on 29 September 1998
This book provides a welcome dissent from typical American Jewish political views, and provides refreshing objectivity towards the Arab/Israeli conflict. Finkelstein portrays West Bank Palestinians before and during the Gulf War: the effects of thirty years of brutal repression on these people, their lives, hope and aspirations--and why they might have cheered Saddam's scud missiles. One chapter is dedicated to Finkelstien's methodical summary of American foriegn policy toward Israel on one hand, and Iraq on the other--Finkelstein refrains from judging either of these two countries during his comparison--and the result demonstrates an undeniable double standard in the application of international law. There is much evidence--much of it taken from declassified Israeli documents--that suggests Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon was entirely an offensive operation, the sole purpose of which was to avoid having to come to political terms with the PLO, and Finkelstein touches on this as well. Overall, an excellent, insightful book well worth reading.
on 10 June 1997
Prof. Finkelstein gives us a crucial perspective on the effects both of the Israeli Occupation and of the Oslo accords on the people of the West Bank. Finkelstein's book is helped immeasurably by his excellent writing style; clear, concise and easy to read, this book will be attainable and required reading for laypeople and Mideast scholars alike.
Rather than focus on the actions of politicians and self-aggrandizing "leaders", Finkelstein instead gives us a view of the Palestinian PEOPLE. We meet a wide array of folks in Finkelstein's book and we emerge, necessarily from the experience far more understanding of who these people are than when we started.
Perhaps most important of all is that Finkelstein never lets us forget that he himself is a Jew. He therefore lets everyone know that to be Jewish is NOT to be Zionist and it is most certainly not to be necessarily supportive of the actions of the Israeli government.
There are many books that amply chronicle Israeli brutality and the crimes of the Zionist regime (another by Finkelstein that I highly recommend among them, called "Image and Reality of the Israel palestine Conflict) but I can think of no book more important to the understanding of the dilemma of the Palestinian people and to open the door for Jewish opposition to Israel than this one.
on 1 March 1997
Here are some comments about the book by the following authors:
"In the best sense of the old term, Norman Finkelstein has fulfilled an obligation to 'witness.'"
CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, columnist for Vanity Fair and The Nation
"This book is that very rare thing, a book of human experience informed by massive historical scholarship, prodigiously detailed political analysis, and exceptional wisdom. I do not know any book like it that deals so intimately and yet so clearly with the tragic quandaries of the Palestinian situation.
EDWARD W. SAID, Columbia University
"Critical and very well informed..."The Rise and Fall of Palestine" is also quite unusual, virtually unique, because of the rich framework of past and current history that Finkelstein brings to bear in a most illuminating way, because of the interweaving of very thoughtful (and often moving) personal experiences, and because of the singular nature of Finkelstein's perspective, which is sharply different from those that dominate discussions of the situation in Palestine."
NOAM CHOMSKY, Massachusetts Institute of Technology