In Response to: War & Words

It is very much the result of 20th century dynamics, including the end of the Ottoman Empire, British colonialism, the Holocaust, and Jewish nationalism in the form of Zionism. Zionism, like many nationalisms, reaches back to an earlier time — in this case Antiquity — to justify its claims and to promise a better future in the light of a disappointing present. No nationalist presentation of history should or can be taken at face value and, as an Ottoman historian, I can affirm that for many centuries the Middle East was a pretty quiet place. When there was major conflict, it was between Muslims and Christians.

Molly Greene *93, professor of history and Hellenic studies, Princeton University
Princeton, N.J.