This is a sketchy timeline of Jewish History
as background to the conflicts with Palestinians.
It is beyond hubris to try to summarize the antecedents of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Scholars much more knowledgeable than me have debated almost every point made here. This timeline was meant to accompany a series of presentations outlining overarching historical trends which lay behind the conflict. There were discussions of Jewish, Christian and Muslim relationships, anti-Semitism, European imperialism, etc. The outline only occasionally mentions these themes. I hope this timeline will help in orienting interested people to what are crucial issues of our time.
1800? BCE Abraham migrates to Canaan according to Jewish tradition.
1300? BCE Migration and conquest of Canaan by the Philistines and Israelite tribes.
1000? BCE Jewish conquest of Jerusalem; reign of David; After the death of Solomon, the kingdom split into two: Israel in the north, Judea in Jerusalem and the south
721 BCE Fall of Israel (Northern Kingdom) to Assyria.
586 BCE Fall of Judea (Southern Kingdom) to Babylon and destruction of the first temple. Exile to Babylonia
539 BCE Conquest of Babylon by Persia. Jews allowed to return to Judea.
519 BCE Rebuilding of the Second Temple under Persian rule.
331 BCE Alexander the Great conquers Persia. The land was subject to Egyptian rule after his death, followed by Seleucid Syrian rule.
166 BCE Revolt of Judah Maccabee against Syrian Hellenic dynasty.
164 BCE Liberation of Jerusalem. Judah is named Friend of the Roman Senate and People; Rule of the Maccabees.
38 CE Anti-Semitic riots in Alexandria during the reign of Caligula. Christians (thought of as a Jewish sect) were as much the victims. Political rather than religeous because of Jewish resistance to Roman rule.
66-73 CE First revolt against Rome.
70 CE Fall of the Second Temple.
133-135 Second revolt under Bar Kochba crushed. Judea renamed Palestina. Jews are banned from Jerusalem by Hadrianus Caesar. Jew spread around the Roman empire. They follow Roman occupiers into Europe and move to towns in North Africa. A population is established in southern Russia. Jews become tradesmen along the East Coast of Africa.
614 Persians conquer Judea and Jerusalem..
628 Emperor Heraclius defeats Sassanid Persians and reconquers Jerusalem.
638 Arab conquest of Jerusalem. Caliph Omar provides the Christians of Jerusalem with a Covenant guaranteeing their protection. As monotheists and “Peoples of the Book” Jews and Christians are granted tolerance with in Muslim Society. Conversion is discouraged because of taxes bounties paid by Christians and Jews. Over the years many Jews and Christians convert because it reduces their taxes and, as some scholars claim, they find Islam a “more rational” religion. North Africa and Near East goes from being pagan, Christian, Jewish and Zoroastrian to Muslim. Except for occasional communal outbursts Jewish communities survive and prosper in the Islamic world.
9th Century onwards. The Golden age of Jewish culture in Islamic Spain.
11th C. several Muslim pogroms against Jews; Cordoba in 1011, Granada in 1066. In 1033 and 1465 Fez, Morocco, Muslim mobs murdered thousands of Jews.
1096 Massive violent attacks against Jews during Crusades such as the Pogrom of in France and Germany as well as the massacres of Jews at London and York in 1189–1190.
1099 Crusaders conquer Jerusalem, slaughter Jewish and Moslem inhabitants and expel Jews.
1187 Saladin reconquers Jerusalem and allows the Crusaders to withdraw to Acre when they agree to stop aggressions. They go back on their word.
1291 Crusaders defeated at Acre and evicted from Palestine.
13th Century Jews fare well in Western Europe.
1348 Black Death increase in anti-Semitism. Jews were massacred in Chillon, Basle, Stuttgart, Ulm, Speyer, Dresden, Strasbourg, and Mainz. Many surviving Jews fled to Poland, which welcomed them.
1492 Conquest of Granada and expulsion of Jews. Those Muslims and Jew remaining are forced to convert. The Inquisition questions the Christianity of conversos. Using trial by fire.
1517 Ottoman Turkish conquest of Palestine.
1648–1654 Jews and Poles were also massacred during an uprising of Ukrainian Cossacks.
1740 Beginnings of religious return. Ottoman Sultan invites Rabbi Abulafi, the Kabbalist Rabbi of Izmir, to rebuild the city of Tiberias; thousands of Jews immigrate to the land in a wave of Messianic fervor.
1543 Martin Luther advocated persecution Jews people. During the Reformation and counter-Reformation Jew were often victims. The Dutch confederation was a safe haven.
