About Jonathan

Photograph by: Katie Ramadan

Jonathan Cook is an award-winning British journalist based in Nazareth, Israel, since 2001.

He is the author of three books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:

  • Blood and Religion: The Unmasking of the Jewish State (2006)
  • Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (2008)
  • Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair (2008)

He has also contributed chapters and essays to several edited volumes on Israel-Palestine.

In 2011 Jonathan was awarded the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. The judges’ citation reads: “Jonathan Cook’s work on Palestine and Israel, especially his de-coding of official propaganda and his outstanding analysis of events often obfuscated in the mainstream, has made him one of the reliable truth-tellers in the Middle East.”

The same year, Project Censored voted a report by Jonathan, “Israel brings Gaza entry restrictions to West Bank”, one of the most important stories censored in 2009-10.

Jonathan’s reports and commentaries have appeared in the Guardian, the Observer, the Times and the New Statesman (London); The International Herald Tribune and Le Monde diplomatique (Paris); Al-Ahram Weekly (Cairo); The National (Abu Dhabi); The Daily Star (Beirut); The Middle East Report and Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (Washington); and The Irish Times (Dublin). He has contributed to many online sites, such as CounterPunch, Israeli Occupation Archive, Al-Jazeera.com and Electronic Intifada.

He has been a senior consultant and lead writer on two major reports by the International Crisis Group, a leading think-tank based in Washington and Brussels dealing with conflict resolution.

There is a Wikipedia page about Jonathan.

Why Nazareth?

Jonathan is the only foreign correspondent to be based in Nazareth, the capital of the Palestinian minority in Israel. He explains the significance of his choice of location:

“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.”

Experience and qualifications

Jonathan graduated from Southampton University in 1987 with a degree in philosophy and politics, and then earnt a postgraduate diploma in journalism from Cardiff University in 1989. He gained a masters degree in Middle Eastern studies, with distinction, from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London University, in 2000.

He worked on regional newspapers before becoming a staff journalist at the Guardian in 1994. He later joined the Observer newspaper. He moved to Nazareth to become a freelance reporter in September 2001.