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on 20 October 2012
I have just finished reading this book. I can understand people feeling uncomfortable with the content.
Unfortunately the truth is uncomfortable. Michael Neumann exposes the truth like a dentist uncovering a nerve.
I found his reasoning not only fair but just. We cannot continue to excuse international crime by remembering past horrors.
Global guilt can last only so long.
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on 7 June 2007
Michael Neumann is a professor of philosophy at Trent University in Ontario. He writes, "I am a moral and political philosopher: if I have an expertise, it is in moral and political argument." In this brilliant book he clearly outlines the essentials of the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians. He concludes, "Israel is, generally speaking, in the wrong in its conflict with Palestinians. The Palestinians, I will claim, are generally speaking in the right."

In Part One he looks at the Zionist project and its consequences. In Part Two he examines the current situation - the occupation, the settlements, alternatives, possible Palestinian strategies, and terrorism.

He summarises Part One, "The Zionist project, as conceived and executed in the 19th and early 20th century, was entirely unjustified and could reasonably be regarded by the inhabitants of Palestine as a very serious threat, the total domination by one ethnic group of all others in the region. ... The illegitimacy of the Zionist project was the major cause of all the terror and warfare that it aroused." Zionism's "leaders literally conspired to dispossess or dominate the Palestinians. ... It was the implementation of this idea that made bloodshed in Palestine, if not inevitable, as close to it as we can expect to get. That blood is on the Zionists' hands."

The Palestinians were faced, "not with a long-standing conflict between two established populations, but with an invasion conceived and executed by a political movement. No one is morally required to compromise with an invasion. ... Any population may defend itself against the threat of an externally imposed sovereignty."

In Part Two, he argues, "Sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s, there was a fundamental change in the situation .... Israel's existence became as secure as any state has a right to expect. Its settlement policy was not defensive but a form of ethnic warfare, and, therefore, outrageously wrong. The Palestinians were justified in claiming that once again some sort of violent response was not only permissible, but necessary. Moreover, all this holds regardless of whether the previous arguments hold: regardless of whether the Zionist project was justified."

The Palestinians have no alternative to fighting for survival, but Israel has an alternative - unilateral withdrawal from the Occupied Territories. Neumann points out, "Its willful and pointless rejection of that alternative places Israel decisively in the wrong. ... since Israel can withdraw at will and close its border, Israel can put an end to virtually all the violence. That violence is occasioned by the settlement policy, which is Israel's sole reason for the occupation. Since that occupation has no defensive or strategic rationale, Israel has no good reason to prolong it. Since Israel is willfully pursuing an unjustifiable strategy that it can end at no cost, it is responsible for all the consequences of that strategy. It follows that all the violence, and all horrors of the occupation, are to be laid at Israel's doorstep."
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on 7 April 2013
So much has been written to try and justify the colonization of Palestine that this book needed to be written to correct the immorality and hypocrisy of the zionist argument.
It has achieved its mission by presenting logical thinking to counter the religious and racist propaganda of Israel's supporters.
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on 22 October 2007
A brilliant book. A forensic analysis of the Israel/Palestinian conflict from a moral and ethical standpoint from the origins of Zionism to the present day. The author sets out his reasoning with the utmost clarity, both in the language used - which is extremely accessible and at no time beyond the average reader - and in the organisation of his argument. Do not be put off by the title - Neumann is scrupulously fair to both sides. There is no better exposition of the issues in this troubled region than this book. And setting aside the specific circumstances of the Middle East, this book would also be a good read for anyone with a general interest in moral and political philosophy.
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on 4 July 2007
As a moral critique of the Israel / Palestine conflict this text is a resounding success.

By carefully and systematically analysing the moral argument and position of the various stages in the development of the Zionist project and the current situation, the author manages to brilliantly expose the fallacies surrounding Israel's supposed moral justifications for their past and current actions. By carefully demonstrating factual evidence with regard to early 20th century Zionists, he shows how the project was systematically planned with full knowledge and acceptance of the somewhat inevitable consequences to the indigenous population....a foreseeable prelude to the current situation.

