Peace for Palestine: First Lost Opportunity

Peace for Palestine: First Lost Opportunity

Peace for Palestine: First Lost Opportunity

Peace for Palestine: First Lost Opportunity

Synopsis

At the outset of the 1949 armistice negotiations between Israel and its Arab neighbors, acting UN mediator Ralph Bunche expressed his hope that the talks would "chart the road to a peace for Palestine", an outcome apparently as elusive today as when he spoke those words more than forty years ago. Perhaps the most significant aspect of this meticulously documented analysis of those negotiations is its relevance for today's headlines. Relating the proposals and counterproposals, the conspiracies and power plays to present-day Israeli and Middle East policies, Elmer Berger suggests that the basic negotiating strategies of the main players have persisted almost unchanged into the present, a "near rigidity" that has defeated all efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East's central conflict. Berger is a controversial rabbi, an avowed anti-Zionist who proves himself capable of examining highly flammable issues and events with objectivity, insight, and rigorous scholarship. Drawing upon newly released material from official Israeli and U.S. archives, Berger manages to paint both the large picture and the telling detail - the frustrations of the conscientious and highly respected Bunche, the pathetically unprepared Arab negotiators, the well-informed Israeli diplomats, the intrigue of the Israel-Transjordan alliance. The work will serve serious observers of the prolonged conflict over Palestine as a guide to applicable international law and to the attitudes and negotiating policies of the countries involved.

Excerpt

Rabbi Elmer Berger is not usually thought of as a Middle East scholar but rather as an activist, an avowed anti-Zionist who for the past half century has been in the vanguard of one of the most unpopular and generally misunderstood ideological movements in America. the very name of the most recent organization he established at the request of some of his associates, American Jewish Alternatives to Zionism (AJAZ), has made him anathema to many whose closed minds prevent them from examining, even critically, the message Rabbi Berger has sought to bring to American Jews. Because his name is so closely associated with this unpopular cause, many "know," without examining any of his works, that Elmer Berger is not, indeed, cannot be a scholar. This book refutes that perception. It demonstrates the extent to which Dr. Berger is capable of examining one of the most controversial issues of our times with honesty, objectivity, insightfulness, and empathy, even with those whose views are at variance with his.

I have known Elmer Berger for the past thirty-five years and although we often disagree, I have always found that he is prepared, willing, and even eager to become familiar with diverse perspectives on controversial issues, including the Arab-Israeli conflict. His work in this volume is evidence of his eagerness to search out the truth, insofar as there is a "truth" in this very controversial dispute. This is a work of genuine discovery that uses both the methods and sources of first-rate scholarship.

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