The Pursuit of Peace and the Crisis of Israel Identity
Defending/Defining the Nation
by Dov Waxman
The Pursuit of Peace and the Crisis of Israel Identity — Defending/Defining the Nation offers a theoretically-informed analysis of the way in which Israeli national identity has shaped Israel’s foreign policy. By linking domestic identity politics to Israeli foreign policy, it reveals how a crisis of Israeli identity inflamed the debate in Israel over the Oslo peace process.
This is a masterful study; seldom if ever have the internal and external dimensions of Israeli politics been tied together so persuasively. Waxman goes to the roots of the Jewish dilemma – which is also the Zionist dilemma – between the pull of universalism and the claims of particularity. But this is not a work mired in abstractions; rather, it traces this dilemma in Zionist and Israeli history with an extraordinary precision and command of events. The analysis of the Oslo peace process, in particular, explains its ultimate collapse with a depth of understanding that few other analyses have approached. This is a book that will be of value to readers on all levels, from the uninitiated to the expert. It should be on everyone’s short list of books on Israel.– EMANUEL ADLER
ANDREA and CHARLES BRONFMAN PROFESSOR OF ISRAELI STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO
Israel’s Palestinian problem stretches beyond the Occupied Territories, Peleg and Waxman argue in this outstanding work. It includes Palestinians in Israel – citizens who have drifted ever farther away from active citizenship in recent years, as they have faced unending discrimination and been absorbed into the larger Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The authors maintain that the only way to reverse the downward spiral in the relations between Jewish and Arab citizens is to accede to Arab demands for Israel to be reorganized as a state of all its citizens. But, the authors convincingly claim, a state with ‘equality now’ can still continue to serve as the Jewish homeland.– JOEL MIGDAL
UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON