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Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East Hardcover – March 12, 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for Brokers of Deceit

 "What has happened to the Palestinian people since 1948 is one of the great crimes of modern history. Of course, Israel bears primary responsibility for this tragedy. However, as Rashid Khalidi shows in his smart new book, American presidents from Truman to Obama have sided with Israel at almost every turn and helped it inflict immense pain and humiliation on the Palestinians. At the same time, they have employed high-sounding but dishonest rhetoric to cover up Israel's brutal behavior. As Brokers of Deceit makes clear, the United States richly deserves to be called "Israel's lawyer."
  —John J. Mearsheimer, coauthor of The Israel Lobby

“Drawing on his own experience as a Palestinian negotiator and recently released documents, Rashid Khalidi mounts a frontal attack on the myths and misconceptions that have come to surround America’s role in the so-called “peace process” which is all process and no peace. The title is not too strong:  the book demonstrates conclusively that far from serving as an honest broker, the US continues to act as Israel’s lawyer – with dire consequences for its own interests, for the Palestinians, and for the entire region. Professor Khalidi deserves much credit for his superb exposition of the fatal gap between the rhetoric and reality of American diplomacy on this critically important issue.”
 —Avi Shlaim, Emeritus Professor of International Relations at Oxford and author ofThe Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World.

 "Khalidi has combined history, common sense and his first-hand understanding of arab-israeli peace talks, as brokered by Washington, to make the case that American national security interests would be best served by a just peace in the Middle East.  Instead, he writes with great sadness, Washington's efforts to be an honest broker fall "somewhere between high irony and farce" —and puts democratic America, with its avowed commitment to freedom for all, in the position of enabling the continued subjugation of the Palestine people.  This is an important book."
 —Seymour M. Hersh, The New Yorker

“For those of us who believe that a two-state solution is the path to justice and peace for Israel and Palestine, Rashid Khalidi’s trenchant analysis is powerful and disturbing. The United States has failed repeatedly to be an honest broker, accepting the status quo of Israeli occupation and settlements when a true peace agreement would be deeply in the interest of all parties, Israel, Palestine, and the US itself. Khalidi emphasizes that the deceptions of language and deed have serious long-term costs and that the United States might soon impose and incur still greater costs through ill-conceived policies vis-à-vis Syria, Iran, and other countries in the Middle East.”
—Jeffrey D. Sachs, author of The End of Poverty

Praise for Rashid Khalidi

“Rashid Khalidi is arguably the foremost U.S. historian of the modern Middle East.”—Warren I. Cohen, Los Angeles Times Book Review
“In a refreshing contrast to the yammering bazaar of complaint and allegation that has dominated American public discussion of the Middle East since Sept. 11, 2001, "The Iron Cage" is a patient and eloquent work, ranging over the whole of modern Palestinian history from World War I to the death of Yasser Arafat. Reorienting the Palestinian narrative around the attitudes and tactics of the Palestinians themselves, Khalidi lends a remarkable illumination to a story so wearily familiar it is often hard to believe anything new can be found within.”—Jonathan Shainin, Salon
“Unlike most so-called Middle East experts, Khalidi actually knows a great deal about that region”—Professor John J. Mearsheimer, author of The Israel Lobby
“With a deep knowledge of the Middle East and a felicitous literary style, Khalidi . . . examines the history of U.S. involvement in the area against the backdrop of European colonialism.”—Ronald Steel, The Nation
“Rashid Khalidi’s extraordinary book [Resurrecting Empire] is enormously relevant for our times, especially in light of America’s growing involvement in the Middle East.”—Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the Nobel Prize
“Khalidi’s role is as a historian, working to show how historical forces, largely ignored in the U.S., have shaped the modern Middle East. He takes particular delight in demolishing the various clichés used to describe the Middle East, bred out of what he terms ‘America’s historical amnesia.’”—Chris Hedges, New York Times

About the Author

Rashid Khalidi is the author of seven books about the Middle East, including Palestinian Identity, Brokers of Deceit, Resurrecting Empire, The Iron Cage, and Sowing Crisis. His writing on Middle Eastern history and politics has appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and many journals. For his work on the Middle East, Professor Khalidi has received fellowships and grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the American Research Center in Egypt, and the Rockefeller Foundation, among others. He is the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University in New York and is editor of the Journal of Palestine Studies.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press (March 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080704475X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807044759
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #202,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dennis Loh on March 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is a very important book that will lead to the paradigm shift of the Palestinian-Israeli discourse over the next decade. The two pillars of the prevailing paradigm over the last several decades have been the presence of the "peace process" moderated by US as the "honest" broker and that Israel will eventually cede to a Palestinian state the West Bank and Gaza. Khalidi establishes with meticulous research and logic that the foundation of this paradigm is based on false premises. The new paradigm is composed of the total disqualification of US as a mediator and that the "peace process" is a complete sham that is simply a charade by Israel to buy time to make the domination of Occupied Territories permanent.

