competent commander, loyal to his "second country" (Jordan), and pragmatic enough to secure the West Bank for it in 1948.
Library Journal
Gen. Sir John Glubb was a highly significant figure in the Middle East during the 20th century. As the British proconsul in the region and commander of the Arab Legion between 1936 and 1956, General Glubb became a controversial soldier-politician as commander of a small Arab army against Israel during the 1948 war that led to the establishment of the Jewish state. In this highly original book, Morris, a prominent revisionist Israeli historian at Ben-Gurion University whose numerous publications have challenged many of the basic Israeli assumptions about the Arab-Israeli conflict and the birth of the Palestinian refugee problem, gives a thorough account of Glubb's ambiguous political agenda and his involvement in the early years of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Relying on British, Arab Legion, and Israeli Defense Forces intelligence sources, the author offers students and scholars of the Middle East an evenhanded, meticulously researched analysis of some of the important developments in the early phases of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Highly recommended for large public and academic libraries.-Nader Entessar, Spring Hill Coll., Mobile, AL Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher

"The most detailed and interesting part of this book treats the time surrounding the 1948 war." --L. Carl Brown, Foreign Affairs, 3-4/01/03
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781860648120
  • Publisher: I. B.Tauris & Company, Limited
  • Publication date: 9/7/2002
  • Series: The Library of Middle East History
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 10.70 (h) x 1.21 (d)

Meet the Author


Benny Morris is a world-renowned author and Professor of Middle East History at Ben-Gurion University.
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Table of Contents

Abbreviations
Introduction 1
1 Glubb on Arabs and Jews 9
2 The Arab Revolt 1936-39 33
3 World War II and its Aftermath 56
4 The Road to Jerusalem 91
5 The Invasion 145
6 Border Wars, 1949-1956 209
Conclusion (After 1956) 233
Bibliography 243
Notes 247
Index 289
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 10, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    ... no insult added to injury....,

    When in 1956 King Hussein terminated the services of Glubb Pasha, Selwyn Lloyd - the British Foreign Secretary - who was then dining with Nasser, thought it was Nasser who instigated the King's action.<BR/> <BR/>Heikal, Egypt's leading journalist who was very close to Nasser, confirmed time and again that Nasser had never had pre-knowledge of the Jordanian Monarch decision to send Glubb Pasha back home - to England.<BR/> <BR/>Although such remark has the ring of memoirs written after the event, it is confirmed that Nasser told Lloyd " I am happy Britain decided to take back Glubb recognizing the furor now prevailing in the Streets of Amman `yelling' against the Baghdad Pact.... Your action may well have been taken to absorb such uproar and prevent it from spreading - Congratulations "" but unfortunately Selwyn Lloyd took Nasser's remarks to evoke grandeur of speech to hurt the British intelligence. <BR/>Antony Eden, whose life had been a flaming dedication to Britain's colonial existence that was then believed to erase national lines, strongly felt what Nasser was not - A dictator with the Pan Arab theory ennobling the fulfillment of his historic mission. Eden released his inhibitions and brought the British Cabinet to the desired state of raw excitement, an added reason that was intended to lead to the fateful 1956 Suez events.... <BR/><BR/>Schooled in an era in which the relation of the subject to the sovereign has no basis other than obedience, Eden was unable to understand a world organized upon any other foundation, comfortable only in the presence of authority. Eden took the ousting of Glubb Pasha as a personal insult.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2004

    Excellent study of a British colonialist

    This excellent book studies the career of John Glubb Pasha, the most influential of the British `orientalist¿ corps of officers and officials serving in the Middle East until 1956. He commanded the Transjordan Arab Legion from 1939 to 1956 and played an important part in setting up modern Jordan by helping King Abdullah to establish his rule. In 1948 he led the Legion to a limited victory in the first Arab-Israeli war. Benny Morris, a leading Israeli historian, has based his book on extensive study in the archives of David Ben Gurion, the Israel Defence Forces, the Israeli State, the UN, the Haganah and St Anthony¿s College Middle East Centre, including the Glubb Papers, and in the Public Record Office. Glubb retained the typical imperial contempt for both Jews and Arabs, especially for educated or urban people. But his opposition to Zionism was not based on his anti-Semitism, any more than his support for Arab aspirations was based on his anti-Arabism. He believed that opposing Zionism and supporting Jordan were policies that would strengthen Britain¿s hold in the Middle East. He was always a loyal servant of the British Empire, acting in what he saw as its best interests. Morris supports the contention, made most notably by Avi Shlaim in his 1988 book, Collusion across the Jordan, that Israel and Jordan collaborated during the 1948 war. He shows how Israel and Jordan came to a secret understanding in November 1947 to partition Palestine and not to attack each other. Since the Transjordan Legion was much the best Arab force opposing Israel, the agreement showed that this war did not really threaten Israel with annihilation. Jordanian forces invaded Palestine not to attack Israel but to annex its Arab-populated eastern regions. The Legion did not attack any area that the UN had planned for Israel. Israel broke the agreement by attacking the Legion in May, July and October 1948. The Legion took over the West Bank and East Jerusalem, saving them from Israeli conquest. King Abdullah had done what the British government wanted, strengthening Jordan at the Palestinians¿ expense.

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