In This Review

The United States and the State of Israel
The United States and the State of Israel
By David Schoenbaum
Oxford University Press, 1993, 404 pp

This is a broad overview of a much-discussed, much-written-about relationship. What Schoenbaum brings to the debate is an impatience with clichés, an encyclopedic knowledge of the written record, and a beyond-the-Beltway perspective. Essentially, he argues that the U.S.-Israeli relationship has always been complex and even difficult to manage, bordering on the unique in international affairs. It is rooted in a multiplicity of sources-values, interests, politics, lobbies, strategy. All of this makes good sense and is refreshingly free of propaganda for any particular point of view, but there is a cost. The book sometimes seems to lack thematic unity, to wander, and even the chronology gets confused at times as the author looks ahead, then darts back. Readers unfamiliar with much of this material may be a bit lost by the near stream-of-consciousness quality of some of the writing. The story comes to an end in early 1992, before Labor's return to power, which leaves the assessment of the chances for peace quite bleak. Still, a valuable contribution.