Sunday, May 31, 2009
Unfortunately, we've fallen behind in our publication schedule, but a preview of the Spring 2009 issue is newly available online by clicking here. Learn with a click of your mouse how to enjoy its entire contents by receiving it regularly.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu met US President Barak Obama on Monday, May 18th, there were a number of issues on the table for discussion, including questions about Netanyahu's willingness to accept a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israel's building of settlements and settlement outposts on the West Bank, and, of course, what to do about Iran. In addition, there was the question of rapport between the two leaders, one on the right wing of the political spectrum and the other on the left wing. While the meeting, which lasted 30 minutes longer than expected, did not solve any of the issues being discussed, it may have established a positive working relationship between the two leaders, both of whom are at the beginning of their incumbencies.
Obama made a number of gestures to Israel and to the American Jewish Community to set a positive tone for the meeting. Thus the United States refused to participate in the Durban II anti-racism conference because it appeared to be taking an anti-Israeli position. This decision involved some political cost to Obama because the Congressional Black Caucus was pushing for the US to participate. In addition, The US Justice Department dropped its four year old case against two ex-AIPAC staffers, Keith Weissman and Steven Rosen who had been accused in 2005 on the very vague charge that they had conspired to disclose national defense information to those not authorized to receive it. The fact that the case was dropped on the eve of the annual AIPAC conference in Washington could only be seen as another gesture to Israel and to the American Jewish Community. Finally, in the press conference following the meeting, it appeared that Obama went out of his way to flatter Netanyahu, praising his "political skills" and "historical vision"
While these gestures were important, the fact remains that Netanyahu is a right- of- center Israeli politician and Obama is a left- of- center American one, and there is a real question as to how they will get along in the long run. Gone are the warm personal relations between the conservative politicians George W. Bush and Ariel Sharon, and between the slightly left of center politicians Bill Clinton and Yitzhak Rabin. Indeed, Netanyahu faced a similar problem when he was Prime Minister from 1996 to 1999, when he had to deal with Clinton. Fortunately for Netanyahu at that time, he had the support of the Republican-dominated US Congress, and for most of the Netanyahu period, Clinton was bogged down with the Monica Lewinsky affair. Netanyahu has no such cover this time. Obama is a very popular US President with a strong Democratic Party majority in both houses of Congress, so Netanyahu's room for maneuver is much more limited. The most Netanyahu can hope for, if he chooses to stonewall on the peace process, is that Obama will be so bogged down with the problems of the US economy and the rapidly deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan that he will have little time to devote to the Middle East peace process.
ISSUES FOR DISCUSSION
1. The Two State Solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict: Obama has been pushing hard for Israel to accept the two-state solution, and he did so again in the post-meeting press conference. Vice-President Joe Biden, in recent comments to the AIPAC conference stated that: "Israel has to work for a two-state solution... The status quo of the last decade has not served the interests of either the United States or Israel very well." Netanyahu made no formal committment to a two-state solution his meeting with Obama, and the Israeli government has been arguing that with Hamas controlling Gaza and a weak and corrupt Mahmud Abbas running the West Bank, the time is not right for the creation of a Palestinian State
2. Settlements and settlement outposts: Obama, as many US Presidents before him is strongly opposed to the expansion of settlements and the construction of settlement outposts, and he made this very clear during the press conference. The US government has been arguing that the expansion of the settlements takes away land that the Palestinians want for their state, and causes despair among the Palestinians. As Biden told AIPAC, "You're not going to like me saying this, but don't build more settlements,.dismantle existing (settlement) outposts and allow Palestinians freedom of movement". Perhaps as a gesture to Obama, immediately upon his return to Israel, Netanyahu ordered the settlement outpost of Maoz Esther destroyed, but whether he will prevent it from being rebuilt, as other destroyed settlement outposts have been, remains to be seen.
3. Iran: This is perhaps the most difficult of the issues which the two leaders face. Obama has been trying to use diplomacy to get the Iranian leadership to cease enriching uranium and answer IAEA(International Atomic Energy Agency) questions about their nuclear weaponization program. For their part, the Israelis claim that the Iranian leaders are stalling, and will continue to string out the US in the talks until their nuclear weaponization program is completed. On this issue, Obama's proposed deadline of the end of 2009,would appear to be an important gesture to Netanyahu.
