With all of the recent political upheaval in Arab nations, it is easy to overlook the fact that a single democratic nation in the Middle East has maintained a stable government for decades: Israel. But Israel has faced problems of its own, most notably the ongoing conflict with Palestinians.
This conflict is at the heart of Barry Shaw’s impassioned and provocative book. Quoting extensively from historical and media sources, the author demonstrates what he believes to be a strong bias against Israel and in favor of the Palestinians. Despite this bias, Shaw cites facts that suggest Palestinians are not suffering economically. He writes that “the Palestinian case is made up almost entirely of lies and false perceptions of national deprivation.” He claims that “Israel has recognized the right of Palestinian Arabs to self determination. Why do the Palestinians still refuse to recognize Jewish self determination in Israel?” Shaw details evidence that Palestinians refuse to accept the right of Israel to exist, noting, for example, that “the Palestinian Authority official daily newspaper never refers to Israel by name.”
Shaw says he makes no apologies for Israel, “a country that is forced to fight for its legitimate place in this world.” The intent of Israel: Reclaiming the Narrative, writes the author, is to be “a prosecution against those who libel and create an injustice against the Jewish state.”
Shaw acknowledges that there are some who wish to boycott Israel because of the apparent plight of the Palestinians. He cleverly urges such boycotters to “do it properly” by refusing to use any Israeli-produced product. With a fair amount of sarcasm, Shaw then enumerates the many vital products and research projects from Israel that benefit the world, including cell phone technology, developed in Israel by Motorola, and all the generic brands of heartburn medications, developed in Israeli laboratories. It turns out that it would be virtually impossible to live a normal life without relying on such things. The author’s aim is to make the point that those who demonize Israel also need to understand its contributions.
At the end of his book, Shaw cites several pro-Israel speeches and statements by world leaders that support his position. He concludes that, in regard to the case of the Palestinian people, “Israel is the victim of the most unprecedented fraud in history.”
Israel: Reclaiming the Narrative is a well-researched work that addresses one of the more hotly contested and lingering issues on the world stage. While some readers may find Shaw’s prose to be emotionally charged and controversial at times, his book does a heroic job of putting forth an Israeli nationalist’s perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.