Jonathan Cook’s “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations”


Jonathan Cook is a British-born independent journalist based (since September 2001) in the predominantly Arab city of Nazareth, Israel and is the "first foreign correspondent (living) in the Israeli Arab city…." He’s a former reporter and editor of regional newspapers, a freelance sub-editor with national newspapers, and a staff journalist for the London-based Guardian and Observer newspapers. He’s also written for The Times, Le Monde diplomatique, the International Herald Tribune, Al-Ahram Weekly and Aljazeera.net. In February 2004, he founded the Nazareth Press Agency.



Cook states why he’s in Nazareth as follows: to give himself "greater freedom to reflect on the true nature of the (Israeli-Palestinian) conflict and (gain) fresh insight into its root causes." He "choose(s) the issues (he) wish(es) to cover (and so is) not constrained by the ‘treadmill’ of the mainstream media….which gives disproportionate coverage to the concerns of the powerful (so it) makes much of their Israel/Palestine reporting implausible."


Living among Arabs, "things look very different" to Cook. "There are striking, and disturbing, similarities between" the Palestinian experience inside Israel and within the Occupied Territories. "All have faced Zionism’s appetite for territory and domination, as well as repeated (and unabated) attempts at ethnic cleaning."


Cook authored two important books and contributed to others. His first one in 2006 was titled "Blood and Religion: The Unmasking of the Jewish and Democratic State." It’s the rarely told story of the plight of the 1.4 million Palestinian Israeli citizens living inside the Jewish State, the discrimination against them, the reasons why, and the likely future consequences from it. Israel‘s "demographic problem" is the issue as Cook explains. It’s the time when a faster-growing Palestinian population (aside from the diaspora) becomes a majority, and the very character of a "Jewish State" is threatened. Israel‘s response – state-sponsored repression and violent ethnic cleansing to prevent it – in the Territories as well as and in Israel.


Cook’s newest book, just published, is called "Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East." It’s the subject of this review in the wake of advance praise. Noted author John Pilger calls it "One of the most cogent understandings of the modern Middle East I have read. It is superb, because the author himself is a unique witness" to events and powerfully documents them. This review covers them in-depth along with some of this writer’s reflections on the region from America.


Introducing his topic, Cook begins with Iraq and states upfront that "civil war and partition were the intended outcomes of invasion." Separation and conflict were planned, they serve America‘s interests, they’re not haphazard post-invasion events, and they originated far from Washington.


From the early 1980s, it was Israeli policy to subdue the Palestinians, fragment Arab rivals, and foster ethnic and religious discord to maintain unchallengeable regional dominance. Bush administration neocons chose the same strategy. Like Israel, they want to neutralize the region through division and separation and make it work even though prior to invading Iraq, Sunni and Shia neighborhoods were indistinguishable, and the country had the highest intermarriage rate in the region.


The scheme is "Ottomanisation," and it worked for Ottoman Turkey against a more dominant Islam. Israel sees four advantages to it:


– divided minorities are easier to exploit, and Sunni – Shia conflict can achieve a greater aim – subverting Israel’s main threat – secular Arab nationalism united against the Jewish State;


– greater military dominance lets Israel maintain its favored status as a valued Washington ally;


– regional instability may lead to the breakup of Saudi-dominated OPEC, weaken the kingdom’s influence in Washington, and diminish its ability to finance Islamic extremists and Palestinian resistance; and


Israel becomes freerer to ethnically cleanse Palestinians from Israel and the Occupied Territories.


Washington supported the scheme post-9/11, the "war on terror" was born, a clash of civilizations ensued, and the idea was that "Control of oil could be secured on the same terms as Israeli regional hegemony: by spreading instability across the Middle East" and Central Asia through a new-type divide and conquer strategy. For Israel, it weakens regional rivals and dampens Palestinian nationalism and their hopes for "meaningful statehood."


Regime Overthrow in Iraq


Removing Saddam Hussein was justified to disarm a dangerous dictator threatening the region. It was untrue and based on "False Pretenses" according to a study by two nonprofit journalism organizations. On January 22, it was posted on the Center for Public Integrity web site. It’s "an exhaustive examination of the record" that shows the President and his seven top officials "waged a carefully orchestrated campaign of misinformation about the threat" Iraq posed to galvanize public opinion and go to war "under decidedly false pretenses."


At least 532 separate speeches, briefings, interviews, testimonies and more provide the evidence. They show a concerted web of lies became the administration’s case for war even

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