Braude, founder and head of the Center for Peace Communications, an organization focused on improving Arab-Israeli relations, has written an important and highly original book. He recalls the positive history of this fraught relationship, applauds the Moroccan exception, surveys current possibilities, concludes that "a critical mass in favor of reclamation has emerged" whose noise "can be heard from Morocco's Atlantic shores to the Strait of Hormuz," and offers a comprehensive set of policy recommendations.
Three words in the title and subtitle deserve notice. "Reclamation" refers to Braude's slightly nostalgic recollection of good Arab-Israeli relations a century ago. He offers an impressive array of pro-Zionist Egyptian and Iraqi voices; for example, the Egyptian scholar Ahmad Zaki held that the "victory of Zionism is also the victory of my ideal." This view is nostalgic because it was always minoritarian. To make it majoritarian requires a "revolution" more than a reclamation.
"Cultural" also bears attention. Braude sensibly argues for the centrality of civil society, even in autocracies, pointing to the unacceptable divide between the good relations governments have with Israel and their denigration of the country domestically:
for the regional approach to deliver the genuine peace it intended, Arab populations would need to join their governments in building a relationship with Israel and its people.
an Arab-Israeli water desalination project does not influence public attitudes as long as news media ignore it and preachers persuade their flocks that "Zionists" are poisoning the drinking water.
In grander terms:
the singular focus on attaining a handful of new treaties risked obscuring the opportunity to forge countless bonds with Arab peoples.
To remedy this problem, he points to schools, religious leadership, and media as the key for changing attitudes.
"Arab" here means non-Palestinian. Contrasting the two populations, Braude correctly finds that "approaches that apply to one do not necessarily apply to the other," and so neither includes Palestinians in his survey nor offers recommendations applying to them.
The book concludes with a useful list of steps that Israelis and Americans can take to encourage favorable Arab state relations with Israel, such as: "Establish a monitoring and accountability unit," and, "Boost access to foreign outlets." Although he directs such advice to both Israelis and Americans, the former naturally should take charge, given its centrality to Israel's foreign relations.