An Israeli View

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In May 1991, during the annual session of its Board of Governors, Tel Aviv University bestowed on Elie Kedourie an honorary doctorate. As the Rector of the University at that time, I delivered a short speech during the ceremony, and I was very much tempted to tell the audience the story of the original doctorate that Elie never received. By that time it had ceased to be gossip and it had become a matter of record, when Elie, in the introduction to the new edition of England and the Middle East, published his part of the correspondence with the Oxford authorities at the time. Very typical of Elie, he would never publish somebody else’s letter, but he published his side of the correspondence: and I thought the better of it. The 600 people in the auditorium during an annual Board of Governors did not strike me as the appropriate audience for listening to this significant but intricate story, but about a year later, in spring 1992, during another important occasion at the life of the University, the granting of doctorates, it struck me that this would be the right occasion. Speaking to a hundred fresh Ph.D.s from Tel Aviv University, it occurred to me that it might be the right message to that particular audience to tell them of a man who was not willing to compromise his truth in order to obtain a doctorate. Somewhat ironically for about a hundred young men and women who at that moment thought that the most precious thing on earth they were about to obtain was the Ph.D.: but the story went down well with that audience, and so much so that it was reported in the Israeli press at the time. I c1ipped the story and sent it to Elie and Sylvia in Washington, only to be informed by Sylvia a few days later in a tearful voice that it arrived a day too late for Elie to have enjoyed it.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationElle Kedourie CBE, FBA 1926-1992
Subtitle of host publicationHistory Philosophy, Politics
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages3
ISBN (Electronic)9781135256067
ISBN (Print)9780714644196
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014


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