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5.0 out of 5 stars Important information
Outlined like a small encyclopedia of FAQ, important issues regarding the Middle East conflict are given in-depth analysis. Alas, the book is already 10 years old. Please keep writing, Mr.Lochery!
Published 11 months ago by Kristine Klubben

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41 of 68 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't believe the blurb
For a book that is billed on the sleeve as from an author 'outside the fray', the following excerpt from Dr Lochery's CV (found elsewhere) immediately suggests one should regard any of the claims made within with some caution:
"Dr. Lochery has served as an advisor to several leading Israeli politicians and lived in Israel for many years. Currently he is a consultant...
Published on 5 July 2004


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5.0 out of 5 stars Important information, 11 Mar. 2014
By 
Kristine Klubben (Bergen, Godvik, NO) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Why Blame Israel?: The Facts Behind the Headlines (Paperback)
Outlined like a small encyclopedia of FAQ, important issues regarding the Middle East conflict are given in-depth analysis. Alas, the book is already 10 years old. Please keep writing, Mr.Lochery!
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Both sides should be heard, 15 Jun. 2004
By 
I would be interested to know from the reviewer above which 'experts' have dismissed this book as 'propaganda'?
The author, Neill Lochery, is one of the most respected experts in this field working for a leading London university. To make such a simplistic comment as 'this is Israeli propaganda' underlines the very reason why this book is so necessary - to redress the balance of information available on this conflict.
Israel is persistently portrayed as an unprovoked aggressor in this conflict, a view the world at large seems happy to go along with. Lochery makes the, seemingly, unwelcome assertion that it is perhaps the way in which the conflict is reported that creates this impression. He suggests that often biased reportage has created a distorted view of the Israel-Palestine conflict.
He illustrates his argument with well-research episodes where the facts have been misrepresented by the media to emphasis Israel violence whilst portraying Palestine as an innocent. Lochery reminds us that there are two sides to this self-perpetuating cycle of violence and retribution in which neither side is free of blame.
No one can state with any authority what the truth of the matter is. However, both sides have a right to have their voices heard. It is up to the informed reader to make up his mind. And you cannot consider yourself informed if your mind is closed to what you do not want to hear. You cannot dismiss a book as bad just because it does not echo your own opinions.
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Extremely informative and easy-to read, 17 Jun. 2004
By 
Michael Rosen (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
As someone who follows the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with great interest, I have become weary of books which have an obvious bias or agenda towards one side or the other. I was therefore very pleasantly surprised by Neill Lochery's book, which is not only balanced but also provides many new insights and ideas.
The book is written in a simple question and answer format, and addressed all of the major issues of contention between the two parties. Refreshingly, Lochery is unafraid either to assign blame or give praise to both sides where needed. This makes a pleasing change from the norm, where too many commentators seem to believe that there can only be room for one narrative, and that if you are in favour of one side you must always find fault with the other.
In short, this is a comprehensive yet very easy-to-read book. If you would like to learn more about the Palestinian- Israeli conflict, this should be the first book you buy.
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24 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant factual analysis which redresses the balance., 26 Nov. 2004
By A Customer
In this seemingly never ending and extremely bloody saga, there is so much clever political 'spin' and such a great deal of vilification and hate directed at Israel by much of the world press and by the entire non-Jewish Middle Eastern population.
It is good to read a clear and well defined history and factual analysis which clearly redresses the balance and shows Israel in a different light as a truly democratic and industrious state which has endured decades of hostility and still lives in constant fear of its very survival.
The scene is set to change again after Arafat's death and it will be interesting to read Lochery's views in his next book - strange in a way that this was never contemplated in this book! Hindsight is a wonderful thing!!
Let us hope that Arafat's death and the changes which follow may provide a key to unlock the door to a permanent solution for peace in the Middle East.
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12 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Detailed history up to 2004, 6 May 2006
By 
Peter Uys "Toypom" (Sandton) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Why Blame Israel?: The Facts Behind the Headlines (Paperback)
With events moving so fast in the Middle East, this book is already outdated with regard to its possible scenarios for the future and the hopes based on the Geneva Accords of 2003. Even the Postscript to this paperback edition is a bit irrelevant now that both the election victory of Hamas and the Iranian nuclear threat have entered the arena. It does, however, provide a thorough history of the conflict up to the year in question.

