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Right to Exist: A Moral Defense of Israel's Wars Hardcover – 1 Oct 2003


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1 edition (1 Oct. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385509057
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385509053
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 2.8 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,267,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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""Right To Exist," Yaacov Lozowick's "j'accuse," is one of the most important political histories of our generation. A modernday Zola, Lozowick meticulously unravels the Big Lie that demonizes Israel and Zionism and contaminates the viler estuaries of what is nowadays dubbed 'the international community'. The title alone--the scandal of calling into question a living nation's existence--ought to shame the prevaricators and defamers, whether they are professors in universities, media distorters, 'peace activists' who justify terror, morally deformed intellectuals, self-deceiving unconfessed haters, or merely the herd of the easily led. Honorably and irrefutably, Lozowick reintroduces plain fact and clear truth into a world of malice and mendacity."-Cynthia Ozick, author of "Quarrel & Quandary" and "The Puttermesser Papers"

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24 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 19 Feb. 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is recommended for anyone who is interested in the Arab-Israeli conflict, who wants a passionate, well-written account of the main issues which cause all the current misery.
It is about time that Israel's detractors were tackled in such an eloquent manner. Yoram Hazony is no right winger - and this is no diatribe. He wants a peaceful Palestinian state as a neighbour, but now realises that this is will be impossible for the near future.
The key theme throughout this book is a pinpoint analysis of how and why history has been distorted to delegitimise Israel's (and only Israel's) "Right to Exist". I have read many books on the conflict, but none have "told it like it is " quite so well.
Hazony is the curator of Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust memorial and is noted historian of the Nazi period. He provides an excellent and concise review of Israeli history, and does not shy away from Israeli wrongdoings.
The best book on Israel I have read.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Gary Selikow on 1 Jan. 2007
Format: Paperback
In this phenomenal work,Yaakov Lozowick , the director of the archives at Yad Vashem,Israel's Holocaust Museum and the author of "Hitler's Bureucrats,The Nazi Security Police and the Banality of Evil",embarks on both a moral evaluation of Israel's wars for survival,as well as an indictment on the bigots of the world,who deny tiny Israel's right to exist.

As Cynthia Ozick describes so eloquently "The title alone - the scandal of calling into question a living nation's existence-ought to shame the prevaricators and defamers,whether they be professors in universities , media distorters,'peace activists' who justify terror,morally deformed intellectuals,self-decieving unconfessed haters,or merely the herd of the easily led"

The introduction describes why the author,a lifelong liberal and peace activist,in the wake of the collapse of the Oslo process,and Arafat's launching of war of terror against Israel's populace,voted for Ariel Sharon of the center right Likud Party,traditionallly regarded as a hawk and hardliner(although his record as Prime Minister was to prove the opposite).

Lozowick describes how former Prime Minster,the center left Ehud Barak, at Camp David 2000,offered the Palestinian Authority the whole of Gaza and almost all of the West Bank,(including most of East Jerusalem),and in response Arafat stormed out of the talks and launched a terror war against the Israeli people , in which thousands of Israeli Jews (mainly women and children) have been murdered,maimed, terrorized,widowed and orphaned.

