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
- 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
- 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