That there is so much focus on the Holy Land is a fact of life. The trouble is that the narrative of Israel is being communicated by those who dislike it.
Seth J. Frantzman
06 July '10
Among the themes that top the list of the coming year’s publications dealing with the Middle East are Iranian history, Lebanon’s vibrancy, Saudi Arabia and stories of American combat soldiers. But there is one that, unsurprisingly, towers above all the rest: Israel and the Palestinians. Of the 700 books that will be published in English on the Middle East in the next year, 107 (15 percent) of them will be devoted to the conflict or aspects of it. This is based on a careful examination of forthcoming publications at Amazon.com, although there are probably other obscure publications lurking out there.
That there is so much focus on the Holy Land is a fact of life. But the trouble with the forthcoming publications is that the narrative of Israel and its history is being communicated to the English-speaking world almost entirely by those who dislike it. Lone defenders like Alan Dershowitz and reasoned supporters like Martin van Creveld and Martin Gilbert are among the authors of next year’s harvest (Dershowitz is the author of a novel about Israel, Trials of Zion, not a nonfiction account).
Holland-born Van Creveld is a military historian who wrote a well received history of the IDF and now argues in The Land of Blood and Honey that Israel is the “greatest success story in the entire 20th century.” London-born Gilbert, a biographer of Winston Churchill, is publishing a book on Jews in Muslim lands which is described as a “moving account of mutual tolerance between Muslims and Jews... a template for the future.” Italian journalist Giulio Meotti also writes on the Untold Stories of Israel’s Victims of Terrorism.
For the Israel bashers that dominate publications on the region, Gaza is a favorite topic.
Nine books are in the pipeline for that small sliver of land. James Patras, a retired professor from Binghamton University and author of numerous books on the Israel “lobby,” has just published War Crimes in Gaza and the Zionist Fifth Column in America. In Gaza: Beneath the Bombs, an International Solidarity Movement volunteer and another radical left colleague write about Gazans facing “oppression not only with courage but with humor.”
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