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Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East

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An examination of the failure of the United States as a broker in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, through three key historical moments   Widely considered the foremost historian of the modern Middle East, Rashid Khalidi here zeroes in on the United States’ role as a purportedly impartial honest broker in thirty-five years of a failed Palestinian-Israeli peace proces An examination of the failure of the United States as a broker in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, through three key historical moments   Widely considered the foremost historian of the modern Middle East, Rashid Khalidi here zeroes in on the United States’ role as a purportedly impartial honest broker in thirty-five years of a failed Palestinian-Israeli peace process. Khalidi closely analyzes the “Reagan Plan” of 1982, the 1991–1993 period covering the Madrid Peace Conference to the signing of the Oslo Accords, and President Obama’s retreat from his initially firm positions on the preconditions for a resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. These three moments reveal how the United States and Israel have colluded to prevent the emergence of a viable Palestinian state and preserve a status quo favorable to Israel. Brokers of Injustice shows why peace in the Middle East has been impossible to achieve: for decades, U.S. policymakers have masqueraded as an unbiased mediator working to bring the two sides together but, in fact, have been brokers of continuing injustice, actively preventing the compromises needed to achieve a just and lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis.


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An examination of the failure of the United States as a broker in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, through three key historical moments   Widely considered the foremost historian of the modern Middle East, Rashid Khalidi here zeroes in on the United States’ role as a purportedly impartial honest broker in thirty-five years of a failed Palestinian-Israeli peace proces An examination of the failure of the United States as a broker in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, through three key historical moments   Widely considered the foremost historian of the modern Middle East, Rashid Khalidi here zeroes in on the United States’ role as a purportedly impartial honest broker in thirty-five years of a failed Palestinian-Israeli peace process. Khalidi closely analyzes the “Reagan Plan” of 1982, the 1991–1993 period covering the Madrid Peace Conference to the signing of the Oslo Accords, and President Obama’s retreat from his initially firm positions on the preconditions for a resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. These three moments reveal how the United States and Israel have colluded to prevent the emergence of a viable Palestinian state and preserve a status quo favorable to Israel. Brokers of Injustice shows why peace in the Middle East has been impossible to achieve: for decades, U.S. policymakers have masqueraded as an unbiased mediator working to bring the two sides together but, in fact, have been brokers of continuing injustice, actively preventing the compromises needed to achieve a just and lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis.

30 review for Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East

  1. 4 out of 5

    Senior

    The Israeli / Palestinian conflict is always in the newspapers and the US always supports Israel. I figured it couldn't be this black and white. After reading "Lawrence in Arabia" I wanted to read more about the Balfour Declaration and the origins of Israel. After some research, I turned to Rashid Khalidi for another point of view and how different it is. Khalidi is a Palestinian-Lebanese American historian of the Middle East, the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia Universi The Israeli / Palestinian conflict is always in the newspapers and the US always supports Israel. I figured it couldn't be this black and white. After reading "Lawrence in Arabia" I wanted to read more about the Balfour Declaration and the origins of Israel. After some research, I turned to Rashid Khalidi for another point of view and how different it is. Khalidi is a Palestinian-Lebanese American historian of the Middle East, the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University, and director of the Middle East Institute of Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs. He also is known for serving as editor of the scholarly journal Journal of Palestine Studies. I read "the Iron Cage," "Brokers of Deceit,' Resurrecting Empire" and "Sowing Crisis." Each was meticulously researched and heavily footnoted. The footnotes led me to other books by other authors. Conclusion: Britain and the US have been screwing the Palestinians since they first set foot in the Middle East and we continue to do so today. The US media shows only one side of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and censors anyone who objects. Consider Rula Jabreal, a Palestinian raised in Jerusalem, a acclaimed journalist and a frequent guest on TV news shows until she challenged Bill Mahr's always mean-spirited criticism of her religion and until she pointed out to Chris Hayes MSNBC's biased coverage. She has since disappeared from TV in favor of less critical spokespeople. Censorship is dangerous. Self-censorship is crazy. Break out of the "Exodus" view of history; read other points of view; draw your own conclusions.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Yannis Theocharis

