British independent journalist and writer born in Buckinghamshire, England in 1965. Based in Nazareth, Israel, covering the Middle East since September 2001. Founder of the Nazareth Press Agency in February 2004.
Author of the books:
He has also contributed to the following books:
- A Doctor in Galilee: The Life and Struggle of a Palestinian in Israel by Hatim Kanaaneh (Foreword by Jonathan Cook), Pluto Press, July 2008 (ISBN 0745327869)
- The Struggle for Sovereignty: Palestine and Israel 1993-2005, eds Joel Beinin and Rebecca Stein, Stanford University Press, February 2006 (ISBN 0804753652)
- Catastrophe Remembered: Palestine, Israel and the Internal Refugees, ed Nur Masalha, Zed Books, July 2005 (ISBN 1842776231)
- The Other Side of Israel, by Susan Nathan, HarperCollins, June 2005 (ISBN 0385514565)
Cook explains why his reporting is different
I have chosen to position myself in the region in two ways - one professional, the other geographical - that distinguish me from colleagues. This approach gives me greater freedom to reflect on the true nature of the conflict and provides me with fresh insight into its root causes.
Professionally, I am one of the few journalists regularly writing about the region who work as an independent freelancer. I choose the issues I wish to cover, so I am not constrained by the ‘treadmill’ of the mainstream media, which require an endless flow of instant copy and analysis. I am also not tied to the mainstream agenda, which gives disproportionate coverage to the concerns of the powerful, in this case the Israeli and American positions - in the US media to a degree that makes much of their Israel/Palestine reporting implausible. I also rarely accept commissions, restricting myself to topics that I consider to be the most revealing about the conflict.
Geographically, I am the first foreign correspondent to be based in the Israeli Arab city of Nazareth, in the Galilee. Most reporters covering the conflict live in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, with a handful of specialists based in the West Bank city of Ramallah. The range of stories readily available to reporters in these locations reinforces the assumption among editors back home that the conflict can only be understood in terms of the events that followed the West Bank and Gaza’s occupation in 1967. This has encouraged the media to give far too much weight to Israeli concerns about ‘security’ - a catch-all that offers Israel special dispensation to ignore its duties to the Palestinians under international law.
Many topics central to the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians, including the plight of the refugees and the continuing dispossession of Palestinians living as Israeli citizens, do not register on most reporters’ radars.
From Nazareth, the capital of the Palestinian minority in Israel, things look very different. There are striking, and disturbing, similarities between the experiences of Palestinians inside Israel and those inside the West Bank and Gaza. All have faced Zionism's appetite for territory and domination, as well as repeated attempts at ethnic cleansing. These unifying themes suggest that the conflict is less about the specific circumstances thrown up by the 1967 war and more about the central tenets of Zionism as expressed in the war of 1948 that founded Israel and the war of 1967 that breathed new life into its settler colonial agenda.