1777 Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk along with a large group of followers emigrates and settles in Safed.
1783 They were forced out of Safed, and moved to Tiberias.
1799 Napoleon conquers Jaffa but retreats before Acre;
1799 Napoleon's Proclamation of a Jewish State was stillborn, and his declaration of equal rights for Jews was repealed in part in 1806. In Europe Napoleon emancipates Jews who lose some rights on his defeat.
1808 The first group of Perushim, influenced by the teachings of the Vilna Gaon settle in Jerusalem and Safed.
1831 Conquest of Palestine area by Mehmed Ali of Egypt, who rebelled against the Ottomans. He was forced to withdraw in 1840 under pressure by European allies.
1839 Judah Alkalai publishes a pamphlet advocating the restoration of the Jews in the Land of Israel.
1843-4 First Zionist writings of Rabbi Alcalay and of Rabbi Kalischer, Emuna Yeshara and Mordecai Noah.
1844 The Old Yishuv Jews constitute the largest of several ethno-religious groups in Jerusalem. First census in Jerusalem shows 7120 Jews, 5760 Muslims, 3390 Christians.
1856 Ottoman reforms including requirement to register ownership of land in Palestine and pay taxes on it.
1860 First Jewish settlement outside Jerusalem walls.
1861 Enlightenment secular movement to return begins. The Zion Society is formed in Frankfurt, Germany.
1861 First neighborhood outside the Old City of Jerusalem, built by Sir Moses Montefiore.
1862 Moses Hess proposes a socialist country in which the Jews would become agrarianised through a process of "redemption of the soil." His ideas later evolved into the Labor Zionism movement.
1862 Zvi Hirsch Kalischer maintains that the salvation of the Jews, promised by the Prophets, can come about only by self-help. His ideas contributed to the Religious Zionism movement.
1867 Mark Twain visits Palestine as part of a tour of what westerners call the Holy Land.
1869 Twain publishes “The Innocents Abroad, or The New Pilgrims' Progress.” He wrote Palestine was primarily an uninhabited desert.
1870 The first modern Jewish agricultural school and settlement was established in the Land of Israel by the Alliance Israélite Universelle.
1870-1890 The Russian group, Lovers of Zion, sets up 30 Jewish farming communities in the Land of Israel.
1878 Petah Tikva, First Zionist Settlement, is founded by Jerusalem Jews, but abandoned after difficulties. Resettled in 1882 with help from first aliyah.
1881-1884 Pogroms in the Russian Empire kill several Jews and injure large numbers, destroy thousands of Jewish homes, and motivate hundreds of thousands of Jews to flee.
1882 Russian May Laws. Beginning of the First Aliya (wave of immigration).
1881-1920 Over two million of the Russian Jews emigrate. Most go to the US, some to Palestine.
1881 Eliezer ben Yehuda makes aliyah and leads efforts to revive Hebrew as a common spoken language.
1882 Leon Pinsker publishes pamphlet, “Autoemancipation,” urging the Jewish people to strive for independence and national consciousness.
1882 Baron Edmond James de Rothschild begins to buy land in Palestine and finances Jewish agricultural settlements and industrial enterprises.
1882-1903 Estimated at 25,000-35,000 Jews immigrate to Ottoman-occupied Palestine.
1883 Rabbi Isaac Rülf calls for a Hebrew-speaking Jewish homeland in Palestine.
1890 Austrian publisher Nathan Birnbaum coins the term Zionism for Jewish nationalism in his journal Self Emancipation.
1890 The Russian Tsarist government approves the establishment of "The Society for the Support of Jewish Farmers and Artisans in Syria and Eretz Israel."
1894 The Dreyfus affair reveals how much anti-Semitism there is in Western Europe.
1896 After covering the trial of Dreyfus and witnessing anti-Semitic rallies in Paris, the Austro-Hungarian journalist Theodor Herzl writes “The Jewish State” advocating the creation of a Jewish state.
1896-1904 Herzl unsuccessfully approaches world leaders for assistance in the creation of a Jewish National Home.
1897 The Zionist Organization of America is founded.
1897 The First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, urges "a publicly and legally assured home in Palestine.”
1898 Émile Zola exposed the Dreyfus affair in a famously incendiary open letter to President Félix Faure under the headline "J'accuse!"
1903-1906 More pogroms in Russian Empire. Unlike the 1881 pogroms, which focused primarily on property damage, these pogroms resulted in the deaths of at least 2,000 Jews and an even higher number of non-Jews.
