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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something Very Clear To Understand
I read this book 4 years ago, and remember in the book that it took great pains to NOT be a book of opinion, but, a investigative study into the real facts behind the conflict of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Prof. Finkelstein states certain, undeniable facts (not opinons) that we as humans have consciously & with eyes-wide-open allowed in the fate of the...
Published on July 11 2004 by Michael J. McGrath

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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Fink goes into bat for Palestine
This is a book by Norman Finkelstein who is a left wing academic teaching at New York University. Although he is Jewish his reputation is that of being a strong supporter of the Palestinians. This rather short book is no exception.
Finkelstein?s main thesis is that Zionism arose in the 19th century in response to nationalist ideas that were fashionable at the time...
Published on Sept. 7 2002 by Tom Munro


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something Very Clear To Understand, July 11 2004
By 
Michael J. McGrath "woofer72" (NYC , NY) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Image and Reality of the Israel Palestine Conflict (Paperback)
I read this book 4 years ago, and remember in the book that it took great pains to NOT be a book of opinion, but, a investigative study into the real facts behind the conflict of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Prof. Finkelstein states certain, undeniable facts (not opinons) that we as humans have consciously & with eyes-wide-open allowed in the fate of the Palestinians - when as people we are allowing the horrenndous life in Palestine refugee camps & would rather talk about anything than %65 of the Palestinians suffer from malnutrition (due exclusively to Israeli restrictions)- to simply deteriorate. Easy & fascinating reading, unless you've decided that Palestinians don't really matter and could care less about genocide, anyway. You'll look at the Mid-East differently, I guarantee!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rare Example of Scrupulous Scholarship, March 5 2002
If you want to understand the origins of the on-going tragedy of the Intifada, read this book. But it will take nerves of steel. You will be confronted with facts that will upset every one of your preconceived notions about Israel and the Palestinian conflict. If that prospect sacres you, don't read this book. Otherwise, reading this work is a great, liberating experience.
Norman Finkelstein (Princeton University PhD & Professor at De Paul University) wows his reader with his scholarship but also his integrity. One can only admire his intellectual courage and probity for having painstakingly analysed the complex array of social, political and ideological forces that shaped the rise of the Zionist movement and which led simultaneously to the creation of Israel and the tragic displacement of the indigenous Palestinian population. And he accomplishes this remarkable feat in 240 pages.
As a scrupulous historian, his most important contribution is the courage to debunk so many of the myths that surround the rise of the Israeli state and that pass as common currency in America. Finkelstein is loathe to advance a fact without detailed argumentation, backed up by very thorough research and abundant footnotes. 27% of his book is made up of very carefully crafted notes, each drilling down further his searh for historical veracity. He chases down the truth/falsehood of every fact, exposing the fraudulent work of so-called "experts" (Joan Peters), challenges the political bias of some of today's leading Israeli historians (Benny Morris), and punches holes through the inconsistencies of respected Zionist apologists (Anita Shapira), letting the historical cards fall where they may, without allowing Nationalist ideology to warp or intimidate his findings.
Finkelstein's book renders a very considerable public service in enlightening our minds to the many inherited falsehoods that masquerade as truth regarding the reality of the Israel-Palestine conflict. For this, we all, Israelis, Palestinians, and Americans owe him a great debt.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, June 23 2003
By A Customer
Excellent background on Zionism and the Israeli - Palestine conflict. Very thorough and well written. Good insights into the nature and rationale of Zionism placed in the context of other, similar mindsets. Good background on Israel's various wars and the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best, April 23 2002
By A Customer
This courageous book is one of the best I have read about the Israel-Palestine conflict. The book's strength is how thoroughly researched and documented it is.
Finkelstein uses numerous direct quotes and footnotes from a vast variety of sources, ranging from official records to the personal diaries of Israeli leaders. He does not spare anyone, and he debunks quite a few popular myths about Israel's birth.
This book is thought-provoking and while some of the chapters can hardly be called an easy read, it a must read for anyone who is interested in the truth about the Middle East.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars detailed insight which is never discussed in the media, Jan. 19 2003
By A Customer
This work is very important for people to read as it provides a worthwhile alternative view to Israeli history.
I can't determine from my own research whether the author is totally right or wrong in his thesis, but the one thing that I can say is that like all history, it is important to hear all sides of a story.
