It is safe to say that there is very little to do in Bhopal. In fact, I think it would be safe to say that Bhopal is a truly horrible place, which is only made palatable by the Sambhavna Clinic, and a surprisingly good book shop (though the organisation inside is rather lacking).

Flicking my eyes across the books, from Harry Potter in Hindi to Lonely Planet Hong Kong, I suddenly saw ‘Noam Chomsky & Ilan Pappe’. There was no title, but when these are the two authors, the title becomes of secondary importance. When I excitedly pulled the book out, I found it was titled Gaza in Crisis – Reflections On Israel’s War Against the Palestinians.

After reading Pappe’s book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine and knowing that India is a favoured relaxation spot for post-compulsory military service Israelis, this book was a must-read.

Having now finished the book, I feel all the wiser. Even though much the material pre-dates the Israeli attack on the peace flotilla, the content is still highly up-to-date, with the cut and wit expected of Chomsky, and the historical grounding Pappe always provides.

While the overall message of the book is rather simple and obvious – Israel is a brutal colonialist nation and is only able to hold the position it does due to its unprecedented support by the Western nations, the US in particular – it still provides highly useful information and evidence to add feathers to anyone’s bow in the fight against Zionist myths and propaganda.

Of particular interest to me were the discussions over the desirability of a one-state vs two-state solution, as well as the merits and flaws of boycotts (the latter discussion is further assessed in an interesting article in a recent International Socialist Journal – http://www.isj.org.uk/index.php4?id=680&issue=128). While neither author favours a two-state solution as the desirable end goal, Chomsky clearly believes that it is only through this process that what he terms ‘a binational state’ can be created.

While the overall impression of the book is of a rather ramshackle collection of related articles and interviews, Gaza in Crisis still gives an excellent analysis (several, in fact) of the situation in Palestine today, and dispels the cynical hypocrisy of Israel and its supporters.

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