In a work both impassioned and measured, Lozowick offers a moral evaluation of Israel's conduct in successive wars, showing its punctilious regard for the norms of warfare and the aspirations of the liberal democratic state. Lozowick, director of the archives at Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust memorial museum and resource center, is a man of the Left disabused in the wake of the Oslo war in September 2000 and the collapse of prospects for a general Arab-Israeli peace. He accompanies the arguments with a helpful autobiographical element that underscores the evolution of his political views in relation to the events described. To witness through his retelling the collapse of cherished illusions about peace prospects as one event after another undermined them enhances the impact of his case.
Lozowick shows that in one war after another—1948, 1956, 1967, 1973 and 1982, plus lesser conflicts—Israel has generally conducted itself with great restraint over and above what has been seen by other states in comparable conflicts. As Lozowick notes of the 1967 war, for example, while it brought nearly one million Arab civilians under Israeli rule, no expulsions or massacres followed, showing that the lessons of earlier Israeli military lapses in which Arab civilians had been killed (Kibiya, Kassem) had been duly learned.
He concludes that "the will to murder Jews was never the result of oppression and can never be resolved by removing it," summarizing his view that the conflict between Arab and Jew is not the product of grievances that Israeli policy can assuage.
Some readers might argue with Lozowick's philosophical bases: it is arguable whether just war theory can possess all the clear-cut answers he would like at his disposal to moral dilemmas posed by a war in which even the pretense of a rule book has been discarded by suicide bombers. Others might object to his unapologetic effort to set a higher bar for Israeli conduct than that set for all other states. But problematic or otherwise, the more stringent formula he adopts only makes his ultimate conclusions the more persuasive.