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Knowing Too Much: Why the American Jewish Romance with Israel is Coming to an End Paperback – 6 Jun 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 470 pages
  • Publisher: OR Books (6 Jun. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935928775
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935928775
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 14 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 322,037 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Traditionally, American Jews have been broadly liberal in their political outlook; indeed African-Americans are the only ethnic group more likely to vote Democratic in US elections. Over the past half century, however, attitudes on one topic have stood in sharp contrast to this group's generally progressive stance: support for Israel. Despite Israel's record of militarism, illegal settlements and human rights violations, American Jews have, stretching back to the 1960s, remained largely steadfast supporters of the Jewish "homeland." But, as Norman Finkelstein explains in an elegantly-argued and richly-textured new book, this is now beginning to change. Reports by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the United Nations, and books by commentators as prominent as President Jimmy Carter and as well-respected in the scholarly community as Stephen Walt, John Mearsheimer and Peter Beinart, have increasingly pinpointed the fundamental illiberalism of the Israeli state. In the light of these exposes, the support of America Jews for Israel has begun to fray. This erosion has been particularly marked among younger members of the community. A 2010 Brandeis University poll found that only about one quarter of Jews aged under 40 today feel "very much" connected to Israel. In successive chapters that combine Finkelstein's customary meticulous research with polemical brio, Knowing Too Much sets the work of defenders of Israel such as Jeffrey Goldberg, Michael Oren, Dennis Ross and Benny Morris against the historical record, showing their claims to be increasingly tendentious. As growing numbers of American Jews come to see the speciousness of the arguments behind such apologias and recognize Israel's record as simply indefensible, Finkelstein points to the opening of new possibilities for political advancement in a region that for decades has been stuck fast in a gridlock of injustice and suffering.

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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By F Henwood TOP 500 REVIEWER on 1 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
American Jews know too much about Israel's treatment of the Palestinians to defend it with a clear conscience. That is the basic premise of this book, Finkelstein's most ambitious undertaking yet.

The book begins with a survey of the poll evidence supporting this proposition, comparing and contrasting opinion among Israeli Jews and American Jews. American Jews are broadly attached to liberal values, meaning commitment to the rule of law and settling international disputes peacefully. Defying experience elsewhere, American Jews remain committed to core liberal values even as their incomes rise. Only African-Americans voted for Barack Obama in greater numbers than American Jews. Increasingly, American Jews find themselves out of alignment with Israeli Jews as attitudes among the latter drift to the further to the political right (as measured by increased support among Israelis for radical measures like expulsion of the country's Arab population).

Most of the rest of the book is devoted to outlining what it is that American Jews know, so much so that they can no longer passionately espouse Israel's cause.

The first is the scholarly record, which has submitted Israel's historical myths to scrutiny. Previously, scholarship on the Israel-Palestine conflict could be described as `Exodus with footnotes.' One by one, the shibboleths have fallen. It is no longer possible to maintain, for instance, that Israel faced an existential threat in 1967. The old cowboys and Indians narrative of the conflict is no longer tenable. Israel stands not as a beleaguered outpost of doughty pioneers but as a militarised colossus lording over a cowed and conquered Arab population.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Tariq Aslam on 25 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback
Finkelstein is as thorough as ever in his debate and analysis on the change of opinion in america and across the world against israel and its on-going genocide against the Palestinian and other minorities within israel. He shows, contrary to media coverage, that the israeli lobby is beginning to self destruct as the truth about israel's formation and how it manufactured the various intifadas to its advantage to grab more land and territory from the Arabs and Palestinians. It shows how jews across america and israel were being manipulated to gather their support and allow israel to justify its action as security measures when in fact it was israel itself that was orchestrating such attacks, and planting theatres to blame Palestine for attacks which Hamas and other fractions had no hand in. In fact all so called ceasefires have been broken by israel including the most recent one after the UN vote on Palestinian statehood. What is clear from Finkelstein's writing is that israel is the military aggressor and it continues to create an apartheid state which does not move towards a two state solution, which israel has stated it has no interest in creating but more instability. What is also apparent is that in spite of the recession in america where people are losing theor jobs and homes faster than happy hour at burger king, america has just given israel billions of dollars to buy more weapons of mass destruction. You have to ask yourself where does america's priority lie and how can the american taxpayers who are suffering stand for this anymore. They voted Obama back in but he continues to lie to them; continues to deceive them and continues to twist the truth with news speak.Read more ›
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Red Eyes on 8 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback
The book is very focused. Finkelstein has absolute precision and organisation in his work. He has been through the historical record, the human rights records,and the so called academic scholarship,and and he sets it out for the reader in a strict, scholarly and methodical fashion -- and he shows where Israel is blatantly breaking the law, and preventing a two state settlement.

Dr. Finkelstein is not even presenting anything radical, 'left wing', or new in his solutions -- he is simply asking that Israel obey and follow the law, just like any other civilised nation, and he asks Israel to follow what the United Nations has demanded, and create two states, without delay. 'Just follow the law', is pretty much Finkelstein's constant refrain.

I am not sure what else Finkelstein's critics expect of him. How would they prefer he presented his stance? Would his critics prefer him to follow the 'radicals' and call for one state from the river to the sea? Finkelstein's wishes to see Israel simply follow what is legal are hardly radical.

He basically says-- Israel should withdraw to agreed borders, be serious about creating two states, no more settlement building, no more stalling, no more lies, and to deal with the refugee question in a just manner -- all of that has been legally demanded of Israel for decades now, and agreed on by the international community and the United Nations. The ball is in Israel's court. Just do it ! No more time wasting and no more power games and no more war mongering in the region.

What else does Israel want? To keep an Arab community penned up, indefinitely, in Gaza, behind walls, seething with hate and longing for revenge? Or, does Israel want to keep on treating non Jews as second class citizens within Israel?
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