In the global search for culprits and causes in the rise of terrorism, former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations Dore Gold shines a spotlight on a nation many think of as a close ally of the United States: Saudi Arabia. As he explains in Hatred’s Kingdom: How Saudi Arabia Supports the New Global Terrorism, Gold believes that the Saudi government is greatly influenced by the Islamist sect known as Wahhabism and, he explains, that influence has lead to Saudi support of terrorism in the Middle East, Europe, the United States and around the world. The historical portion of Gold’s argument, where he traces the emergence of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and the changing face of Saudi leadership, is admirably extensive and detailed. His modern research is a little more uneven, relying on statements by various Muslim clergy members, letters to the editors of newspapers, opinion pieces, and other evidence that is rarely damnable. Curiously, mentions of Israel and the long-standing Arab-Israeli conflict are much more infrequent than one would expect from an Israeli diplomat and scholar. But regardless of one’s opinion of Gold’s research or his alarming conclusions, the book offers something not often found in modern political nonfiction: a coherent structure, exhaustive research, and a clear and consistent perspective on the ongoing threat of terrorism.
January 29, 2020