Jonathan Cook is a British journalist and writer based in Nazareth. His books are Blood and Religion: The Unmasking of the Jewish and Democratic State (Pluto, 2006), Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (Pluto, 2008) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair (Zed, 2008). His website is www.jkcook.net
Disappearing Palestine was my third book in three years, and the one that was least planned. Trained more as a journalist than as an academic, I prefer to work “on the hoof” – and against deadline – covering the latest developments in the region. But at the same time I think a worthwhile book must take account of the bigger picture, connecting the dots for readers, and offer a deeper analysis than that provided by our media – and, sadly, by many of our academics too.
Also, writing a useful book about Israel demands that one set aside fears of potential slurs on one’s character.
In each book I have sought to marry the academic and journalistic approaches, respecting the need for sourcing, intellectual rigor, and the concentration on significant and enduring themes while trying not to sacrifice topicality. It is always a difficult balance. But things are moving so fast on the ground here that a meaningful analysis requires familiarity with day-to-day events and developments, the modus operandi of most journalists rather than academics.