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5.0 out of 5 stars The book that the publishers wouldn't touch. Essential reading!, 2 April 2007
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This review is from: Zionism: v. 1: The Real Enemy of the Jews (Hardcover)
Alan Hart is a former BBC Panorama and ITN Middle East correspondent with a vast first-hand knowledge of the subject. He knew, and interviewed, many of the main players in the Israel-Palestine conflict on all sides (Golda Meir, Yasser Arafat and other PLO leaders, Moshe Dayan, Nasser, King Hussein of Jordan - the list is long). Yet no publisher, major or minor, dared to publish this book for fear of offending the powerful Zionist lobby whose knee-jerk reaction to any criticism is to fling out the charge of "anti-Semitism".

Thus, like T.E. Lawrence before him, Hart had to publish his book himself (the task almost bankrupted Lawrence). It would seem that "Zionism: the Real Enemy of the Jews" is a book that some powerful people obviously don't want you to read. That was reason enough for me to purchase a copy! And I am very glad I did.

Hart establishes that Zionism is a SECULAR phenomenon: a classic European colonial, political IDEOLOGY. Judaism is a religion. Thus, Zionism and Judaism are not the same thing, but opposites. And many of the European Zionists colonising Palestine were foreign nationals who had converted to Judaism in Europe with no historic links to Palestine. As a result, many of them are not even racially Semitic whereas Arabs are Semitic.

This two volume work is a monumental history of the Israel-Palestine conflict with unique insights into many of the happenings in this region and also in US and European politics. Its comprehensive scope is breathtaking. Hart is critical of the Zionists, but he is also scathingly critical of many Arab regimes and US and European politicians too. He quotes from many anti-Zionist Jews--including the more far-sighted members of Israeli Military Intelligence. An example is Jehoshafat Harkabi, the longest serving Director of Israeli Military Intelligence, who responded to Hart's earlier book, "Arafat: Terrorist or Peacemaker?", by writing a work of his own which was critical of Zionism's policy of seeking to impose its will on the Arabs by brute force.

It is its many-sided approach which makes Hart's book essential reading for anyone with an interest in Middle Eastern politics.

Hart documents the behind the scenes arm-twisting of the powerful, well-financed US Zionist political lobby since the 1940s. And he establishes that it actually succeeded in dictating US Middle Eastern policy during many presidential administrations--especially via the corrupt, pork-barrel politics of the Democratic Party.

Hart's style of writing is engaging and accessible--it is written in an entertainingly earthy, no-nonsense way--spiced with more than a dash of ridicule and scorn. Hart does not suffer fools gladly and he doesn't mince words either when it comes to exposing political folly, mendacity and corruption. He nevertheless comes across as deeply humane and fair-minded. The book is a masterpiece of even-handedness, humanity and compassion. He manages to produce a work that is both rigorous and substantiated, but is also a good read--almost like a novel. Hart's communication skills gained while serving as a broadcaster are evident here.

Hart recounts his own contribution to diplomatic efforts to solve the Israel-Palestine conflict with the support of some leading Jews e.g. Marcus Sieff of Marks and Spencers. It was an attempt to get Arafat and the Israelis talking directly to each other on the assumption that Shimon Peres would be elected to power. This initiative was sabotaged by the election of of ultra-hawk Menachem Begin. However, the Oslo agreement had its beginnings in this initiative.

One of Hart's many themes is that Israel has never at any point in its existence been at threat from the front-line Arab states. This was a myth generated by the Zionist propaganda machine to frighten Israelis and diaspora Jews into supporting Israel's adventures and aggressive expansionism. Hart establishes that from 1948 onwards Israel had the upper hand in terms of military hardware, air power and capability. It was from the beginning a well financed First World nation of European colonialists facing an essentially feudal Third World Arab nation. And some of these European Zionists carried with them some of the European racism towards Arabs. Hart refers to (US Jewish writer) Lenni Brenner's classic book: "Zionism in the Age of the Dictators" which documents the collaboration between Zionists and Hitler and Mussolini. And one of the most astonishing revelations of Hart's book is that Ben Gurion and the Zionist lobby opposed and sabotaged President's Trueman's proposal to allow all European Jewish Holocaust victims to be given sanctuary in the USA after World War 2. This was because Ben Gurion needed them for his colonial project in Palestine.

Even if you disagree with Hart's conclusions, it is worth buying the book for the wealth of unique information contained within these weighty volumes.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 4 Oct 2008 17:44:01 BDT
Fisher says:
Just a factual error Semitic is a term for a language group, as is Indo-Aryan, Sinetic, Ural-Altaic etc. has nothing to do with race. Ethiopians are largely negroid, Arabs are largely caucasiod but both speak Semitic languages!

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Dec 2013 11:29:12 GMT
Semitic is a word which has different meanings, depending on the context. Chambers Dictionary gives examples of Semitic languages - Assyrian, Aramaic, Hebrew, Phoenician, Arabic, Ethiopic etc. A Semite is a member of any of the peoples said to be descended from Shem, or speaking a Semitic language. Semitise is defined as to render Semitic in language, religion or otherwise. Not then a factual error.
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