In response to Arab terror war against them, the Israeli people voted for Ariel Sharon , war hero who had been villified by Israel's enemies around the world as well as by section of Israel's left.
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23 of 31 people found the following review helpful By M. D Roberts VINE VOICE on 22 Dec. 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This absorbing, well written, impassioned study by a historian and director of Israel's Holocaust museum provides what could be called a "moral evaluation" of the facts surrounding the historical context pertaining to the ongoing situation in the Middle East.
The book is quite powerful and transports the reader into the experience & world of the Jew with the sense of frustration being almost palpable from the text. A study that will hold the reader's attention throughout.
This is a study which exposes how the present, allegedly "flawed" perception of the Arab-Israeli conflict permeating the International community is shown to have fanned the flames of an ever increasing hatred of the Jewish people and their nation. Many readers will find this a contentious issue, but it is a worthy read irrespective of one's personal stance.
The title of this work ("Right To Exist") is said here to speak volumes in itself and is described as a damning indictment upon much of modern day society where many intellectuals & public figures (including University professors, media distorters, anti-Semites and alleged "peace activists") are said to have allegedly used their positions as platforms from which to unjustly vilify the State of Israel. The implications of their actions are discussed at various places in the text.
The book in no way objects to criticism of the Jewish State as long as that analysis of Israel is "comparative, contextual, and fair". However the book contends strongly that the Jewish nation is the only one criticized for faults that are far worse among other nations and that this criticism crosses the line from being acceptable to blatantly anti-Semitic.
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By amantedofado on 11 Jun. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you want to defend Israel, this book will help you a great deal. It is a sustained and knowledgeable argument for Israel's right to exist, both in its foundation and at the present day, and a clear refutation of everyone who thinks it is the only state in the world that should be abolished.
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Amazon.com: 29 reviews
77 of 89 people found the following review helpful
Passionate, moral evaluation of the facts re Mid-East. 22 Dec. 2003
By M. D Roberts - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This absorbing, well written, impassioned study by a historian and director of Israel's Holocaust museum, is extremely well presented, providing what could be called a "moral evaluation" of the facts surrounding the historical context pertaining to the ongoing situation in the Middle East. A study which exposes how the present, "flawed" perception of the Arab-Israeli conflict permeating the International community is shown to have fanned the flames of an ever increasing hatred of the Jewish people and their nation.
The book is quite powerful and transports the reader into the experience & world of the Jew with the sense of frustration being almost palpable from the text. A study that will hold the reader's attention throughout .
The title of this work ("Right To Exist") speaks volumes in itself and is described as a damning indictment upon much of modern day society where many intellectuals & public figures (including University professors, media distorters, anti-Semites and alleged "peace activists") are said to have used their positions as platforms from which to unjustly vilify the State of Israel. The implications of their actions are discussed at various places in the text.
The book in no way objects to criticism of the Jewish State as long as that analysis of Israel is "comparative, contextual, and fair". However the book contends strongly that the Jewish nation is the only one criticized for faults that are far worse among other nations and that this criticism crosses the line from being acceptable to blatantly anti-Semitic.
The source of this work describes himself as a "lifelong liberal, peace activist and a seeker of justice", critical of some Israeli Government policies, but someone whose attitude changed following the increase of Palestinian terrorism etc. and who eventually found himself voting for the "hardline" Israeli leader Ariel Sharon.
The book begins with a description of how many innocent Jewish civilians including women, children and the elderly are murdered by Palestinian terrorists whilst the Arab World responds with more cries of "death to the Jews" whilst the rest of the World simultaneously looks away or pretends not to hear. The resounding silence being described as endorsement and support for the killers of these Jews to continue with their murderous policies.
The study proceeds to argue that there is no "cycle of violence" in the Middle East in which each side is morally culpable and moves to destroy what are described as numerous lies and myths about the history as well as the ongoing Arab-Israeli issue.
The reader is provided with quite a detailed context surrounding the beginning of the "second intifada" in relation to the offers made by Israel at the Clinton/Barak/Arafat summit and also what are called the true facts surrounding the beginning of the ensuing violence.
Another matter addressed is what is cited as the "impossible task" of appeasing the Palestinian populace. Reference provided as to how lightening restrictions upon Palestinian movement for security purposes has always been accompanied by a sharp rise in Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians. The effects of all these issues on the writer are also presented together with some advice for those who consider that "peace" will result from Israel giving to the Arab world (Palestinians) the territories of the ancient Jewish homeland re-captured in 1967.
The book traces the long struggle to establish and defend the Jewish State in the face of Arab resistance and International hostility arguing that it is impossible to understand the conflict in the Middle East without accepting the reality that from the very beginning the overt strategy of the Arab leadership has been to eliminate the existence of any Jewish state and to destroy the Jewish population.
The text mirrors this International hatred with reference to the vast number of Arab/Muslim sponsored UN Resolutions against the Jewish State described as being out of all proportion to other nations and issues etc. and which has seen Israel uniquely singled out for censure, divestment and boycott . By way of comparison the reader is shown from the text that there existed a blatant disregard for any UN Resolutions within the Arab world whilst it pursued the genocide of the Jewish people from their midst during the Arab-Israeli wars which the writer proceeds to analyse in some depth throughout a large part of this study.
The reader is shown how nations are often called upon to defend their policies, and sometimes even their history, but few if any need to actually justify their existence. A process which the book cites Israel as having been mired in through the past 55 years of Palestinian terrorism and Arab rejection with nearly all of the Arab world still refusing to recognise the mere right of Israel to even exist.
As an evangelical Christian my own personal perspective in relation to the Jewish people and their Land differ somewhat from that described in this work . However, I have not allowed this to prejudice my review on this book which indeed contains a wealth of material bearing an enormous amount of merit which is worthy of reading irrespective of the individual's stance on the subjects covered. Thank you.
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Israel Has Earned the Right 19 July 2005
By Dash Manchette - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is a good book for someone like me. I realize that Israel's cause is just and that, as one of the few democracies in the Middle East (and the only one until very recently), it deserves my support. I also find it hard to articulate just how disgusting the all out Jew-hatred is among too many Muslims and Western intellectuals and how stomach-turning the Palestinians have become with their tactics. Even without every detail at my disposal, I know the Palestinians have rejected their own state at least twice and now blame Israel for their present circumstances. Yet I wanted more information on these subjects and RIGHT TO EXIST by Yaacov Lozowick provided it.