What is most striking is that throughout his consideration of the past and current affairs regarding the troubled region, the author - in my opinion - maintains a great level of integrity and avoids emotional critique, instead focusing on a reasoned breakdown of the various scenarios, arguments and developments considered; bringing the reader to a rational and - arguably - unavoidable conclusion. That conclusion, in the vast main, being that Israel was and is in the wrong - both by international law and (arguably) even more importantly, from a moral perspective. In the crude but not incorrect question of "right and wrong", the arguments presented are difficult to counter. Ones not rooted in abstract philosophical thought as his critics may clamour to claim, but firmly grounded in analytical, fair and ethical reasoning.

This text is a brilliant expose of the historical and present injustices meted out against a largely defenceless population over a sustained period; a unique look and consideration of the ACTUAL options that this population had/has in response/self-defence and an extremely well reasoned, unemotional, unbiased analysis of the moral argument of both sides.(As a Jew himself, the author caveats his text that, if anything, his bias lies in favour of Israel). An impressive and somewhat unique approach to a subject clouded in misinformation, bias and propaganda.

An essential read.
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on 19 January 2014
This book is a must read for anyone wanting to know more about Zionism and The Israel/Palestine conflict.
Eye opening too!
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on 24 June 2008
I think it is critical to point out to would be readers of this book, that it is not in any way antisemitic. What Neuman does present is the idea that the creation of Isreal, first and foremost as a Jewish state, places the rights of those within the Zionist movement above those who cannot hope to ever be part of it. Those same people are then faced with a stark choice, stand by as second class citizens in their own land and watch their most basic human rights be legistlated away from them, or to resist. If the Israeli government was in any way benelovent towards the Palestinian people, if it chose to act with restraint more often that with extreme force this choice might be more dificult to make. Right now the numbers of innocent civillians being killed by the govenment forces presents a clear message, you don't need to resist to be a target of physical abuse you just have to be. Until this premise ceases to be a reality for millions of Palestinians, something only Israel can achieve, there will be continued bloodshed.
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on 9 May 2012
A book full of lies such as zionism having set out to dispossess palestinian arabs of 'their' land. The fact is there were around half a million arabs in the Land of Israel at the turn of the 19th century and in the same area there are now at least 12 million jews and arabs, maybe more depending on what area of land is looked at.

Jews always lived in the land, and mostly got on with their neighbours until agitators like the genocidal first Mufti of Jerusalem who stirred up ethnic conflict. The mufti later went to work for the nazis and set up the Bosnian muslim SS legion which killed gypsies jews and partisans in Yugoslavia.

Israel has one and a half million arab citizens who live side by side with jews in peace and having full rights. Unlike in the palestinian territories next door where christians are being ethnically cleansed, down from 15% some years ago to 3% now and falling. Where chrisitians made up 70% of Bethlehem in 1970 they are now only 3%. The problem is not Israel, but of intolerance of the other in palestinian ruled areas, of different cultures and religions other than islam.

Neumann's justification of palestinians using terror against innocent Israeli citizens, of their using rockets and bombings on buses tells us all we need to know about him. He does not know what it is like to have to fear becoming one of the thousands of killed and injured from terror incidents. London sadly got a taste of what this is like in 7/7 and 21/7 but Canada has thankfully been spared this.

Palestinians should give up trying to destroy Israel, stop inciting against Israel with calls to kill jews "wherever they can be found" such as the Mufti of Jerusalem recently did at the Fatah anniversary and instead sit down and negotiate with Israel to form a lasting peace. Only with peace will a successful Palestine emerge, something which is in the interest of Israel as much as it is for palestinians.
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on 12 February 2013
This book should be retitled 'The Case Against Jews'; Neumann uses Israel as a platform to express his hatred towards the Jewish people. Some parts of this book are factually and historically incorrect and this book may give those who do not have extensive knowledge on the Israel-'Palestine' conflict false ideas and views.
Do not buy this book - it is both a waste of money, as well as misleading.
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on 15 January 2014
Before I read this garbage I knew little of Israel and the Palestinians and knew even less about the word Zionist...all I knew was it was a word which Hitler liked to use. I have now read this book (despite being physically sick four times) and have been inspired to do some investigations of my own. It turns out Israel is being bombed and subjected to rocket attacks almost every single day. I have done a lot of travelling...Argentina...Ireland...and I have met many Palestinians, and note they have all been made welcome when settling in those nations. Therefore I find it sad and tragic to see working class Israeli's being subjected to harrasment and death when they attempt to settle in the Holy Land. I have sought advice from Our Saviour, and I know the State of Israel is what Jesus would have wanted. Princess Diana must be spinning in her grave.
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