The narrative starts with the failed Camp David talks of year 2000 but throughout, it deals extensively with the history of Israel from the 19th century onwards, including the British Mandate, the Holocaust and the 2nd World War. The birth of Israel, the Palestinian refugee exodus and the role of the UN are also examined in detail.

Chapter 3 looks at international relations, how Israel's alignment with the West came about, and its relations with its neighbours. The next chapter: The Second Republic, discusses Israel in the 1960s, including cultural change, the 1967 war and its aftermath, the Yom Kippur war and Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria.

Chapter 5 goes into great detail about developments in Israeli politics in the 1980s, a decade that encompassed the National Unity Government and the Lebanon war, whilst chapter 6 investigates the 1990s. This includes sections on the arrival of the immigrants from the then imploding Soviet Union, the nature of the Israeli economy and a discussion of secular versus religious rights.

The next chapter analyses the failed Oslo peace process. The passage titled The Culture Of Language And The Meaning Of War is of special interest. It explains the seemingly separate conflicts being waged in Hebrew, in Arabic and in English, examining the media coverage in Israel, the West and the Arab World. In this regard, I refer the interested reader to an excellent book, The Other War: Israelis, Palestinians and the Struggle for Media Supremacy, by Stephanie Gutmann.

The Postscript addresses the Geneva Accords of December 2003, in which the author placed high hopes. The book concludes with notes arranged by chapter, a glossary of terms, an extensive bibliography, a section on websites and an index.

The map section from pp. 128 to 138 is very valuable for understanding the land issue. These maps include the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916, the 1922 Partition, the UN Partition Plan of 1947, Jerusalem since 1967 and the Oslo Redeployment Map.