A related question is the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Some in the Obama Administration have been pressing Israel to sign the agreement so as to have its nuclear facilities inspected. The idea here seems to be that were Israel to sign, Iran would have one less excuse for its stalling. The problem from the Israeli perspective is that until Israel is at peace with all of its neighbors, including Iran, Israel needs its nuclear program as a deterrent against those countries, and especially Iran, that have sworn to destroy it.
Finally, in relation to Iran there is the question of timing. Netanyahu has been pushing for an Iran-first policy, arguing that if the Iranian nuclear program can be halted, that would weaken Hamas and Hezbollah which are enemies of both Israel and the peace process. The Obama Administration has countered that if there were a genuine Israeli-Palestinian peace process underway, it would weaken the appeal of Iran to the Sunni "Arab Street," and thus facilitate the peace process, a point Obama repeated during the press conference.
4. The Arab Peace Plan: The Obama Administration has been praising parts of the Arab Peace Plan, which basically calls for Arab State recognition of Israel in return for Israel's withdrawal to its pre-1967 war boundaries and a "just" settlement of the Palestinian refugee problem. The Israelis object not only to a complete withdrawal, which would conflict with Israel's need for "secure borders" as noted in UN Resolution 242, but also to the Arab interpretation of the solution to the Palestinian refugee problem which involves the return of the refugees to Israel, not to a Palestinian State on the West Bank and Gaza. The Obama Adminstration has been pushing the Arabs to agree to aspects of normalization before a full Israeli withdrawal, but the Arab World is split on this with Jordan favoring the US idea and Syria opposing it.
5. Arab recognition of Israel as a "Jewish state": While Netanyahu has agreed not to push for this as a prerequisite for negotiations to begin, he wants it as part of a final agreement, as he made clear at the press conference. The Arabs, citing the 20% non-Jewish Arab minority in Israel oppose it. To Netanyahu, this is a case of Israel's legitimacy as a Jewish state and Israel's acceptance in the Middle East, so it will be interesting to see if the US is willing to expend any political capital to try to bring the Arabs around to the Israeli position on this.
6. US aid to a Palestinian national unity government that includes Hamas representatives: Netanyahu has been opposing such aid because it would serve to legitimize Hamas, even as the organization continues to refuse to recognize Israel and calls for Israel's destruction. The US has gone back and forth on this issue, and Congressional pressure has limited Obama's flexibility on it. While at the present time this is just an academic question because Hamas and Fatah are far from forming a national unity government, the issue may well come up in the not-too-distant future.
In sum, Obama and Netanyahu began their dialogue on these key problems during their 18 May meeting in Washington. Whether they will succeed in solving them, however, remains to be seen.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
In essence, they are trying to get the US to resurrect the Bush approach, which - while rejecting all settlement activity in theory - in practice divided settlements into three categories:
1. Unauthorized outposts - shouldn't be allowed to grow
2. Outlying government-authorized settlements - shouldn't be allowed to grow too much
3. More established settlements would be allowed their "natural growth", especially if they're on the "right" side of the separation barrier.
There's a well-known (and clearly pre-feminist) story involving George Bernard Shaw that seems applicable. It is said that Shaw once found himself seated beside a woman at a dinner party. "Madam," he asked, "would you go to bed with me for a thousand pounds?" The woman indignantly shook her head. "For ten thousand pounds?" he asked. "No. I would not." "Then how about fifty thousand pounds?" he continued. The colossal sum gave the woman pause, and after further reflection, she replied: "Perhaps."
"And if I were to offer you five pounds?" Shaw asked. "Mr. Shaw!" the woman exclaimed. "What do you take me for!"
"We have already established what you are," Shaw replied. "Now we are merely haggling over the price."
Secretary of State Clinton has made clear that, because the US opposes the principle of settlements, all settlement construction must cease, without any exceptions. Netanyahu wants to undermine this principle by playing "Let's Make a Deal": We'll take down a few unauthorized outposts, if you look the other way when we build in Ariel, Elon Moreh and Beit El.
He is trying to get the US to haggle, so that, a la Shaw, he can proclaim: We have already established with Washington that not all settlement is wrong, now we are merely haggling over how much.
But what's most disturbing of late is how figures from outside the Likud and far right are pledging loyalty to the "natural growth" concept. Labor Party chair and Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, who explained that he was joining the government to keep it from drifting too far right seems to be Netanyahu's chief ally on this issue; he'll be promoting the Netanyahu "compromise" when he comes to the US next week.
