cover image Israel, Palestine and Terror

Israel, Palestine and Terror

, . . Continuum, $24.95 (226pp) ISBN 978-0-826-49793-2

This collection of 15 essays from wide-ranging contributors including Noam Chomsky and controversial consequentialist philosopher Ted Honderich grapples with whether or not Palestinian terrorism can be morally justified and ultimately falls short. In failing to include even one Palestinian voice and precious few Israelis, these essays rely almost exclusively on the work of those who are privileged enough to be able to view the phenomenon of Palestinian terrorism (as well as Israeli state violence, referred to by many contributors as Israeli terrorism) as an abstraction and at a remove. Some of the writers (Igor Primoratz, William L. McBride, Gerald Cohen) make genuine efforts to fuse philosophical considerations with human realities, but the predominant tone is one of arrogant pronouncements on the lives of others. Such a conversation might be of interest in the halls of academia, but to the extent that it can be expected to contribute meaningfully to the real-life resolution of decades of conflict, this largely aloof and oddly bloodless effort fails to engage, even though the issues raised are urgent and go to the heart of what drives Western foreign policy today. (Aug.)