Jack Ross responds to expressions of Muslim chauvinism during the flap over the Chris Caldwell book:
I remain stunned by the ability of so many Palestinian activists to completely without irony mirror Zionist sloganeering in their talk of the "Palestinian people" and the collective prerogatives thereof. One need not deny or diminish the justice on the side of the Palestinian cause to acknowledge that Palestinian nationalism is no less invented than Jewish nationalism.
So long as this construction is at the heart of Palestinian agitation, as opposed to simply appealing to human decency at the sight of atrocities such as those in Gaza, it will play right into the hands of advocates for a "two-state solution". To the declaration of a Tzipi Livni that "the Arabs will come to recognize that their national aspirations lie elsewhere", the very notion of placing the Palestinians into Zionism’s own template must be rejected.
But let me be clear – this nationalism was the spawn and legacy of Zionism. So also was the proposition at the heart of so much of political Islam, perhaps even the very notion of political Islam itself: The Muslim Brotherhood was founded by a group who looked to Zionism as their example. That is, still believing that the Jews were a religion and not a "nation", they ominously and erroneously applied the rhetorical construct of Zionism to the purely religious concept of the umma, in other words, the bizarre and utterly impracticable idea of all the world’s one billion Muslims being organized along the lines of modern nationalism.
Lest I be accused of using high-minded idealism to camoflage my own Jewish biases, I must also add that I implore against a creed of nationalistic vengeance from the Palestinians because it would be the ultimate tragedy if they should become the thing they most hate by elevating their collective tragedy to the eschatological significance that Jews have ascribed to the Holocaust. This has had not only the most tragic warping effect on both Jews and Arabs, but the high cost of vengeance against Nazism has also included the warped morality on which both EU totalitarianism and, for lack of a more artful term, Islamism in Europe, have thrived.
I dearly hope and pray that a just resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict might serve as a true breakthrough for the triumph of truth and reconciliation against the barbarism in the name of progress that was the 20th century and which itself spawned, among so many other evils, the State of Israel.