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Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict [Paperback]

Norman G. Finkelstein
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
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Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict
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Book Description

27 May 2003
First published in 1995, this highly acclaimed study scrutinizes popular and scholarly representations of the Israel-Palestine conflict. It begins with a novel theoretical interpretation of Zionism, and then moves on to critically engage the influential studies of Joan Peters, Benny Morris, and Anita Shapira. Carefully rehearsing the documentary record, Finkelstein also challenges the dominant images of the June 1967 and October 1973 Arab-Israeli wars. In a comprehensive new introduction, he provides the most succinct overview available in the English language of the Israeli-Palestine conflict, while in several new chapters he juxtaposes Israeli policy in the Occupied Territories against South African apartheid, and demolishes the scholarly pretensions of Michael Oren's recent bestseller on the June 1967 war.

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

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Verso Books; New ed of 2 Revised ed edition (27 May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1859844421
  • ISBN-13: 978-1859844427
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 15.4 x 23 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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"Norman Finkelstein is one of the most radical and hard-hitting critics of the official Zionist version of the Arab-Israeli conflict and of the historians who support this version. ... a major contribution to the study of the Arab-Israeli conflict which deserves to be widely read, especially in the United States." -- Avi Shlaim, St. Antony's College, Oxford University "Anyone interested in seeing justice brought to the Middle East must read this book." -- Charles Glass, former ABC Middle East correspondent "... this thouroughly documented book is guaranteed to stimulate and provoke. It will be required reading in the continuing war of the historians." -- William Quandt, Foreign Affairs "... the most revealing study of the historical background of the conflict and the current peace agreement." -- Noam Chomsky, The Guardian "... a thought provoking work which calls into question many of the accepted 'truths' associated with the Israeli-Palestine conflict." -- Middle East Journal "... both an impressive analysis of Zionist ideology and a searing but scholarly indictment of Israel's treatment of the Arabs since 1948." -- London Review of Books

About the Author

Norman G. Finkelstein currently teaches Political Theory and History at DePaul University in Chicago. He is author of The Holocaust Industry, The Rise and Fall of Palestine, and (with Ruth Bettina Birn) of A Nation on Trial, named a notable book for 1998 by the New York Times Book Review.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Somebody, I forget exactly who, pointed out that Norman Finkelstein's books about the Arab-Israeli conflict are not actually works of Middle Eastern history but books about American history. This is essentially true, in that Finkelstein does not write narrative history or even critical history; he is essentially a scholarly critic of American opinion on the conflict, and the general tendency of his work is to point out the gap between what American writers have tended to say about the conflict and what the historical record actually shows. So, the meat of this book is his relentless, meticulous and devastating demolition job on Joan Peters' book "From Time Immemorial", a work that no professional historian is now willing to cite but which still has a loyal and uncritical readership out there among people who think that the Israeli government can do no wrong.

It can be seen, therefore, that criticising Finkelstein for having an "agenda" is beside the point. It's never very to the point anyway, since everybody who writes a book about anything whatever has an agenda, in that they have something that they want to say about the subject. Finkelstein's agenda is simply open for anyone to see. This book also contains his relatively brief and offhand dismissal of Michael Oren's "Six Days of June", which is interesting partly because that book is often cited as an "objective" history of the Six Day War, and Finkelstein doesn't find it difficult to prove that it is nothing of the sort, being heavily biased in favour of the Israeli side.

He performs an essential public service, and has been vilified and slandered for doing so.
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55 of 58 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Dr. Norman Finkelstein has written a brilliant and scholarly expose of
the Israel-Palestine conflict. He is not a dispassionate historian/scholar
nor does he pretend to be. He dedicates the book to his parents,
survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto and the Nazi extermination camps:
"May I never forget or forgive what was done to them."

Finkelstein's keen intellect is breathtaking. His painstaking research
which supports the evidence how the "reality" of the causes of the
conflict is vastly different than the "image" presented to us by the media
is a marvel to behold.

My favorite chapters in the book are chapters 2 and 4.