    There is little that we don't know in this book about the Israel-Palestine topic. Khalidi reveals, like many others before him, how the US has contributed to the imposition of Israel's cruel regime on the Palestinians and how closely entwined have US and Israeli policies been. So closely, in fact, that they should have long now disqualified the US from playing any intermediary role in this farcical "peace process". There is some new information from declassified documents that is interesting and There is little that we don't know in this book about the Israel-Palestine topic. Khalidi reveals, like many others before him, how the US has contributed to the imposition of Israel's cruel regime on the Palestinians and how closely entwined have US and Israeli policies been. So closely, in fact, that they should have long now disqualified the US from playing any intermediary role in this farcical "peace process". There is some new information from declassified documents that is interesting and contributes to what we know as well as some good reflection on the long-term problems of the Palestinian leadership and they ways they have deal with the issue during the Oslo Accords. What IS new and worth mentioning, however, is the emphasis on language and how, as the author notes, in the US discourse about the issue, lies about the Palestinians have been made to sound truthful and crimes against humanity are made respectable. A worthy read, especially if you have any illusions that the US has been playing the role of an honest broker in the conflict (although, interestingly, as the book shows, there were moments during which they tried).

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kaitlin Oujo

    You probably shouldn’t read this unless you already have a pretty solid grasp of the politics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is much more of an extended essay than a straightforward history.

