Listening to the Rolling Stones’ classic track “Street Fighting Man,” written for the Beggars Banquet album in 1968, one is amused to learn that Mick Jagger wrote the gritty song while observing student demonstrations and anti-war protests in Europe during the tumultuous Vietnam War era.
Mick might be a social commentator in his way, and a social butterfly for sure, but we don’t think of him as a real revolutionary, a person who will actually leave his urbane perch and, well, fight.
Yet there are those who decide to put themselves on the line for great causes. Alex Grobman is such a person.
An acclaimed Holocaust historian, Dr. Grobman is an impeccable researcher and deft writer, who defends Israel from his urbane perch in the Diaspora. But don’t let this elegant man fool you; when it comes to defending Israel, Zionism and the Jewish people, the man is a street fighter.
Grobman’s new book, “The Palestinian Right to Israel,” has just been released. In this latest scintillating read from Grobman (don’t miss his classic “Denying History” or the devastating analysis of the United Nations, “Nations United”), he exposes the myth of the Palestinians’ historical, moral and legal right to Israel.
As a scholar who understands the insidious threat of anti-Semitism to Jews and the danger extreme Muslim hatred of Western society poses to Christians as well, Grobman accepts his mandate:
“Some will rightly argue that no logical argument has ever succeeded in disputing the blood libels or any other spurious allegation leveled against the Jews or the Jewish state, so why bother responding to them?
“A significant danger to Israel is that if we don’t respond,” Grobman answers, “the lies and distortions become a new stereotype through popular culture, the media, literature and daily speech, which will taint the Jewish state.”
Grobman’s research is meticulous, heavily documented and his writing is riveting. The man could teach the Arabs a thing or two about narrative. Traversing the history of the land of Israel and the Jewish spiritual and historical connection to it, Grobman discusses such fascinating accounts as the exchange of letters between the Grand Sharif (later, King Hussein) and British diplomat Sir Henry McMahon, during World War I. Grobman shows that Palestine was never promised to the Arabs as they claim.
Whereas many Christian Zionist authors highlight more mystical reasons for the early British support for a Jewish state in Palestine, Grobman presents a fascinating look at the pragmatic nature of British support. This perspective greatly enhances the arguments of those of us who wish to articulate the legitimate claims of Israel, rather than a futile appealing to the biblical record when confronting Arabs or secularists.
The book is also invaluable for exposing the deeply rooted links between the Arabs and the Nazis. At the end of World War II, the Arab countries became the center for anti-Semitic activity throughout the world. They were drawn into Hitler’s web not only for pragmatic reasons – fighting the Jews – but because they identified with the German sense of nationalism:
“Arab identification with the Nazis was more in keeping with their own history,” Grobman writes. “The Nazis defined their identity through language, culture, history and blood rather than by borders and political sovereignty, akin to the Islamic concept of Ummah (community, nation).”
A helpful set of maps is included. A final section – “The Eternal Bond Between Jews and the Land of Israel” – does appeal to that mystical aspect with quotes from the British Government’s Peel Commission Report of July 1937 acknowledging the Jewish claim to the land because there has always been a Jewish presence there.
The report acknowledged that this connection was not only “spiritual or intellectual,” because Jews were living in Palestine “always or almost always” since the demise of the Jewish state. During the Arab reign, there were a considerable number of Jewish communities in the major cities. Even though small in number, the Jews in Eastern Europe considered that they were being represented by this “remnant of their race who were keeping a foothold in the land against the day of the coming of the Messiah.”
An oft-repeated question in Christian circles is, “Why don’t those people over there just make peace?”
In insulated America, we struggle to understand why the bitter division between Jews and Arabs remains intractable. Grobman provides the answers to this and other fundamental questions of this conflict.
In the world of ideas, Israel needs more street-fighting men who will debunk Arab myths and lies that seek to portray Jews as usurpers of Arab land and occupiers. Alex Grobman and his new book meet that need in a big way.
This book – don’t let the title fool you or trouble you – is a must-have for anyone who finds himself in the pro-Israel camp.