The approach taken by Khalidi is devilishly simple and elegant. He starts by quoting Menachem Begin in 1977:
"The right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel is eternal and indisputable and is linked with the right to security and peace. Therefore, Judea and Samaria (West Bank, my note) will not be handed over to any foreign administration. Between the sea and the Jordan River there will be only Israeli sovereignty". Starting from this statement, Khalidi, instead of an exhaustive historical review of all that followed, then proceeds to analyze three periods of the "peace process" initiatives to show that the US and Israel unequivocally colluded to perpetuate Begin's mantra instead of pursuing a just and lasting peace for the Israelis and Palestinians.

Khalidi carefully selected the three examples based on the availability of historical documentation and his personal scholarly expertise/access. Use of discrete examples allows for a comprehensible presentation for the general public.

The first case involves the Reagan plan of 1982.
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I thought this book was a concise and readable historical study of how, for over 30 years, the U.S. has been "Israel's lawyer" instead of trying to achieve a lasting and just peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

It is at heart a work of history, so do not the expect simplified sound-byte-filled prose that we are accustomed to getting from fake pop "scholar/journalists" like Thomas Friedman and others. Khalidi lays out the abuse of language that has created the Orwellian status quo in the Middle East. He shows that while the U.S. supports Israel with billions of dollars and diplomatic cover for continued occupation and territorial expansion, they have simultaneously posed as the "honest broker", all the while preventing real negotiations based on international and human rights law and UN resolutions to take place.

The author goes into three historical moments to analyze and expose the charade of "even-handed" American mediation. Probably the most interesting chapters are on the peace negotiations of the 1990s, the chapter on President Obama, and the Conclusion. What makes the chapter on the negotiations of the 90's so interesting is that Khalidi participated in them as an advisor so he cites original, never-before-seen primary documents showing the American and Israeli positions.

As AN American I can only hope that President Obama in his second term does something to change the destructive and blind support of Israel, and that the U.S. actually acts as an honest broker to make a just and equitable peace between Israel and the Palestinians. This would not only be good for the people of the region but would greatly enhance U.S. standing and security in the world.

I also saw that Khalidi had an op-ed in the NYT, March 13, 2013
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Format: Hardcover
Author Khalidi, professor of Arab studies at Columbia, begins by asserting that in the American/Israeli lexicon the word 'terrorism' within the context of the Middle East has come to apply exclusively to the actions of Arab militants, and does not include any Israeli actions by its settlers or army personnel. Similarly, 'security' is an absolute priority of Israel's that takes precedence over international law and the human rights of others. Palestinians, however, are presumed not to have any concerns about their security. Thus, these perverted definitions ('Orwellian' linguistic feats) serve to conceal an American policy that exacerbates the conflict instead of helping resolve it.

The book focuses on how America's brokered political process has reinforced the subjugation of Palestinians and made much more unlikely the likelihood of a just and lasting peace via 'three moments of clarity.' Specifically, the 1978 Camp David Accords, the 1991 Madrid Peace Conference/1993 Oslo Accords, and the recent Obama retreat from his initial stress on halting expansion of Israeli West Bank settlements as a precondition for continued Palestinian-Israeli negotiations and a return to the 1967 frontiers (with minor modifications) per Security Council Resolution 242, as the only suitable basis for negotiation. (Both illegal construction in Jerusalem and its 300,000 across the 1967 border in East Jerusalem, or ongoing construction was addressed.) Obama then offered Israel F-35 fighter jets and other rewards for its obstinacy, before he presented what may be the most pro-Israeli speech by any U.S. president to the U.N. General Assembly, and the U.S. campaigned to obstruct a Palestinian bid for becoming a full U.N. member.
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