Little Help for Israel
By Mitchell Bard
to crank out books on the Middle East without
regard for whether the authors add anything
to the public’s
understanding. This book exemplifies the
problem as it is yet another chronology of
events with no original research or insights.
Worse, it is badly written, jumping from
descriptions of historical events to more
contemporary incidents. Chapter 1 typifies
Lochery’s scattershot approach, jumping
from the 2000
Camp David summit to a discussion
of Jerusalem to a skimpy history of Zionism to a review of the mandatory
digressions are bizarre; for example, his
discussion of the Suez
into a commentary on statements made by Tony
Blair’s wife about suicide
Lochery apparently knows little about U.S.
Middle East policymaking, offering a number
of generalizations and devoting a disproportionate
amount of space on events such as Ronald
Reagan’s visit to Bitburg that had
nothing to do with Israel.
In jumping through history, Lochery also
makes analogies between events and leaders
that seem inappropriate, dubious, or outright
wrong. For example, he suggests that King
Abdullah of Jordan was unable to make peace
with Israel for reasons similar to those
that led to the failure of the negotiations
in 2000. Lochery says the problem was that
Abdullah “was not in a strong enough
position to be able to force a deal through” and
Barak and Yasser
Arafat were “in
a similar boat.” Abdullah may not have
been strong enough to make peace, but he
was assassinated before he was really tested.
Barak was absolutely prepared to make a deal
with Arafat and offered the Palestinians
almost everything they said they wanted.
Arafat’s refusal to accept Barak’s
offer had nothing to do with his authority;
he was simply unwilling, Dennis Ross has
said, to end the conflict.
Lochery concludes with a series of standard
prescriptions for making peace. Overall,
the reader is likely to be more confused
than enlightened after reading this book.