Link to this page
Here are a few books I highly recommend:
The history of modern Israel is a search for security and peace -- an elusive,
tragic search at best. Martin Gilbert's history can be viewed as slanted toward
Israel, but that would miss his point, which is that Israelis have
self-consciously wished for and worked for peaceful and fruitful co-existence
with their neighbors and with the Palestinians from the beginning.
there have been grave misdeeds by Israelis (and Arabs) that have resulted in
senseless loss of life. But if we go off on that track we will never see what
Gilbert's point really means. What both sides would likely acknowledge is that
the idea of peaceful coexistence has been more seriously entertained by Israelis
than by Arabs -- Palestinian and otherwise.
If this book is one-sided then it is
so because because Gilbert has revealed this critical asymmetry in a way that
has not been made clear before. The book is overflowing with details, anecdotes,
portraits and asides that lend it an splendid depth. Yet the author never
indulges himself in the sort of speculative forays that might confer color to
his work at the expense of careful historical analysis. As a result, there is a
critical neutrality toward the facts, with a minimum of bias, emotion or
Perhaps the most emotional part of the book surrounds the events
leading up to the assassination of Rabin, a masterful, moving account the whole
world should read. Gilbert does not provide an argument for the Labor party or a
brief against the Palestinians. Instead, he draws out the tragic dimension of a
lost opportunity for peace in a part of the world where peace seems always
beyond the pale.
In the end, this is a hopeful, though sober and cautious work,
and certainly not a book that favors one or the other side. It is a book that
should be read by both sides, not with the aim of quibbling about who is
represented more favorably, but to see how fragile is the chance for peace and
how a knowledge of this brief history of Israel can aid in the efforts to bring
about stability and justice for all in this long-suffering part of the world.
(review by Irwin
Savodnik, MD, Ph.D. from Rancho Palos Verdes, CA USA)
Some have said that the events of September 11 took every American by surprise.
That's not true.
There were Cassandras among us warning about the dangers of Islamic terrorism--and one of their leaders
was Steven Emerson, who must be ranked among the most fearless reporters in the world.
As a self-made expert on Islamic terrorism, he has invited the hatred of violent murderers. (At least
one group has marked him for assassination; he was offered enrollment in the federal witness protection
program, but refused).
For more than 10 years, Emerson has soldiered on, studying groups that operate in the United States
for the express purpose of funding and managing deadly organizations. American Jihad summarizes what
he has learned, and it isn't comforting:
- Emerson shows how the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas has grown an extensive network in the United
- How the group Islamic Jihad set up shop at the University of South Florida.
- And how an Islamic center in Tucson helped recruit two of Osama bin Laden's top deputies.
He also provides circumstantial evidence that bin Laden himself once applied for an American
visa--"even the possibility is tantalizing, and chilling," he concludes. He urges Americans to fight
back, but worries that time is short: "We are still vulnerable."
This is an important book, and a sobering one. Click here to purchase "American Jihad" (30% discount).
Books on Middle Eastern history usually present one of two contradictory histories, depending on
whether the author supports Israel or the Arabs.
So which history is the impartial reader to believe? They should believe Ms. Peters' account,
because of her honesty. Ms. Peters was a US State Dept. official during the Carter Administration,
and involved in the Camp David Accords.
Back then, Ms. Peters was a passionate advocate of the Palestinian Arab cause. She left the
State Dept with the avowed purpose of writing a book about the historical origins of the
Israel-Palestinian conflict sympathetic to the Arabs.
But after years of exhaustive and thorough research, she discovered that the facts where not as she
had thought they were. The facts, freed from propaganda, had led Ms. Peters to a sort of
conversion. Instead of burying or glossing over such facts, she sets them out in all their
While many will see this book as coming from the Israel version of history, it is in fact coming
from someone who had embraced the Palestinian Arab cause before researching the facts and changing
her conclusions. That makes this book a must read for those seeking an honest account of the origins
of the Israel-Arab conflict. This book has credibility.
(thanks to Susie for the tip on 'Time Immemorial')
Link to this page