Joan Peters

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Joan Peters
Joan Friedman

April 29, 1936
DiedJanuary 5, 2015(2015-01-05) (aged 78)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Other namesJoan Caro[1]
WorksFrom Time Immemorial (1984)
  • Gary Peters
  • Stanley Kaplan (d. 1991)
  • William A. Caro[2]
AwardsNational Jewish Book Award (1985)

Joan Peters (née Friedman; April 29, 1936 – January 5, 2015), later Caro, was an American journalist and broadcaster. She wrote the 1984 book From Time Immemorial, a controversial account of the origins of the Palestinians.[1]


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".[3]

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.[3]

In the 1970s and early 1980s, Peters wrote for magazines such as Harper's, Commentary, The New Republic, and The New Leader, was a consultant in the creation of CBS news documentaries in 1973 about the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, and provided commentary on the subject for PBS.[4] 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.[1]

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.[5]

In From Time Immemorial (1984), she argued that Palestinians are largely not indigenous to modern Israel and therefore have no claim to its territory.[6] The book, a best-seller, became controversial. Scholars and writers such as Norman Finkelstein,[7] Noam Chomsky,[8] Edward Said[9] Yehoshua Porath.[10] and Ian and David Gilmour criticized it.[11]

Peters died at her home in Chicago in 2015 of a cerebral embolism.[2][12] Shortly before her death, the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, telephoned to convey to her that Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was deeply grateful for her work.[1]


+ 1985: National Jewish Book Award in the Israel category for From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict over Palestine[13]


  1. ^ a b c d "Joan Caro, Author of Controversial 'From Time Immemorial,' Dies at 78". Haaretz. January 8, 2015. Retrieved September 3, 2020.
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Myers, Greg. "Indiana Jewish Historical Society Honorary Board". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  5. ^ "Video | The Harry Walker Agency". Harry Walker Agency.
  6. ^ "Peters, Joan, 1936-2015 - LC Linked Data Service | Library of Congress". Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  7. ^ Norman Finkelstein.Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict 2nd Edition. Verso Books, 2003 p.21-46
  8. ^ Noam Chomsky (2002). ""The Fate of an Honest Intellectual"". Understanding Power. The New Press. pp. 244–248, p.244.
  9. ^ Mrs. Peters’s Palestine New York Review Of Books January 16, 1986
  10. ^ Colin Campbell (November 28, 1985), "Dispute Flares Over Book on Claims to Palestine", The New York Times, retrieved May 3, 2010
  11. ^ Gilmour, Ian & Gilmour, David (February 7, 1985). "Pseudo-Travellers". London Review of Books. 7 (2): 8–10. Retrieved September 3, 2020.
  12. ^ "A eulogy to an inspiration, Joan Peters". The Jerusalem Post | Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  13. ^ "Past Winners | National Jewish Book Award | Jewish Book Council". Retrieved 2020-04-18.

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