Israel Book Project


  • Front Matter
  • Part 1: Self-Perpetuating Conflict: Provide a brief outline of the conflict. The central part is the litany of wars and operations and the development of Israel's institutional structure for perpetuating those wars. One thing to stress is both the measure in which Israel's occupation has been successful and the limits of that success -- including the internal conflict within Judaism.
    • The Jordan River, its valley and surroundings; its location at the crossroads of Egypt and Iraq/Iran, Greece/Turkey and Arabia; the long periods of foreign domination; the movement of peoples, and continuity of settlement
    • The Zionist immigration under Turkish indifference and British sponsorship, and the incubation of the Zionist state
    • Two series of wars: against neighbors for space and security; against Palestinians for legitimacy and dominance
    • Israeli institution-building for war and occupation; why Israel always favors war over any alternative; the provisional success of occupation -- how it works and how it fails
  • Part 2: Zionism and Its Precursors: I want to explore here why the idea of Zionism had any resonance for diaspora Jews; also the profound difference between exile and power.
    • The founding and destruction of the first temple, the Babylonian exile and its transformation of Jewish thought; the return from Babylon, and subsequent tension between Israel and the diaspora.
    • The diaspora under Greek and Roman rule, before and after the destruction of the second temple in 70 CE; the intellectual changes that followed, adjusting to near-permanent exile, and the ideal that return to Zion represented; the relationship between messianism and return to Zion.
    • The European imperialist view of Zionism, both as a way of picking apart the Ottoman Empire and as a harbinger of end times.
    • The trauma of antisemitism, especially as experienced in the modern period through Russian pogroms and Nazi holocaust.
    • The advance of a secular concept of Zionism, most likely as an opportunistic path to power via imperialist patronage; the adoption of increasingly religious signs to dress up the project.
  • Part 3: Remembering the Crusades: How the Palestinian understanding of Zionism developed, especially with reference to Islamic history.
    • How Mohammed and his successors formed their new religion in the context of well-established Jewish and Christian antecedents; the fact that Islam came later and its remarkable early successes provide a natural resistance to domination by adherents of prior religions.
    • The Crusades as the first major struggle with European imperialism, and their eventual reversal.
    • Pan-Arabism, Arab nationalism, socialism, and other resistance movements in the framework of global anti-colonial struggle; the idea of universal human rights; the patterns Zionism itself set for Arab identity and resistance.
  • Part 4: Breaking the Mold: This should explore concepts to break the impasse, including strains within Judaism and Islam that put justice over identity politics, and other notions of equal rights and peaceable coexistence.
  • Back Matter

Reference Material