What Justice Demands: America and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

What is at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? What does justice demand of us in this conflict? This book clarifies an intimidatingly complex issue—and upends conventional views about America’s stake in it.

In this book, Elan Journo explains the essential nature of the conflict, and what has fueled it for so long. What justice demands, he shows, is that we evaluate both adversaries—and America’s approach to the conflict—according to a universal moral ideal: individual liberty. From that secular moral framework, the book analyzes the conflict, examines major Palestinian grievances and Israel’s character as a nation, and explains what’s at stake for everyone who values human life, freedom, and progress.

What Justice Demands shows us why America should be strongly supportive of freedom and freedom-seekers—but, in this conflict and across the Middle East, it hasn’t been, much to our detriment. (Post Hill Press, 2018) | Read an excerpt

Advance Praise

“After hundreds of books on the subject, it would seem difficult to produce a fresh approach, but Elan Journo has done just that in this concise and deftly written volume.”
Joshua Muravchik, Ph.D., author Making David Into Goliath.

“This is a contrarian, thought provoking, relentlessly liberal, fact-rich, lucid, morally serious, constructive, and unapologetically pro-Israel book. Though it makes some arguments with which I disagree, it’s an admirable work, very much worth reading.”
Douglas J. Feith,Senior Fellow and Director, Center for National Security Strategies, Hudson Institute; Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (2001-2005); author War and Decision: Inside the Pentagon at the Dawn of the War on Terrorism.

“This highly original and thought provoking book argues that only by rethinking the moral premises of its Middle East policy and redirecting its support from local dictators and Islamists to freedom-seekers – first and foremost the region’s only democracy, Israel, along with freedom-seeking circles in the Arab world and Palestinian society – will the US be able to help broker Palestinian-Israeli peace. An indispensable book for anyone seeking to think outside the box on the resolution of a seemingly intractable conflict.”
—Efraim Karsh, Ph.D., author, Palestine Betrayed

“A quarter century since the Oslo Accords, Israeli-Palestinian peace remains elusive. What went wrong? Elan Journo dispenses with well-worn but tired debates and takes a fresh approach: The missing piece, he argues, has been the failure to appreciate individual freedom and liberty. In this deeply detailed yet readable study, Journo surveys the moral standing of both Israel and the Palestinians and the place of freedom and liberty in each society. He then considers American policy. To side with dictatorship or a society penetrated by jihadist forces over the only free society in the region is not only morally wrong, he argues, but it is also the reason why the peace process has so far failed. Journo is right. What Justice Demands is the one new book about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in quite some time that doesn’t simply repackage the failed prescriptions of the past and so is worth reading.”
Michael Rubin, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute

 “Elan Journo brings a much-needed perspective to the world’s most pressing crisis: a perspective firmly rooted in deeply considered views about morality and justice. And he demonstrates that nobody is more naïve than the so-called realist to think such considerations beneath them. At a time when our foreign policy debate is focused on considerations of power, Journo shows us that nothing is more powerful than justice, and nothing is resolved that is not right.”
Timothy Sandefur, Vice President for Litigation and Duncan Chair in Constitutional Government, Goldwater Institute. 

“What Justice Demands is unwaveringly courageous.  Elan Journo’s audacity will stun those who refuse to judge, agree or disagree, and always believe ‘both sides’ are to blame in the Middle East.”
Jonathan Hoenig, Capitalistpig Hedge Fund and Fox News Contributor

 “Elan Journo captures the essence and nature of the Arab-Israeli conflict in the 21st Century as it is seen through American foreign policy. As more and more groups try to marginalize Israel in American society Journo gives us the necessary realism to understand this complicated corner of the world and why it matters to America.”
Asaf Romirowsky, Ph.D., executive director, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East; co-author, Religion, Politics, and the Origins of Palestine Refugee Relief.

 “Elan Journo shows that American statecraft’s attempts to settle the Arab-Israeli conflict by compromises have always been doomed to failure because they neglect the conflict’s essential element: justice. Contrary to conventional wisdom he shows that, far from unrealistic, doing the right thing deals with reality’s most inescapable features. Regardless of what goods the Palestinian people might deserve, the reality of Palestinian culture and politics precludes them. Regardless of what Israel has to do to maintain its life, that life is intrinsically in accord with justice and with America’s interest. Journo makes a persuasive case that, by decisively supporting Israel’s cause and hence acting in accordance with justice, the U.S would be doing the right thing not only by itself and Israel but by the Palestinians as well. A book worth reading.”
Angelo Codevilla, Ph.D., professor emeritus of International Relations at Boston University.

“U.S.-Israel relations may be mutually celebrated, but Journo argues that ‘America has sold out the [Middle East’s] only free society, Israel . . . while empowering jihadist forces.’ Strong words, but he ​convincingly ​exposes repeated presidential mistakes since 1990, then concludes with a rousing call to fix past errors by supporting an Israeli victory over its enemies.”
Daniel Pipes, president, Middle East Forum.

“Elan Journo’s new book offers a refreshing, intelligent, well-written and fundamentally right-headed critique of American policy toward the Middle East. By proposing a policy resolutely based on justice, he illuminates the conflict between Israel and its neighbors in original and startling ways—and offers hope for lasting change.”
Yoram Hazony, author of The Virtue of Nationalism

“Standing apart from today’s rampant tribalism and collectivism, What Justice Demands engages readers across the ideological-political landscape. By adopting a principled individual-first, pro-freedom outlook, Elan Journo lays out a compelling analysis of a far-reaching conflict and indicates a path toward a just resolution.”
—Eamonn Butler, Ph.D., Director, the Adam Smith Institute

 


Failing to Confront Islamic Totalitarianism

The military strength of the United States is unmatched in all of world history. Yet fifteen years after September 11, Islamic totalitarianism is undefeated, emboldened, and on the march: from Paris and San Bernardino to Brussels and Orlando. Why?

Failing to Confront Islamic Totalitarianism: From George W. Bush to Barack Obama and Beyond  (co-authored with Onkar Ghate) 2016 | Reviews | Read the introduction


Winning the Unwinnable War

Eight years after 9/11 and in the shadow of two protracted U.S. military campaigns in the Middle East, the enemy is not only undefeated but emboldened and resurgent. What went wrong–and what should we do going forward?

Winning the Unwinnable War: America’s Self-Crippled Response to Islamic Totalitarianism (editor and chief contributor) 2009 | Read the introduction


Contributed

A New Textbook of Americanism: The Politics of Ayn Rand

This book features previously unavailable material by Ayn Rand on her politics, along with contributions by other authors on the application of her ideas to today’s issues. Edited by Jonathan Hoenig, 2018 (contributor, Elan Journo) | Kindle and Paperback

Defending Free Speech

Freedom of speech is indispensable to a free and civilized society, yet this precious right is increasingly under attack today. Why is this happening? What can be done? Edited by Steve Simpson, 2016 (contributor, Elan Journo) | Kindle and Paperback | Read the introduction


Blog Posts, Articles, Essays, Book Chapters and Lectures
Find more at: the blog | Elan’s bio page at The Ayn Rand Institute | Elan’s archive at Voices for Reason blog | Elan’s archive at New Ideal