The Not-So-Great Politics

The day after Israel declared its independence from the British Protectorate, on May 14, 1948, the neighboring Islamic countries invaded. Israel has managed to fend off three separate military actions, but only managed to sign one peace treaty. The tensions have only continued to escalate, with the recent nuclear ambitions of Iran being the most current version of the trigger to possible serious warfare.

Camp David peace Talks, 1978

Sadat, Carter, and Begin, at Camp David for the 1978 Peace talks. Wikimedia Commons

The historic antagonisms run deep, compounded by colonial era arrogance, Holocaust remorse, Cold War rivalries, and in-your-face rhetoric and actions. It is a powder keg that holds the world hostage. Each side insists on its understanding in a manner that prevents real, constructive peace negotiations. Though not wildly optimistic, we would like to think that a better understanding by a wider audience of the facts leading to the dissolution of the Palestinian State and the declaration of the Israeli State would actually help resolve the crisis. In that spirit, we suggest the following titles:

Jerusalem: The Biography (Vintage): We know we have already mentioned this book three or four times. It was, ultimately, written to provide a better historical and cultural understanding of the issues of this stand-off.

The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East: An outstanding, sensitive, non-fiction account of personalities and families on both sides of the controversial issues.

The Founding Fathers of Zionism: Written by the father of the current Israeli Prime Minister, this is a very recent version of the Jewish leaders who created Israel.

A Safe Haven: Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel: A profile of the American involvement in the controversial decision to support an Israeli state.

A History of Palestine: From the Ottoman Conquest to the Founding of the State of Israel
: This is a recent work dedicated to providing the Palestinian context for the land from which they were evicted.

We welcome recommendations of other titles that might aid in this essential discussion.