Books & Publications

The following lists cite books and other publications recommended by Holy Land Conversations as useful and informative reading about Israel and Palestine. Some of these publications focus on history, others on the current situation, and still others on policy options that could lead to a resolution of this incredibly difficult, longstanding conflict.

If quoted from another site, the synopsis of each publication is clearly cited.


The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

John J. Mearsheimer Ph.D and Stephen M. Walt Ph.D
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, NY, NY 2007

Mearsheimer and Walt deepen and expand their argument and confront recent developments in Lebanon and Iran. They describe the remarkable level of material and diplomatic support that the United States provides to Israel and argues that this support cannot be fully explained on either strategic or moral grounds. This exceptional relationship is due largely to the political influence of a loose coalition of individuals and organizations that actively work to shape U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction. Mearsheimer and Walt provocatively contend that the lobby has a far-reaching impact on America’s posture throughout the Middle East—in Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, and toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict—and the policies it has encouraged are in neither America’s national interest nor Israel’s long-term interest. The lobby’s influence also affects America’s relationship with important allies and increases dangers that all states face from global jihadist terror.

Synopsis from

Holy Land Conversations: A Doctor’s Journey through Palestine’s Back Door

Bryan A. Saario DDS, MD
Integrity Editions Ltd, 2009 / Wheatmark Publishing

This book details the adventures of a surgeon who volunteers for medical mission work in Nablus in the occupied Palestinian territories almost on a whim. In so doing he discovers the intense complexities of the Palestinian-Israeli relations through extensive interaction and conversations with Palestinians living under occupation, and how the most basic medical care is affected by it. The author further supplements his personal experiences with extensive research of the centuries-long conflict and the intertwining of U.S. foreign policy supporting Israeli hegemony and conflicting with America’s core value of justice and freedom sought by the Palestinians in their struggle for statehood.

The Transparent Cabal

Stephen J. Sniegoski Ph.D
Enigma Editions, Norfolk, Virginia 2008

Although it is generally understood that American neoconservatives pushed hard for the war in Iraq, this book forcefully argues that the neocons’ goal was not the spread of democracy, but the protection of Israel’s interests in the Middle East. Showing that the neocon movement has always identified closely with the interests of Israel’s Likudnik right wing, the discussion contends that neocon advice on Iraq was the exact opposite of conventional United States foreign policy, which has always sought to maintain stability in the region to promote the flow of oil. Various players in the rush to war are assessed according to their motives, including President Bush, Ariel Sharon, members of the foreign-policy establishment, and the American people, who are seen not as having been dragged into war against their will, but as ready after 9/11 for retaliation.

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The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine

Ilan Pappe D Phil
One World Publications Limited, Oxford, England October, 2006

Since the Holocaust, it has been almost impossible to hide large-scale crimes against humanity. In our communicative world few modern catastrophes are concealed from the public eye. And yet, Ilan Pappe unveils, one such crime has been erased from the global public memory: the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians in 1948. The pervasive denial of the Nakbah, as Palestinians call the catastrophe that befell them, is still a mystery today. But why is it denied, and by whom?

The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine offers an investigation of this mystery, and Pappe puts forward a ground-breaking – if controversial – interpretation of the relationship of Nakbah to the Palestine-Israeli conflict, naming Nakbah as the conflict’s very origin. Portraying Israeli-Palestine relations in a revolutionary new light, this book is guaranteed to spark fierce debate throughout the world.

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Peace And Its Discontents

Edward W. Said Ph.D
Vintage Books A Division of Random House, NY, NY 1996

Said, a Palestinian intellectual with impeccable credentials that carry him well within both the halls of American academia and Palestinian political forums, despairs over the failure of his community’s leadership to achieve a solid set of goals in the present negotiating process. Most of the material presented here has appeared elsewhere in Arabic-language papers or in one of Said’s many publications, but all was written originally for an Arab audience. While the theme may appear to be redundant to many?the Palestinians caved in to U.S. pressure and obstinate Israeli demands without exploiting their advantage of moral position and sound political objectives?the thought processes and manner of deliberation exhibited by Said require attention by everyone interested in the topic. Said’s sentiment is echoed by other Palestinians such as Mohamed Rabie (U.S.-PLO Dialogue, Univ. Pr. of Florida, 1995). Recommended for students of diplomacy and in particular the current Palestinian-Israeli peace process.?

Synopsis by Sanford R. Silverburg, Catawba Coll., Salisbury, N.C., Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid

President Jimmy Carter
Simon and Schuster, Ny, NY, 2006

A Personal Interview with President Jimmy Carter by Editorial Staff at Amazon
Q: Your use of the term “apartheid” has been a lightning rod in the response to your book. Could you explain your choice? Were you surprised by the reaction?
A: The book is about Palestine, the occupied territories, and not about Israel. Forced segregation in the West Bank and terrible oppression of the Palestinians create a situation accurately described by the word. I made it plain in the text that this abuse is not based on racism, but on the desire of a minority of Israelis to confiscate and colonize Palestinian land. This violates the basic humanitarian premises on which the nation of Israel was founded. My surprise is that most critics of the book have ignored the facts about Palestinian persecution and its proposals for future peace and resorted to personal attacks on the author. No one could visit the occupied territories and deny that the book is accurate.

