This book is too powerful, and the ground has been prepared by Jimmy Carter’s book. So it will be passed around, it will be taught. Serious people will press it on other serious people. Political aides will hand it to other political aides. It may have to wear brown-paper covers in Congress, at the State Department and at Hillels, but it will be read hungrily. Young progressive Jews will read it. Arabs will translate it into Arabic. It will go like lightning around Europe. Israelis will snap it up (the book is actually very respectful of Israel; it’s America that has the big problem), and someday it will come out in Hebrew. It will work on people. It will show what independent people ought to do when they form ideas, and others will chime in. A politician will finally speak out, with Walt and Mearsheimer as his or her role model.
The most important thing the book will do, it is doing: legitimizing the discussion.
The publishers are sending me a copy but I haven’t read it yet. I have read the earlier essay version and agree with Phil that it was an important statement. Not having read the actual book, I don’t know that I’d endorse his ringing affirmation of its eternal value in the literary firmament. But there’s no doubt that this is an important book and one that anyone with any interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should read.
The fact that it is important is indicated by the fierce reaction against the book by the actual Israel lobby organizations like the ADL. Abe Foxman wasted at least a few days of his life penning a venomous screed attacking both the book and Jimmy Carter’s and Tony Judt. I’m delighted to note that The Israel Lobby is #33 in Amazon ranking while Abe’s shmate, The Deadliest Lies: The Israel Lobby and the Myth of Jewish Control (the title alone is a hoot and indicative of the fearmongering at which Foxman is so adept), is # 2,400. Though I can’t quite figure out why there are any people interested in reading his book. I did once note that the ADL website is ranked quite highly by Alexa and they have a solid rank and file membership to whom the group is probably flogging the book like crazy. I guess some people will read just about anything.