The Tantura Case in Israel: The Katz Research and Trial
This article examines the academic and legal controversy that has arisen in Israel over a graduate thesis using oral history-the taped testimonies of both Arab and Jewish witnesses- to document a massacre carried out by Israeli forces against the Palestinian coastal village of Tantura in late May 1948. Though the researcher, Teddy Katz, is himself a Zionist, the case sheds light on the extent to which mainstream Zionism is prepared to go in discouraging research that brings to the fore such aspects of the 1948 war as "ethnic cleansing." The article also discusses the research itself and summarizes the actual massacre as it can be reconstructed from the available sources. It is followed by excerpts from some of the transcripts.
Ilan Pappe is a professor in the department of political science at Haifa University and the author of a number of books, including The Making of the Arab-Israeli conflict, 1947-1951 (London:I.B. Tauris, 1992).