3 years ago

Amitai Etzioni David Katz Harsh Pant - Middle East Forum

Amitai Etzioni David Katz Harsh Pant - Middle East Forum

Additionally, while the

Additionally, while the author does examinethe role of international factors on the bilateralrelationship between Delhi and Jerusalem,he treats them as too minor a factor. As one ofthe first countries to escape the yoke of colonialism,India sought to burnish its “anti-imperialist”credentials. In the period following theSuez crisis, when Israel worked together withformer colonial powers Britain and France, NewDelhi was compelled to adopt an anti-Israelistance so it could be seen as a leader of theanti-imperialist forces. The study would havebenefited from an expansion on this internationalcontext and how the external environment constrainedNew Delhi’s foreign policy in its bilateralties with Israel.Despite this minor critique, the book remainsthe definitive account of bilateral relations betweenIndia and Israel and serves as the authoritativestudy on the subject.Hussein SolomonUniversity of the Free State, South AfricaLanguage, Memory, and Identity in the MiddleEast: The Case for Lebanon. By Franck Salameh.Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2010. 289 pp.$80.Most books on Lebanon crafted with sympathyand discernment are exercises in exploringthe spirit of this singular country and its people.Salameh, a language professor at Boston College,demonstrates a unique approach to understandingthat singularity. The essence of his thesis isthat language—one rooted in the distant past andleavened with a multiplicity of more contemporaryinfluences—continues to leave its imprintboth on how the Lebanese communicate in thepopular domain but also on what makes Lebanonthe extraordinary human venture it is.Salameh attempts to solve this puzzle by contendingthat there is no “single homogenous Arabcultural mass” but a diversity of ethnicities, languages,and peoples across the Middle East. Infact, Arabic, the supposed glue that holds togetherthis disparate mass of humanity, “is a deadlanguage.” No Arab really speaks Arabic: Differentpeoples in their respective countries speakEgyptian, Tunisian, Moroccan, or Lebanese.There is no cohesive Arab nation, no collectiveArab memory, and thus no living “pure” Arabiclanguage.The case of Lebanon’s language and its authenticitywas elevated to a sacred mission bySaïd Akl, poet, linguist, and philosopher, who assumesa central role in Salameh’s narrative. Hepaints a vivid human portrait of the great man(born in 1912 and still living) who, among otherthings, proposed a Lebanese alphabet to replacethe Arabic, thus liberating the spoken languagefrom its Arabic moorings, much like the decisionby Atatürk to write Turkish in Latin characters.For Akl, that alphabet is nothing more than aPhoenician creation, so that introducing Latinizedcharacters into Lebanon would actually be an actof cultural recovery. For most Muslims and Arabs,however, it would be a separatist rebellionand viewed as a declaration of war against theArab world.The sub-text of the language controversythen is the struggle of a Christian community inLebanon to survive and flourish in the Muslim94 / MIDDLE EAST QUARTERLY SPRING 2011

REVIEWSMiddle East that is experiencing a sweeping Islamisttidal wave. Also, the debate as to whetherthe Lebanese are really Arabs has yet to be resolved.Akl and other intellectuals—for instance,Charles Corm and Michel Chiha—hammeredaway at the notion that the Lebanese are not Arabsat all. For them, and now for Salameh, theneighborhood norms of Islam and Arabic haveno authority to overwhelm or suppress the specificfeatures of Lebanon.Salameh’s meticulous research makes for amost worthy book that makes a significant contributionto the literature. His study elucidates acore aspect of national identity with repercussionsfor all the Arabic-speaking countries. Theauthor questions a conventional and sanctifiedconcept of an Arab world which, battered andbruised by internecine political rivalries and animosities,is as desiccated as a Middle Easterndesert in the heat of summer.Mordechai NisanThe Rothberg International SchoolHebrew University of JerusalemRadical State: How Jihad Is Winning over Democracyin the West. By Abigail R. Esman. SantaBarbara: Praeger Security International, 2010. 245pp. $34.95.With an artful interweaving of the Netherlands’past thirty years, plus her own experiencesas a resident there, and personalized accounts ofinteractions with prominent Dutch leaders in politics,art, and academia, Esman offers a clear andpowerfully evocative account of the processwhereby Islamist political agitators, violent Muslimcriminals, and Muslim terrorist ideologues are,step by step, bringing about the demise of a Westerndemocracy.Her book charts the descent of both Dutchsociety and government into a self-intensifyingspiral of increasing submission to Muslim intolerance.Honor killings, genital mutilation, childand forced marriages, violence against homosexuals,the silencing of criticism through intimidationand murder, and a meteoric rise in high-profileincidents of anti-Semitism all combine to transformwhat was once one of the most stable andtolerant nations in Europe into a dark and inhospitablehome for non-Muslim Dutch.Perhaps as threatening as the events themselvesare the responses, or lack thereof, fromDutch leaders. Esman skillfully examines thegovernment’s inept and counterproductive legislationand the refusal of many in positions ofleadership in media, academia, and education todeal with these Muslim-inspired, socio-religiousdynamics. Muslim threats to Dutch civil libertiesand democracy are unquestionably a dire menace,but the way in which Dutch officials dismissthese threats is itself of even greater concern.She concludes that tolerance of intoleranceis not tolerance but appeasement, and appeasementemboldens the aggressor. Thus Holland’sdecades-long forbearance with intolerant Islamistshas resulted in the growth of a young,radicalized, Muslim population that is pushingthe Netherlands into a form of national and culturalsuicide.Esman’s message concerns not just the Neth-Reviews / 95

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