Anyone who believes (as portrayed in the mainstream media) that Israel is the font of reason and love in the middle east and simply wants to be left alone to exist, and that it is the Arab States (and Palestinians) which cause all the problems in the area must read this book simply to inform themselves of other perspectives. To believe what is said in the media these days, you would never know about the history of land encroachment etc by Israel. The settlements which are still expanding to this day were going on since 1948! These things came as news to me, and simply points to the need to inform oneself about history from both sides, including the Arab side. You very rarely (never?) see or hear this side of the argument in the US. It is that very fact which should indicate that reading this version of history is important - ignorance is the foundation of an unfair world.
Read this book!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly Intelligent, Fascinating, Partisan, Oct. 12 2002
By 
Curtis Crawford (Charlottesville, VA United States) - See all my reviews
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My adjectives refer to Chapter 5, an essay on the Six-Day War (June 5-10, 1967), which pitted Israel against Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq. As in the book's other essays, Finkelstein rebuts influential views that he considers unfounded.
In this case, the "unfounded" view is that Israel began the war in self-defense, to forestall an Arab attack aimed at Israel's destruction. As Israel stated, explaining its decision to strike: "[T]he Government ascertained that the armies of Egypt, Syria and Jordan are deployed for immediate multi-front aggression, threatening the very existence of the state."
Finkelstein argues that no such danger existed, since (1) there was no evidence that Egypt, which led the Arab coalition, meant to attack, and (2) it was "taken for granted" that if she did, she would be routed by Israel.
In early May, 1967, Israeli leaders were threatening military action to punish Syria for sponsoring Palestinian terrorism against Israel. The Soviet Union, a strong supporter of Syria and Egypt, notified them (incorrectly) that Israel had massed troops near the Syrian border, in order to invade. Egypt, allied to Syria, responded by (1) deploying 100,000 troops in the Sinai peninsula, (2) ordering the evacuation of the UN Emergency Force on the Egyptian-Israeli boundary, and (3) barring Israeli shipping through the Tiran Straits.
Did Egypt mean to follow up with a military attack? If Finkelstein's citations are correct, US and Israeli intelligence both concluded that Egypt did not intend to attack Israel. Reporting that most observers took this position, an Israeli publication, Middle East Record, argued that pledges by Egypt to the UN and to the Great Powers not to start shooting should be taken at face value. A leading Israeli general stated that Egyptian troops in the Sinai peninsula were not deployed for offensive action, though it is unclear when this statement was made.
On the second point, the CIA estimated in late May that Israel would win a war against one or all of the Arab countries within a week, no matter who struck the first blow. The prewar British intelligence estimate was nearly the same. Shortly before the Israeli attack, its military leaders assured the government that they would "rout the enemy."
Finkelstein's evidence is pertinent and plausible, much of it previously unknown to me. He does not tell us why intelligence and other observers were sure that Egypt did not intend to attack. Of course, if the Arabs assumed they would lose, presumably they wouldn't start a fight. But no evidence is cited that the Arab leaders thought they would lose. If they didn't mean to attack, why take measures that could easily provoke an Israeli attack? Having taken such measures, why not seize the military advantage of striking first? Egyptian assurances to non-Arab diplomats that they would not attack were apparently private: no public commitments to that effect are mentioned.
If the prewar reality was that the Arabs did not mean to attack, and could not have won if they had, why did the Israeli public and much of the world believe that Israel was in mortal danger? Israel is a tiny country, with most of its population in cities vulnerable to air and/or naval bombardment. Israeli civil defense preparation was intense, with some foreboding of a "Second Holocaust." Finkelstein does not mention these fears. More important, he says nothing about the vehemently hostile statements issuing from Arab governments and media. This absence reflects his partisanship: throughout the essay the Israelis are portrayed as aggressive, high-handed and violent; the Arabs, as defending their rights, but open to reason and diplomacy.
The *Israel-Arab Reader* (Fifth Edition), edited by Walter Laqueur and Barry Rubin, provides extensive excerpts from speeches by Egypt's President Nasser on May 25, 26 and 29, 1967. In the first speech, Nasser defended Egypt's moves as a show of strength in answer to Israel's threats against Syria. He did not threaten to attack or promise not to. "The Jews," he said, "threaten war. We tell them you are welcome, we are ready for war. . . [U]nder no circumstances will we abandon any of our rights."
On May 26, Nasser asserted that "we are strong enough, that if we were to enter a battle with Israel, with God's help, we could triumph. On this basis, we decided to take actual steps. . . If Israel embarks on an aggression against Syria or Egypt the battle against Israel will be a general one . . . and our basic objective will be to destroy Israel." Again, there is no threat to attack, and no promise not to attack.
