Book Review by Hajji Abdullah Drury
Dr Kerry Bolton is an independent scholar and author based in New Zealand.
In ‘Zionism, Islam and the West,’ he has tackled the sensitive topics head on, and drawn some sharp conclusions.
The on-going international crisis of Palestine and the changing role of Islam in today’s multicultural world has not only challenged many age-old social conventions and strictures but also raised all sorts of complex existentialist questions.
Heavily grounded in modern academic theory, Bolton rigorously explores his salient arguments, namely that Palestine is an instrument of a broader international political malaise that can help explain concealed cultural and historical conundrums.
The text is well organised, succinct and precise in its broad scope and irrefutable logic.
At its core, this engaging work is a radical critique of not only the various prominent features of recent Western policy towards the Middle East and the world of Islam in general. It is also an examination of how Zionism has influenced and distorted this at different levels.
In some respects, it is nothing less than a systematic deconstruction of the literary approaches of both Zionism and the official myths of Occidental policy over the past century.
This book does not shy away from asking tough questions or from probing many of the fundamental assumptions that have guided political theory and practice.
What is meant by ‘Zionism’ exactly? Are certain language constructs and projections preferred in different textual circumstances of Western literature?
A close and alert reading of these socio-political intersections will show that Bolton’s intention is not to denigrate, but rather to genuinely galvanise a significant and serious discourse about the current state of affairs.
This excellent book will serve as a valuable and perceptive textbook for both scholars and students.
The modest title here belies the breadth and depth of this remarkable tome and ideally, it should appeal to anyone with an interest in Palestine and/or Islam today.
Bolton demonstrates an intelligent mastery of terminological detail and presents a coherent thesis that questions much of the ambiguous omnishambles of contemporary Western policy towards the Middle East in general.
In many respects, the historical march of Islam over the past few decades presents the average Western reader with a sometimes-challenging bricolage that requires a committed researcher to deconstruct and explain, not least because many Muslims debate these issues themselves.
Although extremely sympathetic to the cause of Palestine, and certainly demonstrating a critical grasp on the key points and literature, Bolton successfully maintains a remarkable degree of political impartiality and ideological neutrality, whilst articulating a comprehensive if devastating account of the subject matter.
This is a significant book on Palestine and Islam and it would useful if Mosques and Islamic Centres have it in their libraries.
Certainly, ordinary Muslims resident in Western societies should peruse the contents.
Zionism, Islam and the West
Kerry Bolton, London, Black House Publishing, 2014
Paperback (262 pages); Online: www.blackhousepublishing.com