JERUSALEM — Entering the bookshop at the American Colony Hotel recently, I noted a prominently placed display of four books directly facing the entrance. The books were the first thing seen by any visitor to the shop. They were evidently intended to give a representative sample of the kind of fare available there. They succeeded in this, and in something more.
The American Colony is one of the best hotels in the city, a favored place for European diplomats, journalists, peace processors, and others in the colorful array that the city attracts. While sometimes described as “neutral ground,” it may more accurately be seen as the main stronghold of the international pro-Palestinian presence and sentiment in Jerusalem. It is therefore as good a place as any for assessing that sector of opinion.
The choice of books displayed at the bookshop’s entrance sums up elegantly the main components of the disturbing ethos among supporters of the Palestinians in the West.
The books on display were The Founding Myths of Modern Israel, by Roger Garaudy; Married to another Man: Israel’s dilemma in Palestine, by Ghada Karmi; I Shall Not Hate, by Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish; and The Palestine Papers – the end of the Road?, by Clayton Swisher. Come with me on a brief tour through them. And let’s speak plainly, as the time requires.
Roger Garaudy is a veteran French Communist who later converted to Islam. His book combines Holocaust denial with calls for the destruction of Israel. He marshals the “evidence” assembled by Holocaust deniers over the years to dispute the existence of gas chambers in Nazi death camps. The Holocaust, Garaudy thinks, was a myth intended to create sympathy for the theft of Palestine by the Jews. Hitler’s main enemies were Communists, says Garaudy, and he had no plan for the destruction of the Jews. Garaudy’s book is a straightforward example of Jew hatred of the most vitriolic and extreme type.
Ghada Karmi’s book seeks to refute the idea of Jewish peoplehood. She repeats a number of myths recently revived by anti-Zionist propagandists in the current battle to delegitimize Israel. The claim that Ashkenazi Jews are descended in the main from Turkic “Khazars” is re-aired. This claim, a favorite of anti-Israel propaganda recently restated by Professor Shlomo Sand, is intended to disprove the notion that Ashkenazi Jews descend from Jewish communities originating in ancient Israel. Karmi blithely dismisses as “open to question” recent evidence deriving from thousands of DNA studies that refute these claims. She believes, as she has stated elsewhere, that the Israelis and Palestinians are heading for an apocalyptic “cataclysm,” out of which a Palestinian Arab state will emerge.
Clayton Swisher’s contribution is to argue that there is no basis for a peace process that includes accepting the continued existence of any Jewish state. He argues that recent leaks from the offices of PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat mark the final demise of the “two state solution.” Swisher argues that it is all Israel’s fault, despite the fact that the leaks show many examples of the opposite. For example, the leaks showed Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressing willingness for concessions including the redivision of Jerusalem and the ceding of 98.7% of the West Bank. Swisher, as he has said elsewhere, favors those Arabs “committed to liberating all of historic Palestine.”