Q & R: Palestine, Gaza, West Bank, Israel …

Here’s the Q:

You mention the crisis going on between Arabs and Israelis in the Middle East as well as the Zionism that guides American political action quite a bit on your blog and in speeches. I’m very ignorant about the issue and the history of the situation. Is there a good book you can suggest for me to read to understand the issue more clearly?

There is no shortage of excellent books, but here are a few that I recommend for those new to the subject. They’re listed from the most gentle to the most hard-hitting:
Elias Chacour – Blood Brothers
Naim Ateek – A Palestinian Christian Cry for Reconciliation
Mark Braverman – Fatal Embrace
Ben White – Israeli Apartheid
Marc Ellis – Judaism Does Not Equal Israel
Also – another reader sent this link for an analysis of the recent Gaza flotilla incident. Depressingly quotable …

… Where knowledge is limited, and the desire to learn the complex reality doesn’t exist, public opinion can be shaped by whoever generates the most powerful symbols. And on a matter of only tangential interest, governments tend to follow their publics’ wishes, however they originate. There is little to be gained for governments in resisting public opinion and much to be gained by giving in. By shaping the battlefield of public perception, it is thus possible to get governments to change positions.
… It was not the truth or falsehood of the narrative that mattered…

One hopes that more and more of us will actually desire to learn complex realities and actually care about truth and falsehood!
Also – here’s my most recent Huffington Post blog … on the impact of bad eschatology on world events.