Middle East Illusions: Including Peace in the Middle East?: Reflections on Justice and Nationhood

Noam Chomsky, Et, Author
Noam Chomsky, Et, Author Rowman & Littlefield Publishers $22.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-7425-2699-0
Reviewed on: 03/01/2003
Release date: 03/01/2003
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-7425-3309-7
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-7425-2977-9
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Chomsky's scathing indictments of U.S. foreign policy have long divided readers, and this collection of essays about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is likely to do the same. Written during the last 30 years, these pieces display many characteristics of Chomsky's thought: a deep mistrust of U.S. and Israeli intentions and a desire to change the course of history. Chomsky is erudite, and some of the points are now standard in discussion about the Middle East, such as the contradiction of Israel being both a Jewish state and a democracy. But Chomsky reprints numerous dated talks--and some of these, while interesting historical relics, contain statements that haven't stood the test of time, such as a 1969 observation that""both international and domestic factors are more conducive to a peaceful resolution of the conflict than has been the case for some time."" More recent pieces attack the Oslo peace process, which he sees as""neocolonialist"" and resembling South African apartheid. Chomsky's alternative--a binational state--seems highly unlikely given the violence of the past few years. This book is also intriguing for what it omits: in his historical roundup, for instance, Chomsky fails to mention violent Arab riots against Jews before Israel's founding in 1948. For some leftist critics of the U.S. and Israel, this book will ring true. But for many readers--perhaps even some who read Chomsky's bestselling 9-11--it will seem one-sided.
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