From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict over Palestine is a 1984 book by Joan Peters about the constant presence of Jews in Palestine (Eretz Yisrael). The famous controversial issue in the book is the amount of modern Arab immigration in comparison to parallel Jewish immigration. Responses to the book have been deeply divided and it continues to receive both positive responses as well as harsh criticism.
Theodore H. White called Peters' work a "superlative book" that traces Middle East history with "unmatched skill.
However, reviewing the book for the January 16 1986 issue of The New York Review of Books, Yehoshua Porath wrote that Peters made 'highly tendentious use — or neglect — of the available source material'. But more crucial, he wrote, "is her misunderstanding of basic historical processes and her failure to appreciate the central importance of natural population increase as compared to migratory movements." Porath concluded:
In response to Porath, Daniel Pipes expressed a more favorable opinion, stating:
Norman Finkelstein argued in his book Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict that much of Peters' scholarship was fraudulent. Finkelstein's allegations that Alan Dershowitz plagiarized Peters' book became a central issue in the Dershowitz-Finkelstein affair. A Harvard investigation found the allegation to be unfounded.
Adam Shatz wrote in Slate, 8 April 1998: "Peters' book was lavishly praised by American Jewish organizations, novelists, and scholars. But when Finkelstein showed that Peters had manipulated Ottoman demographic records to make her case, the book's supporters attacked him as an anti-Zionist. By 1986, though, Zionist scholars having published articles that bolstered Finkelstein's case, his version was the conventional wisdom", adding a long list of quotations from reputable scholars to bolster his point.
Barbara Tuchman, who called the book "an historical event in itself", claimed that such criticism of the book was a "smear campaign" and attributed it to "growing anti-Semitism" and "long-term apologists of the Palestine Liberation Organization." Elie Wiesel lent his name to a subsequent paperback, as did all of Peters's original endorsers.
Saul Bellow's review of the book asserted:
Use from time immemorial or express or implied acceptance by owners of land of such use creates a right of way
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