Campus Watch adjunct scholar Asaf Romirowsky reviews Colin Shindler's new book, A History of Modern Israel, in the Jerusalem Post. He also notes the significance of Shindler's appointment as the first professor of Israel Studies at The University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS):
One of the greatest myths in Middle East studies departments across North America and Europe is that the presence of an Israeli faculty member makes a "balanced" department. In fact, many Israeli academics have built their reputation on scholarship that is critical of Israel and its existence. These academics are frequently given center stage by the Association for Israel Studies, the Middle East Studies Association and Middle East studies centers, which host them and provide visiting appointments. This gives the scholars the visibility they seek, while allowing their hosts to claim balance in presenting an "Israeli viewpoint."
In Europe, there is hardly any attempt to create this so-called balance; pan-Arabist scholarship has become the coin of the realm. The University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in the first part of the 20th century produced great Middle East scholars such as Bernard Lewis. But over the years, Edward Said and his acolytes, such as Joseph Massad, have been the ones to receive red-carpet receptions, especially at SOAS which is notorious for having an anti-Israel atmosphere. The university's Palestinian Society is the only student society in Britain professionally run by the student union and regularly hosts controversial events such as Israel Apartheid Weeks.
Given this environment, Colin Shindler's appointment as the first professor of Israeli studies at SOAS is significant. Shindler is the author of seven books and an authority on the Revisionist Zionist movement and the emergence of the Israeli Right. His latest book, entitled A History of Modern Israel, appeared just in time for Israel's 60th anniversary. In it the author traces six decades, from David Ben-Gurion to Ehud Olmert.