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Mythologies without End: The US, Israel, and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1917–2020, Jerome Slater

Reviewed by Ian S. Lustick
 

Jerome Slater’s book impressively counters Abba Eban’s profoundly false meme that the Arabs “never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” In Israeli parlance, Slater contends that hahefech hu hanachon (“the opposite is the case”). Though exploiting only English-language secondary sources, he uses the rich scholarly literature on the Arab-Israeli conflict to analyze hundreds of discrete episodes, disputes, and polemical claims, showing how regularly and often breathtakingly facts contradict the narrative of official Israel and its advocates.

Slater lavishes attention on the blameworthiness of Israeli governments, Henry Kissinger, and a series of weak-willed or politically paralyzed American presidents for the failure of dozens of attempts to make peace based on some version of territorial partition. The dramatic gaps between fact and widespread belief that Slater exposes are particularly well-illustrated by Israeli-Syrian relations. Quoting David Ben-Gurion and Moshe Dayan, Slater compellingly demonstrates that aggressive and systematic Israeli attacks on Syria in the 1950s, not Syrian extremism and shelling of peaceful Israeli farmers, made a peace treaty impossible and set the stage for Israel’s conquest of the Golan Heights in 1967. With brutal repetitiveness, he shows that the failure of American-bro

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