Tom Segev

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Tom Segev
Born March 1, 1945 (1945-03-01) (age 73)
Jerusalem, Mandate Palestine
Occupation Journalist, Historian

Tom Segev (Hebrew: תום שגב‎) (born March 1, 1945) is an Israeli historian, author and journalist. He is associated with Israel's so-called New Historians, a group challenging many of the country's traditional narratives.


Early life

Segev was born in Jerusalem in 1945. He studied history and political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and earned a doctorate in history from Boston University in the 1970s.[1]


Segev worked during the 1970s as a correspondent for Maariv in Bonn.[2] He was a visiting professor at Rutgers University (2001–2002),[3] the University of California at Berkeley (2007)[4] and Northeastern University, where he taught a course on Holocaust denial. He writes a weekly column for the newspaper Haaretz. His books have appeared in fourteen languages.


In The Seventh Million: The Israelis and the Holocaust (2000), Segev explores the decisive impact of the Holocaust on the identity, ideology and politics of Israel. Although controversial, it was praised by Elie Wiesel in the Los Angeles Times Book Review.[5]

In One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate, a New York Times Editor's Choice Best Book (2000) and a recipient of the National Jewish Book Award, Segev describes the era of the British Mandate in Palestine (1917–1948).

Segev's history of the social and political background of the Six-Day War, 1967 (2006) states that there was no existential threat to Israel from a military point of view. Segev also doubts that the Arab neighbours would have really attacked Israel. Still, there were large segments of the Israeli population that had a real fear that the Egyptians and Syrians would eliminate them. This would have increased the pressure for the Israeli government in such a way that it opted for a preemptive attack. The attack by the Jordanian army to West Jerusalem would have provided a welcoming reason to invade East Jerusalem, according to Segev. Even though the occupation of East Jerusalem was not politically planned, the author considers it was always desired. The book has been described by the historian Saul Friedlander as "probably the best book on those most fateful days in the history of Israel".[6]


Michael Oren, author of Six Days of War, and currently Israel's ambassador to the U.S., gave Segev's book on the Six Day War a scathing review, saying "Laboring to prove his point forces Segev not only to contradict himself but also to commit glaring oversights." He also says " disregarding the Arab dynamic and twisting his text to meet a revisionist agenda, he undermines his attempt to reach a deeper understanding of the war. Such an understanding is vital if Arabs and Israelis are to avoid similar clashes in the future and peacefully co-exist."[7]

Published works


Further reading

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