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50 internautes sur 54 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Eyewitness history of Palestine/Israel conflict14 septembre 2004
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Alfred Lilienthal has been involved with seeking solutions to the Middle East conflict for over 50 years. Amazingly he is still alive and yet was present in 1947 for the UN partition vote that paved the way for the state of Israel. He was a Jewish American who represented the anti-Zionist American Council for Judaism at the UN discussions. The Council was against a Jewish state and favored a modern democratic state not based on race or religion. Contrary to what a previous reviewer implied, Lilienthal has of course never been against rights for Jews. He was and is against unequal rights for all involved and has always humanized both Palestinian Muslims and Christians rather than demonizing them in his writings.
Here in his own words from the book is his true position: "In fact, I lobbied against the Partition Resolution 181 because it was our belief that the creation of a "Jewish only" Zionist enclave in that region could lead to insecurity and war which would endanger the lives of Arabs and Jews alike. Finally, as patriotic Americans, we believed this did not serve the long-term interests of the United States. A state based upon religious or racial exclusivity could, I argued, result in what actually has happened these last fifty-six years: misery for all peoples in the area and American involvement in the on-going conflict in ways that has undermined our own democratic principles and national security. We foresaw that the price of Israel would indeed be high."
I read a tattered old copy of the 1953 book about a dozen years ago. It is great to now have a brand new copy updated with a substantial new introduction that deals with current events and even the neo-conservative influences on President Bush and their tie-in with the policies of Israeli Prime Minister Sharon that have only fomented more conflict, hatred, and death. Lilienthal points out what he believes must be a gradual start to a true peace process: "It is Washington that will be the principal ideological battleground where the crucial showdown will take place over whether there will or will not be a successful "Road Map" leading to the establishment of a Palestinian state to exist and flourish side by side with the existing state of Israel. If a real and lasting solution is to evolve, the voice of positive opposition in the United States-both Jews and Christians-as well as Arab Americans-along with secular groups right and left and in between-must be molded into a unified political force.The Zionist lobby, the many spineless politicians, and the biased media have to date had the final and decisive say as to the possibility of Middle East peace. They can similarly block any current or future peace plan as they have so successfully done other peace efforts in the past-the list would be a long one! Change will not be easy against such entrenched forces, but it is up to the increasing number of supporters of peace with justice to move forward with courage and determination."
This book provides the factual historical background often so unknown amongst many Americans. His sources are the original ones at the time over a half century ago. He explains the true meaning of the Balfour Declaration, why Truman changed his mind about not favoring a Jewish state since his original position of one democratic state for Arabs and Jews both had been in 1945 the same as the American Council for Judaism, the behind the scenes pressures on the UN representatives to vote for partition often against their own conscience, and the desire of the many Arab leaders who Lilienthal met in person to have a positive relationship with the United States. He quotes from a letter that John F. Kennedy sent to him in 1960: "Dear Alfred...I wholly agree that American partisanship in the Arab-Israel conflict is dangerous to both the United States and the Free World. My program merely calls for using the power of the President to bring the parties themselves to an agreement. For too long a time, this dispute has been a bitter cause of friction between the Arab nations and Israel. I would hope that both would be friends of the United States." It is unfortunate that Kennedy did not live long enough to attempt to carry out this more "even-handed" position that may have prevented the present clash of civilizations that now endangers the entire world. So unnecessary if Lilienthal and others like him had been heeded over 50 years ago!
37 internautes sur 41 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Essential reading on the Israel/Palestinian conflict6 juillet 2004
gary d. keenan
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Anyone who wants to learn the true cause of the conflict between the state of Israel and the Palestinians should read What Price Israel by Dr. Alfred Lilienthal. It lays out a well documented history of Canaan/Palestine and the founding of the Jewish State therein. Dr. Lilienthal is one of the first American Jewish intellectuals to have had the courage and moral integrity to oppose the creation of Israel and condemn its premeditated expulsion of the Palestinians from the lands they and their ancestors have inhabited continuously for 9000 years. While I am sure most readers will welcome the insights and facts Dr. Lilienthal provides, others will find it difficult to admit to themselves that what they have hitherto believed to be the truth is far from it.
35 internautes sur 39 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
You can save the world. Do it.2 juillet 2004
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Fifty years ago, Alfred Lilienthal asked the question: What Price Israel? Today, the world is marching and catastrophe is the answer. You owe it to yourself - and to everyone you know and love - to find out why. You can do something. Do it: read, think, act.
