PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST by Noam Chomsky

PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Reflections on Justice and Nationhood
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A small book of essays on the Mideast written from 1969 to 1973 by the political essayist and linguist Noam Chomsky. The best piece ridicules the claim of Zionists such as Irving Howe and Seymour Lipset that Chomsky and "the New Left" advocate the destruction of Israel. The other articles are bland and constricted and sometimes off the mark, as when Chomsky asserts that arrangements between Europe or Japan and the Arab oil producers would threaten U.S.-based multinational capitalists. The book has the merit of showing that the claims of Zionists and Palestinian nationalists to that pathetic patch of land possess equal merit and urgency on their own terms. But "neither view can be adopted by people with any compassion or sense of justice. . . . Supporters of the just claims of each contending party. . . have reinforced the tendencies of each toward self-destructive policies." Chomsky also warns against a consolidation of Israel with the reactionary Arab sector as buffers on behalf of the U.S., and suggests that a so-called independent Palestinian state might be nothing but a South African-style labor reserve for Israel. The book does not investigate how Palestinian terrorism has been manipulated but takes it at face value. And even in Chomsky's long introduction, there is no substantial analysis of the external causes of the 1973 war. The book's virtues are negative -- it transcends reflex parti pris, it demolishes narrow logic up to a point. Its affirmative features aren't really far from the spirit of neocolonialist regional development (Chomsky abstractly terms it "binational socialism") which is mooted with contrasting saccharinity by Elon and Hassan in Between Enemies (see below).
Pub Date: Oct. 10th, 1974
ISBN: 0006339182
Page count: 187pp
Publisher: Pantheon
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1974




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