And President Shimon Peres, who officially represents the great Israeli consensus, educated the 'novitiate' Vice President Biden earlier this month, telling him that, "Israel cannot instruct settlers in existing settlements not to have children or get married."
One of my favorite political columnists, B. (Bet) Micha'el, lampooned Peres' statement in a recent piece. "Mr. Peres," he asks sarcastically, "where does it say that young couples must live near their parents? And where does it say that the State’s duty is to supply every young man and woman with a plot of land at their birthplace?" Michael terms Peres' argument, "demagogic nonsense".
The problem is that sharp-witted, sardonic writing alone won't prevent Israel's government from continuing to pursue this self-destructive path.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Last fall when the 2006 French film O Jerusalem came to the theaters I looked forward to seeing it. The book by that name by Dominique Lapiere and Larry Collins was one of my favorite books when I was an undergrad in Jerusalem, along with Dan Kurzman’s Genesis 1948. But because of the bad reviews of the film on this blog and in the NY Times, I decided to give it a pass and catch it when it came out on DVD. I was glad that I took a second look at it, courtesy of Netflix (a great source for independent films on the Arab-Israeli conflict).
The film is a fictionalized version of the book with a rather contrived story of friendship between an American Jewish volunteer, Bobby Goldman, and a Palestinian Arab of the al-Husseini clan. I ignored the background story and concentrated on the battles: a bomb attack on Abu Musa’s (Abdel Khader al-Husseini) headquarters, Kastel, Deir Yassin, Latrun, the building of the “Burma Road” and the Arab attempt to break into the Jewish Quarter. It covers the period from the UN partition vote of November 29, 1947 to the surrender of the Old City in May 1948. Of these the best portrayed are probably the bombing of the Arab headquarters and the battle for Kastel.
Kastel was an Arab village on the road to Jerusalem that dominated the road and was named for the old stone fortress that nominated the small village. Yitzhak Rabin’s Harel Brigade was responsible for capturing it. Abu Musa was killed in this battle, although in reality his death was not accurately portrayed in the film. He was shot at a distance by a Jewish machine gunner when he prematurely entered the village that the Hagana was in the process of vacating. [Kastel and the death of Abu Musa turned the tide against the Palestinians in the “civil war” phase of Israel’s independence war, which lasted for nearly a half a year before Israel declared its independence on May 14, 1948 and was invaded by the regular armies of the neighboring Arab states.—Ed.]
Latrun is probably better done in the 1965 movie Cast a Giant Shadow. But what is worth seeing here is how Ben-Gurion threw newly-arrived immigrants, most of whom did not speak Hebrew and had no military background, into the fighting with only a few hours training because he was desperate for manpower. This has been written about and shown in Israeli films, but few American Jews are aware of this.
The main problem with O Jerusalem, directed by veteran French director Elie Chouraqui, is that it is very low budget. His actors are not superstars and his battle scenes show a shortage of extras. I also noticed that the Hagana soldiers carrying either bolt-action rifles or Thompson submachine guns. While the former look accurate, the Hagana used a homemade version of the British Sten sub-machine gun, as carried by Paul Newman in Exodus, built in underground factories. This is a sign that it is easier to acquire Thompsons for the movie than Stens six decades after the war.
I have seen the war previously in five films: three from Hollywood, two of which were made in 1965, and two Israeli films. The Hollywood films were Judith and Cast a Giant Shadow. Judith starred Sophia Loren as a Jewish Holocaust survivor married to a Nazi working as an adviser to the Syrian army and was set during the Syrian invasion of the Galilee in May 1948. It was shot near Kibbutz Mazzuva and I met at least one kibbutznik who served as an extra for the battle scene while doing his national service in the IDF.
The next movie, Cast a Giant Shadow, was the true story of a Jewish judge and colonel in the Army Reserve who volunteered to help out the Hagana during the siege of Jerusalem. He arrived in Israel just after independence and served as a general in the Hagana for about three weeks before being accidentally killed by a Jewish sentry because he (Mickey Stone) did not know Hebrew and could not correctly respond to the challenge. This was a big budget movie and had a star-studded cast including Kirk Douglas, John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Yul Brenner, and Frank Sinatra. I suggest renting this along with O Jerusalem so that you can see how the Battle of Latrun is portrayed in both films. The third American film was a TV miniseries from the mid-1990s about an SS lieutenant who somehow managed to worm his way into the Irgun in 1947 posing as a Holocaust survivor. He then became a career IDF officer. I found the film to be utterly preposterous.
