Rodinson, an independent leftist and director of studies at the Sorbonne's Ecole Practique des Hautes Etudes, argues here...

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ISRAEL: A COLONIAL SETTLER-STATE?

Rodinson, an independent leftist and director of studies at the Sorbonne's Ecole Practique des Hautes Etudes, argues here that the Zionist settlement of Palestine exhibited a colonial mentality and colonialist relations as part of the great wave of European expansion. In this case, the Zionists struck up a sort of pact with the British to serve as a wedge against the Ottoman Empire, and with the Russian Czar to use anti-Semitism to encourage emigration. The fact that the Zionists eventually had to fight the British does not at all disprove the colonialist element in the foundation of the state of Israel, says Rodinson. Moreover, ""The theoreticians of Jewish national socialism"" -- note the throwaway phrase -- ""paid very little attention to the societies their project threatened to hurt or destroy. . . . The analogy with the mental attitude of the French colonizers, imbued with the democratic ideology of the French Revolution, is obvious. . . . It is thus amusing to see the most obviously 'bourgeois' Zionists answer any criticism of Israel by waving the banner of Marxism and socialism."" Rodinson is an accomplished and sincere polemicist (""I would not insult my readers by believing they could be impressed by this argument"" -- viz., that Zionists have a Biblical right to Palestine). His own arguments are powerful. His conclusions are despairing, however: ""There is no 'revolutionary solution' to the Israeli-Arab problem"" -- not through Arab revolution, nor, it seems, by a joint Jewish-Arab movement, and Rodinson's equation of revolution with blood and ""military approaches"" begs a lot of questions. The book is provocative without providing answers to the questions it raises.

Pub Date: July 23, 1973

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Pathfinder Press

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1973