Review of Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East, by Jonathan Cook, Pluto Press, ISBN 978-0-7453-2754-9, pp204
In this piece, Yvonne Ridley speculates as to whether or not Israel would be able to survive independently of aid and support from the United States. Ridley considers whether, politically and economically, Israel has become a greater liability than benefit to its greatest ally.
The State of Israel is the product of a political movement, Zionism, aimed at providing a solution to “the Jewish question”, i.e. the rise of modern Anti-Semitism in Europe at the end of the 19th Century. “The Palestinian question” is the direct result of the unilateral drive to resolve the Jewish question by creating a Jewish State in Palestine, without taking into account the existence and the rights of the indigenous population.
A detailed examination of the struggle within the Jewish community during the formation of Zionism and the attempt to reconcile the policies of Zionism with traditional Jewish teachings and values.
Sixty years after the creation of Israel, the true nature of its underlying ideology of Zionism has become apparent for all to see. The writer examines whether a grassroots global boycott movement will have the same effect of ending apartheid in Israel as happened in South Africa in the Eighties. This article originally appeared in Crescent International (May 2008).
This issue marks the Nakba with an overview of how a permanent state of war is not just a myth promoted by the Israeli establishment to win international friends. Rather than the besieged, Israel’s genesis and academic, military and political history point towards the drive for war at various and sometimes all costs. This issue’s authors seek to find reasons for this pursuit, leaving us as reader – activists with the question – what solution?
There is a dispute between the thesis propounded by Jonathan Cook, whose book, Israel and the Clash of Civilisations is reviewed by Arzu Merali in this issue, and that of Yvonne Ridley, regarding the power and influence of Israel with and without American support. Unending support from the superpower, fuelled by an unholy alliance between American neocons and the Israeli military establishment, is a given in Cook’s bleak analysis which Merali picks up on. Merali argues that Cook’s vision is powerfully argued, but leaves reader-activists with the hope and faith of righteous victory, as all else it would appear will or has failed.
Ridley sees the role of the USA as pivotal but not to be taken for granted. She portrays the picture of an Israel that is an increasing liability that in an America mindset (perhaps without neocon dominance) is unable to continue its path to war with Iran.
Merali charts some of Cook’s arguments as to the source of Israeli belligerence, the Sharon Doctrine, being notable amongst them. Additionally, Michael Warschawski, in a paper prepared for us at the ‘Against Zionism: Jewish Perspectives Conference’ in June 2006 ( http://www.ihrc.org.uk/060702/papers/michael_warschawski.pdf ), also raises the spectre of the usage of the ‘Clash’ theory by Israelis to further their interests. Seyfeddin Kara looks to the roots of Zionism and its development, finding here a path to exceptionalism that, like other exceptionalist ideologies can lead to structural violence enacted through the state that has become, as Hannah Arendt explained, the instrument of nation.
A war of a different, but no less violent and devastating nature, is recounted by Fahad Ansari in his look at the international boycott and divestment movement against Israeli apartheid. The institutionalisation and implementation of apartheid is a war that has had far reaching and overwhelming effect on Palestinians. His vision however provides the practical route - again with faith in victory against the odds – that the struggles of people of conscience in solidarity with the oppressed in Palestine, will overcome. We pray it is so.
Mohamad Nasrin Nasir
Copyright © 2005 Palestine Internationalist
source: Volume 3 Issue 4 (Aug 2008), http://www.palint.org/mag.php?issuenum=34
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