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Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-semitism and the Abuse of History [Paperback]

Norman Finkelstein
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 April 2008
In this long-awaited sequel to Norman Finkelstein's bestselling "The Holocaust Industry" - Finkelstein lays into the human rights record of Israel and attacks Alan Dershowitz for poor scholarship. In "Beyond Chutzpah", Norman Finkelstein moves from an iconoclastic interrogation of the new anti-Semitism to a meticulously researched expose of the corruption of scholarship on the Israel-Palestine conflict. Pointing to a consensus among historians and human rights organizations on the factual record, Finkelstein argues that so much controversy continues to swirl around the conflict because apologists for Israel contrive it. Examining the spread of distortions masquerading as history, Finkelstein scrutinizes the most recent addition to this genre, Alan Dershowitz's "The Case for Israel" and, setting Dershowitz's assertions on Israel's human rights record against the findings of the mainstream human rights community, finds that Dershowitz has systematically misrepresented the facts. Thoroughly researched and tightly argued, "Beyond Chutzpah" lifts the veil of contrived controversy shrouding the Israel-Palestine conflict, enabling readers in search of a just and lasting peace to act on the basis of truth.

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Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-semitism and the Abuse of History + The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering + Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict
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Product details

  • Paperback: 356 pages
  • Publisher: Verso Books; Revised and expanded ed edition (1 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844671496
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844671496
  • Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 20.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 94,175 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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"His research is painstaking, his evidence persuasive and his conclusions devastating." - London Review of Books "A very solid, important and highly informative book. Norman Finkelstein provides extensive details and analysis, with considerable historical depth and expert research, of a very wide range of issues concerning Israel, the Palestinians, and the United States." - Noam Chomsky"

About the Author

Norman G. Finkelstein teaches political science at DePaul University, Chicago. His books include The Holocaust Industry; A Nation on Trial (with Ruth Bettina Birn); and Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict.

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THE LATEST PRODUCTION of Israel's apologists is the "new anti-Semitism." Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond the Joke: Debunking Alan Dershowitz 8 Mar 2010
By S Wood
Norman Finkelstein first appeared in the 1980's with his thorough debunking of Joan Peters From Time Immemorial which had been widely praised on publication by Zionists and other supporters of Israel who were overjoyed to read an "academic" work that supported the Zionist assertion that the Palestinians didn't exist. Finkelstein in a memorable contribution to Blaming the Victims showed Peter's magnum opus to be a tissue of lies, distorted quotations and innumerate demographic calculations. Now in "Beyond Chutzpah" Finkelstein directs his considerable critical abilities towards the issue of "The New Anti-Semitism" and to Alan Dershowitz's The Case for Israel, an important text for Zionist apologists.

In the first part of the book Finkelstein identifies "The New Anti-Semitism" as a more or less fictional construct, that is functionally useful for labeling critics of Israel as anti-Semites and automatically de-legitimizing criticism of Israel without having to deal with them rationally and honestly, which would inevitably cause difficulties given the gulf between the rhetoric of Israel's supporters and reality. He gives an account, or perhaps history is the correct term as "The New Anti-Semitism" approaches its fortieth year, of it's birth in the period after the two major Arab-Israel Wars of 1967 and 1973, before it came to age with Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982.
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61 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very fine book 17 Nov 2008
Norman Finkelstein is controversial. Look at the review ratings for this book, on this site in the middle of November 2008 - ten reviews, with eight of them being five- or four-star, and two being one-star. You can't be indifferent about the guy. He is bullish, angry, abrasive and confrontational, very much like the man who is his chief antagonist in this book: Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz. These two were destined to end up in a head-to-head match and it finally happens within the pages of "Beyond Chutzpah", the very title of which is a sardonic nod at Dershowitz's own book "Chutzpah". Readers who have no Yiddish may be forgiven for thinking that "chutzpah" means simply "bravery". It also has connotations of "nerve", "cheekiness" and even "impudence". Finkelstein has clearly run out of patience with what he sees as Dershowitz's chutzpah.

