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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A spectacular example of academic activist scholarship
I recently asked a friend who specialises in Middle East politics to suggest to me an introductory book about the Israel-Palestine conflict, one of the global issues I felt I knew little about. Among others, he suggested to me Finkelstein's `Beyond Chutzpah' as a book that `sets the record straight'.

Beyond Chutzpah is not a book for those looking for an...
Published on 8 Mar 2010 by Yannis Theocharis

versus
16 of 44 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars how to avoid wasting time reading polemics disguised as reviews...
This book has some factual errors and is inevitably partial - it is difficult/impossible to write about this subject without being so. It does present a vivid illustration of how polical lobby groups 'manipulate' evidence to support their case (effective marshalling of argument, spin or abuse of history? you decide).
I suggest if you're one of the few people on the...
Published on 18 Nov 2008 by reno


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A spectacular example of academic activist scholarship, 8 Mar 2010
This review is from: Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-semitism and the Abuse of History (Paperback)
I recently asked a friend who specialises in Middle East politics to suggest to me an introductory book about the Israel-Palestine conflict, one of the global issues I felt I knew little about. Among others, he suggested to me Finkelstein's `Beyond Chutzpah' as a book that `sets the record straight'.

Beyond Chutzpah is not a book for those looking for an introduction about the Israel - Palestine conflict at all. On the contrary, the book is clearly a polemic against Alan Dersowitz's book `The case for Israel' and an exhaustive account of Israel's consistent violations of human rights and international law. Nevertheless, I never regretted buying this book.

Beyond Chutzpah is a stunning piece of research and a spectacular example of academic activist scholarship. By widely exposing a significant number of Dersowitz's arguments, the book reveals at the same time fundamental historical facts about the Israel - Palestine conflict as established by serious scholars and human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. The book is extremely well-written and comprehensible and, regardless of its intimidating look mainly due to the large number of footnotes and endless tables, if read until the end (including the Appendices), offers a complete and rigorous overview of the conflict, plus a striking amount of detail about Israel's human rights record and treatment of the Palestinians.

After finishing the book I tried to think when was the last time I read something as passionately written and at the same time well-argued as Beyond Chutzpah. I couldn't recall of any. Regardless of its aggressive tone against `The case for Israel', apart from remarkably informing the reader about the enormous injustice suffered by the Palestinians, the book itself is Finkelstein's personal statement against falsehood, misleading and narrow-minded academic scholarship.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond the Joke: Debunking Alan Dershowitz, 8 Mar 2010
By 
S Wood (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-semitism and the Abuse of History (Paperback)
Norman Finkelstein first appeared in the 1980's with his thorough debunking of Joan Peters From Time Immemorial which had been widely praised on publication by Zionists and other supporters of Israel who were overjoyed to read an "academic" work that supported the Zionist assertion that the Palestinians didn't exist. Finkelstein in a memorable contribution to Blaming the Victims showed Peter's magnum opus to be a tissue of lies, distorted quotations and innumerate demographic calculations. Now in "Beyond Chutzpah" Finkelstein directs his considerable critical abilities towards the issue of "The New Anti-Semitism" and to Alan Dershowitz's The Case for Israel, an important text for Zionist apologists.

In the first part of the book Finkelstein identifies "The New Anti-Semitism" as a more or less fictional construct, that is functionally useful for labeling critics of Israel as anti-Semites and automatically de-legitimizing criticism of Israel without having to deal with them rationally and honestly, which would inevitably cause difficulties given the gulf between the rhetoric of Israel's supporters and reality. He gives an account, or perhaps history is the correct term as "The New Anti-Semitism" approaches its fortieth year, of it's birth in the period after the two major Arab-Israel Wars of 1967 and 1973, before it came to age with Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982. Finkelstein, with his forensic approach details and debunks the various developments of this pernicious concept systematically and with occasional examples of a well-aimed and sharply barbed wit.

In the second part Alan Dershowitz's "The Case for Israel" comes under scrutiny. It might seem overkill for Finkelstein to spend over a hundred pages debunking Dershowitz, but when one considers the important role his book has played for those who seek to perpetrate distortions about the reality of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the value of Finkelstein's work is more than evident. After all "The Case for Israel" has been distributed by Israeli Embassies across the world and by Zionist organizations throughout the United States in an effort to sow a distorted version of Israeli actions into the public discourse, and provide ammunition to those who seek to influence any debate around Israel purely in the "interest" of Israel without regard to truth, reality or the Palestinians.