1903 Uganda Proposal for settlement in East Africa splits the 6th Zionist Congress. 1903 Kishinev Pogrom.
1905 Abortive revolution leads to reactionary Pogroms and catalyze Second Aliya.
1904-1914 Approximately 40,000 Jews mostly from Russia immigrated into Ottoman-occupied Palestine. Nearly half of these immigrants leave Palestine by the start of World War I.
1909 Tel Aviv is founded on sand dunes near Jaffa.
1914 WWI. Ottoman Empire sides with Germany.
1915 October-1916 January McMahon-Hussein Correspondence, agreeing to give Arabia to Arabs, if Arabs will fight the Turks. The Arab Revolt begins in June 1916.
1916 Britain and France sign a secret agreement which details the proposed division of Arabia into French and British spheres of influence at the conclusion of WWI.
1917 The formation of the Jewish Legion (Zion Mule Corps).
1917 T.E. Lawrence leads Arab militias to defeat various Turkish Garrisons in Arabia.
1917 Deeply influenced by Zionist lobbying (Weizman and Ben-Gurion convince Balfour and Churchill that Jewish immigration will bring Western Civilization to Palestinians who could leave they if objected), Britain issued the Balfour Declaration:
* Official support from the British Government for "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people", and promised aid.
* The British Government would not support actions that would prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish residents of Palestine.
* It confirmed that Jews living in any other country would, similarly, not be prejudiced.
1917 The British Army gains control of Palestine with military occupation, as the Ottoman Empire collapses in World War I.
1918-1920 Massive pogroms accompanied the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Civil War. Death of an estimated 70,000 to 250,000 civilian Jews; the number of Jewish orphans exceeded 300,000, mostly at the hands of White Russian anti-revolutionary forces.
1919-1923 A Third Aliyah was triggered by pogroms in Russia, Poland and Hungary and the Balfour Declaration. Approximately 40,000 Jews arrived in Palestine during this time.
1920 The San Remo conference of the Allied Supreme Council in Italy resulted in an agreement that a Mandate for Palestine to Great Britain would be reviewed and then issued by the League of Nations. The mandate would contain similar content to the Balfour Declaration. In anticipation of this forthcoming mandate, the British military occupation shifts to a civil rule.
1920 Haganah founded.
1921 Britain grants autonomy to Transjordan under Crown Prince Abdullah. Jewish settlement is outlawed there.
1922 The offer of a Mandate for Palestine.
1930s Both Martin Buber and Einstein object to Zionism that doesn’t include rights for resident Palestinians.
1936-1939 Arab Revolt against Britain. Over 5,000 Arabs were killed. Several hundred Jews were killed by Arabs. They leader flees to Nazi Germany. British White Paper (1939) severely restricts Jewish immigration.
1933-1948 Jewish refugees flee Europe with many turned away from Palestine because of the British-imposed immigration limit.
1936 The British propose a partition between Jewish and Arab areas. It is accepted by the Zionists, but rejected by the Arab parties.
1939 The British government issues the White Paper, which sets an absolute limit of 75,000 on future Jewish immigration and increases Zionist opposition to British.
1942 Biltmore Program - Zionist leaders, headed by Chaim Weizmann and David Ben-Gurion-- recommended end to the British Mandate and demand Jewish control over immigration to Palestine with the aim of founding a Jewish "Commonwealth."
1946 Irgun carries out terrorist activities against British. They kill 91 bombing the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.
1947 November 29 The United Nations approves partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states. It is accepted by the Jews, but rejected by the Arab leaders.
1947 November 30 The 1947–1948 Civil War starts between Jewish forces, and Palestinians.
1948 May 14 Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel. Truman, against State Dept. advice, recognizes Israel as does the Soviet Union.
1948 May 15 Five neighboring Arab countries invade, and the 1948 Arab-Israeli war ensues.
1948 Flight of Palestinians from some Israeli occupied territories. Later arguments over whose to blame.
April 3, 1949 Armistice - Israel and Arab states agree to armistice. Israel gained about 50% more territory than was originally allotted to it by the UN Partition Plan.
1949 on Israel prevents with deadly force the return of Palestinian farmers and land owners.
1956 Egypt nationalizes the Suez Canal. In a secret agreement with the French and British to regain Suez, in retaliation for the closure of the straits of Tiran and Suez to Israel and to prevent Egyptian use of newly acquired Soviet arms Israel invades the Sinai peninsula,. Britain and France invade Egypt to “save” the Canal. Egypt blocks the Canal by sinking ships. The Russians threaten to back Egypt. Furious at France, Britain and Israel, Eisenhower threatens to break the British pound. France and Britain save face by withdrawing.
