Jerusalem 1913: The Ori­gins of the Arab Israeli Conflict

Amy Dockser Marcus
  • Review
By – November 14, 2011

This com­pelling and engag­ing his­to­ry of the Arab-Israeli con­flict is seen through three pairs of eyes — the eyes of a Euro­pean Zion­ist, the eyes of a Jew from the Mid­dle East, and the eyes of an Arab leader, scion of a fam­i­ly that held posi­tions of lead­er­ship for centuries. 

Why 1913? Because 1913 is the year that every­thing went wrong. There are aca­d­e­m­ic argu­ments as to when the Arab-Israeli con­flict actu­al­ly began, but Mar­cus, a Pulitzer prize-win­ning for­mer Wall Street Jour­nal cor­re­spon­dent, sug­gests that this year, 1913, when the Zion­ist Con­gress pur­sued the idea of build­ing the future state with Hebrew labor and not Arab labor was when the con­flict began to per­co­late. It was dur­ing that same year that the Arab Syr­i­an Con­gress met to declare uni­ty as a response to the encroach­ing Euro­pean Zion­ist movement. 

Ini­tial­ly, the book pays par­tic­u­lar atten­tion to the inter­nal con­flicts between Jew­ish lead­ers as well as to con­flicts between Arab lead­ers. And then the author deft­ly brings into focus the exter­nal con­flict between Arabs and Jews. 

Mar­cus reveals great insight into her sub­ject mat­ter, insight not often found in the work of a jour­nal­ist who came to the region specif­i­cal­ly to cov­er a sto­ry. Her per­spec­tive is both fresh and cutting.

Mic­ah D. Halpern is a colum­nist and a social and polit­i­cal com­men­ta­tor. He is the author of What You Need To Know About: Ter­ror, and main­tains The Mic­ah Report at www​.mic​ah​halpern​.com.

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