The two Israeli films on the war were a black and white movie from the 1960s, whose name I don’t recall, that was a compilation of several short stories from the war. The other Israeli film is Amos Gitai’s Kedma (2004), which also tells the story of the Battle of Latrun. This is from the point of view of a group of Holocaust survivors who arrive in Israel a week before independence and have to make their way through British patrols only to be immediately thrown into the battle. It could also be profitably rented with the other two for a Latrun night. But in my opinion is inferior to them. This film features a script in several languages with subtitles and is also a low-budget film.
My other qualm with O Jerusalem is that its portrayal of Deir Yassin was not very able. The Hagana commander arrives at the scene and finds a few Arab bodies laying around and is informed by the Irgun/Etzel commander that the attackers broadcast a message to evacuate the village but that the armored car broadcasting the message fell into an anti-tank ditch. There is no mention of how many were killed and under what circumstances. But we can see that the Hagana was not responsible for the massacre. It is as if the director wanted to avoid the whole controversy about the massacre but still be able to say that he mentioned it in the film.
Friday, May 22, 2009
"The brief poem ends with the words, 'And you and I/Can only cry and wonder/Must Jewish people/Build our Dachaus too?' The poem appears to have been circulating on the Internet for at least two years, provoking furious debates on numerous Web sites and chat groups.
"The British pro-boycott group has posted the poem on its Web site, together with a brief statement signed by Cohen, saying he had written the poem in the 1970s and that the word 'Shomrim' referred to the Hashomer Hatzair Zionist youth group, which 'supported a binational state in Palestine/Israel when I was close to them.'
"In fact, however, Cohen did not write the poem at all, according to Shipp [Cohen's spokesperson]. She emphasized, too, that the trip to Israel had not yet been scheduled, so any discussion of reconsidering his plans was 'premature'."And Leonard Cohen volunteered as a worker in Israel in the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War of 1973.
On the same day that Leonard Cohen was in concert at New York's Radio City, Meretz USA was holding its semi-annual board meeting and hosting Steven M. Cohen -- as opposed to Steven P. Cohen (an analyst with the Israel Policy Forum). Steven M. Cohen is probably the foremost sociological researcher today on American-Jewish life.
The main business of the board meeting was a thoughtful discussion of Meretz USA's purpose and future in light of the disappointing results of Israel's national election in February. This is a discussion which will continue for some time, but it's had a useful beginning.
Prof. Cohen's research findings pose a challenge to all American-Zionist organizations, in noting that "spirituality" is displacing "ethnic" solidarity as the primary basis for Jewish identity in the United States among the community's most Jewishly-engaged young people.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
While everyone else was writing about the Pope's visit to the Middle East, I wrote the following piece in response to the Open Letters to Leonard Cohen that have been circulating in the UK and Israel. While preparing this piece for the Guardian, I discovered an extraordinary version of Last Night I had the Strangest Dream, sung together by Pete Seeger, Theodore Bikel and Rashid Hussein back in the early 60s. I also discovered that the text of the historic New Outlook Israeli-Palestinian dialogue from 1978, "When Enemies Dare to Talk," is on the Internet in its entirety, part of the Google books scanning project.
And finally, I highly recommend the film "18 Kilometers" that I mention at the end of the piece, which will begin a commercial run at the Tel Aviv Cinemateque at the end of May.
Read Hillel Schenker's entire blog post at the UK Guardian "Comment Is Free" site.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Oppenheimer and Kreimer reported upon their activities of providing tours and otherwise informing people about the 'facts on the ground' in Jerusalem, and especially in East Jerusalem. They are dedicated to human rights and exemplars of progressive Zionism.
The challenges they discussed include: the inability of Arab residents of East Jerusalem to obtain permits to legally build housing for their expanding population, the demolition of "illegal" construction, the aggressive settlement of Arab neighborhoods by ultra-religious or right-wing nationalist Jews, and the municipality’s neglect of public services within East Jerusalem. There is also conflict and discord promoted by the construction of new Jewish neighborhoods and West Bank settlements that physically isolate Arab neighborhoods – including via the security/ separation barrier (which is mainly a wall rather than a fence in the Jerusalem area) – such as plans to build up the E-1 corridor to Maaleh Adumim. Further information can be obtained at their Web site: http://www.ir-amim.org.il/Eng/.
