Friday, March 26, 2010

Book Review : Fatal Embrace

Title : Fatal Embrace
Author : Mark Braverman
Publisher : Synergy Books
ISBN : 978-0-9840760-7-9

Israel/Palestine - the ongoing conflict for almost half a century now is probably one of the most argumentative contentions of our times, which will definitely earn its mention in the annals of mankind accentuated by woes and cries of innumerable people involved.

Mark Braverman, through his book - Fatal Embrace, talks about the issue provocatively, capable of stirring the soul, yet maintaining the objectivity along the way. Offering glimpses of the past, he has walked the readers through those times to the current situation.

Glimpses of History - The anti-Semitist attitude which was prevalent in almost all parts of the world culminated during the Nazi Holocaust. The declaration of Israeli state by United Nations post World War II, facilitated the end of anti-Semitism. Creation of the Israeli state - a state to give a safe haven to Jews against their persecution in any part of the world, opened a whole new chapter. The international political movement - christened as Zionism, was adopted by Jews for establishing and developing a national homeland for them in Palestine. The new Israeli's experimented with their new found power by occupying territories beyond those delineated in 1949 Armistice Agreement besides assaulting the native Palestinians in Gaza, extensively violating human rights in West Bank and expelling almost three quarters of a million Palestinians to make way for the state of Israel. A perfect example of the oppressed now donning the mantle of an oppressor.

Present day scenario - Separation walls, special checkpoints, new road networks accessible to Israelis only are just some of the many ways in which Palestinians are being robbed off of their freedom everyday in various ways by Jews. The human rights violations are rampant and more and more Palestinian land is being grabbed forcibly to be included in the Israeli state. Jerusalem which holds spiritual and political significance for Palestinians too has been reclaimed by Israelis slowly and surely.

Role of Church - The author clearly substantiates the role of Christians - who while taking responsibility for the historical anti-Semitism have transitioned from one extreme of considering Jews to be 'God's rejected' to the other extreme of emulating them and taking them to be 'God's selected'. The Christians atonement and the Jewish search for establishing their identity and to enforce their empowerment has resulted in the most fatal kind of embrace - wherein the two powerful forces have joined hands which is thwarting all attempts of reaching any peaceful settlement in the affected region.

The Church's current stand on the issue cannot be explained in any better way than the analogy used in the book .When Church offers to negotiate a truce between a lion and a lamb, the lion replies by asking the Church to wait till its lunch is finished and the Church is contented being just a mere spectator of the whole scene.

Role of US of America - United States of America is fully equipped in terms of resources and the capability to facilitate a peace process to reach some concrete solution in the largest democracy in the middle east region but is rather comfortable being an accomplice to the Jews in the garb of atonement for their past sins. The unconditional support (politically and financially) of the Israeli policies is simply snowballing the whole conflict gradually.

Questions crying out loud for answers -

  • Does the world owe a state to Jews in order to compensate for the centuries of violence against them?
  • Are the Jews justified in taking revenge for past anti-Semitism by building separation walls, stealing land and cutting the channels of commerce and agriculture for native Palestinians? Can counter violence be the answer to any problem?
  • Can Christians and America simply wash off their hands from this whole dispute in the guise of atoning for their past sins of being anti-Semitic?

Need of the hour - Peace for all - Israeli, Palestinians, Muslim, Jews and Christians - is the desperate need of the hour. Christians need to move beyond the atonement and guilt feeling. One disaster cannot and should not be used to justify another. Not just for Palestinians, even the Jews are on the path of self-destruction with the current state of affairs. Both sides are living under constant fear - Palestinians being imprisoned in their own land and fearing dispossession, powerlessness and a bleak future and on the other side Jews are prisoners of their own fears - distrusting even the ones with whom they share long history, common culture and love for the land. Both sides are crying for immediate relief.

Mark Braverman has displayed unmatched histrionics in making the readers abreast of the current state of affairs in Israel in a very matter-of-factly manner yet handled very humanly. Being a Jew himself, he appreciates the grit and determination that Jews displayed in leaving behind their painful past but having said that, in no unclear terms he condemns the oppressive treatment meted out to Palestinians by Jews in the garb of their Zionist project. He has extensively researched the works and writings of array of thinkers on this issue and has tried to bring to the readers the mindsets of different communities - the Jews living in Israel, non-resident Jews, native Arabs in Palestine, Christians in Palestine, Christians across the world and citizens of America. There is a brief mention of some of the possible solutions which are being discussed globally.

An eye opener and a great read for all citizens of world, who care for Israel - Jews and Palestinians and for the growth of mankind at large. A very inspiring and genuine - straight from the heart writing.

{Image courtesy : Amazon}

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