This collection of essays begins with a dissection of the ""intifada"" at the end of 1987 and deals with people and events through to 1994, when Israel began to withdraw from the disputed territories. Ineffective militarily, Edward Alexander notes, the ""intifada"" proved a potent propaganda tool: ""The spectacle of young Palestinian Arabs (at least in the early stages of the uprising, before the violence became highly organized) facing Israeli soldiers won for the Arabs precisely the victory they had sought: it swung liberal, including (if not especially) Jewish liberal, sympathy decisively to the side of the Arabs and against Israel"". The book criticizes the ""body of ideas that lured Israel into the quagmire called the 'peace process'"". The author excoriates prominent figures in politics, journalism, education and literature who express hostility to, or open hatred of, Jews, Judaism and Israel. Convinced that it is in the realm of ideas that the battle will be lost or won, Alexander has given special attention to ""some of the more brazen and flamboyant combatants in ...the 'Jewish wars' - Edward Said, Patrick Buchanan, George Ball, Alexander Cockburn, Michael Lerner, Noam Chomsky"". Recurring themes in the book are: the relations between the Jews of America and those of Israel; the incorporation of anti-Zionism into the ideology of ""multiculturalism"" and the conventions of literary discussion; the politically motivated ""distortion and exploitation"" of the Holocaust; the strategies of moral and political discrimination against Israel; the strategies employed by some prominent American and Israeli Jews to evade the implications of this discrimination; and the growing impunity with which antisemitism can be preached at both ends of the political spectrum. Alexander also reproduces some of the debate engendered by his essays in ""Commentary"" and ""Congress Monthly"".
Edward Alexander, a professor of English at the University of Washington in Seattle, is a literary critic and political polemicist whose books range from "Matthew Arnold and John Stuart Mill "and "Isaac Bashevis Singer "to "The Jewish Idea and Its Enemies "and "The Holocaust and the War of Ideas."