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Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-semitism and the Abuse of History Paperback – 1 Apr 2008
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"His research is painstaking, his evidence persuasive and his conclusions devastating." - London Review of Books "A very solid, important and highly informative book. Norman Finkelstein provides extensive details and analysis, with considerable historical depth and expert research, of a very wide range of issues concerning Israel, the Palestinians, and the United States." - Noam Chomsky"
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"A very solid, important, and highly informative book. Norman Finkelstein provides extensive details and analysis, with considerable historical depth and expert research, of a very wide range of issues concerning Israel, the Palestinians, and the U.S."Noam Chomsky, author of Hegemony or Survival
"The most comprehensive, systematic, and well-documented work of its kind. It is one of the harshestrational and nonemotionaltexts about the daily practices of the occupation and colonization of the Palestinian territories by Israel, and it is an excellent demonstration of how and why the blind defenders of Israel, by basing their arguments on false facts and figures, actually bring more damage than gains to their cause."Baruch Kimmerling, George S. Wise Professor of Sociology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
"A brave and daring challenge, meticulously researched. Must reading for anyone committed to a just and enduring peace in the Middle East."Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now!
Beyond Chutzpah is a brilliantly illuminating study of the lengths to which some American Jews will go to present Israel in a favorable light. On display are all the sterling qualities for which Finkelstein has become famous: erudition, originality, spark, meticulous attention to detail, intellectual integrity, courage, and formidable forensic skills. Avi Shlaim, Professor of International Relations, Oxford University
The scholarship is simply superb. Finkelstein has clearly done his homework, and consulted and mastered a breathtaking range of material: primary sources and documents, scholarly works, reports old and new, correspondence with relevant individuals, and numerous other sources too. He has left no stone unturned. Mouin Rabbani, Contributing Editor, Middle East Report" --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top customer reviews
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.
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".