Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Last week Ha'Aretz had a book review in which Ze'ev Sternhell tells us how Raymond Aron tried to convince his fellow Frenchmen that keeping Algeria French was incompatible with the country's national interest. The Algerian war of Independence - one of my fields of interest, I wrote my MA thesis on the ways in which French Jewry dealt with it - is often used as a frame of reference for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Although I am not in favor of making historical comparisons, it cannot be denied that there are some parallels. Professor Sternhell finishes his review with a very good aphorism: " It is doubtful that anyone has ever learned anything from history, but there is nothing like observing the present to shed light on the past. "

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