The book is a bit slow going at first by taking us through the history of Zionism and how it developed into a burgeoning movement in the late 19th to early 20th Centuries. For people not of a Jewish background, many of the Hebrew terms and place names can be a tad difficult to keep straight. But groundwork must be laid and here it is.

The middle sections of the book pick up steam and discuss the particulars of Israel's various wars. Lozowick is exceptionally impressive here as he in no way attempts to sidestep numerous mistakes Israel has made in her history in the conduct of these wars. Yet the point is never lost that these mistakes were made within the context of just wars inflicted upon Israel by neighboring Islamic states that simply refuse to recognize a Jewish state. Further, the mistakes Israel has made have been the exceptions. For the most part, Israel recognizes how to fight its fights in a moral fashion and has done so even in the absence of one scrap of reciprocity.

Lozowick is persuasive in his argument that the main sticking point with those Muslims that would like to see Israel destroyed is not due to some mistreatement of the Palestinians. For most of its history, the Palestinian issue was a minor one in the Arab world which wanted to destroy Israel anyway. Rather the issue is the refusal of many Muslims to see Jews as anything other than a helpless minority. Jews who can pack a punch are a serious threat to the Muslim mentality.

Far from expelling Palestinians, most Palestinians voluntarily left at Israel's creation to join fellow Arabs in their initial attempt to destroy the nascent country. They fully expected to return to their land after wiping the Jews out and now cry buckets when the Jews not only won but have kept the land that they won fair and square. Further, we rarely hear of the much larger number of Jews expelled from their homelands throughout the Islamic world who then headed to Israel because they had nowhere else to go. What about their so-called right of return? Lozowick discusses this hypocrisy and places it in the proper context of anti-Jewish sentiment.

The final third of the book absolutely redeems its slow start. Lozowick discusses Israel's current crisis involving the Palestinians and provides the reader a lot to chew on. What, he asks, can Israel possibly offer the Palestinians that has not already been offered? And exactly how does one trust a negotiating partner that promised in front of the entire world to put an end to the violence only to escalate it immediately? How could Israel have responded to the second intifada except to take the fight to the terrorists themselves? Even if one were as sympathetic as could be to the Palestinian cause, one cannot help but reach the conclusion that much of their misery is of their own making.

Some of the anecdotes Lozowick employs are deeply troubling. A group of Israel liberals placed an advertisement in a weekly magazine recognizing all those killed in the previous year due to violence. They controversially included the suicide bombers themselves. Yet when they asked their Palestinian counterparts to also print the ad, the Palestinians refused. They could not mourn the death of Jews lost in the conflict even given the barbaric ways in which they died. What is striking about this is that these Palestinians were not the extremists, nor were they even the moderate middle (whatever that means in this context). These were the enlightened elite of Palestinian society! These were the ones most willing to build a bridge with the Israelis! If they would not publish the ad, what does this tell us about the rest of their society? At the least, it should open the reader's eyes to exactly what the Israelis are dealing with.

One final point is worth noting as I never saw it anywhere else and it was really rather interesting. Let us assume that an independent state of Palestine is created. Israel would almost certainly have to divide Jerusalem and so people would be living in the same city who were not only of different backgrounds but literally citizens of different states. Putting aside all the specific factors that make the Israeli-Palestinian issue so complex, there would still arise another issue. Israel is an affluent nation and would become even more successful if it could devote more of its energies to commerce. But what of Palestine? Every non-oil producing Arab state is a third-world country with a corrupt government. Perhaps Palestine would be the exception (it would have Israel right next door as a good example of the benefits of free enterprise) but perhaps not. Putting aside all other issues, citizens living in a poor and corrupt country are often quite hostile to citizens of more successful nations. Are we to presume that this hostility would do anything other than increase if the citizens of the rich nation are not only in the neighboring country, but are literally living across the street? The situation would be one combining the tensions between successful and non-successful nations with the tensions of extreme proximity. A thought, again, to chew on.