1964 Palestine Liberation Organization founded with the aim of destroying Israel.
May, 1967 Egyptian President Nasser closes the straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping and dismisses UN peacekeeping force. Negotiations with US fail.
June 5-10,1967 Six day war Israel peremptorily attacks destroying the Egyptian air force on the ground. It conquers and occupies Sinai and Gaza, then conquers the West Bank from Jordan, and Golan Heights from Syria. UN resolution 242 called for Israeli withdrawal, establishment of peace.
June 19, 1967 Israeli Cabinet decides on secret offer, to be delivered to Syrians and Egyptians though American diplomats, calling for return of territories conquered in the Six day war in return for peace. Israel begins policy of population expansion and resource seizure within occupied Palestine, Sinai and Golan.
1968 The Palestinian National Charter officially called for liquidation of Israel.
Oct. 6, 1973 Yom Kippur War. In a surprise attack on the Jewish day of atonement, Egypt retook the Suez canal and a narrow zone on the other side. Syria reconquered the Golan Heights. Israel probably loaded bombers with A bombs to retaliate in case of defeat. Following massive US and Soviet resupplying of both sides, Israel succeeded in pushing back the Syrians and threatening Damascus. Ariel Sharon was instrumental in the successful crossing of the Suez Canal, which cut off the Egyptian Third Army. Israeli casualties were unacceptably high however, and Israel, Syria and Egypt all celebrate the anniversary of the war as a victory.
1979 Peace treaty signed between Egypt and Israel.
1981 Israel destroys Iraqi nuclear reactor in daring raid.
Oct. 6, 1981 Egyptian President Anwar Sadat is assassinated while on the reviewing stand of a victory parade.
1982 Massive Israeli invasion of Lebanon to fight PLO. Massacre at Palestinian refugee camps by Lebanese Christian faction with tacit support of the Israelis.
1993 Oslo Declaration of Principles. Israel and PLO agree to mutual recognition.
1995 Oslo Interim Agreement signed. Palestinian Authority to be established. The agreement is rejected by many Palestinians because it would leave Palestine “Balkanized.”
Nov. 4, 1995 Israeli PM Yitzhak Rabin assassinated by right-wing Israeli fanatic.
1996 Right-Wing Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu elected Prime Minister.
Sept, 1996 Al-Aqsa tunnel riots. The false rumor that a gate opened in an underground tunnel tourist attraction by the Israeli government, endangered the foundations of the Al-Aqsa mosque. This caused several days of rioting and numerous casualties.
1997 Israel and Palestinians reach agreement on Israeli redeployment in the West-Bank city of Hebron
1998 Wye River Plantation talks result in an agreement for Israeli redeployment and release of political prisoners and renewed Palestinian commitment to correct its violations of the Oslo accords including excess police force, illegal arms and incitement in public media and education.
1999 Israel elects Barak as Prime Minister in a landslide. Barak promises rapid progress toward peace.
2000 Israeli-Syrian peace negotiations fail when Hafez Assad rejects an Israeli offer relayed by US President Clinton in Geneva.
Sept. 28, 2000 Palestinians initiated First Intifada after Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount.
2001 Right-wing Likud leader Ariel Sharon elected Prime Minister promising "peace and security."
2002 Israel conducts operation Defensive Wall in the West Bank, following a number of Palestinian suicide attacks on civilian targets. Saudi peace initiative adopted at Beirut summit.
2003 Elections give wide margin to right wing Likud party, returning Ariel Sharon.
2004 International court of Justice rules that the Israeli security barrier violates international law and must be torn down.
Nov 11, 2004 President Yasser Arafat dies.
2005 Mahmoud Abbas elected President of the Palestinian Authority.
2006 Ariel Sharon suffered a massive stroke, leaving the leadership of Israel and the new Kadima party in the hands of Ehud Olmert
2006 On January 26, the radical Islamist Hamas movement won an upset victory in Palestinian elections, threatening to end about 40 years of Fateh-PLO leadership of the Palestinians. Hamas spokesmen sent mixed signals, but vowed never to recognize Israel and never to give up their claim to all of Palestine.
