Hard-hitting critique of the Obama administration’s failure in the Middle East, by a leading DC-based advocate
President Barack Obama’s first trip abroad in his second term took him to Israel and the Palestinian West Bank, where he despondently admitted to those waiting for words of encouragement, “It is a hard slog to work through all of these issues.” Contrast this gloomy assessment with Obama’s optimism on the second day of his first term, when he appointed former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell as his special envoy for Middle East peace, boldly asserting that his administration would “actively and aggressively seek a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.” How is it that Obama’s active and aggressive search for progress has become mired in the status quo? Writer and political analyst Josh Ruebner charts Obama’s journey from optimism to frustration in the first hard-hitting investigation into why the president failed to make any progress on this critical issue, and how his unwillingness to challenge the Israel lobby has shattered hopes for peace.
Written in a clear and accessible style by the advocacy director of a national peace organization and former Middle East analyst for the Congressional Research Service, Shattered Hopes offers an informed history of the Obama administration’s policies and maps out a true path forward for the United States to help achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace.
“This marvelous book looks at one of the thorniest aspects of foreign policy today. It's a book for those who are not content to sit on the sidelines and watch the continuous dispossession of the Palestinian people, committed if not in our name, then with our blessing. Josh Ruebner has offered a badly needed contribution to a discussion that is all too often suppressed in the mainstream media.”
– Bill Fletcher, Jr., writer/activist, immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum
“This is an essential contribution to the subject. Josh has been spearheading efforts for an even-handed U.S. policy for a dozen years, and has an intimate knowledge of how the administration and Congress work as well as unparalleled expertise on U.S. aid to Israel.”
– Nadia Hijab, author and media commentator , as well as cofounder and director of Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network
“Taking advantage of treasure troves of new sources, this book provides a welcome clarity that cuts through years of stale disinformation. With the passion of a longtime activist and the rigor of a trained researcher, Josh Ruebner dissects a wide range of sources, including WikiLeaks and the parallel Palestine Papers, to provide a tour de force analysis of Obama’s failed Middle East policy.”
– Phyllis Bennis, Director of the New Internationalism Project, Institute for Policy Studies
“…a stinging indictment of the absurdity of the Obama administration's failed peace process.”
“In a piercing critique of the Obama administration’s approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Josh Ruebner brings clarity to the challenges and pitfalls of this thorny issue.”
Key facets of the Israel-Palestine conflict have been thrust back into a wider public limelight, due to the news that actress Scarlett Johansson has left her role as an Oxfam ambassador. The split comes after criticism over her decision to promote Sodastream, the drinks company which operates out of a factory in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank. Oxfam opposes all trade with groups based in Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories, creating a confict which has caused a serious rift between the humanitarian group and its celebrity supporter.
"Scarlett Johansson has respectfully decided to end her ambassador role with Oxfam after eight years," said a statement this week. "She and Oxfam have a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. She is very proud of her accomplishments and fundraising efforts during her tenure with Oxfam." Vijay Prashad has written in the Guardianthat Johansson's involvement with Sodastream brings much-needed scrutiny to illegal settlement activity and wider Western support for Israel. Once again we see that his is an issue that is not going to go away any time soon.
These are Verso's key books on the Israel-Palestine conflict, from explanations to considered outcomes – what others should we include?
In eulogizing former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's recent death, Vice President Joe Biden declared the US's "'unflagging' committment to Israel", demonstrating once again how the Obama administration refuses to take serious steps toward Isreali-Palestinian justice.
When you decide to provide arms to a party with weapons, you've broken the laws of neutrality, and you've declared yourself to be on the side of the party you're arming. It's simply untrue and illogical to say that [the US is] an honest broker to this conflict when we're weaponizing Israel.
"Garrett perceives the city like no one else I know. Seen through his eyes, it is newly porous, full of “vanishing points”, “imperfect joinings” and portals – service hatches, padlocked doorways – that you wouldn't usually notice... The city's accessible space extends far down into the earth (sewers, bunkers, tunnels) and far up into the air (skyscrapers, cranes), with the street level only serving as a median altitude." – Robert Macfarlane, Guardian
"[Combines] erudite references (Montesquieu, Walter Benjamin) with compelling photographs of men in hoodies in strange places." – Rowan Moore, The Observer Architecture Books of the Year