Conspiracy of Praise

by Edward Said
published in MER136

Joan Peters, From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict Over Palestine (New York: Harper and Row, 1984).

Thought Control in the US

The Media and the "Peace Process"

published in MER143

From a comparative perspective, the United States is unusual if not unique in the lack of restraints on freedom of expression. It is also unusual in the range and effectiveness of the methods employed to restrain freedom of thought. The two phenomena are related. Liberal democratic theorists have long noted that in a society where the voice of the people is heard, elite groups must insure that that voice says the right things. The less the state is able to employ violence in defense of the interests of elite groups that effectively dominate it, the more it becomes necessary to devise techniques of “manufacture of consent,” in the words of Walter Lippmann over 60 years ago.

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The PLO and the European Peace Movement

published in MER143

In July 1985, the European Nuclear Disarmament movement (END) convened in Amsterdam. One plenary session featured a discussion between Ilan Halevi and Mary Kaldor concerning peace movement support for liberation struggles in the Third World, and for the Palestine Liberation Organization in particular. The question had provoked considerable controversy at END’s meetings a year earlier, and the conference organizers responded by inviting Halevi and Kaldor to discuss frankly the issues at stake, including pacifism, political violence and the reluctance of Western peace forces to confront Israeli militarism and occupation policies.

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Israel Cracks Down on Jewish Peace Activists

by A Special Correspondent
published in MER145

Jerusalem, March 10 -- On November 7, 1986, 21 Israeli peace activists landed at Ben-Gurion International Airport, returning from a three-day trip to Romania. Within minutes, four were ordered to report for interrogation by the Israeli police. The four -- Latif Dori (of the left-Zionist MAPAM party), Eliezer Feiler (of Rakah, the Israeli Communist party), Yael Lotan (active in circles close to the Progressive List for Peace), and Reuven Kaminer (of SHASI, the Israeli Socialist Left) -- were later indicted under the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance.

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Melman, The Master Terrorist

by Roger Gaess
published in MER147

Yossi Melman, The Master Terrorist: The True Story Behind Abu Nidal (New York: Adama Books, 1986).


Yossi Melman has pieced together “an interim report” that provides, within limits, a substantial sketch of Abu Nidal and his Palestinian fringe group, most widely known as the Abu Nidal group, or the Fatah Revolutionary Council. As the correspondent of the Israeli daily Ha-aretz, Melman covered the trial of Abu Nidal group members whose assassination attempt upon the Israeli ambassador in London served as Israel’s pretext for its 1982 invasion of Lebanon. Melman uses that trial as both the primary source and the framework for The Master Terrorist.

PNC Strengthens Palestinian Hand

by Rashid Khalidi
published in MER147

The most striking impression to a casual observer at the Club des Pins Conference Center in Algiers where the Palestine National Council met over April 20-25 was the emotional intensity of the greetings and reunions between long-lost friends among the 2000 or more Palestinians in the corridors outside the main meeting hall. As in Amman in 1984 and Algiers in 1983, the PNC now clearly plays a vital role in bringing together Palestinians in the post-Beirut situation, where there is no longer any center for diaspora politics.

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Hundreds of Communities Hold "Speak Out" Activities

by Dorie Wilsnack
published in MER138

It was a small but brave demonstration. On October 23, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, 20 people marched down a major street during lunch hour, carrying an Israeli and a Palestinian flag. Sponsored by a local coalition of Jews, Palestinians and peace activists, the group distributed leaflets and postcards along the route, urging people to write Congress to promote US recognition of the PLO and mutual recognition between Israel and the PLO.

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Avishai, The Tragedy of Zionism

by Moshé Machover
published in MER149

Bernard Avishai, The Tragedy of Zionism -- Revolution and Democracy in the Land of Israel, (New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1985).


Germany's Greens and Israel

by Diana Johnstone
published in MER149

The German Greens are having a hard time defining a Middle East policy. No wonder. Besides the usual difficulties of the whole European left, they are German.

How hard it could be was brought home with a thud by the six Greens who toured Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel and the occupied territories in December 1984. Trip leaders Jürgen Reents, of the Hamburg left wing of the party, and Gabriele Gottwald, the Greens’ most dedicated Third World solidarity militant, were startled and hurt when the Israeli press distorted their views and impugned their motives.

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Shipler, Arab and Jew

by Penny Johnson
published in MER146

David Shipler, Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in the Promised Land (New York: Times Books, 1986).

Reading this massive 556-page book by David Shipler, the New York Times correspondent in Jerusalem from 1979-1984, is dizzyingly similar to reading 200 Times feature stories in a row. Shipler’s compendium of profiles, interviews and reflections on Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs is structured in the main as a series of miniature stories, linked by Shipler’s own reflections and analysis, both overt and tacit.

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