  4. 4 out of 5

    evren

    First things first: the Middle East (ME) is a complicated place. Regardless of the root causes of the complicated set of relations and powerplays, there is an undeniable, concrete fact on the ground: a people is oppressed on a daily basis by another with constant practices including phosphore bombing, humiliation, deprivation and the like. Secondly, Khalidi is a professor with a broad knowledge on the ME, its history and peoples, an apt stylist of the English language, and one that I am proud to First things first: the Middle East (ME) is a complicated place. Regardless of the root causes of the complicated set of relations and powerplays, there is an undeniable, concrete fact on the ground: a people is oppressed on a daily basis by another with constant practices including phosphore bombing, humiliation, deprivation and the like. Secondly, Khalidi is a professor with a broad knowledge on the ME, its history and peoples, an apt stylist of the English language, and one that I am proud to have been a student of. This is despite of the fact that he is somehow difficult to follow at times, because of his uniquely complex methodology to put things together academically. Reading him might, at times, feel like trying to find one's way in a maze. That is precisely why, one has to possess a basic knowledge on the history of the region to place events and comments next to each other, where they belong. Hence the chronological timeline at the end of this piece with dates that come up in the book thematically to prove a point. The thesis of the book is simple and clear: that the US is too biased to claim the right to act as an "honest broker" in its assumed role as mediator between Israel and Palestine. Underlining the black-and-white mindset of the American policy planners during the Cold War, Khalidi suggests that the collapse of the USSR changed very little, if at all, the overarching political landscape of the ME, especially in terms of the US foreign policy: Iran replaced Russia in what he describes a "mini Cold War" that ensued the Cold War. Added to the equation the American domestic political agenda highly biased towards Israel, the US should have disqualified as a mediator between the parties. What is striking in Khalidi's handling of the US's involvement in the conflict is the terminology adopted by the US, copied verbatim from Israeli textbook. Terms like "Israeli security" (but not that of Palestine), "right to exist" (but not that of Palestine), the "peace process" (as a result of which "conflict management" replaced "conflict resolution") etc. serve the perpetuation of the constant situation. The discursive hegemony that Israel enjoys in this conflict, according to Khalidi, creates an assymmetry between the two parties and effectively disrupts the advantaged party's (and its all-too-known ally's) willingness to end the conflict and the occupation. This is Foucault at its best in describing how language and power interact, but the author fails to refer to the seminal French philosopher to my disappointment, instead suitably citing "newspeak" of Orwell. He follows on these premises through what he dubs as three fateful "moments" in the so-called process to better illustrate his point. The first moment is "Begin and Palestinian Autonomy in 1982" referring to a CIA memo that incisively read Begin's intentions not to allow any sort of jurisdiction to Palestinians, the second "The Madrid-Washington Negotiations, 1991-1993" in which Khalidi himself took part as a negotiator in Washington, the third moment "Barack Obama and Palestine 2009-2012." Prioritizing is indeed the most important part of diplomacy. Khalidi's own evaluation of the Palestinian people's priorities include the termination (and reversal if possible) of settlements, setting a calendar for the end of occupation, full statehood for Palestine. Yet, as Khalidi puts it, all sorts of agreements reached, in the end led to a unilateral breach by Israel, which deprived Palestine of even its initial possessions (such as the Tripartite Declaration that stipulated an arms blockade to the region, whereas resulted in Israel possessing nuclear weapons, or other agreements promising a halt to the expansion of settlements, which, in the end, hardly ever implemented.) A note on the Arab world's disregard of the plight of the Palestinians. Khalidi rightly criticizes the Arab states' destructive role in failing to force the US to seek a lasting peace, focusing more on their turf wars and profound dependence on the US due to their lack of domestic legitimacy. In his memoirs of the two Iraq wars, Richard Haass, rather to my surprise, talks extensively about Saudi Arabia's need for protection in view of a possible atrocity from the part of Saddam Hussain and how important the security of Saudi Arabia to the US. Khalidi's point coincides beautifully with that understanding, and further underlines the alignment of the Gulf states as well as Egypt with Saudi Arabia. What is more striking is that he proposes that the Palestinian Authority exceeded its best-before date, and should dissolve itself because it now serves as a cloak for the extremism of Israeli occupation. The first moment seems to answer to the question whether the US is in a position to know better of Israeli intentions? Khalidi asserts (and rightly, according to the resource he refers to) that the CIA's assessments of Begin's intentions illustrate that the CIA knew he opted for a Palestinian autonomy on people, not territory, especially on the land which he calls "Eretz Israel", encompassing the Arab East Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza. And the ceaseless Israeli expansions, it is understood, aim at disrupting the Palestinian territories, literally and figuratively serving as a blade cutting through the land. In the second moment, the author decries Oslo Accords as a win. As a participant of the Washington part of Oslo Accords, Khalidi (à la Hobsbawm - because he is one of the makers of the history he in the end came to write as did Hobsbawm "the age of extremisms") seems to be disillusioned with the outcome, due to the fact that what the Washington party of the Palestinian team saw as non-negotiable priorities were effectively sacrified by the PLO for a nominal recognition in return. The recognition of the PLO, according to Khalidi, was something the leadership, which lost its contact with the sufferings of the Palestinians after getting ousted from Lebanon, was obsessed with. It turned out to be a grave mistake to be added to other strategic mistakes made by the PLO leadership, such as siding with Saddam in his occupation of Kuwait. The third moment is his assessment of Obama administration's stance towards Israel and Palestine. On the other hand, he at times comes off as rather apologetic in behalf of Obama administration's continuation of four of the last five administrations' adopted policies (he uses the term "overdetermined"). Khalidi enumerates a set of reasons as to why Obama was hardly in a position tomake a difference in US foreign policy on the subject matter of the book, especially after his second year in office, due to a general lack of control in the ME, Netenyahu's win etc. He even tries to explain why Obama is not regarded as an Israel-loving president despite his unprecedented speech in 2009 at the UN General Assembly and his other favorable acts, citing his being Afro-American (therefore implying that the American far-right borders on racism,) his cool posture and character, and his lack of luck in succeeding such complicit a president as Bush Jr. Indeed, the more interesting part in this section is, in fact, examples to the Bush administration's astounding level of complicity in its alignment with Israel. A couple of years ago, I read Beinart's "The Crisis of Zionism" and remember turning the last page with a sense of disappointment because Beinart, as apt and just as he is, comes up with three rather dry solutions for the proponents of Israel: boycott settlements, Jews please marry each other, and provide proper education to your kids. I think Khalidi is more brave and realistic in proposing solutions to this side of the dispute, and he is ready to make more concessions than Beinart in his proposals for a just solution. It is 2 o'clock in the morning and I guess the grammatical and material mistakes I might have made writing this could be blamed on this late hour. Peace! 1917: Balfour Declaration 1945: On his way back from Yalta, FDR's meeting with Al Saud, the Saudi King in Egypt and his reassurance of the latter that the US would never act without first asking to the Arab stakeholders. (The author contrasts FDR's strategic international mindset with domestic politics-oriented Truman.) 1947: UN partition plan 1948: The Bernadotte Plan 1950: Tripartite Declaration (arms blockade, in utter disregard of which France provided Israel with the tools to build a nuke, no less) 1956: The Suez War 1967: 6 Day War (as a result of which the US saw a powerful strategic ally in Israel) 1973: The Yom Kippur War (whereby the USSR got involved as a result of continuing Israeli aggression against Egypt despite ceasefire upon Kissinger's complicity, and the world got closer than ever to a nuclear war) Khalidi suggests that Sadat's threatening actions towards Israel were a result of American-Israeli disregard for his plea of a peace. 1975: The MoU Kissinger signed with Israel guaranteeing to the latter that the US will remain servile to Israeli interests and President Ford's letter to Rabin (which guarantees once again that the US will not get involved in any process without the prior agreement of Israel) 1977: Likud wins elections for the first time (a turning point in Israeli politics that point to the beginning of a rightward shift that will eventually lead to Begin, Shamir, Sharon, and Netenyahu in an escalating manner) 1977: Anwar Sadat visits Jerusalem (which will lead to a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel (see below) 1978: Camp David Accords 1979: Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty (that debalanced the structure in the Middle East decidedly in favor of Israel) 1982: The CIA's assessment memo on Begin's intentions (a new find) 1982: Invasion of South Lebanon by Israel (in a rather maximalist fashion) 1993: Oslo Accords (PLO recognized as an entity)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl Dietr

