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Joan Peters

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Joan Peters
BornApril 29, 1936
DiedJanuary 5, 2015(2015-01-05) (aged 78)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Spouse(s)Stanley Kaplan (d. 1991)
William A. Caro[1]
AwardsNational Jewish Book Award (1985)

Joan Peters (née Friedman; April 29, 1936 – January 5, 2015), later Caro,[2] was the author of the best-selling, controversial, 1984 book From Time Immemorial, in which she argued that Palestinians are largely not indigenous to modern Israel and therefore do not have a claim to its territory.[3] The book was criticized by some scholars such as Norman Finkelstein,[4] Noam Chomsky,[5] Edward Said[6] and Yehoshua Porath.[7]


Peters was born in Chicago. She studied at the University of Illinois without earning a degree and became a freelance writer for publications like Harper’s Magazine. She became "fascinated by the Middle East while covering the Yom Kippur War as a freelancer for CBS in 1973".[8]

Her first marriage, to Gary Peters, ended in divorce. Her second marriage, to Stanley Kaplan, lasted until his death in 1991. She married William A. Caro in 1997 and went by the name Joan Caro.[8]

Joan Peters wrote in the 1970s and early 1980s for magazines such as Harper's, Commentary, The New Republic, and The New Leader, and was a consultant in the creation of TV news documentaries for CBS in 1973 regarding the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and provided commentary on the subject for PBS.[9] Her dedication to the cause of Israel may have been triggered by a visit in the 1970s to the Soviet Union, where officials treated her and her husband with suspicion.[2]

According to the Walker Agency which booked speaking and touring engagements for her, Peters also served as an adviser to the White House on American foreign policy in the Middle East during the Carter administration.[10]

She died at her home in Chicago in 2015 of a cerebral embolism.[1][11] Shortly before her death, the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, had telephoned to convey to her that Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was deeply grateful for her important contribution to the Jewish people and the State of Israel.[2]


1985: National Jewish Book Award in the Israel category for From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict over Palestine[12]


  1. ^ a b Daniel E. Slotnik (January 12, 2015). "Joan Peters, Journalist Who Wrote on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Dies at 78" The New York Times. Accessed January 13, 2015
  2. ^ a b c Joan Caro, author of controversial 'From Time Immemorial,' dies at 78, Haaretz, 8 January 2015.
  3. ^ "Peters, Joan, 1936-2015 - LC Linked Data Service | Library of Congress". id.loc.gov. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  4. ^ Norman Finkelstein.Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict 2nd Edition. Verso Books, 2003 p.21-46
  5. ^ Noam Chomsky (2002). ""The Fate of an Honest Intellectual"". Understanding Power. The New Press. pp. 244–248, p.244.
  6. ^ Mrs. Peters’s Palestine New York Review Of Books January 16, 1986
  7. ^ Colin Campbell (November 28, 1985), "Dispute Flares Over Book on Claims to Palestine", The New York Times, retrieved May 3, 2010
  8. ^ a b Slotnik, Daniel E. (2015-01-13). "Joan Peters, Journalist Who Wrote on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Dies at 78". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-01-21.
  9. ^ Myers, Greg. "Indiana Jewish Historical Society Honorary Board". ijhs.org. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  10. ^ Joan Peters' profile at Harry Walker Speakers' Agency
  11. ^ "A eulogy to an inspiration, Joan Peters". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  12. ^ "Past Winners | National Jewish Book Award | Jewish Book Council". www.jewishbookcouncil.org. Retrieved 2020-04-18.

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