Monday, May 11, 2009
The premise is simple: the failure to separate and their insistence on fighting for the same piece of real estate without compromising ended up badly for both. In a way, this is an apt metaphor for the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Two peoples, their existence so intertwined, hate each other intensely, and a failure to separate and compromise can end only in disaster. However, the “Roses'” scenario is exactly what, blindly or naively, one-state solution proponents are advocating.
Look at the arguments and you will see the similarities between a failed marriage who refuses to separate and the one-state solution proposal: Their lives are so intertwined, their economies depend on each other, the settlements have expanded geographically in such a way that separation seems impossible, Palestinian Israelis (aka Arab Israelis) are already 20% of the population of Israel. Who gets to keep Jerusalem? How do you divide the state (the estate?). Anybody who is familiar with divorce finds an eerie familiarity with these questions. So, the question is: is the fact that the lives of a couple are so intricately joined a reason not to separate? Especially when, it is clear that the husband (or the wife?) is abusive of his physical and economic superiority?
Alas, that is exactly what one-state solution proponents argue: An abusive spouse (Israel) oppresses his/her partner (the Palestinians). They hate each other, want to kill each other, and damage each other physically and emotionally in an endless cycle. Yet, because their lives are so intertwined, instead of separation, the solution should be to stay together. Yes, give equal rights to both spouses, but stay together because separation would be too complicated.Might sound good in theory, but we know it's not realistic.
In a relationship of hate and loathing, you don’t stay together just because it is difficult to separate. You might have a nice house, joint bank accounts, and of course children. But it is a mistake to stay together for those reasons. Just like that, it is a grave mistake to propose that Palestinians and Israelis should stay together, indeed deepen their relationship, in spite of their hate, their cultural differences, and their economic disparities.
In fact, the only hope we have to ever achieve normalcy in their relationship between both peoples is for each to have the opportunity to fulfill their national aspirations. Only then, might they be able to look at each other as equals, without hate. Otherwise, it would just create more resentment. It would just lead to a civil war like in Lebanon. It would just end up like the Roses, both lying dead, in the middle of their living room.
Friday, May 08, 2009
First of all my credentials for reading the book are that I worked as an intern researcher at AIPAC during the spring of 1995 on the Iran sanctions legislation. I worked under Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, the two ex-AIPAC staffers who just had the espionage case against them dropped by the Dept. of Justice. I’m also three years younger than Dan, so I’m of the same generation and although I’m not Jewish, I socialized with a lot of American Jews in Israel and to a lesser extent in the U.S. I also was able to con Dan into sending me a review copy.
I must confess that I—like most American Jews—never read the book on the lobby by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. I had read the journal article that it was based on and thought it was factually inaccurate and wrong on a number of points—especially on the origins of the Iraq war—but was not anti-Semitic. Fortunately this was not much of a handicap in reviewing Dan’s book as it is not a refutation of the Mearsheimer and Walt book, but rather a different look at what Mearsheimer and Walt loosely define as the Israel lobby.
The introduction included a short personal narrative by Dan, which I found interesting as I’ve never met him. The first chapter is on AIPAC. The thrust is that AIPAC deliberately exaggerates its own power in order to intimidate its opponent and increase its fundraising potential.
This was an open secret within AIPAC. Dan publishes a list of campaign contributions from a congressman and a senator during the 2004 election cycle to illustrate that pro-Israel contributions are relatively modest compared with other industries. And he lists a ranking of overall industry lobby contributions to illustrate the same point—the overall Israel lobby ranks 17th in the top twenty. The second chapter is a road map of the organized American Jewish community. Dan makes the very important point that almost half of all Jews are completely unaffiliated. I’m sure that many more are only loosely affiliated with Reform and Conservative synagogues and show up only during high holy days. I found the chart of the various organizations by basic ideology to be very helpful. For the next edition he might want to mark by asterix those organizations that are primarily religious.
