Iceland Street in Jerusalem by Hjálmtyr Heiddal
"This book turned out to be an eye-opener, and a mine of information for all people who want to understand this important conflict. The supreme merit of this book is that it leaves its readers in no doubt as to what Israel really is. It explains that this new state is no ancient biblical fairy tale come to life, but rather a very modern example of a settler colonist state erected on the ruins of another country, the ancient land of Palestine." - Ghada Karmi
Even those with a deep knowledge of the events surrounding the creation of the State of Israel have something to learn from Hjálmtýr Heiddal’s Iceland Street in Jerusalem. Like many before him, Heiddal outlines the key players of the early Zionist movement, paying particular attention to their motivations and the devastating impact of their actions on the Palestinian people.
Where Iceland Street truly stands out, however, is in analyzing Zionism through the prism of the Icelandic government and media. While this approach may initially seem curious, Heiddal convincingly demonstrates how the remote country of fewer than 400,000 people played an outsized role in legitimizing and facilitating the establishment of the Israeli state in 1948.
Just three years after becoming an independent republic, Iceland was appointed to the U.N.’s 1947 Ad Hoc Committee on Palestine, charged with recommending a solution to the burgeoning Zionist-Arab conflict. Iceland further cemented its place in history when its U.N. representative, Thor Thors, was the first person to address the General Assembly on Nov. 29, 1947 as the body debated the now infamous U.N. Partition Plan for Palestine. Although Thors was heavily lobbied by Zionists, he told Abba Eban, Israel’s future foreign minister, that his country’s support for a Jewish state was never in doubt.
Heiddal offers a thorough examination as to why Iceland and many other Western countries so ardently supported Zionism.