One of Finkelstein's conclusions from examining Dershowitz's work ought to be enough on it's own to discredit the book. In the historical section at the beginning of the book Finkelstein identifies over 40% of the citations as being straight from Joan Peter's From Time Immemorial. Dershowitz is obviously a little shy of crediting the discredited Peter's as his source, so he instead inserts the original source precisely as stated in Peter's footnotes but without attributing them to her. He then undermines his subterfuge by quoting only those parts that are quoted by Peter's and includes the errors from Peter's quotations. The critique then proceeds on an issue-by-issue basis, juxtaposing Dershowitz's claims about the Israel-Palestine conflict with material from a variety of sources, many of them Human Rights organizations including the Israeli group B'Tselem. "The Case for Israel" is revealed to be a tissue of distortions, ought-right lies and even in contradiction to other statements by Dershowitz. And yet this book received universal praise by supporters of Israel on pulication?

Also included are a number of appendices, including a table with Dershowitz's assertions in historical order, placed next to the Evidence as attributed to a wide variety of sources, many of them actually of Israeli origin. Reading through the table it became evident that I had heard a few of the claims ("Israelis treat injured Palestinians free gratis") expressed confidently by supporters of Israel, only to find now that the reality is entirely different. The occasional Palestinian has had free and highly publicized treatment in Israel, these are exceptions: the standard procedure is to charge what many regarded as an inflated fee. Further to that there is the damage that Israel's occupation has done to the development of Palestinian Medical Services and the educational base that these services require to be effective, not to mention attacks on medical infrastructure including dozens of ambulances. Dershowitz's claim that Ambulances were used for terrorist attacks is also examined. There was one case, well after the Israeli attacks on Ambulances began, where there was evidence that this may have occurred, though the circumstances in which the Israelis brought this to light were at best dubious.

"Beyond Chutzpah" is a valuable work that comprehensively debunks a key text of Zionist apologetics and distortion in a robust (Finkelstein certainly doesn't mince his words) and clear manner that shows that "The Case for Israel" made by Dershowitz is simply a blatant and hardly sophisticated fraud. The Table in the appendices that pairs the statements Dershowitz makes in his case with the actuality is as comprehensive a guide to the main examples of distortion and outright lies peddled by the Israeli lobby (up to 2005) as I've come across. Well recommended.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, 1 Oct 2011
By 
Adam A. Waterhouse (Southampton, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-semitism and the Abuse of History (Paperback)
This book is just fantastic. If you have ever had the experience of feeling unhappy about the media presentation of the 'conflict' between Israel and the Palesinians, and accepted views on Israel and 'anti-Semitism', but unable to clearly articulate your own thoughts, then this is the book for you. Finkelstein's analysis of these issues (in Part One of this book) is clear and rigorous, and leaves no room for doubts. He also possesses a very keen sarcastic wit which he uses to great effect in exposing the absurdities of Jewish and Israeli apologists using 'anti-Semitism' to try to counter legitimate and principled criticisms of Israel or the power and influence which some Jewish figures possess in America.

The second part of this book is very factual in nature and consists of a point by point rebuffal of the dishonest and disengenious claims made by Alan Dershowitz in his book 'The Case for Israel.' You do need a certain amount of dedication to read all of the second part, and the detailed appendices. Alternatively they can be used for reference as they provide very good factual material on Israel's human rights abuse. Appendix II also offers a very good 20 page summary of the entire 'conflict.'

I would heartily recommend this book for anyone who wants to clarify their thinking about this on-going and highly contentious 'conflict.'

N.B. The term 'conflict' is used in inverted brackets as it conveys the impression that the Palestinians bear a large burden of responsibility for the occupation and oppression which they have experienced. I do not accept this - the historical record shows that they have been willing to agree to a just settlement - and consider 'conflict' a misleading terms to use in this regard. I am just using it, in inverted brackets, as it is commonly referred to in this way.
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91 of 98 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Well Argued Critique of Israel's Apologists, 14 Aug 2006
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This book sets out to demolish the arguments of some of Israel's most vocal supporters in the United States, and largely suceeds in this task.

The first 85 pages are devoted to those who claim that criticism of Israel is fuelled by anti-Semitism, rather than any action of Israel's. Finkelstein argues that this claim is merely an attempt to deflect criticism from indefensible Israel policies.

