Mythologies without End review by David Foster

A review of Mythologies without end by Jerome Slater

Oxford University Press 2021

Darwen Liberal Democrat, David Foster said, “This is a must read book for those interested in debunking some of the myths, lies and half-truths surrounding the Arab/Palestinian – Israeli conflict.  Written by a retired Jewish political science professor who is sympathetic to the existence of the state of Israel but concerned that the debate should be founded an truth not myths.  Jerome Slater looks at the available material debunks many of the myths perpetrated by the Israeli government and some of its supporters.  He examines the historical background to the formation of Israel and then looks at the causes of the many conflicts including: the 1948, 1956, 1967 wars. He goes onto look at all the conflicts after the 1967 occupation including the wars with Lebanon, the Intafada and war in Gaza.  He also considers the many peace initiatives and the reasons for their failure.  The book covers USA policy and some of the reasons for their support of Israel.  It shows that from the start of the state of Israel the goal of many of its senior leadership was the expansion of the state from the 1947 UN partition agreement.”

This is from the publisher’s description

The history of modern Israel is a fiercely contested subject. From the Balfour declaration to the Six-Day War to the recent assault on Gaza, ideologically-charged narratives and counter-narratives battle for dominance not just in Israel itself but throughout the world. In the United States and Israel, the Israeli cause is treated as the more righteous one, albeit with important qualifiers and caveats.

Mythologies Without End, Jerome Slater takes stock of the conflict from its origins to the present day and argues that US policies in the region are largely a product of mythologies that are often flatly wrong. For example, the Israelis’ treatment of Palestinians after 1948 undermined its claim that it was a true democracy, and the argument that Arab states refused to negotiate with Israel for decades is simply untrue. Because of widespread acceptance of these myths in both the US and Israel, the consequences have been devastating to all of the involved parties. In fact, the actual history is very nearly the converse of the mythology: it is Israel and the US that have repeatedly lost, discarded, or even deliberately sabotaged many opportunities to reach fair compromise settlements of the Arab-Israeli and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts. As Slater reexamines the entire history of the conflict from its onset at the end of WWI through the Netanyahu era, he argues that a refutation of the many mythologies that is a necessary first step toward solving the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Focusing on both the US role in the conflict and Israel’s actions, this book exposes the self-defeating policies of both nations ― policies which have only served to prolong the conflict far beyond when it should have been resolved