Living as I do in Ireland, and being an atheist gentile with a merely scholarly interest in Judaism, I would point out to Mr. Finkelstein that his scepticism about Irish antisemitism is not entirely well-founded. "Jew" was still a term of abuse among kids when I was growing up in the 70s and 80s. Fairly recently, within the last few years, I witnessed a well-known Irish actor making crudely antisemitic remarks in a Dublin bar; I called him on them, and only narrowly avoided having him kick my head in (his friends ushered him out before he could cause any trouble).

Nevertheless, any book that carries endorsements from Israeli academics such as Baruch Kimmerling and Avi Shlaim surely ought to have something to it.
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88 of 95 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Well Argued Critique of Israel's Apologists 14 Aug 2006
By Wally
This book sets out to demolish the arguments of some of Israel's most vocal supporters in the United States, and largely suceeds in this task.

The first 85 pages are devoted to those who claim that criticism of Israel is fuelled by anti-Semitism, rather than any action of Israel's. Finkelstein argues that this claim is merely an attempt to deflect criticism from indefensible Israel policies.

However, the main body of the book is devoted to an attack on one man, Alan Dershowitz. Dershowitz is the author of the best selling "The Case for Israel". In his influential book Dershowitz made a number of extremely controversial claims about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Finkelstein's book is devoted to methodically going through these claims and demolishing them. For example Dershowitz implied that Palestinian refugees may have been recent immigrants to Palestine, rather than the native population of the country. Finkelstein shows how all the evidence Dershowitz produces for this claim is essentially plagiarised from the discredited work of Joan Peters.

Unfortunately Finkelstein focuses mainly on showing how Dershowitz has little grasp of the facts of the conflict. It would have been nice if there was also more of a challenge to Dershowitz's arguments. Particularly his repulsive view that collective punishment should be inflicted on Palestinian civilians.

This book comes across as being meticulously researched, as you would expect given that it is an attack on one of the most sucessful lawyers in America. However, it relies almost entirely on Western or Israeli sources to challenge Dershowitz. I couldn't find a single quote from a Palestinian.

Despite being about on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, this book focuses only on Israel.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent sequel to the holocaust industry
Very well researched for a sensitive subject which many are reluctant to deal with due to rear of reprisals from powerful zionist interests
Published 2 months ago by Roger Kenward
5.0 out of 5 stars Very informative
Read this book, it makes you question everything, and is very interesting. I would also read some of Alan Dershowitz' work, you can see two contrasting views here, and make... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Shomkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Norman Finkelstein delivers again
Finkelstein may be an acquired taste, but for the second time, he simply demolishes the treasured propaganda texts of the Zionists. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Andy Dyer
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic book, a real gem
This book is one of the best books I have ever read, explaining really well, truthfully, the so called 'conflict' in Middle East.
Published 16 months ago by Tess
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!
This book is just fantastic. If you have ever had the experience of feeling unhappy about the media presentation of the 'conflict' between Israel and the Palesinians, and accepted... Read more
Published on 1 Oct 2011 by Adam A. Waterhouse
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond Chutzpah
This is a work of great depth and detail. Not a dot or a single word is left to chance. Every aspect of this book is cross referenced and again. Read more
Published on 24 Sep 2011 by G. Byrne
4.0 out of 5 stars beyond chutzpah
Norman Finklestein is an excellent author and brings a lot of much needed honesty to the powerful american jewish platform that seem to spend far too much time hanging onto the... Read more
Published on 10 Mar 2011 by Savannah
5.0 out of 5 stars A spectacular example of academic activist scholarship
I recently asked a friend who specialises in Middle East politics to suggest to me an introductory book about the Israel-Palestine conflict, one of the global issues I felt I knew... Read more
Published on 8 Mar 2010 by Yannis Theocharis
5.0 out of 5 stars Clearly written, well argued myth busting backed up by solid evidence
This book is essential for anyone wanting to avoid the myths about the Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Arab conflicts. Read more
Published on 28 May 2009 by Mr. Duncan Macfarlane
5.0 out of 5 stars An exceptional expose
This was one of the first books I read a few years ago on the subject. Since that time, I have dived head first into this subject, reading and researching as much as I can -... Read more
Published on 16 April 2009 by Jackson, R
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