Shattered Hopes: Obama’s Failure to Broker Israeli-Palestinian Peace

Josh Ruebner. Verso (Random, dist.), $26.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-78168-120-6
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Ruebner, a leader of the coalition U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, charges the Obama administration with playing “a crucial role... in sinking the prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace.” Throughout the book, the author makes the idiosyncratic argument that the president is a natural ally of the Palestinians, but that he has thrown them under the bus for personal gain; he is “willing to sublimate his likely true feelings on this issue in order to advance his political career.” Unfortunately, the book often reads like an awkward attempt at psychoanalysis couched in shrill, thinly reasoned polemic. Ruebner assigns complex emotions and motivations to Obama, even as he stridently insists that the president’s actions are unreasonable and reprehensible. At the same time, he stakes out a maximalist position for himself, asserting that no Israeli concessions can ever be good enough for the Palestinians, and any Israeli concerns are inherently suspect. He argues that Obama’s attempt to revive the Oslo “peace process” (scare quotes and all) is “shameful,” as is the president’s obeisance to Israel’s “supposed” security needs. The author places the blame for the 9/11 attacks on American policy toward Israel, and, while magnanimously allowing that “deliberately attacking civilians is never justifiable under international law,” he excoriates Obama for insisting that the Palestinians can achieve peace only through nonviolent means. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/22/2013
Release date: 09/10/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 376 pages - 978-1-78168-555-6
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