2006 Second Lebanon War - Hezbollah attacks an Israeli patrol, killing 3 and capturing 2 soldiers. Israel retaliates. Hezbollah began a series of rocket attacks on northern Israel. Israel carries out massive bombing of Beirut killing over two hundred persons, many civilians. Hezbollah responds with rocket attacks on Haifa, Tiberias, Safed and other towns deep in northern Israel, killing 13 civilians. A Hezbollah missile hits an Israeli missile cruiser, killing 4. Rockets also sink one neutral ship and damage Egyptian ship. G-8 meeting calls for cessation of violence.
2006 Cease fire, based on UN Security Council Resolution
2007 Israeli renovations near the Mughrabi gate of the Al-Aqsa mosque spark unrest in the Arab world, over false charges that Israel is destroying the mosque.
Feb. 8, 2007 Palestinian Unity Agreement in Mecca. Hamas and Fatah agree to share power. Hamas officials reiterate that they will never recognize Israel.
Feb. 19, 2007 Trilateral Israeli-Palestinian-American summit with Secretary of State Rice, PM Ehud Olmert and President Abbas ended with no visible result.
March 17, 2007 Palestinian unity government sworn in.
June 2007 Hamas ousts Fatah from Gaza in bloody coup.
Nov. 26-28 Israelis and Palestinians are forced to agree on a joint statement that vows to implement the quartet roadmap in parallel, with US monitoring.
Jan. 2008 President Bush visit to Middle East; Hamas "breakout" into Egypt at Rafah Crossing.
Feb. 12, 2008 Hezbollah "militant" killed by car bomb in Damascus. Israel denies any involvement in the killing of Moughniyeh.
Dec 27, 2008-Jan 18, 2009 Operation Cast Lead - Israeli operation in Gaza to stop Hamas rocket attacks. Over 1,000 Palestinian casualties.
April 1, 2009 Likud party head Benjamin Netanyahu becomes Prime Minister.
2009 Despite Obama criticisms Israel announces intended seizure of largest block of land since 1968.
Benny Morris, “Righteous victims : a history of the Zionist-Arab conflict, 1881-1999.”
John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, “The Israel Lobby.” ksgnotes1.harvard.edu/Research/wpaper.nsf/rwp/RWP06-011/$File/rwp_06_011_walt.pdf –
Richard Evans. “The Third Reich at War” on the Holocaust
There must be a good book on the history of Palestine during the Jewish absence.
Edward Said, “Out of Place” on life in Palestine/Egypt and Lebanon before Israel.
Part of my review of Arno Mayer, “Plowshares into Swords” on Amazon.com
“I am ashamed of my own people.”
Page 144: “Even after Krystallnacht on November 9, 1938, when Neville Chamberlain offered a refuge for Jewish children in England, Ben-Gurion confided that, given the choice between saving ‘all the Jewish children of Germany [and Austria] by sending them to England’ and saving ‘only half of them by taking them to Palestine,’ he would opt for the latter.” This along with the Zionist axiom that Palestine was “a land without people” for taking by the Jews, “a people without land,” goes to the heart of why the Zionists have created so much misery in the Near East and have helped destabilize the world. It is inconceivable that in October of 2000, after both the UN General Assembly and Commission on Human Rights overwhelmingly criticized Israel for excessive use of force (1000 Palestinian deaths versus a few Israelis) following Palestinian riots in response to Sharon’s symbolic arrogation of the Temple Mount, that the US House of Representative voted 365 to 30 denouncing the UN and blaming the Palestinians. We are living through that Looking Glass again.
Like Arno Mayer, I grew up on the lies the Zionists told me only to be awakened to the realities of the history of Zionist aggression and abuse by the Israeli revisionist historians. As I sit here and write the Israeli army is bombing woman and children, destroying universities and infrastructure in Gaza, claiming this as incidental collateral damage in their pursuit of a few terrorists who, after Israel had blockaded Gaza for months, hurled missiles into Israel which had little effect. The three or four hundred Palestinians currently being killed (and the count keeps rising) are not very many by the standard of Israel’s bombing of the UN refugee camp in Lebanon or Sabra and Chatila, or the expulsions of 1948. As the conflict has become more open, Hamas’ rockets are now a little more accurate. While the death of Israelis are to be genuinely mourned, Zionists are still trying to make Palestine a land without people in spite of the Palestinians refusal to go away.
