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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on July 11, 2004
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
on 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
on June 23, 2003
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
on April 23, 2002
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
on January 19, 2003
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
on April 1, 2004
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
on February 4, 2004
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2003
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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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2002
Norman Finkelstein is a brave man who has received a lot of flak for writing this book. One response that authors who criticise Israel always have to contend with is the accusation that they are motivated by anti-Semitism or anti-Zionism. Jewish authors (Finkelstein is the son of Holocaust survivors)are additionally accused of being 'self hating' Jews. It's almost as if, in the eyes of Israel's unquestioning supporters, there can be no legitimate reason to criticise anything that Israel does. Maybe Israel, unlike any other country which has ever existed on Earth, is a perfect society which is completely above criticism - or is it?
The aim of this brilliant book is to ask questions about the view of Israel's history that Zionists would like the rest of us to believe. Many aspects of this history are hotly disputed so it's a perfectly legitimate area of study. Reading the book will probably challenge your preconceptions of the Arab-Israeli conflict and will make some people feel distinctly uncomfortable. But like nasty tasting medicine that ultimately does you good, it's essential reading for anyone who really wants to understand what's going on in that tragic part of the world. And the fact that all Finkelstein's opponents can do to counter his arguments is come out with the same old knee-jerk reactions says it all. Buy it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2001
This book is a welcome relief from the pro-Israeli propaganda that one is forced to endure time and time again. This is a brave, honest, and remarkably knowledgeable author. I recommend reading his book titled The Holocaust Industry as well. Of course, as expected, the Israel apologists relinquishing any sense of moral responsibility or decency, attack and malign the author for honestly dealing with the ugliness of the Israeli occupation and its racist policies in the Middle East. But these types of Israeli apologists have as much credibility and moral integrity as the defenders of the apartheid regime of South Africa. For them, the suffering of Palestinians counts for nothing. When I was in Israel I was shocked by how people talked about Arabs as if they are subhuman, and worth nothing. It was then that this book became a personal and gruesome reality. I read the response published in the Commentary, which is a journal dedicated to absolving Israel of all its sins, and it was sickening. Read this book!
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