BEHIND THE MIDDLE EAST CONFLICT: The Real Impasse between Arab and Jew by Gil Carl AlRoy

BEHIND THE MIDDLE EAST CONFLICT: The Real Impasse between Arab and Jew

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KIRKUS REVIEW

AlRoy's analysis is largely an angry diatribe against the self-styled Middle East experts who, he claims, dominate American journalistic, diplomatic, and even academic perceptions of the area. He finds their attitudes still governed by a rose-colored vision of Islam foisted onto the West by 19th century missionaries who patronizingly portrayed an amazingly alien civilization and creed as an enlightened, progressive spiritual tradition. According to AlRoy everything that didn't agree with this picture was suppressed or condescendingly rationalized in familiar terms: the Arabs may sound bloodthirsty and inflexible, but the liberal reading public will come to the right conclusions. AlRoy vehemently asserts that the Arabs mean every word of their anti-Israel rhetoric; that the Muslim record of Jewish persecution is second only to the Christian record; that Muslim civilization has been centered on ideals of power and conquest since its inception and can understand defeat only as a blasphemous negation of God's word to his Prophet. He insists that compromise and willingness to meet an opponent halfway figure in the Muslim ethos only as temporary and reversible expedients. In reality the Arabs are unable to think of Israel at all except in terms of a categorical imperative to destroy it; Israel consequently would be deluded to think in any terms except its own categorical imperative to survive. AlRoy's sympathy with the Israeli position is emphatic, his estimate of Israel's military situation fairly optimistic--he thinks that the Arab nations simply cannot muster the social and technological resources for modern warfare. (He oddly doesn't mention American and Russian arms shipments to the belligerents.) He sees some meager hope in trying to deal with the various Arab factions separately (especially among the Palestinian Arabs in Israel) and playing on the divergent Interests of the different Arab states, but thinks that the Arab will to wipe out Israel is virtually ineradicable and the mischief-making capacity of international ""peacemakers"" virtually limitless. An uncompromisingly pro-Israel treatment with a rather grim outlook.

Pub Date: June 24th, 1975
Publisher: Putnam