    * Disclosure-This was a book won through the Goodreads Giveaway* Although I had read a few books and articles on the subject, my still feeble understanding became less so after reading this one. Well written book with the author presenting many convincing arguments about how the US has been influential in a political process in which peace remains elusive in the Middle East. There were a few places where I had to put my wading boots on to slog through but for the most part a very informative/int * Disclosure-This was a book won through the Goodreads Giveaway* Although I had read a few books and articles on the subject, my still feeble understanding became less so after reading this one. Well written book with the author presenting many convincing arguments about how the US has been influential in a political process in which peace remains elusive in the Middle East. There were a few places where I had to put my wading boots on to slog through but for the most part a very informative/interesting read. *Review from my father, Paul F. Hosman, who read the book "The author builds a strong case for US Policy being strongly supportive of Israel at the expense of the Palestinians-both before May 14, 1948 when Israel was created by the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and their Declaration of Independence on the same day, and through all the subsequent years up to the present. He points out that it was not in the best interests of the Palestinians, the US or the Israelis or the rest of the world. The US has been accepted as an honest peace broker in virtually all the negotiations between the disputing parties during this time. And yet as the author makes clear, one hs to wonder why the world accepted the US in that role. He Illustrates and stresses the ambiguous language used intentionally that enabled US national leaders (including Presidents) to interpret agreements to their own advantage and to advantage one party and disadvantage the other party to the agreements and the world. Instead of solving global problems, it led to perpetuation of the problems. The events are perfect examples of how global problems cannot be solved by national agendas. Disputes between parties and attempts to broker negotiations by third nations having their own agendas does not and never will work for the short term and long term best interest of a global society."

  6. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This book went over the Palestinian/Israeli negotiations that occurred during the Reagan, Bush/Clinton, and Obama presidencies. The analysis of the process was informative, but without prior knowledge of the different peace processes and the background of events at those times, it was hard to engage in the book. As a person in my 20s, I was only politically aware during the final negotiation process covered in the book. The prior knowledge I had made a huge difference in the value I gained from This book went over the Palestinian/Israeli negotiations that occurred during the Reagan, Bush/Clinton, and Obama presidencies. The analysis of the process was informative, but without prior knowledge of the different peace processes and the background of events at those times, it was hard to engage in the book. As a person in my 20s, I was only politically aware during the final negotiation process covered in the book. The prior knowledge I had made a huge difference in the value I gained from the process during Obama’s presidency versus the prior presidencies. I think this book is valuable as a tool to gain additional insight into the peace process, but is best read after gaining some background on the Israeli/Palestinian situation at the time of the negotiations.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Michael Morse

    I came across this book when looking for a summary on the US’s involvement in the Middle East and the title caught my attention. This book goes through 40yrs of the history between the IS, Israel, and Palestine. Through analysis of three or four key moments the author lays out how the US has never acted as the unbiased mediator that is publicly portrayed but instead has acted as Israel’s lawyer in many negotiations. By the end of the book it becomes clear that while the US is not free of blame, I came across this book when looking for a summary on the US’s involvement in the Middle East and the title caught my attention. This book goes through 40yrs of the history between the IS, Israel, and Palestine. Through analysis of three or four key moments the author lays out how the US has never acted as the unbiased mediator that is publicly portrayed but instead has acted as Israel’s lawyer in many negotiations. By the end of the book it becomes clear that while the US is not free of blame, Palestine has also made mistakes and not always acted in their own best interest. The author lays out potential road maps to getting real peace negotiations on track, putting the responsibility on Palestine to reject the one sided accords of the past and enter into negotiations with unified and concrete demands.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Manuel

