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Israeli Exceptionalism: The Destabilizing Logic of Zionism

November 10, 2009 No Comment

By Dr. M. Shaheed Alam

This book discerns in the history of Zionism the plot of a Shakespearean tragedy.

A small band of European Zionists enters the world stage in late 19th century, determined to create a Jewish state in Palestine. This is their solution to the ‘abnormal’ condition of European Jews, who are without a land and are not a nation. To achieve this, they must seize Palestine; induce Western Jews to become colonists; and, above all, recruit Western powers to adopt their colonial project.

Zionists can only succeed by creating Islamicate enemies; they need resurgent anti-Semitism to send Jewish colonies to Palestine; and they must persuade/coerce the West to stand behind their colonial project. In succeeding, the Zionists merely transplant Jewish abnormality from Europe to the Middle East – and make it worse. In Europe, Jewish-Gentile frictions were local problems; in Israel, ominously, they have come to form the pivot of a global conflict that pits the West against the Islamicate.

“Alam writes with keen purpose and with an ethical point of view, one opposed to the injustices inscribed in Zionist logic, and one that is unfortunately still marginalized in North America.”–Foreign Policy Journal

“Israeli Exceptionalism is not only a must read, it is a must-think-about book. To add intellectual spice, every chapter starts with a few quotes of prominent individuals related to the topic at hand. Reading these quotes alone speak volumes of the human tragedy that Zionism evokes.”–Sam Bahour, Arab News

“This is a critically important book.  It enhances and expands on the groundbreaking message of Shlomo Sand’s work.  If Sand shows that Jews were not ‘a people’ until Zionism created them as such, Alam shows this also and goes well beyond to show how Zionism and its manufactured ‘nation’ went about dispossessing and replacing the Palestinians and winning all-important Western support for Israel and its now 60-year-old ‘exclusionary colonialism.’”–Counterpunch

“There is no doubt that many will consider [this] book to be controversial, and most will consider it provocative.  Nobody will think it is un-interesting or irrelevant.  It is novel in insights, keen in analysis, and sharp in language. The dominant discourse in the West, certainly in the US, about the Arab-Israeli conflict is usually simplistic, often cowardly, and almost always tendentious. Alam’s counter-narrative, in spite of its indignant tone and grim prognosis, is a brave and bracing antidote to much mainstream blather on the subject.”–Informed Comment, review by Ahrar Ahmad

“M. Shahid Alam’s book is a splendid read–lively, engaging, and thought provoking. It competently penetrates, as will as demystifies, one of the most well packaged ideological myths of our times–Israel as a benevolent, civilized, moral national project and shows clearly its darker side, especially as it pertains to Palestinians who have been the major victims of this myth. Alam offers us a passionate plea for a much needed provincializing of Israeli discourse, one that in the United States monopolizes the public sphere. This book is truly a sobering analysis for all those who believe in this myth.”–Khaldoun Samman, Associate Professor of Sociology and Program Director of the Middle East Studies and Islamic Civilization program at Macalester College and author of Clash of Modernities: The Islamist Challenge and the Making and Unmaking of the “New” Jew, Arab, and Turk

“This book should be read because it describes, with remarkable historical insight, why the current crusade of the West and the Zionists beckons dangers that we all need to understand, urgently.”–John Pilger, Journalist, writer and documentary filmmaker

“M. Shahid Alam is a marvelous writer dealing with some of the most pressing problems facing both the United States and the Moslem world. In this book, exploring the tragedy inherent in the history of Zionism, Alam reveals to us how anti-Semitism and Zionism have evolved into an unholy alliance that now constitutes a major threat to world peace. For those seeking insight into this threat, Alam’s book is a ‘must read.’”–Lawrence Davidson, Professor of History, West Chester University

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