The Terrorist Conjunction
The United States, the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, and al-Qa'ida
by Alfred G. Gerteiny
May 2007, 192pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-275-99643-7
$64, £48, 56€, A87
eBook Available: 978-0-275-99644-4
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Provides a candid analysis of the dangerous consequences of Israel’s inordinate influence on U.S. policy in the Middle East.

Missing from many contemporary analyses of the causes of terrorism is any mention of the role of U.S. foreign policy, an examination of which is seen by some critics as inherently unpatriotic. Even less attention is paid to the role of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Gerteiny, who has lived in the Middle East and has studied the region for more than four decades, does not shy away from such controversies. In this book, he discusses the seminal causes of contemporary transnational terrorism, particularly the grievances inherent in the persistent Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Gerteiny examines state and anti-state forms of terrorism, and he carefully distinguishes between terrorism carried out in pursuit of national liberation by the Palestinians and the theologically driven jihadism that feeds on it. He considers anti-Western Islamism as being reactive to a U.S. Middle East policy inordinately influenced by the Zionist lobby. He reflects on Muslim and Islamist world views and assesses the U.S. reaction to terrorism after 9/11, including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Israel’s unchecked expansionism at the expense of Palestine and its suffocating grip over its population, carried out under the cover of U.S. protection, constitute ethnic cleansing in Gerteiny’s view. This, and the ill-conceived U.S. strategy in the Gulf region, in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the lack of communications with Syria and Iran are perceived by most Muslims as harbingers of an ongoing new crusade. They constitute the main pernicious elements upon which the wider-reaching vengeful Islamist theopolitical jihadism thrives, ultimately threatening the spread of democracy, the survival of Israel in the Middle East, and peaceful coexistence with the Muslim world.

Reviews

"[T]his book emphasizes how the terrorist actions of each side to help motivate and excuse the terrorist actions of the other. Gerteiny returns time and again to how and why the US has tended to miss the complexity of the situation and by providing an uncritical support for Israel has sucked the US democracy into the dance of mutually constitutive animosity. To continue down this path, he argues, disfigures US democracy and empowers the radicals the US claim to oppose. Recommended. General readers, upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, and researchers."—Choice, August 1, 2008

"Gerteiny, a teacher on the Middle East, has combined his academic training and years of introspection on this subject in writing this book. He begins with an analysis of power, political legitimacy, and the role of violence within political entities. With this grounding, he dedicates the bulk of this work to the examination of terrorism--the organization and philosophies of terrorist groups and their relationship to the state. He looks more closely at Islamic terrorist groups and delves deeply into the role of terrorism in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. He also probes the relationship that has developed between the United States and terrorism. This book is extensively footnoted and the author offers a bibliography of scholarly sources that have helped to inform his understanding on this subject."—Castle Crier, August 31, 2007

"While few authors have examined in depth the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its decisive role in contemporary transnational terrorism, Gerteiny analyzes state and anti-state forms of terrorism, and makes a distinction between terrorism carried out in pursuit of national liberation and the theologically driven jihadism that is fueled by it."—The Justice Journal, August 1, 2007

"Sadly, one of the prime characteristics about the debates in the United State over terrorism and the war on terrorism has been the rather successful silencing of any discussion of the role of US foreign policy in spurring extremist Islamic terrorism, particularly US support for an expansionist and United Nations-defying Israel that is militarily occupying and oppressing millions of Palestinians. Thankfully, Gerteiny appears unafraid of these taboos, as he addresses unqualified US support for Israel and how it helps give rise to both Palestinian nationalist terrorism, aimed only at ending Israeli oppression, and Islamic jihadi terrorism, which is able to point to the US-Israeli nexus as the spearhead of a new crusader force in the region. He also criticizes the hypocritical support of the United States for dictatorships in the region while claiming to be supporting democracy, the illegal and disastrous invasion of Iraq, and the corollary failures in Afghanistan."—Reference & Research Book News, August 1, 2007

". . . analytically provocative . . .The Terrorist Conjunction: The United States, the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, and Al-Qa’ida, is among a class of recently published intellectual reflections valuable for considering the roots of consequential violence in the Middle East. This slender but densely packed essay is an important contribution. . . . the elegance and seductiveness of this essay lies in its explicit and provocative intensity and relevance to ongoing debates on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East . . . initiated students and scholars of terrorism and political violence should indeed read the work."—Terrorism and Political Violence, October 1, 2009

"This is a lucidly written, rigorously argued, informative and interesting piece of research examining relations between the U.S. and Israel and looking at the global conflict(s) between Israel and the Palestinians on one hand and the U.S. and Al-Qa'ida on the other. Scholars and policymakers will benefit from the research and analysis presented here. So will anyone with a serious interest in understanding global politics in the 21st century."—Dr. Bulent Gokay, Reader in International Relations, School of Politics, International Relations and the Environment, Keele University

"A refreshing new analysis of Washington's current Middle East problem. As the title suggests, it encompasses the whole entangled spectrum of players, including Israel. This story of superpower hubris and self-initiated blunders is written with insight, passion, and biting humor. Gerteiny's perspective, sourced from experience in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States, is particularly valuable for American readers."—Stanley Brush, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, University of Bridgeport, Connecticut, University of the Panjab, Lahore, Pakistan

"Gerteiny presents a provocative and original explanation for terrorism focused on U.S. and Israeli responsibilities. Terrorism, he charges, is never one way and will continue unless its legitimate grievances are remedied."—Don Peretz, Professor Emeritus,Binghamton University, Binghamton, N.Y.

"If we want to understand the roots of terrorism, especially in the Middle East, Alfred Gerteiny's book is a valuable analysis."—Howard Zinn

"Alfred Gerteiny has elegantly woven together many strands of history and politics in his masterly analysis of terrorism in the Middle East. For those not yet persuaded of the complexity--and pain--of the issues, it is a must-read. For those persuaded, it is refreshing and instructive"—Nita Kumar, Brown Family Professor of South Asian History, Department of History, Claremont McKenna College

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