Read: September 2022

Inspiration: Wanted to learn more about the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict (recommended by a friend)


Written with the help of ChatGPT, below is a brief summary to understand what is covered in the book.

“The Arc of a Covenant”, published in 2022 by author, professor, and journalist Walter Russell Mead, discusses the role of religion in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as global politics more broadly. The book examines the ways in which religion has shaped the course of history and continues to influence contemporary international relations. It discusses the ways in which different religions have interacted with one another, and the ways in which they have influenced the development of different societies and cultures. The book also explores the ways in which religion can be a source of conflict and cooperation, and discusses the potential for religion to be used as a tool for political manipulation. The Arc of a Covenant offers an insightful look at the complex interplay between religion and politics.

Unedited Notes

Direct from my original book log, below are my unedited notes (abbreviations and misspellings included) to show how I take notes as I read.

Majority of jews in israel are Mizrahi (fled from other Arab nations, not European) so Arab persecution lead to state/nationalistic shift in part, support for Israel now seen as pro-imperialism vs originally was support for victim, important to consider how policy to israel plays into larger peace framework globally, I-P conflict uniquely taps into identity politics domestically, abstractions/theories/generalizations only provide illusion of knowledge, jewish lobby power and jews in control denies vast influences of gentile world in supporting israel for strategic reasons, 1840s thought planet Vulcan next to Mercury until Einstein explain mvmt via relativity (Vulcan Theory of israel claims israel/jews control US policy when not true), lobby power cannot persist in long run without general public support beyond 2% of pop who are jews, at time of Hertzl pamphlet on Jewish State 1890s a state ran counter to integration of Jews in society (separate state endorsement worried to be viewed as antisemetic by some leaders such as Grand Duke of Germany/Prussia), gain support among gentile/princes before Jews, German Kaiser support idea of Jewish state in Palestine first for strategic reasons to save Ottoman from decline and Russia rise, suggest lease land from sultan of Palestine to german controlled jewish state, antisemites in power even support zionism early b/c believe some great financial wealth of jews they could access, pre Civil War US jewish population was very small (only a couple thousands mid 1600s), jews fit within americanization of the world as christianity break into sects—just another minority in nation of many religions, aristocracies wanted US to fail and oppose jewish freedom as proxy for capitalism/liberalism more broadly, liberal democracies align with freedom for jews historically, england expelled jews in 1290–200 yrs before spanish inquisition, jews in US under 10k til 1850s then grow with immigrants and antisemetism spread in US with limits on professions/education but not take hold like in Europe given other minorities perceived as more dangerous for myriad groups, post WW1 US adopt “Lodge consensus” for minimal intervention abroad but promote nation state self determination for former empire countries, 1891 president harrison presented with Blackstone Memorial idea for jewish state in palestine but not gain weight for decades (help stem immigration to US and follow nation state for all people notion), pre ww2 but post depression most countries weary of immigrants so as Nazis ramp up jews couldn’t leave to many places so Palestine become main refuge though not all can go still (exacerbate nazi suffering as doors close outside), Balfour declaration 1917 from britain was call for jewish state, post ww2 Truman seen as week and 22% approval but support jewish state as part of broader consistent ForPol anti-soviets, 1947 british economy slow and retract from global stage (palestine, turkey, greece), Truman step in with US to prevent Soviet spread via truman doctrime but pawn off future of israel to UN, 1947 stalin/soviets support indep jewish state too, truman passive on palestine as defer to UN, UN pass resolution to partition palestine into jew and arab state—truman try to back off but arabs/jews violence in palestine provide pressure plus 1948 election year for truman, arabs winning fight in spring ’48 with british support (oil reasons and other), zionists in US pressure truman to act on UN partition, truman push for resolution the back off then as jews lose fight pressured to act, Czechs supply key arms to Jews to turn tide then Stalin also come through (oddly freeze on jews after indep), cannot overlook the impact of near simultaneous end/exposing of nazi atrocities (white european prot country) and nuclear bombs in shaping psyche for long into future, US-israel rel’ship distant in 50s as truman pivot last min then eisenhower focus on arab world alliance (egypt/nasser specifically), united arab republic of iraq syria egypt proposed ’63–soviets gain favor which worry US, israels strength make US pay attention—’67 six day war change world perception as israel show prowess, oil crises/inflation/leader turnover is 70’s seem dire but US recover fast under Nixon and set stage for israel rel’ship and new era (less intervention globally by US post vietnam), Anwar Sadat lead egypt after 1967 six day war and pivot from Nasser pan-Arab ideals to work with US/Israel but 1973 sadat attack israel to establish egypt, by 1978 egypt/israel align on oppose Pres Carter idea for Israel to withdraw sinai/golan/WB and pursue peace, israel palestine is a macguffin for politicians (actual impact of resolution is minor/scale of conflict is miniscule relative to others but occupies so much attention for other moral/symbolic/idealism reasons), best solution is offered just temporary peace agreements not statehoods to stop fighting, palestinians not like 2 state solution b/c would be weaker state/barely indep and not get land, jews/likud oppose 2 state as want all land of bible in west bank, Clinton peace process with Arafat and Rabin end Jan 2001 then 9/11 change dynamics—republicans become more pro israel side of aisle, Billy Graham 1970s lead Evangeliical mvmt in Sun Belt post vietnam as mainline Prot decline, Graham brought progressive leaning ideas into religious mvmt (more open to equality/integration), Graham break onto scene 1949 california—christianity mixed with new culture, evangelical rise support israel—israel is proof god exists to evans (miracle), bush and obama view middle east as mission to change roots (shift from prior stability goal—9/11 change to root seeking mission), bush align with Sharon (hardliner PM in israel), bush respond to 9/11 but hard to find countries to blame with transnational private terror group—change ForPol outlook, the balance of terror had kept peace pre-9/11 (all have nuclear weapons), bush claim want 2 state but pro israel blindly, bush think need replace arafat as PLO head—need gvt to stamp out radical nationalists for peace to work in palestine/israel, hamas win 2006 palestinian election and end peace prospects, at founding israel more popular in euro than US and in US left more than right, Obama see overextended in Mid East, Obama use tough love on Israel, Egypt had always been militarly ruled—Morsi post Arab Spring inept and El-Sisi (military guy) to power (not how US envisioned path), Egyptians view Morsi as US betrayal (Mubarak was ally)—and then US support weakly, Libya Qaddafi fall 2012 to chaos/war despite NATO attempts then Benghazi incident CIA members killed, migrants post ww2 turn cali red to blue—as trump rise, capitalize on sun belt republicans fear of culture wars/migration losing their hold on politics/values, many republicans lose faith in establishment post Iraq debacle (become more isolationist), israel policy used for more than just face value in US (occupies more thought than national interest warrants b/c invokes broader values)

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