It is fair to say that solutions are a long way off. In the meantime, the best that can probably be done is to educate ourselves on the issues so that we know what we are talking about. RIGHT TO EXIST may not have all the answers, it may not even have some of them, but it does what it can. At this point, that is more than enough.
74 of 88 people found the following review helpful
Making the Case for Israel's Morality 6 Nov. 2003
By dougrhon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The tiny, democratic, western industrialized nation of Israel has been under relentless attack, not just by its Arab enemies but by a growing class of haughty post-modern European elites. In their efforts to de-legitimize Israel, her enemies not only wrongly attack her present efforts to defend against a murderous onslaught but, in Orlwellian fashion, recreate history to create a phony justification for Israel's pariah status. Many of Israel's own defenders and supporters have fallen into a trap by accepting the premise that Israel is an immoral state, born in sin. As Yaacov, Lozowick, former Labour supporter, current Sharon voter, demonstrates in this excellent book, nothing could be farther from the truth. In presenting the moral case for Israel's actions to ensure its own survival, Lozowick makes no effort to cover up or exonerate Israel's wrongful actions, of which their are many. Indeed, he makes no excuses for the relatively rare number of atrocities committed by Jews against Arabs but simply points out how such actions are always rejected by Israeli society at large while the reverse is surely not true. Moreover, he is critical of numerous Israeli actions and policies that he thinks were wrong or incorrect but that don't really rise to the level of "atrocity", such as Israel's settlement policies or the Lebanon War. It is this willingness to criticize that which cannot be defended that strengthens his argument that Israel is a just society that fights wars in a just manner even while its enemies commit savage crimes against humanity.
Lozowick's purpose here is not to write a history of Israel's wars but to set forth a moral justification for those wars. In this he fully succeeds merely by presenting the truth in a coherent manner. He succinctly examines the facts of each of Israel's wars and concludes, with the exception of the Lebanon war, that they are all justified under theories of just war, under international law and under the Geneva Convention while the reverse is clearly not the case. The bottom line of course is that Israel, a tiny country founded largely by peace desiring socialists, has been under attack from all of its neighbors since before its creation in 1948. Despite constant harassment and threat, which devolved into open warfare five separate times, Israel has almost always behaved in a scrupulously moral way, seeking to avoid harming civilians, offering to return its gains in exchange for a genuine peace. Even when misguided, such as in the relentless pursuit of settlements amidst hostile Arab populations, Israel's policies have always been for the pursuit of a secure relationship with her neighbors.
In the last part of the book, Lozowick spends a good deal of space analyzing the Oslo years and the ensuing war which is still going on. While Lozowick was a supporter of Oslo, he now, looking back, acknowledges that he and people like him willfully deluded themselves that the Palestinians were prepared to end the conflict. The evidence shows him that no peace is possible and he expects it won't be for at least 150 years. I tend to agree with his assessment. In discussing Israel's response to the eruption of massive terrorism and the creation of a Palestinian death cult, cultivated and promoted by Arafat and his henchman, Lozowick makes a strong argument for Sharon's policy of proportionate military action designed to put things in a holding pattern until the Palestinians are genuinely willing to make peace. Like the majority of Israelis but unlike his former political allies, Lozowick does not see capitulation under fire as an option. This book is really an excellent read and I recommend it along with its cousin, Alan Dershowitz' "The Case for Israel" for any defenders of Israel as well as anyone interested in truth rather than propaganda.
42 of 49 people found the following review helpful
A very good book by a very thoughtful man 29 Mar. 2005
By Abdul - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I am not a Jew myself, nor a particularly religious person. I come from an Iranian Muslim family. This fact, in and of itself, would ordinarily be irrelevant were it not for the depressing reality that Muslim attitudes toward Israel are drearily predictable in their mendacity and barbarically ignorant racism. Having already absorbed more than a few helpings of Islamofascist and radical leftist sewage on the subject of Israel, I found this book an immensely refreshing contrast. Lozowick is not a "right wing" Israeli of the kind committed to the settlements (though even if he were, that in and of itself would not make him a bad person, especially given that even the most militant Jewish settlers still seem quite civilized when compared to the Palestinian thugs who would like nothing better than to "finish the job Hitler started.") He is often critical of Israeli policies, and is willing to acknowledge the basic justice of the Palestinians' desire for political independence. That being said, he does a wonderful job of exposing the truly grotesque hypocrisy inherent in the way pompous and self-righteous leftists, especially in Europe, present the Israeli-Palestinian struggle (and I will bet good money that every "one-star" reviewer of this book is either a neo-Nazi, an Islamic fascist, or a leftist, the differences between these groups being largely cosmetic). These sycophantically pro-Palestinian Western leftists must rank with the most disgustingly absurd people on the planet. But for the fact that their mouths are eternally open in vitriolic condemnation of Israel, one might think their lips had been surgically attached to the rear ends of Hezbollah representatives. Apparently, for some of our "bien-pensants," Jew-hatred is acceptable if it can be tarted up as multiculturalist concern for some "poor, oppressed people of color" du jour. The fact that the "people of color" we are dealing with here are the Palestinians makes the hypocrisy of the Israel-haters even more nauseating, for if there was ever a people who have contributed mightily to their own misery it is the Palestinians. When you BEGIN with the premise that the other guys, namely the Israelis, don't even have a right to exist; when your principal negotiating tactic is essentially reducible to the formula of "give us whatever we want or we'll suicide-bomb you into submission," then it is clear that your oppression is more self-inflicted than imposed from without.

