In today's New York Times Book Review, Anthony Julius reviews Ruth Wisse's new book, Jews and Power.
But it also has a certain delicacy, in particular in its openness to alternative histories, alternative political arrangements. “It is worth considering how the Middle East might have evolved had Arab rulers accepted the partition of Palestine,” she writes. There would have been some voluntary shifts of population. Arab Palestine might have federated with Jordan. Regional priorities would have dictated new patterns of trade, commerce and development. Jews and Arabs who wanted to live in the other’s land could have traveled back and forth.
Indeed, imagine how history might have changed had the Arab powers accepted the mere presence of a Jewish state in their midst. Devastating wars would have been averted, radical Islam would not have the appeal it currently does, economies would be on the rise. Why is the existence of Israel such a big deal, not just for the Arabs, but for gullible and guilt-ridden Westerners who insist that the Palestinian issue must be solved before any other Middle Eastern problem can be tackled?