However, the main body of the book is devoted to an attack on one man, Alan Dershowitz. Dershowitz is the author of the best selling "The Case for Israel". In his influential book Dershowitz made a number of extremely controversial claims about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Finkelstein's book is devoted to methodically going through these claims and demolishing them. For example Dershowitz implied that Palestinian refugees may have been recent immigrants to Palestine, rather than the native population of the country. Finkelstein shows how all the evidence Dershowitz produces for this claim is essentially plagiarised from the discredited work of Joan Peters.

Unfortunately Finkelstein focuses mainly on showing how Dershowitz has little grasp of the facts of the conflict. It would have been nice if there was also more of a challenge to Dershowitz's arguments. Particularly his repulsive view that collective punishment should be inflicted on Palestinian civilians.

This book comes across as being meticulously researched, as you would expect given that it is an attack on one of the most sucessful lawyers in America. However, it relies almost entirely on Western or Israeli sources to challenge Dershowitz. I couldn't find a single quote from a Palestinian.

Despite being about on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, this book focuses only on Israel. Next to nothing of value is said about the Palestinians or wider Arab world. This is a flaw found in Finkelstein's other books as well.

This book does provide a pretty good summary of Israel's widespread human rights abuses as a challenge to Dershowitz's claims. Other than this however the book will mainly be of interest to those who have already read "The Case for Israel". For those who are familiar with Dershowitz work, this book is a must read, as it shows quite how inaccurate his arguments are. For everyone else who is interested in the wider Palestinian-Israeli conflict there are better books out there, including Finkelstein's last book "Image and Reality of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict".
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62 of 67 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very fine book, 17 Nov 2008
By 
lexo1941 (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
Norman Finkelstein is controversial. Look at the review ratings for this book, on this site in the middle of November 2008 - ten reviews, with eight of them being five- or four-star, and two being one-star. You can't be indifferent about the guy. He is bullish, angry, abrasive and confrontational, very much like the man who is his chief antagonist in this book: Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz. These two were destined to end up in a head-to-head match and it finally happens within the pages of "Beyond Chutzpah", the very title of which is a sardonic nod at Dershowitz's own book "Chutzpah". Readers who have no Yiddish may be forgiven for thinking that "chutzpah" means simply "bravery". It also has connotations of "nerve", "cheekiness" and even "impudence". Finkelstein has clearly run out of patience with what he sees as Dershowitz's chutzpah.

Living as I do in Ireland, and being an atheist gentile with a merely scholarly interest in Judaism, I would point out to Mr. Finkelstein that his scepticism about Irish antisemitism is not entirely well-founded. "Jew" was still a term of abuse among kids when I was growing up in the 70s and 80s. Fairly recently, within the last few years, I witnessed a well-known Irish actor making crudely antisemitic remarks in a Dublin bar; I called him on them, and only narrowly avoided having him kick my head in (his friends ushered him out before he could cause any trouble).

Nevertheless, any book that carries endorsements from Israeli academics such as Baruch Kimmerling and Avi Shlaim surely ought to have something to it. The genius of Norman Finkelstein is that his method is completely transparent; like Chomsky's, it is nothing but scholarship, in that he compares one document to another and points out consistencies and, where they are obvious, inconsistencies. As he says himself, it is not very difficult to demonstrate that Alan Dershowitz has consistently misquoted sources, used other people's sources without citing them, twisted statements made by his enemies, etc. etc. Finkelstein demonstrates the fact, over and over again. The hard bit is getting anyone to take notice. The unexpected pleasure of this book is Finkelstein's exhaustive demonstration of the depths to which Alan Dershowitz will sink in order to win a fight. Finkelstein has elsewhere succeeded in utterly discrediting Joan Peters' infamous book "From Time Immemorial": here, he shows that Dershowitz not only quotes whole chunks of guff from that book without giving it credit, he often didn't even bother to do it himself, but got his research assistants to do it for him. I find it hard to believe that Dershowitz's reputation as an honest commentator can long survive an onslaught such as this. And yet all Finkelstein has done is point out the extent to which Dershowitz's remarks simply fail to correspond to documented reality.

Yes, Finkelstein can be rude and obnoxious. His website in particular is littered with heavy-handed sarcasm and clunking polemic, but then he has been repeatedly penalised for simply attempting to tell the truth, whereas Dershowitz has risen to the heights of US academia whilst being, all along, a shameless apologist for disgusting brutality and hypocrisy. Finkelstein, for all his bad temper and inability to be serene about his situation, is simply and inconveniently in the right. He may be an embarrassing person to have on one's side, but the likes of Dershowitz, on the evidence that this book supplies in such careful and meticulous detail, are morally repugnant.

