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The Case for Israel (History) Hardcover – 12 Aug 2003


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (12 Aug 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 047146502X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471465027
  • Product Dimensions: 16.6 x 2.4 x 24.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 172,413 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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First Sentence
Israel is a colonial, imperialist, settler state, comparable to apartheid South Africa. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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116 of 168 people found the following review helpful By Ekisenge on 4 Aug 2010
Format: Paperback
One must credit Mr Dershovitz's passion in what he believes. But this is quite possibly the most dishonest book I have ever read.

Much of the book is dedicated to criticising Noam Chomsky and his writings on the Israel-Palestine issue. Some of those criticisms are in fact well made as Chomsky can also be rather selective of his facts when it suits him to be. But it is quite remarkeable that his accusations that Chomsky delights in misleading his readers does not prevent Dershowitz from doing exactly the same to his readers. Here are just a few of the ways in which Mr Dershowitz is dishonest:

- He repeatedly states that Israel has done more to uphold the rule of law and protect human rights that any other country faced with similar threats in history. He specifcally refers to the British in Northern Ireland as an example - unsurprisingly he offers no supporting evidence for this repeated assertion. I am from Northern Ireland, and I would be perceived as being on the nationalist (i.e. anti-british side of that conflict). But I never remember the British government demolishing the houses of those who just happen to be part of the community that opposed the government; of course, this isn't really that important to Dershowitz as all those whose houses were destroyed are not real victims anyway (see below). Nor do I remember the British using very substantial military fire power and directing it often indiscriminately into residential areas. I do remember the British government shooting unarmed civilians in 1972, 13 of whom died on Bloody Sunday. The British Government has been heavily criticised ever since and has recently admitted that the killings were "unjustified and unjustifiable".
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67 of 110 people found the following review helpful By Soru Takahashi on 22 May 2009
Format: Paperback
It's fairly easy to get a hopelessly biased, blatantly pro Palestinian book that has little basis in fact. It's a little bit more difficult to get what this book is, namely a hopelessly biased, blatantly pro Israeli book that has little basis in fact. It intentionally misrepresents the other side's arguments, making them very easy to refute, and also often makes sure to focus on particular details while making sure to leave out the context. For example, much is made of the Palestinian / Arab support of Germany during WW2, as evidence that the Jewish people were at risk of extermination in the Middle East (therefore justifying all that happened afterwards). Even a schoolchild could figure out that Arab support for Germany at the time had much more to do with getting the British and French out of the region than any purported hatred for the Jews.

As an international lawyer myself, I must also say that the author's twisting of international law is pretty astounding; the Balfour Declaration as binding international law? That's a new one. And even a non lawyer will have little difficulty seeing through the author's argument about the Israeli use of torture. Until the supreme court decision that the author makes so much out of, Israel was the only country in the world that practised legal torture. Yes, things are much better now since the supreme court decision (though torture is still pretty routine in Occupied Palestine), and certainly things are better than they are in other Middle Eastern countries. But that Israel's neighbours have a worse record does not in any way justify what Israel does.

Still, this book is worth skimming through, just because it will give you an insight into the Israeli viewpoint.
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8 of 14 people found the following review helpful By C. Cassidy on 2 Aug 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A book like this needs to be written. Even if it is one-sided and biased in its selection and interpretation of data and historical events. I have picked up several books on the Israeli-Palestine conflict and everyone of them is anti-Israel, or leaves a bitter anti-Jewish taste in the mouth. No human war or turmoil is ever totally the fault of just one participant. I bought this book not for its even handedness, but because I am visiting Israel this year and want to get an idea of how Jewish people view their history and country.
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65 of 108 people found the following review helpful By William Podmore on 3 April 2008
Format: Paperback
Inaccurate and tendentious throughout. For example, he writes "historians believe that the Hebrews arrived in present-day Israel sometime in the second millennium B.C.E. Under Joshua, and later King David and his successors, independent Hebrew kingdoms existed." In fact, no respected Christian, Jewish or secular historian argues that an independent Hebrew kingdom ever existed under Joshua. Not even the Bible claims that Joshua was a king or had a kingdom! We have no demographic data to support his claim that Jews formed the main part of the population for most of the sixteen hundred years between 1000 BCE and 636 CE.
This cavalier disregard for truth and historical accuracy is typical. Dershowitz is after all a lawyer, not a scholar, trained to make the best possible case for his client, not to investigate the truth. Read instead Avi Shlaim's The Iron Wall.
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful By M. S. Huniewicz on 5 Dec 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book should be essential reading for all those who hold a simplistic view of the Arab-Israeli conflict, especially those unconditionally in favour of the Arab side of it. It should not be the only book one reads, as that kind of books are never free of bias, but it is always important to hear both (or all) sides of the conflict.

Dershowitz does not portray Israel as a perfect country, or a country that is always right. In fact, he urges us to criticise Israel's flaws (e.g. deficiencies in Israeli democracy, legal system, military mistakes, etc.), but in a critical, honest, and fair manner. He warns us against singling Israel out for criticism, while turning a blind eye to various failings of its neighbours (e.g. human rights in Jordan or Egypt), as well as distant countries (China vs. Tibet, Russia vs. Chechnya). Be constructive, he says, and do not perpetuate "world's oldest prejudice". This sort of criticism is *not* anti-Semitic, he adds.

He explains why we should not apply double standards to this conflict, and why we should not expect less of the Palestinians. He might surprise the reader with interesting facts about the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) and how they avoid civilian casualties, how Palestinian homosexuals seek refuge in Israel, or the diversity of opinions about the conflict in the multi-ethnic country of Israel itself.

When reading, do challenge the author, read up on the facts, find out what he isn't telling us, but do have the courage to revise your own views.
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