The third chapter discusses the efficacy of AIPAC and other Jewish lobbying on behalf of Israel of both the legislative and executive branches. This, as is the entire book, is based mainly on an extensive set of interviews with former administration and congressional officials/aides, Jewish activists, former AIPAC staffers, and Israelis. The bottom line is that if the president feels strongly about something he prevails over the lobby; if he does not feel strongly he lets it win. Examples of the former are Reagan and the Saudi AWACS deal in 1981 and Bush 41 and the loan guarantees issue and the Madrid Conference. An example of the latter is Nixon telling the Meir government that he would not try to force the Rogers plan on Israel in 1969. I could add to the former category Reagan’s ultimatums to Begin and Sharon in 1982 during the IDF invasion of Lebanon.
The fourth chapter is an explanation on why Jews have traditionally remained quiet rather than openly criticize Israel. It should be noted that Dan is discussing the organized Jews and not the Woody Allens. The fifth chapter is a discussion of the war with Iraq. Here Dan does challenge the Mearsheimer and Walt thesis that protecting Israel was the primary reason behind the war. I know from my own reading of the Israeli press at the time that Israelis were, and still are, much more concerned about Iran as a threat than about Iraq. But Dan argues that Jewish perceptions of Saddam Hussein as a real threat to Israel if not another Hitler figure, colored Jewish reaction to the war. The sixth chapter is an overview of the pro-peace church and pro-peace Arab communities, similar in organization to the second chapter.
The seventh chapter is a discussion with a number of Israelis from the peace camp, just to illustrate that debate is more vigorous within Israel than within the organized American Jewish community. The eighth chapter is a discussion of Jewish self-censorship and why Jewish activists resist using the e-word (evenhanded) and the p-word (pressure). It is a call for Jewish peace activists to be more open and less guarded and muted in their criticisms of Israel. The ninth chapter is a discussion of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism on the left. Apparently for the left, fat people are not the last group that it is permitted to mock and criticize openly. Considering that Stalin was a notorious anti-Semite and that many of the leading figures on the international left are anti-Semitic, I don’t think that this should surprise anyone. It was once said that anti-Semitism was the idiot’s socialism, and there seem to still be a lot of idiots on the left. The concluding chapter is a broad summary and exhortation on building a pro-peace Israel lobby.
The last decade has involved a number of people in the American Jewish community attempting to build a pro-peace lobby as a necessary part of the Middle East jigsaw puzzle. I see it as one of four major structural obstacles to peace on the Israeli side. The other three are: 1) Israeli settlements in the West Bank; 2) the Israeli electoral system; and 3) the collapse of the electoral peace camp in Israel. I believe that reconstructing the Israel lobby may be the key to the other three. If the lobby is fixed and a more honest Middle East discussion can take place than maybe the U.S. can begin pressuring Israel over settlement construction and expansion. That will solve both problems one and three. Then America can maybe tackle problem no. 2.
I have two main criticisms of the book. First, rather than attempting to get the U.S. to be a solo evenhanded mediator, the object should be to get to where America’s natural pro-Israel bias can be balanced by Europe’s pro-Arab bias. The model for this should be the joint Anglo-Irish diplomacy in Northern Ireland. This goes along with Obama’s principle of cooperative diplomacy rather than American monopoly. The second is that there is too much emphasis on converting the loony left. This website has played host to a few of their number. These people will never be converted as they are not open to rational argument and evidence.
The book does not really address what constitutes fair criticism of Israel and what is unfair. A blanket unnuanced comparison of Israel or Israelis to Nazis or Nazi Germany falls in the latter category. I don’t care if someone wants to compare IDF armored tactics in 1967 with German blitzkrieg tactics in North Africa or France. After all, Sharon did study the North African war and read about Rommel extensively while in Britain as a student officer. And blanket comparisons with South Africa or apartheid are in the same category. Now a careful comparison and contrast with South Africa is something else. I have done this and continue to do this. But labeling Israel an apartheid state is not what I mean by the latter. But saying that Israel’s dual system of laws on the West Bank as a form of apartheid is something else. The first is an example of delegitimization. The second is a matter of comparison and analysis. I personally find South Africa casts less light on Israel than do Northern Ireland and antebellum America.
I highly recommend this book for pro-peace pro-Israel activists. Especially for younger activists it explains why things are the way they are. The Breira controversy is important to know about as is the attitude of American Jewry towards Zionism before World War II. This book can be a starting point for making alliances with others in pro-peace Christian and Muslim groups in the United States, although the potential for the latter should not be overstated. Dan’s previous occupation as an English instructor is evident in the writing in the book (even if he had to rely on his brother for help with MS Word.)