Sand’s text has excited virulent denunciation in some quarters. My lack of expertise in its original Hebrew and in the detailed context of many of Sand’s quotations inhibits me from making any reliable judgment. I can say only that common sense supports much of his narrative and that its content, where I am qualified to assess it, is admirably and candidly presented. It may be that this book comes too late to help men arrive at a sane and rational compromise in the Middle East. Some situations are beyond repair, however much we wish it otherwise. Ideology and religion provide the basic framework of human thought and also supply the often antique racks on which we are all stretched. As Genet observed, “Nous ne sortirons jamais de ce bordel”—i.e., there is, to put it chastely, no way out of this mess.
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