From Publishers Weekly
Chomsky's scathing indictments of U.S. foreign policy have long divided readers, and this collection of essays about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is likely to do the same. Written during the last 30 years, these pieces display many characteristics of Chomsky's thought: a deep mistrust of U.S. and Israeli intentions and a desire to change the course of history. Chomsky is erudite, and some of the points are now standard in discussion about the Middle East, such as the contradiction of Israel being both a Jewish state and a democracy. But Chomsky reprints numerous dated talks-and some of these, while interesting historical relics, contain statements that haven't stood the test of time, such as a 1969 observation that "both international and domestic factors are more conducive to a peaceful resolution of the conflict than has been the case for some time." More recent pieces attack the Oslo peace process, which he sees as "neocolonialist" and resembling South African apartheid. Chomsky's alternative-a binational state-seems highly unlikely given the violence of the past few years. This book is also intriguing for what it omits: in his historical roundup, for instance, Chomsky fails to mention violent Arab riots against Jews before Israel's founding in 1948. For some leftist critics of the U.S. and Israel, this book will ring true. But for many readers-perhaps even some who read Chomsky's bestselling 9-11-it will seem one-sided.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Chomsky is one of the great intellectuals of the twentieth-century Left, whose Peace in the Middle East?
(1974), though tiring reading, was a brilliant indictment of American and Israeli policy toward the Arab world in general and the Palestinian people in particular. It is republished here, augmented by 90 pages of new writings about the Middle East. Chomsky said a number of interesting things about Israel in 1974. While those remain interesting historically, they say less about the current situation than he seems to believe they do. Turgid at times, the new chapters will thrill his admirers, however, for they bristle with the daring comparisons (e.g., repeatedly likening recent American-Israeli Mideast peace plans to apartheid), characteristic of Chomsky, that make even the like-minded Gore Vidal look like a staid centrist. The concluding discussion of 9/11 in the context of America's animosity toward Iraq is especially timely. While the book may date quickly now that the war is a reality, it adds a deep, booming voice to the antiwar chorus. John GreenCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved