One of Zionism's core ambitions was to normalise the Jewish people's standing in the world; to end the wandering and the exile; to make of the Jews a nation that would live in a state just like every other, like Poles in Poland or the French in France.
But, paradoxically, Zionism depended also on the uniqueness of Jewish destiny, on a Messianic vision with roots in scripture. Israel, from day one, wanted to be just like every other country, only completely different.
Rose unearths misgivings about this contradiction in the writings of the early Zionists and Jewish anti-Zionists. She charts how these dissenting voices have been sidelined in history in the same way Israel's modern peaceniks are sidelined in politics.
She also draws a link between the hushing of debate and the ascent of Zionism's Messianic strain. As the prospect of peace recedes, so rises a tide of apocalyptic thinking. The cycle of violence - attack and retribution - starts to feel inevitable and, to the Messianic believer, inevitability looks like destiny.
Israel stands on the brink of an abyss, and there are forces in the society that prefer to leap in than to pull back. Fundamentalists of all faiths are besotted with the redemptive power of destruction.
Jacqueline Rose's pessimistic analysis is tightly woven. It stands on a solid edifice of scholarship. That does not put it beyond refutation, but it does demand an answer more sophisticated than the angry denial that it will certainly provoke.