Saturday, March 1, 2014

John Judis's "Genesis: Truman, American Jews, And The Origins Of The Arab-Israeli Conflict"


If it only were more simple, if only the disagreements less barbed and poisonous, if only those who come inevitably — if the starting point is in any way sane — to similarly sane conclusions by whatever diverse readings, could underline the commonality — the ineluctable commonality — of such conclusions above the turf war and the exuberant nastiness it encourages.

If only. But this is the Middle East — the Arab/Israeli dispute — we're talking about, in which vitriol is oxygen. 

John Judis's "Genesis: Truman, American Jews, And The Origins Of The Arab-Israeli Conflict" is case in point. Leon Wieseltier rises from his lair at The New Republic to spew forth the kind of hostility that Mama Grendel would have savored, were she a New Republic writer.

(As an aside: why does Wieseltier have to go all Mama Grendel on the Judis book? Because he likes to? Because fulmination is his forte, makes him feel alive. It's worth recalling that during Mary Peretz's, extremely right wing Zionist ownership of TNR, Wieseltier was always someone you could turn to for a whiff of sanity about the Middle East. Maybe minus Peretz he has lost his mooring.)

The NY Times, in any case, has devoted a piece to this hydrogen bomb within a Jewish teacup.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/01/business/media/a-bastion-for-israel-seething-inside.html?hpw&rref=business&action=click&module=Search&region=searchResults%230&version=&url=http%3A%2F%2Fquery.nytimes.com%2Fsearch%2Fsitesearch%2F%23%2Fnew%2Brepublic%2F7days%2F

But when it comes to it, Ronald Radosh, Judis's chief, most informed and most hostile critic, begrudgingly agrees with what he calls Judis's begrudging conclusion, namely, to quote from Judis:

What Israel’s early history does suggest, though, is that Palestinian Arabs have a legitimate grievance against Israelis that has never been satisfactorily addressed. It won’t be addressed by abolishing Israel—that’s not going to happen—but it can be addressed by an equitable two-state solution that gives both peoples a state and that opens the way for Israel’s reconciliation with its neighbors.

But let us not hold back from eviscerating each other on the way to the obvious.

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