13 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Fifty years is not a long time in Middle East politics7 septembre 2006
Earth that Was
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Alfred Lilienthal's book gives an eyewitness account to the domestic US politics at the time of the formation of the state of Israel. He examines both the broader US political arena and the politics within American Jewry between those with an Israeli centric viewpoint and those with a more universalist interpretation of Judaism.
It would be simplistic to define this as a struggle between zionist and anti-zionist factions within Judaism as Lilienthal's blow by blow description shows that there were few, if any, 'anti-zionists'. There were however non-zionists with different degrees of allegiance to Israel and different degrees of cooperation with the "zionist" project, which itself had shades of meaning between those seeking a kind of minimalist (token?) jewish homeland in the middle east, through to a multi-ethnic multi-religious Palestine with distinct Arab and Israeli cantons on to those seeking a homogeneous jewish state in the middle east more or less encompassing all the world's jewry.
Lilienthal's position is very much in favour of a universalistic interpretation of judaism and he sees the focus on a Israeli state as virtually a new stage in the development of judaism, indeed virtually a new religion. For his skepticism, as Paul Findley tells us in another book, Lilienthal was himself formally excommunicated in 1982 from Judaism by a group of New York rabbis. Lilienthal's response..."Only God can do that. I still feel very much a jew." Lilienthal's discussion leaves open whether his brand of assimilationist judaism or the new israelist judaism is the real heresy.
Lilienthal argues that American and Israeli interests do not always coincide and that forces within the American jewish community, along with Christian zionists, have made defending and aiding the state of Israel central to US policy in the Mid East in ways that are inimical to wider US interests. In this volume Lilienthal was writing in terms of the Cold War struggle with the Soviet Union, and before the 1967 war, which saw a dramatic escalation of US sponsorship of Israel. Despite the end of the Cold War, the divergence may if anything, be greater now.
The book helps readers, admittedly from one skeptic's perspective, understand the roots of the US / Israeli alliance in the late 1940s, the domestic political considerations and the pressures all this imposed on the British then ruling Palestine whilst the British themselves were critically dependent on the US. No wonder they quit Palestine in a huff!
The book is well written in the fashion of good "Reader's Digest" style journalism. It was in Reader's Digest that Lilienthal first came to prominence with an article called "Israel's flag is not my flag". This article is available online at Alfred Lilienthal's web site. The book is not purely technical scholarship, and is undoubtedly polemical from Lilienthal's clearly stated position.
There is of course a lot of deja vu for those of us reading this book after 50 years have passed. Not much has really changed and nothing new seems to have emerged since Lilienthal first wrote this. The recent 'discovery', mainly invoked by leftist commentators, of Christian Zionist forces at work in the so called 'religious right' is really decades old news. One wonders how they could have slumbered through this development for so long. And there were forerunners to the notorious Pollard and AIPAC spy cases in the apparent leaking of classified Pentagon assessments to the Israel presumably from sources within the Truman White House.
Some of Lilienthal's side lights are quite interesting, although the evidence provided is better than anecdotal but less than scholarly. For example, Einstein's (at best) lukewarm support of an Israeli state, despite the efforts of Israeli nationalists to use his name for PR purposes. Einstein was a supporter of the Hebrew Univesity but was, if anything, skeptical of the value of the value of a 'jewish state'. This didn't stop his name being floated, and exploited for PR purposes, as a possible President of Israel. Then there are the efforts by some Israeli nationalists to exploit the postwar refugee issue, with some attempts to undermine resettlement efforts in the US and the west. Some enthusiasts indeed went so far as to run disinformation campaigns in European refugee camps of supposed anti-Jewish pogroms in America.
Harold Wilson back in the 1970s once declared "a week is a long time in politics". Not so in the middle east. Reading "What Price Israel?" shows just how little progress has been made in the broader issue of middle east peace, and in the conduct of middle east politics, in fifty years. Let's hope readers will not feel that way when the centenary of this book is reached.
8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
A most important book on the Middle East crisis5 janvier 2009
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This is one of the most important books to read if you really want to understand the Israel/Palestine conflict. The author was present when the UN voted to establish the state of Israel and he discusses all the politicking and arm-twisting that was going on at the time. He shows how that was responsible for the partition resolution to squeak through. I can't recommend this book highly enough.