In Chapter 2, he discusses Joan Peters book "From Time Immemorial"
and masterfully exposes it as a hoax. The crux of Peters' thesis was
that "Palestine was, literally, 'uninhabited' on the eve of the Zionist
colonization; and that if the Arab population did not materialize, literally,
ex nihilo in Palestine, it did surreptitiously enter to exploit the economic
opportunities that the Jews created when they made the 'desert bloom'." By that logic, most Palestinians were not even there in 1948 to be expelled from their homes.
The fact that such a threadbare hoax can be published in this country
is not surprising. But the fact that this book received accolades from
journalists and scholars alike, from such luminaries as Daniel Pipes,
Sidney Zion, Holocaust historian Lucy Dawidowicz, and Nobel
peace prize laureate Elie Wiesel, speaks volumes about the American
commissar culture.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Reality' is exactly the right word 27 Aug 2010
This book is only for those who are serious about understanding one of the longest, and seemingly confusing conflicts in modern history.

Dr. Finkelstein's bold and very thorough analysis does an outstanding job at dissecting most of the greatest myths about the Palestine/Israel conflict. He covers the entire conflict, starting with the reasons for creating a Jewish state in the first place, the real source of Palestinian resistance to the creation of such a state (the fear of expulsion and/or oppression), and Israel's cunning ability to exploit narrow historical opportunities in order to expand its state.

I heard there were efforts to silence this book, and after reading it, I perfectly understand why- it exposes several parts of the American intellectual community as complete frauds.

15 years on, this book remains remarkably relevant to what's going on today.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This book is a meticulous exposition of the multitude of
propaganda theories that have been peddled as truth, and
are now accepted as the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. It is concise and very well researched. An
essential read for anyone who is interested in the history of this conflict.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By A.K
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book offers a comprehensive overlook to the ideas and ideology behind the foundation of Israel. Dr. Finkelstein took the important theories and "written" historical events one by one to shed some light on them and on the false images which were given to the world about this important conflict at the early days of the state. A great work and a clear, clever argument.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT
I think with so many books written blatantly in favour of Israel it is refreshing to find an excellent unbaised and constructive account of the conflict.
Published on 24 Jan 2011 by aya
4.0 out of 5 stars Impassioned and merciless detailed
Impassioned and mercilessly detailed analyses of various aspects of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Finkelstein is quite obvious in his political biases, which in many ways makes it... Read more
Published on 10 Jun 2010 by BlueSkiesForever
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard hitting home truths.
With this excellent analysis of many of the myths surrounding the Israel-palestine conflict, Prof Finkelstein demonstrates quite clearly that Ben-Gurion had been correct all along,... Read more
Published on 3 Jun 2009 by RepublicanStones
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent. Drives a bus through the uncritically accepted Zionist...
There's not too much to add to the others who have highly praised this book.

Finkelstein is a master debunker and this book is a work of masterful debunking. Read more
Published on 16 Jan 2009 by Germinal
4.0 out of 5 stars Something fishy ...
Has anyone noticed how so many "reviewers" of books on the Israeli/Arab conflict (oddly not any other) are described as "A reader": for example this title - 7/8; "Myths and Facts:... Read more
Published on 18 May 2007 by Amazon Bookworm
3.0 out of 5 stars Provoking
This is an interesting and fresh summary critiquing some of the historical works on Israel/Palestine and Finkelstein’s eloquent style is convincing. Read more
Published on 12 Jan 2006
3.0 out of 5 stars The research fits the agenda
The best thing I can say about this book is that it is well written. Finkelstein approaches his analysis with a definite agenda, and never loses his focus. Read more
Published on 7 Jan 1999
4.0 out of 5 stars Let's get some facts straight here . . .
First of all, I'd like to say that this book is not without bias. History texts, especially in regard to this conflict, rarely represent both sides equally. Read more
Published on 20 Nov 1998
1.0 out of 5 stars arabists and left-wing loo-loos must love this one
Just from readin Shifra S's review of this book it is abundantly clear that she a)either never read From Time Immemeorial or b)has been brainwashed into completely misinterpreting... Read more
Published on 23 May 1998
5.0 out of 5 stars incredible, hard-hitting, truthful
Finally someone not afraid to tell it like it really is. Since the Arabs are not allowed to speak for themselves in this country, Finklestein steps in to take up the mantle. Read more
Published on 3 Aug 1997
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