The Myths of Zionism
By John Rose
  Book Review by The Mardy Bard  

A must-read for anyone appalled by the slaughter of the innocents in Sabra and Shatila.  You can buy this book by clicking on one of these links.  (US on the left and UK on the right)

A masterly and scholarly debunking of the claims made by the supporters of the settler-state. A must-read for anyone appalled by the slaughter of the innocents in Sabra and Shatila, and the next generation's re-make in Gaza '09, but worried by the allegation that to criticise Israel is anti-semitic. The author is an anti-imperialist (and therefore anti-Zionist) Jew who has fought for many years for the liberation of Palestine as a pre-requisite for the peaceful co-existence of Jew, Muslim, Christian and non-believer in the Middle East, as a template for the secular, democratic, society in which he passionately believes.

The very first chapter debunks the myth of Zionism's claims for "ancient Israel", basing itself on current Israeli archaeological research. The notion of "Eretz Israel" – the land of Israel – is absolutely fundamental to the Zionist claim to legitimacy. Unfortunately (for them), the more archaeologists research the matter, the more it appears the United (monotheistic) monarchy of David and Solomon never existed as historical fact. From this point on, Rose exposes the fallacies, falsifications and forgeries that Zionism has relied on for its spurious claim to historical justification.

Whether it is the conscious falsification of myth by Ben Gurion, or the nonsensical description of the Zionist dream of "A land without people for a people without land" – which attempts to write out of history the entire Palestinian people – Rose takes on the Zionist justifications and demolishes them. From the notion of the exile of the Diaspora, to examples of Judaeo-Islamic culture, to his rejection of the Arab/Jew dichotomy, Rose pursues his central aim, which is to show that the falsehoods of Zionism, far from increasing security for Jews in the Middle East or the rest of the world, serve to lessen the co-existence and cross-fertilisation of cultures which he sees as one of the great glories of humanity.

I want to finish this review with a quote, a dedication, and a recommendation:
The quote is from a former deputy mayor of Jerusalem Menon Benvenisti, a second generation Israeli Jew:
"I am a proud Israeli Mayflower person. I won't let anyone tell me I am a traitor. I won't let anyone say I am not from here – including the Palestinians ... I am a native son. But this is a country in which there were always Arabs … In my eyes, without Arabs this is a barren land - I love everything that springs from this soil. Whereas the right, certainly, but the left, too, hates Arabs. The Arabs bother them – they complicate things. The subject generates moral questions -. So I think the time has come to declare that the Zionist revolution is over… We should start to think differently, to talk differently … Because in the end we are going to be a Jewish minority here … " (Ha'aretz, 8.08.2003).

These are almost the final words of this book, and they carry a sweet echo of the opening dedication :

In memory of Tony Cliff,
Revolutionary socialist,
Palestinian Jew

And the recommendation : having read this book, join the campaigns for solidarity with Palestine, and go on to read Ilan Pappe's book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine .

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