Books that may contribute to an understanding of the Middle East situation include the aforementioned title by Gutmann, The Case For Israel by Alan Dershovitz, The Mountains of Israel by Norma Archbold Parrish, Dream Palace Of The Arabs by Fouad Ajami and From Time Immemorial by Joan Peters.
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12 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent introduction to the Mid-East conflict., 12 July 2005
By 
M. D Roberts (Gwent, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I initially purchased this book on the premise that it investigated the role and coverage of the media in relation to the Arab/Palestinian - Israeli conflict.
Although it does pay some attention to these and related issues, it is my personal opinion that this analysis does not go deep enough.
In relation to such media coverage, initial intimations are made as to how the reporting of the international media has allegedly been dominated by a left-of-centre political culture which has served to reinforce stereotypical perceptions of the conflict. Reference being made as to how certain incidents have even led to the media allegedly breaking it's own codes of practice.
A case is presented, how with little background knowledge, what underlies the nature of many reports emanating from the region, is the alleged perception of most journalists that the Palestinians are the "victims" and the Israelis are the "aggressors". References are made to support these accusations.
Written entirely from a secular perspective the study provides a reasonable account of Israel's history in relation to the Arab - Israeli conflict.
A chronicle of Israel's history being provided, especially in relation to the Jewish presence in the Land, together with the political, international and regional overtures surrounding the re-birth of the Jewish state.
The effective carving-up of the Middle East by France and Great Britain after the First World War and the part that this has played in subsequent history is also studied. The strategic, self interests of the Western powers & the political machinations also being taken into consideration, both at the time and during the present day.
Whilst attaching blame to both sides in the conflict, the book presents the opinion that the ongoing "Road Map" will not bring peace and that to some degree, such has been seen by terrorist groups as a "reward/incentive" from the international community in relation to the years of attacks upon the Jewish state.
Replete with references, the writer also shows how the Arab/Palestinian world has allegedly refused 'statehood' on numerous occasions whilst refusing to recognise the existence of a Jewish state, irrespective of any negotiated borders/boundaries. Due reference being made to the numerous regional wars and their context, culminating in the unrest of the present day. The "peace process" itself is afforded appropriate attention.
At the outset the writer declares that amongst the fundamental issues being investigated are the realities behind the Arab - Israeli controversy. These include the question as to how Israel has allegedly become a "pariah" state in the eyes of many and the contentious matter of land "ownership" in the Middle East. These and many other deep-lying arguments over Israel's fight for survival/existence in the region are studied.
Having said all this, the often considerable amount of detail that is provided is still lacking in some areas and far from complete. However, I would not dismiss the relevance or worth of this study, especially to those who are not well versed in these subjects. Here the reader may be provided with a suitable introduction to a pivotal and contentious issue.
In closing, may I respectfully recommend the following books;
For those interested in a more detailed history pertaining to the region;-
"Empires Of The Sands; The Struggle for Mastery in the Middle East, 1789-1923" by Inari & Efraim Karsh.
"From Time Immemorial; The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict Over Palestine" by Joan Peters.
"A Peace To End All Peace; The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace" by David Fromkin.
"The Palestine War 1948" by Efraim Karsh.
In relation to the media coverage of the ongoing conflict;-
"Poison" by Raphael Israeli.
"Covering The Intifada; How the Media Reported the Palestinian Uprising." by Joshua Muraychik
And in relation to the "peace process" itself;
"The Missing Peace; The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace" by Dennis Ross.
"High Cost Of Peace" by Yossef Bodansky.
"Arafat's War; The Man and His Battle for Israeli Conquest" by Efraim Karsh.
Thank you for your time.
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21 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No-brainwashing. Guaranteed, 23 Jun. 2004
Two anonimous reviwers have already rated it with one star, but each of them with opposite arguments. Each claimed it was propaganda for the other side.
This is usually the case of writers whoe tried a balanced approach to a conflictive issue: both sides claim it is an attempt of brain-washing from the other side. For me this means the book is worth to buy and read.
I found the book very easy to read, with a good historial approach to the conflict and always keeping in mind that on top of the conflict lie two nations/societies/communities with other problems.
Israel's politics and history are mostly unknown to the western world but this book manages to introduce us into the party politics within Israel and reminds us that behind all the media attacks against Israel, lies a democratic country with its rights and an extremely difficult security problem.
If you think you own the truth, if you hate to listen to challenging arguments, buy yourself something else. If you look for insight into one of today's most difficult conflicts, this is a very good option.
In sum, balanced, readable and intelligent.
One tip: the most critized agent in the book is neither Israel nor Palestina, but the Media.
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22 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The truth finally..., 17 Nov. 2004
By A Customer