Arno Mayer’s preface and long prolegomena, which begin the book, lay out how he came to need to write about the history of Zionism. It reads like my own awakening---we are both Western European Jews (עקע or yekes--assimilated Jews, regarded as arrogant snobs by Eastern European stettl Jews) who have lived the Western Enlightenment which the Zionists used to rationalize their land grab. He is a European historian at Princeton and I was a sociologist at Brandeis. Although Mayer’s family escaped the Nazis and his father was an early secular Zionist it wasn’t until Sharon’s armed visit to the Temple of the Mount (the holiest Muslim sight in Jerusalem) that Mayer began to apply that same Enlightenment scholarly bent to explore the roots of Zionism. My German-American and Russian-Canadian parents met in Baghdad. I bought Israel bonds in Hebrew school in the late ‘40s. My childhood was steeped in a love/hate of Germany and idealization of Israel where relatives from Russia had found refuge. My father, as I did later, poured over Churchill’s monumental history of WWII.
The story Mayer tells is basically that of the revisionist historians although he puts great emphasis on the warnings Buber and others made that dehumanizing the Palestinian Arabs would have terrible consequences. And Mayer doesn’t recant as apparently some revisionist historians have, because surviving in Israel continuing to give lie to the ever increasingly dominant military-political and religious ideology, that the Palestinians are non-peoples who are not entitled to either the land they once lived in, political independence, their religious sites or their olive trees under which the bible asserts humans have the right to sit and not be made afraid, is just too difficult.
Arno Mayer has done a masterful (and very depressing) job of portraying Zionism’s history, the dilemma of Jews in Europe, the Wedding of Zionism to European imperialism, the impact of the Holocaust, etc. He does not stint in showing the selfishness and self-defeating dishonesty of both the Palestinians and the Arab rulers of nearby countries. But the scales tip overwhelming in the direction of Zionist viciousness and historical falsehood. It is totally reasonable that the Arabs should not be made responsible for righting the wrong of European Judeocide. What Chamberlain offered for the children, the US and Western Europe never extended either before the war or after there was knowledge of the “Final Solution.” We conveniently exported the responsibility for righting the wrong to the Arabs. I remember going through some historical papers at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton and coming across its director’s discussion of which Jewish mathematicians to save before Dec. 7th. He had been known as an anti-Semite. It seemed to me he lacked enthusiasm for the saving Jews. I know that opening the floodgates either before or after the war might not have been politically feasible, but neither would the Zionists have sanctioned it. Better half dead than all saved outside of Canaan.
It is interesting how little of the perspective portrayed by Mayer is acknowledged by either US politicians or available to the public at large. The blurbs on the book jacket are from a Muslim, the London Times, and the Nation. The book is published by a radical press. Where are Princeton University Press, Pantheon, and Random House who published Mayer’s earlier books? Has fear of the Zionist lobby gotten to them. Look how Jimmy Carter was pilloried for making the apt comparison of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to Apartheid or the calumny heaped upon the two academic authors who showed how much the Zionist lobby has influenced American foreign policy to the detriment of the US. Would a Nancy Pelosi, Hilary Clinton, or Barak Obama have the courage to say they learned something from this book which might lead them to be more even handed in US, Near East policy? Bill Clinton tried in a weak sort of way, but never confronted Israeli leadership with the most powerful lever the US has, its blind financial and military support. And the Bush regime: well they certainly left the world and the US much worse off they found it. One could hardly imagine a more destructive and self-destructive policy than Bush and company, abetted by the Democrats, have foisted on the Middle East. If Israel was threatened with withdrawal of US support, it is my guess that its military-politicians and religious fanatics would not back down. They would go it alone. But, at least, they would not have the resources of the US to use to continually brutalize the Palestinians and threaten their neighbors. In the end real US even-handedness might bring a more just accommodation. In the mean time, I weep while listening to the news and try to give a little succor to the Palestinian children who do not deserve the death and destruction which is raining down on them from F-16s. What is the solution? A bi-national state? But then Jewish identity, which has drifted far from the vision of its Enlightenment, social democratic, Zionist founders, could not be enforced. Open the gates of the US? We did it for the Vietnamese and Hmong Something has to give and the Palestinians have little left. It thus remains to Israel to find a way to live with those they dispossessed and the US to stop supporting their refusal to do so. Mayer shows how weak their excuses for not doing so are. This book should be required reading for any one who cares.
Charlie Fisher is an Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Brandeis University. He taught at Brandeis for thirty years. His teaching included the history of science, anthropology, political economy, community organizing, environmental history and the social psychology of consciousness. Charlie Fisher was very active in the civil rights and antiwar movement during Viet Nam which was not without considerable risk to himself. He is the author of "Dismantling Discontent: Buddha's Way Through Darwin's World." He has explored the history of Jews, Arabs, Muslims and Christians and is a long time supporter of Middle East Children's Alliance.