Anti-Israel belligerents like to propagate the sophistry that Israel is the aggressor because she is militarily more powerful than the Palestinians. But as any student of history can see, aggression is not a function of how many weapons you have. It flows from hatred and the desire to do violence in the human heart. When the Nazis marched into the Rhineland in 1936, they were in no military position to withstand the 100 French divisions on their border had the French chosen to respond militarily. Militarily the Nazis were considerably weaker than the French in 1936; yet no one disputes that they were the aggressors. So too in the Middle East, it is the militarily weaker Palestinians who are the aggressors, for they are the ones who teach their children racial hatred of Jews; they are the ones who glorify acts of terrorist murder. For their part, if the Israelis want anything, it is to be left alone, and most of them would gladly give up the West Bank if the Palestinians ever became sincere about wanting only a compromise. Indeed, the very fact that the Palestinians are constantly resorting to terrorism to pick a fight with the militarily superior Israelis is an ironic admission that the Israelis, for all their flaws, are immensely superior to the Palestinians not only militarily, but above all, morally. If Israel's behavior even remotely resembled that of the typical Arab state, the Palestinians wouldn't dare provoke them in so barbaric a fashion, for to do so would be tantamount to inviting their own annihilation.

All of this is demonstrated very effectively by Lozowick, a man who nevertheless comes across as having more genuine sympathy for the Palestinians than in my estimation the latter have ever deserved. And although I don't think Lozowick intended to place Israelis on some kind of pedestal, his book nicely illustrates the fact that a people, like the Israelis, can be far from perfect and yet still remain infinitely preferable to their morally Neanderthal antagonists. So even if you ARE a critic of Israel, assuming you have at a minimum a rudimentary capacity for fair-mindedness, try reading this book. Unless you are a committed anti-Semite, or the sort of leftist buffoon who may not hate Jews per se, but who must always take the most virulently anti-Israeli stance as an oblique way of expressing your anti-American hatred, "Right to Exist" SHOULD challenge your assumptions. If Lozowick's arguments cannot get through your skull, then short of a direct hit from a cruise missile I suspect nothing will.
32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Standing Tall 27 Oct. 2003
By Leora Krygier - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Who better to bring us his clear-eyed perspective of the Jewish state than the director of archives at Israel's Holocaust Museum, Yad Vashem. History can be our best teacher only if we are willing to learn and remember its often bitter lessons. The author's provocative title gives us all pause, a momentary intake of breath, and a profoundly sad testament to the current discourse round the world. This timely exploration by a former peace activist doesn't merely make an arid, historical or legal case, but rather brings to light and to life his most personal journey. Websters defines the word "exist" as "to cause to stand." This book stands as tall as its title suggests.
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