chapter  21
8 Pages

The Exodus Conspiracy

WithMartin Kramer

Exodus by Leon Uris must rank high on any list of the most influential books about the Middle East. The novel, published in 1958, popularized the story of Israel's birth among millions of American readers. Given that many of the basic ideas about Palestine and Israel held by generations of Americans find their origin either in this trite novel or the equally cliched movie, Edward Gottlieb's inspiration to send Leon Uris to Israel may have constituted one of the greatest advertising triumphs of the twentieth century. Rashid Khalidi insistently claimed the status of an objective historian—someone whose opinions rest on facts subjected to professional investigation. In the Gottlieb case, however, Khalidi showed himself as someone eager to repeat and embellish a story simply because of its political utility, without even a cursory check of its historical veracity.