The moral nadir of the book is Dershowitz's shameless attempt to claim that Finkelstein thought that his own mother - a concentration camp survivor - had been a camp "Kapo", based on a blatant misreading of a passage in Finkelstein's own memoir. After such knowledge, what forgiveness? It would take a better man than me to forgive Dershowitz for something like that.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond Chutzpah, 24 Sep 2011
By 
G. Byrne "Geddi" (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-semitism and the Abuse of History (Paperback)
This is a work of great depth and detail. Not a dot or a single word is left to chance. Every aspect of this book is cross referenced and again.

It is a response to a work by another scholar and it exposes a work claimed as factual, by a leading professor of Harvard - Alan Derschowitz - as not only a fraud, but also one which was stolen from another source!

It is hard to refute the findings within this book, so greatly in depth and well researched is it, with almost 1/3 of the book taken up by references and cross references and a very complete index from which to test his credibility.

Finkelstein in person can appear very arrogant and even rude, but perhaps this is a reflection of the culture of where he lives and was raised (New York/Brooklyn), so I have no problem with it at all. In his writing here, he is almost cautious, but not to the point of dullness, and he certainly lets fly with pointed adjectives when he sees an apt reason to do so.

The work itself led to his losing a job. His exposing the plagiarist fraud was expensive for him in terms of his entire life. He could have nodded, bowed and kept silent, but he opted not to, and I respect him immensely for his stance.

Anyone who has read Chutzpah should certainly read this work, and soon, and then read it again with a note pad and pencil and check all the parts you may not like or may not wish to believe!

It's a goldmine of truth and it weighs heavily on much which is considered factual in the wider academic world, especially in the States.
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69 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite simply a PRICELESS piece of scholastic brilliance, 16 Jun 2007
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Finkelstein is a man motivated above all else by the need to find truth and honesty. In this work - perhaps his best - he debunks the lies and fabrication of leading Zionists and their pitiful use of the Shoah to brook no real examination of the murderous policies of the Israeli state.
The real gem of this work is how Finkelstein lays bare the lies and fabrication of Alan Dershowitz in that man's travesty of a book 'The Case for Israel'.
Finkelstein is a man who, from his earliest days as a Princeton graduate student in the early 1980s, put integrity and truth above his own career. Precisely, when he pushed and pushed to get a hearing for his research that showed that Joan Peter's book 'From Time Immemorial' was a complete fabrication. He knew that, and showed that by corresponding with every journal in the US that reviewed that book ('outstanding', 'brilliant', 'seminal work'), only for them to ignore him. Only when it was published here in the UK, where the Zionists have no such control, was his research read by scholars here, and that book - that suggested Palestine was in fact 'unpopulated' until the 1948 wars - was discarded as the worst kind of fraud. That one act, piece of work, by Finkelstein sealed his future fate. Immediately after, no single Academic at Princeton would ever agree to meet him again - he was completely shunned. In fact, Princeton granted him a Phd with NO supervision and out of 'embarrassment'.
This man has virtually sacrificed any chance of a 'tenured' Academic career in the US (8 June 2007 DePaul University, Chicago refuses his application for tenure, despite 17 out of 24 committee professors voting in his favour, as a result of a 'jihad' against him by Alan Dershowitz, the plagiariser and fabricator)and it is to be hoped he will be given the chance to teach students here in the UK or Europe generally.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Norman Finkelstein delivers again, 30 Dec 2012
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Finkelstein may be an acquired taste, but for the second time, he simply demolishes the treasured propaganda texts of the Zionists.

This time its Alan Dershowitz, who is found to have pretty much invented everything in his Zionist Bible, "The Case for Israel".
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars beyond chutzpah, 10 Mar 2011
This review is from: Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-semitism and the Abuse of History (Paperback)
Norman Finklestein is an excellent author and brings a lot of much needed honesty to the powerful american jewish platform that seem to spend far too much time hanging onto the coat tails of those who suffered at the hands of the germans and use this at every opportunity to further thier cause.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book, 8 Aug 2008
with expansive footnotes and well documented sources. Its strange how a book that relies on some of the most respected human rights groups for its information can get someone in so much trouble. I wish his detractors would (or even could) attack his sources instead of his character - then it would be even more obvious how detached from reality they are.
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Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-semitism and the Abuse of History
Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-semitism and the Abuse of History by Norman Finkelstein (Paperback - 1 April 2008)
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