Palestine Hijacked: How Zionism Forged an Apartheid State from River to Sea

By Thomas Suarez, Olive Branch Press, 2022, paperback, 470 pp. MEB $25

Reviewed by Steve France 

IN HIS NEW BOOK, Thomas Suarez draws on years of research deep in the bowels of British and U.S. archives, sifting through little known or recently unsealed records. From this haul he presents vivid documentation of the 1948 terror against—and ethnic cleansing of—Palestinians, as well as records of systematic atrocities that consolidated Zionist control after Israel became a state. 

But it is in bringing to light the pre-1948 story of Israel’s founding that the book delivers unprecedented detail on the layers of Zionist deception and aggression. Readers encounter the incessant Zionist lies, machinations and terror unleashed against the Palestinians, but also against British police and civil servants, and not least, against recalcitrant Jews who balked at helping impose Jewish supremacy in Palestine. 

The book is compulsively readable (as long as you have a moderately strong stomach), more than persuasive, and should be seminal in opening up further directions for research. Sticking to a chronological narrative, accompanied by incisive but restrained commentary, Suarez delegitimizes core assumptions relied on to justify or excuse Israel’s conquest of Palestine. 

Most damaging, Suarez shows that “the professed motivation” of early Zionist leaders—to protect Jewish safety and dignity against anti-Jewish persecution—was never their “driving motivation.” What they wanted was to establish “an ethnically predicated settler state for which persecuted Jews were [the] renewable fuel.” This is easy enough to say, of course. Many critics of Zionism have noted Zionist hostility to the rich variety of diasporic Jews and Jewish cultures found around the world and even in Palestine, and their condemnation of non- or anti- Zionists as “self-hating Jews.” 

What’s important is that Suarez can back up with hard evidence his assertion that “most victims of Zionist assassinations (i.e., targeted killings of specific individuals) were Jews.” In this vein, Suarez notes the Jewish Agency’s internal instruction in 1942 that non-Zionist Jews were the “foremost enemy.” He also points out that Jews publishing in languages other than Hebrew were labeled as enemies and systematically fire-bombed.

Other storylines that Suarez weaves through the years from early in World War I to 1956 (the year of the Suez Crisis) include:

  • Britain eagerly signing on to bring the Zionists to Palestine and using its imperial power to give them dominance over the Palestinians—only to find itself treacherously re-purposed by Zionists around 1939 to play the role of colonial oppressor of the Jews in Palestine. Over the next several years, the British were driven out by a Zionist terror campaign advertised to the world as a Jewish “war of independence.”
  • The Palestinians suffering massive amounts of casualties and bombings by the Zionists and the Brits during the Mandate period. However, after the Arab Revolt ended in 1939, they showed “no disposition to violence,” the British steadily reported.
  • Groups of Jewish youth (male and female) going out on seemingly innocuous “hiking tours,” winding their way through Arab areas. But their real purpose, as the British belatedly realized, was to “spy out the land” and secretly photograph, map and assess the military vulnerabilities of Arab communities, often visiting “hidden military training settlements” along the way.
  • Early on, U.S. politicians, intellectuals, entertainers and journalists falling for pro-Zionist propaganda and influence campaigns and mobilizing public opinion and lots of funds vital to keeping Zionist terror gangs in business.
  • The now-forgotten terror campaign in Europe that helped Zionists take control of Jews displaced during World War II and transport them to Palestine to serve the Zionist cause. The terror also generally deterred British and other European resistance to the Zionist agenda (even the very pro-Zionist Winston Churchill received a letter bomb from the Stern Gang). 
  • The Zionists cynically engineering a U.N. vote on Resolution 181 in 1947 to partition Palestine, but then completely ignoring the partition resolution to seize more territory. Resolution 194, calling for Palestinian refugees to be allowed to return to their homes, was also disregarded. Nonetheless, the U.N. quickly gave full recognition to the state of Israel.

Palestine Hijacked
 is a unique resource. Open almost any page—or follow individual index entries—and you find compelling quotes of eyewitnesses and key decision makers from all sides telling their part of the shameful tale. Anyone who wants to fully fathom the history of Israel’s founding needs to read this book. Moreover, to remain unaware of the history that Suarez presents limits advocates’ ability to overcome many Americans’ stubborn wish to believe in Israel’s basic goodness and necessity, despite Zionism’s 100 years of persecuting Palestinians.

 Steve France is an activist and writer ­affiliated with Episcopal Peace Fellowship, Palestine-Israel Network.


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