Sir Martin's Newsletter & Bookclub June 2021
“The dilemmas of victory”
54 Years on from the Six Day War
Sir Martin's June Books
Israel, A History    

A comprehensive study of Israel's first 60 years
Russian History Atlas
An essential guide to the great mosaic of Russian history

For ebook discount, enter DC 360
at checkout.

Sir Martin's Blog
....and for how long to rule?
Excerpts from Israel, A History
925 words / 5 minute read
In the immediate aftermath of the Six Day War, a debate began inside Israel that was to continue:  how to rule, and for how long to rule ... the Palestinian Arabs.  …  A few people argued with urgency that the West Bank and Gaza Strip ought to be given back as quickly as possible, that even a temporary occupation would hold grave disadvantages to the occupying power.  But these were very much minority voices.  The State was not yet twenty years old, yet its conquest of the West Bank and Gaza Strip seemed something that would last for a long time; and it was certainly to overshadow, and at times to dominate, all earlier purposes and ideals, and still to be a contentious and painful issue thirty years later.
In the immediate aftermath of the Six Day War, the Palestinian population behaved as if in a state of shock.  It seemed amenable and cooperative to its new rulers, and there was a general feeling among Israelis that theirs was indeed an enlightened and benign occupation.  Israelis were shocked to find how restrictive Jordanian rule had been, and how the Jordanians had very much relegated the West Bank to subordinate status within the Hashemite kingdom, neglecting its economy and failing to encourage its local institutions and aspirations. Continue Reading

Egyptian Prime Minister Anwar Sadat, centre, Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan to his right,
Prime Minister Menachem Begin, standing, Jerusalem, 22 November 1977

                     From Esther Gilbert                                                        
Location!  Location!  Location!
575 words / 3 minute read
Martin's first geographic adventure was when he was only three years old, crossing the ocean, without his parents, evacuated to Canada during the Second World War.  It must have sparked a wanderlust in him because he loved discovering new places and connecting the geographic location to its historical significance. 
Each of Martin's journeys to historical sites involved hours of preparation to put together his “wodge” of maps, papers, guide books and historical research which he clutched in his hand or threw in a briefcase he tossed over his shoulder.  For him, to stand at the spot where an historical event had taken place made it even more real to him.  Whether a war memorial or plaque – and he always made a point of stopping and reading inscriptions – a battleground from the last century or centuries before, a cemetery, a synagogue, cathedral or mosque, a seat of government, a prison, each had significance for its historical value and for its relevance either personally or for humanity.

Adding to his travel adventures, in 2008 Martin was approached by an African-American filmmaker keen to do a documentary on Righteous Diplomats.  Continue Reading 

Martin “on location”

Read More: The Righteous
Read Gilbert 
Myths and Realities 
275 words – 1 minute read
Mirna Abdulaal, writing in Egyptian Streets about “Four Myths About Israel and Palestine” quotes Martin in debunking the myth that Muslims and Jews never got along and lived in peace together.  She writes, quoting Martin that “the life of Jews in some Muslim countries was never better than in the 1920s” from his book In Ishmael's House, A History of Jews in Muslim Lands.  She also notes “... prior to dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire, the population of the area of Palestine was not exclusively Muslim, and that there were Palestinian Jews ….”
In fact, as Martin's book shows, Jews were living in a dozen Muslim countries prior to the establishment of the State of Israel. 
Continue Reading 
A Jewish official in the Ottoman Empire, before 1914, photo from Israel Museum
Sir Martin in the News
The Jewish Story Explained
based on Sir Martin's book Letters to Auntie Fori
The Story of the Jewish People

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Read: Auntie Fori 
Sir Martin's Web Citings
The Sydney Morning Herald, “The essence of liberalism is under challenge from Australia's India travel ban” by Professor Kim Rubenstein, posted 2 May 2021:
“The value of living within a democratic framework was driven home to me during my undergraduate years in the 1980s studying law at the University of Melbourne. I was alive to the plight of Jews applying to leave Russia to take up their right of return to Israel or enter another country with which they had a connection. I read Martin Gilbert’s 1987 biography of Natan Sharansky, the famous ‘refusenik’ who finally made it to Israel, and who much later became a member of their Parliament. In that same year I joined a letter-writing campaign to a man called Arkady Lipkin who had applied to leave Russia to join family in Australia. Having applied to leave, the Russian government then dismissed him from his job and otherwise discriminated against him.”
Please share, connect, keep well

Come Zoom with us!
Shirli Gilbert
Professor of Modern Jewish History, UCL
Academic Director of the Centre

Seminar Courses:  

The Second World War on Film
With Dr Julia Ruth Wagner
Wednesdays, 6.30-7.45 pm BST
July 7, 14, 21


Remembering the Holocaust in Britain:
Memorials and Museums                       
Rebecca Pollack
Sundays, 7-8.15 pm BST
July 4, 11, 18



The Kindertransport:  Contesting Memory
With Dr Jennifer Craig-Norton
Tuesday, 7pm BST
8 June 2021


Where History Meets Geography:  Travels with an Historian
Lady Esther Gilbert
Thursday, 7-8.15 pm BST
1 July 2021



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