The Jewish Wars: Reflections by One of the Belligerents


Very much a warrior flourishing words and ideology as his weapons, Edward Alexander launches a counterattack in the war of ideas against Zionism. These essays begin with a dissection of the intifada at the end of 1987 and deal with people and events through 1994, when Israel began to withdraw from the disputed territories. Ineffective militarily, Edward Alexander notes, the intifada proved a potent propaganda tool: "The spectacle of young Palestinian Arabs (at least in early the early stages of the uprising, before the violence became highly organized) facing Israeli soldiers won for the Arabs precisely the victory they had sought: it swung liberal, including (if not especially) Jewish liberal, sympathy decisively to the side of the Arabs and against Israel". Alexander's book is the first to subject to withering criticism the "body of ideas that lured Israel into the quagmire called the 'peace process.'" He excoriates prominent figures in politics, journalism, education, and literature who express hostility,to, or open hatred of, Jews, Judaism, and Israel. Convinced that it is in the realm of ideas that the battle will be lost or won, Alexander has given special attention to "some of the more brazen and flamboyant combatants in... the'Jewish wars' - Edward Said, Patrick Buchanan, the late George Ball, Alexander Cockburn, Michael Lerner, Noam Chomsky - and still more to certain omnipresent personality types: the timorous Jew cloaking his timidity in the robes of the biblical prophet; the treacherous Jew presenting betrayal of his own people as ethical idealism; the ferocious antisemite parading as a dispassionate 'critic of Israeli policies'; the journalist and publicist exploiting thefull public-address and public-relations systems afforded by his profession while complaining that his voice is being 'stifled' by 'the Jewish establishment.'" Recurring themes in Alexander's essays are the relations between