The Political Economy of Israel's Occupation

Issue section: 
(352)

Shir Hever, Pluto, £17.99

This book was clearly written for the Israeli market but Shir Hever is definitely on the Israeli left as he aims to show how economic changes have shaped the terms of the occupation. The chapters showing how Israel benefits from international aid to the occupied Palestinian territories and concerns over the effects of privatisation in Israel throw up some interesting facts.

The main problem with his thesis is he sees economic issues as primary when they are so patently shaped firstly by politics. Israel's place as US proxy in the oil-rich and strategically important Middle East does just get a mention. And, although in his efforts to get reliable economic facts he continually comes against the secrecy of a militarised state, he continues to strive to relate economic theory, without political context, to the Israeli and Palestinian economies.

His caricaturing of Marxist approaches confirms the idea that he has spent too much time with economists to the detriment of his understanding of nationalism, colonialism and imperialism. Finally, however, Hever concludes that activism, specifically the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign, is a key to change, and that his aim has been to disperse some Israeli propaganda myths and so contribute to "the creation of a democratic state to represent everyone who lives in the area currently controlled by Israel".