State of Terror: How Terrorism Created Modern Israel

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By: Thomas Suarez

Publisher: Olive Branch Press

Northampton, MA: Olive Branch Press (Interlink Pub Group), 2016. 418 pp. $20.00, ISBN: 978-1-56656-068-9

Volume: 5 Issue: 7

July 2017

Review by:

Sanford R. Silverburg, Ph.D

Catawba College

Salisbury, NC

The politically violent orientation of two Jewish organizations operating in mandated Palestine is the focus of State Terror.  Suarez, a writer and musician , based in London strains credulity by taking the obviously odious activities of the Irgun and Lehi, aka Stern Gang, and equating them to the overall effort of the Jewish Agency in Palestine to seek and work for an independent Jewish state.  Each attack by these two focused groups is highlighted with graphic exaggeration in an attempt to sour the entire Zionist enterprise.  There is a contribution to be credited, namely the documentation of some number of incidents during the mandate period, supported by a wealth of British archival material, however without consultation with the relevant Irgun and Lehi archival outlets.  Palestinian Arab-initiated violence is characterized as opposition to Zionist plans or retaliation for Jewish violence against Arab targets. To be sure, there was Jewish pressure on the British mandatory regime to respect the general intent of the Balfour Declaration, certainly after 1922 when the territory west of the Jordan River was excised to create an Arab Transjordan.  There certainly was also a violent component to the organized Jewish presence, some of it devoted to self-defense against Palestinian Arab violence directed toward the Yishuv (the Jewish community), initiated for a number of perceived inflicted injustices.

The author’s arguments are taken beyond Israel’s creation to the current Israeli defense policies and criticized accordingly.  This is a clear and intense attempt to delegitimize Zionist ideology and in doing so change the traditional historiographic interpretation on the creation of Israel.  The author would have the reader consider that there has been a pattern of settler colonialism qua imperialism in place.  Some will view this work as a polemic while others can reach a reasonable conclusion of revisionist historical interpretation.

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