On May 29: "[W]e have restored Arab honor and renewed Arab hopes. . . [W]e will decide the time and the place and not allow them to decide." Isn't this an implied threat to attack? Nasser continues: "The issue now at hand is . . . the rights of the Palestine people. . . It is the expulsion of the Arabs from Palestine, the usurpation of their rights, and the plunder of their property." This certainly enlarges the issues at stake in the confrontation.
Finkelstein's evidence is persuasive that, whatever the public feared, the Israeli leadership did not think the country in mortal danger. They launched a surprise attack for the advantages therein, not because they expected to lose if Egypt attacked first. Concerning Arab military inferiority, Finkelstein's evidence is plausible, and vindicated by the actual result - Israel did triumph in six days. About Arab intentions he lacks evidence, and we are not much better off after reading the tea leaves of Nasser's speeches. My hunch is that Nasser hadn't decided whether to attack, but might have risked it. He could not be sure of winning, but he could assume that a UN cease-fire would prevent his losing badly.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dispels the Myths of the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts, April 1 2004
By 
Edgar Hopida (San Diego, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Image and Reality of the Israel Palestine Conflict (Paperback)
This book is a crushing blow to the popular literature on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Using meticulous documentation of the hoax of Joan Peter's From Time Immemorial to Michael Oren's Six Day War, Dr. Norman Finkelstein gives us the truth of whats really going on in the region. He shows the Zionist intent from the very beginning about how the partition is but a temporary solution to an eventual conquest of all of Palestine. Detractors of the book probably never read this book and cling to the popular myths of the conflict.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Among the Best on This Topic, Feb. 4 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Image and Reality of the Israel Palestine Conflict (Paperback)
This book was one of the first that I read after starting to read up on the Israel-Palestine conflict, and I still regard it as one of the best. Prof. Finkelstein's analytical powers are as great as anyone writing on this topic. He goes deeper than most authors would care to: Watch him disect Joan Peter's book
"From Time Immemorial", which claimed that the Palestinian residents of the area were "newcommers".
After reading this book, there are dozens of others that also reveal facts that are well hidden from Americans. One perhaps surprising source is the Israeli newspaper "Harratz", which has some liberal writers on its staff. (Freedom of speech is still in effect there, at least more so than in the US.)
Finally, I suggest trying out some of pro-Israeli books so that you can say you've heard both sides of the story.
I don't think there are any truly "neutral" writers. (For example, how many neutral observers were there during the war in Vietnam?)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A complex read but quite good., Jan. 12 2001
By A Customer
This book seems to be really a set of five or six papers on the Arab-Israeli conflict cobbled together into one volume so it kind of lacks a common thread of argument, but it's still quite good.
Most meticulous (and viscous) is the chapter debunking Joan Peters' book. But the parts I found most convincing were the chapters on the 1973 war and on Benny Morris's theory of the Palestinian refugee problem. It does seem to ring intuitively true that given that there was motive (a Jewish state requires Jews to be in a signficant majority there), it should be followed to its logical conclusion. Very few still believe the canard that masses of Arabs packed up and left either (i) in preparation for war or (ii) in obedient compliance with Arab radio broadcasts. But the notion that the Israelis were largely responsible for the expulsion of the Arabs has been given surprisingly scant treatment. All part of the obloquy attached to casting suspicion on a 'victim' group, I suppose.
What I find interesting is the way that Finkelstein and others are criticised for being 'anti-Zionist', without further comment. It is as though this is enough to discredit them. Given the plain truth that Zionism was effectively the endeavour to steal a country out from under its inhabitants, it's hardly morally odious to be 'anti-Zionist'. Critics of Finkelstein, Chomsky et al would have a lot more credibility if they either qualified their use of this pejorative or dropped it altogether.
A lot of this is not by any means leisure reading - even Chomsky's book is more readable. But if you really want to get to the nitty-gritty of the issues, it's quite scholarly.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another good one from Mr. Finkelstein, May 3 2003
By 
J. Kloepping "jkloepping" (Petaluma, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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I have read several of Professor Finkelstein's boooks, and have enjoyed them all. There is so little objective writing on the subjects that he tackles. Few people are as honest and downright brave as this author. Bravo.
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Image and Reality of the Israel Palestine Conflict
Image and Reality of the Israel Palestine Conflict by Norman G. Finkelstein (Paperback - May 17 2003)
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