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Toward an Open Tomb: The Crisis of Israeli Society


Since the breakdown of the Oslo peace process in 2000 and the beginning of the second Intifada, conflict has escalated in Israel/Palestine and come to seem irreversible. The overwhelming power of the Israeli military has been unleashed against a largely defenseless population in the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza, driving Palestinians to despair and to desperate measures of retaliation. Michel Warschawski, has for many decades been active in building alliances of Jews and Palestinians to oppose the Israeli occupation. In this book, however, he focuses especially on the effects of the occupation on the occupiers—that is, on Israeli society—rather than its victims.

Warschawski describes the atrocities of the occupation—from the sack of Ramallah to the massacre in Jenin, the razing of houses and refugee camps, shooting at ambulances and hospitals, the use of Palestinian civilians as human shields—showing how each of these pushes back the boundaries of what was previously thinkable. He documents the resulting shifts in Israeli political thought, citing Ariel Sharon, army officers and even rabbis who begin by describing Palestinians as Nazis and end by relying on the German army’s tactics for subjugating the Warsaw ghetto. Toward an Open Tomb then seeks to explain the forces within Israeli society and culture that are leading to this self-defeating result.

Warschawski has the keen eye of an Israeli insider. He develops a powerful critique of Israeli policies with a persuasive power drawn from his own Jewish origins and his deepening devotion to what he regards as the best Jewish traditions.

A meticulously documented, yet intensely personal meditation by a leading dissident on the political psychosis currently gripping large segments of the Israeli population. Highly recommended.

—Norman Finkelstein


Preamble—History of a Plague

One: Green Fire for a Massacre

  • From Muhamed el-Dura to the destruction of Ramallah . . .
  • and to the massacre of Jenin
  • Use and abuse of self-defense

Two: A Double Dehumanization

  • Interlude—Walls of Words

Three: The New Discourse

  • Brutality without borders
  • The madness
  • The perverse return of the Shoah

Four: The Wall

  • A new ghetto
  • Unilateral separation
  • The wall and the bomb

Five: Counter Reformation

  • Putting Arab citizens in their place
  • National revolution
  • Degeneration

Interlude—Christmas in Bethlehem

Six: A Heavy Heritage to Bear

  • The big lie
  • The worm within the fruit of Oslo
  • The treason of the intellectuals
  • Fewer rights, more humiliation

Seven: Closing the Parentheses

  • The choice of normality
  • Forces of resistance
  • National reconciliation

Interlude—The End of an Epoch

Eight: The New Israel

  • A false democracy
  • A new political class
  • New ideology, new regime
  • The decline of the Left

Michel Warschawski is director of the Alternative Information Center in Jerusalem and a well-known anti-Zionist activist. His books include Israel-Palestine: le défi binational and an award-winning memoir, Sur la frontière.

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SKU: mrp1099 Categories: ,
Topics: Imperialism Places: Middle East

Publication Date: July 2004

Number of Pages: 128

Paperback ISBN: 9781583671092