Q&A published online at

They Dare To Speak Out

Former Congressman Paul Findley
Lawrence Hill Books, Chicago, IL 1985, 1989, 2003

The first book to speak out against the pervasive influence of the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on American politics, policy, and institutions resonates today as never before. With careful documentation and specific case histories, former congressman Paul Findley demonstrates how the Israel lobby helps to shape important aspects of U.S. foreign policy and influences congressional, senatorial, and even presidential elections. Described are the undue influence AIPAC exerts in the Senate and the House and the pressure AIPAC brings to bear on university professors and journalists who seem too sympathetic to Arab and Islamic states and too critical of Israel and its policies. In addition, the lack of open debate among politicians with regard to the U.S. policy in the Middle East is lamented, and AIPAC is blamed in part for this censorship. Connections are drawn between America’s unconditional support of Israel and the raging anti-American passions around the world—and ultimately the tragic events of 9/11.

Synopsis from

A Pretext For War

James Bamford J.D.
Anchor Books, A Division of Random House NY, NY 2005

A Pretext for War reveals the systematic weaknesses behind the failure to detect or prevent the 9/11 attacks, and details the Bush administration’s subsequent misuse of intelligence to sell preemptive war to the American people. Filled with unprecedented new revelations, from the sites of “undisclosed locations” to the actual sources of America’s Middle East policy, A Pretext for War is essential reading for anyone concerned about the security of the United States.

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Terrorism and Tyranny: Trampling Freedom, Justice and Peace to Rid the World of Evil

James Bovard
Palgrave Macmillan

“The war on terrorism is the first political growth industry of the new Millennium.” So begins Jim Bovard’s newest and, in some ways, most provocative book as he casts yet another jaundiced eye on Washington and the motives behind protecting “the homeland” and prosecuting a wildly unpopular war with Iraq. For James Bovard, as always, it all comes down to a trampling of personal liberty and an end to privacy as we know it. From airport security follies that protect no one to increased surveillance of individuals and skyrocketing numbers of detainees, the war on terrorism is taking a toll on individual liberty and no one tells the whole grisly story better than Bovard.

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The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People’s Struggle

Ramzy Baroud
Pluto press  2006

“‘Masterful prose…. (A) scathing but heartfelt portrait.’ Norman G. Finkelstein ‘[Baroud] presents a compelling narrative of Palestinian victimization without being defensive, and with no attempt at disguising internal shortcomings. In the same way, Baroud exposes Israeli culpability and international abrogation of responsibility with candor and uncompromising integrity.’ Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, Palestinian Legislator for the Jerusalem District ‘[Baroud] enables readers to see through the distorted image provided by a biased pro-Israeli Western media of the Middle East as a whole, and of Palestine in particular.’  Review from Amazon Books

Witness in Palestine: Journal of a Jewish American Woman in the Occupied Territories

Anna Baltzer
Paradigm Publishers, Boulder, 2006

Anna Baltzer, a young Jewish American, went to the West Bank to discover the realities of daily life for Palestinians under the occupation. What she found would change her outlook on the conflict forever…For five months, Baltzer lived and worked with farmers, Palestinian and Israeli activists, and the families of political prisoners, traveling with them across endless checkpoints and roadblocks to reach hospitals, universities, and olive groves. Baltzer witnessed firsthand the environmental devastation brought on by expanding settlements and outposts and the destruction wrought by Israel’s “Security Fence,” which separates many families from each other, their communities, their land, and basic human services…Witness in Palestine reveals the truth about checkpoints, settlements, land confiscation, the Wall, and the countless everyday acts of nonviolent resistance that remain largely ignored by mainstream Western media.

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Foreign Policy Magazine

Foreign Policy is the premier, award-winning magazine of global politics, economics, and ideas. Our mission is to explain how the world works—in particular, how the process of globalization is reshaping nations, institutions, cultures, and, more fundamentally, our daily lives. Beginning in January 2009, launched a vibrant, daily online magazine as one of the Web’s premier destinations for international news and opinion. FP has recruited some of the sharpest writers in international politics to look beyond the day’s headlines to uncover overlooked stories and unique angles. Passport, the award-winning blog by FP’s editors, has been joined by a host of new blogs:

  • Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and Fiasco author Tom Ricks comments on military matters at The Best Defense
  • Harvard’s Stephen Walt, coauthor of bestselling The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, injects a dose of realism into the online political debate
  • Superclass author David Rothkopf gives readers an inside look at the global powerbrokers who really run the world
  • The Fletcher School’s Daniel Drezner blogs on foreign policy, international economics
  • George Washington University’s Marc Lynch (“Abu Aardvark”) blogs on the politics of the Middle East
  • Investigative journalist Laura Rozen writes The Cable, featuring original coverage, scoops, and behind-the-scenes reporting about the making of Washington’s foreign policy in the age of Obama
  • A coterie of conservative foreign-policy heavyweights, including Peter Feaver, Philip Zelikow, and FP’s newest editor — and Condoleezza Rice’s longtime speechwriter — Christian Brose, critique the Obama presidency at Shadow Government: Notes from the loyal opposition.
  • The Call features political forecasting by Ian Bremmer and the political-risk consulting firm Eurasia Group

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs is a 100-page magazine published 9 times per year in Washington, DC, that focuses on news and analysis from and about the Middle East and U.S. policy in that region.

The Washington Report is published by the American Educational Trust (AET), a non-profit foundation incorporated in Washington, DC by retired U.S. foreign service officers to provide the American public with balanced and accurate information concerning U.S. relations with Middle Eastern states.

AET’s Foreign Policy Committee has included former U.S. ambassadors, government officials, and members of Congress, including the late Democratic Senator J. William Fulbright, and Republican Senator Charles Percy, both former chairmen of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Members of AET’s Board of Directors and advisory committees receive no fees for their services. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs does not take partisan domestic political positions. As a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli dispute, it endorses U.N. Security Council Resolution 242´s land-for-peace formula, supported by seven successive U.S. presidents. In general, the Washington Report supports Middle East solutions which it judges to be consistent with the charter of the United Nations and traditional American support for human rights, self-determination, and fair play.