USC Students for Justice in Palestine

history, analysis, news, and event updates on the struggle for justice in palestine

Unmasking the “Jewish and democratic state”–an interview with Jonathan Cook

Posted by uscsjp on September 16, 2006

Question: Your book has been released in Britain and is about to come out in the US. Already it is widely praised by various experts and academics related to the Middle East. Why does the “Jewish and democratic State” need to be unmasked?

I chose the word “unmask” because it was the term Ehud Barak used about Yasser Arafat after the failure of the Camp David negotiations in June 2000: he said he had unmasked the Palestinian leader as no partner for peace. But in fact the reverse happened: the Camp David failure and Israel’s subsequent actions during the second intifada unmasked those like Barak who claimed that Israel was a partner for peace.

The nature of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is irreconcilable as long as Israel sees itself as a “Jewish and democratic” state. This is the premise of my book. The Jewish and democratic myth keeps Israelis both from examining the essentially undemocratic nature of their state — what social scientists often term an ethnic state or an ethnocracy — and from finding a peaceful solution to their conflict with the Palestinians. (continued. . . )


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