Finally a book that puts into words what Jews throughought the world are feeling. Israel has been buffeted from every croner of the globe for the last 40 years because of their policy of self-defence for their own rights and the rights of Human Beings who happen Jews.
This book underlines the problems within the Israeli politics which, whilst not free from blame for the situation in the Middle East, has tried its best to deal with terrorism on a scale no country has had to fact (inc. Britain and IRA).
As for one reviewers claim that Israel supported the growth of Hamas. At the time time there needed to be a counter-balance for the PLO but it does not give the right for Hamas to blow people to shreds or mutilate them beyond recovery. The book makes the point that the Paletinians must reign in the terrorists as israel did with the Ergun.
I am a staunch supporter of the Israeli cause and believe that this book puts into writing the real reflection of the situation that the PLO (with arafat at it's head) never wanted peace.
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41 of 68 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't believe the blurb, 5 July 2004
By A Customer
For a book that is billed on the sleeve as from an author 'outside the fray', the following excerpt from Dr Lochery's CV (found elsewhere) immediately suggests one should regard any of the claims made within with some caution:
"Dr. Lochery has served as an advisor to several leading Israeli politicians and lived in Israel for many years. Currently he is a consultant for an Israeli politician for whom he undertakes studies in electoral behavior."
For someone that has read very little on this conflict, this book may appear to be un-biased as in many cases he does state the positions of both sides and weigh up the evidence.....always (and often, to my mind, quite fairly) on balance favouring the Israeli position. Hardly a surprise given his affiliations. However, there are many issues that remain undiscussed because any reasonable analysis of them could only harm his case. For example, much effort is expended in (understandable) righteous denunciations of Palestinian terrorist atrocities, but the terrorist tactics of Begin and Shamir in the Stern Gang days are glossed over and in no way renounced. Also, the startling fact that Israel, in a traditional divide and rule fashion, actually nurtured and funded the reviled Hamas as a counterweight to the PLO is not even mentioned. One can only assume that acknowledging such facts would significantly reduce the stature of the authors high horse (and it is inconceivable that he wouldn't know about the real story of the rise of Hamas, as the original report was from UPI.... who Dr Lochery also writes for).
As with most disputes, the battle lines are drawn along the actual language that the two sides choose to use and he, unfailingly, uses that of the Israeli side. For example (and I hardly no where to start here), the careful use of quotation marks demonstrate his tacit endorsement of the murder of Palestinian children by Israeli F16s: "At the centre of much of Europe's beef with Israel was the policy of targeted assassinations or 'extra-judicial killings'". Israel only responds to force and is never the aggressor: "Many [Europeans] used phrases such as 'cycles of violence' - thus giving credibility to the argument that Israeli responses to violence were no better than the original attacks". He also illustrates his complete lack of understanding of the concept of democracy: Bush will fight the Palestinian corner "with the proviso that a Palestinian state is both democratic and not led by Yasser Arafat". If you fail to see any irony here, you will probably think the book fantastic.
Towards the end of the book, all pretences of neutrality seem to evaporate as the author launches into a full blown reactionary rant about the need for a "a return to a more Hobbesian approach of the absolute sovereign". He speaks of the necessity of "pre-emptive strikes against terrorists and their supporters" and that "it is vital not to enter into negotiations with terrorist groups". Also "Israel needs more coherent and aggressive strategies for dealing with schoolyard bullies". So, in a supposedly balanced book, surely there must be some condemnation of the crimes against humanity committed by Israel over the years, such as at Khiam in Lebanon for example? Or perhaps the acknowledgement that, under international law, the Palestinians have every right to make armed attacks on Israeli soldiers within the occupied territories? Actually, no, but then Dr Lochery's brief was obviously to create a piece of not so subtle propaganda, not to provide a scrupulous examination of all the relevant facts.
All that said, despite my disappointment at the (admittedly stupid, given the book's title) lack of even-handedness, it was an interesting book in some respects and it does successfully lead one to a better understanding of the Israeli mind-set. Many on the left that unhesitatingly condemn Israel often do not acknowledge that the Jewish people have had to fight for all they have, have resisted multiple Arab invasions and still face serious threats to their very existence. However, as others may point out, the crimes of Israel and their tactics in refusing to settle on even a return to pre-1967 borders could hasten a serious regional conflagration with unpredictable consequences and ensure that, should the boot ever find its way onto the other foot, their annihilation would be ensured.
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9 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for all people interested in understanding, 23 Jun. 2004
By 
Emma (London, UK) - See all my reviews
This book is clearly written and covers an extremely emotive subject with a surgical degree of calm and reasonned thought. It should be read by anyone who has an interest in the Middle East and in solving so called intractable conflicts throughout the World. Unlike most books on the subject this is short - to the point - and easy to digest.
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Why Blame Israel?: The Facts Behind the Headlines
Why Blame Israel?: The Facts Behind the Headlines by Neill Lochery (Paperback - 7 April 2005)
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