    Though not a beginner's guide to the Israel/Palestine conflict, Rashid Khalidi nevertheless gives an excellent insider's analysis of the so-called peace process starting in 1978 with the Camp David, Madrid, and Oslo negotiations. These negotiations have not achieved peace and resolution because, as he has argued throughout the book, honest peace and compromise (not to mention adhering to UN resolutions) was not the true goal of the policy makers in the United States and in Israel (with the backi Though not a beginner's guide to the Israel/Palestine conflict, Rashid Khalidi nevertheless gives an excellent insider's analysis of the so-called peace process starting in 1978 with the Camp David, Madrid, and Oslo negotiations. These negotiations have not achieved peace and resolution because, as he has argued throughout the book, honest peace and compromise (not to mention adhering to UN resolutions) was not the true goal of the policy makers in the United States and in Israel (with the backing of some of the relevant leaders of Arab states). The concluding chapter gives a good overall summary of the pith of the tension in the region, factoring in the civil war in Syria and the impending war with Iran by the former alliance.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Gary Turner

    I really do want to learn more about this apparent continuous struggle . Rahid Khalidi does explain many things about this issue from his perspective. I can understand that. My complaint, I still really do not understand the history of the issue. I really, really do wish 'we' knew what in the world is going on, why, and what is the history that has brought us to this point. This book does explain the American basic involvement and how we have helped or hurt. Well worth the read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Paul Forberger

    Interesting background behind the Israeli and Palestinian situation. One must keep in mind the view point of the author but many points made by him seem acceptable. There is no easy solution and it is becoming more difficult has the years go by.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Eduardo Pirolli

    Rashid Khalidi did succeed in showing how Political language is designed to lie and how political crimes are considered noble.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Remer

    Overall Khalidi proved his point well throughout the book that the U.S. has been biased in its position as an "honest broker" between Israel and Palestine and has therefore been an impediment to peace instead of a help. I had some issues with points in his argument and limiting the scope of such a complex issue necessitates leaving a great deal out. However his thesis was clear and he argued it well. I particularly think his conclusion was well articulated and his thoughts on how peace could and Overall Khalidi proved his point well throughout the book that the U.S. has been biased in its position as an "honest broker" between Israel and Palestine and has therefore been an impediment to peace instead of a help. I had some issues with points in his argument and limiting the scope of such a complex issue necessitates leaving a great deal out. However his thesis was clear and he argued it well. I particularly think his conclusion was well articulated and his thoughts on how peace could and should be reached had the ring of practicality and fairness to it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Olivia Raiche-tanner

    Of the books we read in Arab Israeli conflict, this one was by far the most fair and the most honest. Khalidi, unlike many writers, doesn't try to pretend that he is unbiased. Instead, he makes it clear to the reader how involved he has been and what his beliefs are, without attacking the opponents on anything except policy.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jean Kelly

    Very difficult book to read as the author makes a case for US seeing Middle East through Cold War eyes and not being an 'honest broker' in the Middle East process. He does also blame other Arab states from not helping make the Palestinian case but one can feel the despair and rage about the conversation about US.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    The title says it all. Instead of being honest, non-biased mediators, the US has been in effect, "Israel's lawyer" (words are Henry Kissinger's), ensuring that the endless futile negotiations, falsely described as a "peace process" go on and on without result and without end.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    The analysis and education this book provides should be (but isn't likely to ever become) required reading for anyone with an interest in global politics, particularly for those in the United States and Israel.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mills College Library

    956.053 K451 2013

  18. 5 out of 5

    Joshua

    A very interesting and well written book. I really enjoyed reading it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Inna

  20. 5 out of 5

    Raymond A. Stewart

  21. 4 out of 5

    Randall Harrison

  22. 5 out of 5

    Iain Bauer

  23. 4 out of 5

    Joma

  24. 5 out of 5

    Michael J. Rosenberg

  25. 4 out of 5

    Annette Nagle

  26. 4 out of 5

    John Meagher

  27. 5 out of 5

    Gert Jan

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ds_Sourav

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Jacobs

  30. 4 out of 5

    Robert

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