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on 18 July 2017
The situation in Palestine cannot be understood or addressed today without an in-depth knowledge of the history of the development of Israel in this region. Max Blumenthal does this by being on the ground and talking to the people.
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on 26 December 2014
Max Blumenthal has done an incredible work. I have to say that I am really pleased with the rigour, with which the facts are reported (the book contains a detailed note section with references), and with the writing style. The book is highly readable, and I feel grateful to the author for dedicating so much time and work to writing such a fine piece. Such quality work is not something I come across so often.

For someone like me who is not so familiar with the situation in Israel/Palestine, this book is a must read. It offers a description of a situation that does not get as much media coverage as it probably should, especially given the dependence of Israel on foreign money. Blumenthal immersed himself inside the Israeli society, and thus allows us to see things from the perspective of the locals. This makes the book unique and pretty much unmissable. I also appreciated Blumenthal's historical approach in describing the roots of a conflict that unfortunately does not seem to have much chance to be resolved any time soon.

Overall, this book is the work of a great journalist, that deserves to be read. I would definitely recommend buying it.
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on 14 January 2016
This is one of the most heartbreaking yet necessary books to read if one is to understand the seemingly inexplicable explosion of violence in the Middle East. Max Blumenthal writes with great passion and extraordinary attention to detail. His unmasking of the chief war criminals will antagonise and enrage pro Israel supporters, but tyranny and injustice fears the truth and seeks to avoid it.
The book is surprisingly short however with much room given to notes and bibliography. Written in a series of essays and covering the major intifadas, it is post Oslo agreement and exposes the naked hypocrisy of several Israeli governments. He also sheds light on the right wing extremist groups in the Occupied Territories and in Israel proper. He writes about the mainstream figures in Israeli politics as well, exposing their shallowness and short sightedness, along with their inherent racism. He has travelled to Israel many times and has witnessed the ongoing human tragedy first hand. As an American Jew he is also a dual citizen and he outlines his rights as a citizen compared to an Israeli Arab citizen or a Palestinian in the Occupied Territories.
Blumenthal pulls no punches and reminds me of a quote by Israeli journalist Amira Hass, who also criticises the Israeli government's Occupation and Settlements policies. She says that the sacred task of journalists is to 'hold the centres of power to account.' It has cost her dearly in Israel and like Blumenthal she is largely marginalised by the mainstream press. Like Hass, he takes the view that the Occupation is essentially immoral and ultimately destructive to Israeli national character and moral fibre. It brutalises the oppressor and the oppressed and until the settlements are withdrawn and Palestine becomes a state of its own, or in the case of a one state solution with equal rights for all and one nation for two peoples, Israel will become like the albatross, flying in ever decreasing circles until it swallows itself up.
After reading the book I was depressed and angered by the things he's seen but it's necessary to read it if you want to unshackle yourself from the mythology of Israeli superiority and the mainstream view and walk a mile in another's shoes. As has been said before, the truth will set you free but first it will enrage you.
On closing, the book was published before the 51 day war on Gaza so there's nothing of that massacre in this book but he has written another book exclusively on that massacre. An extremely well written if depressing book.
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on 27 September 2014
In Israel's latest assault on Gaza more than 2000 Gazans were killed, over 500 of which were children. While Palestinian families were mourning their dead, flag-waving Israelis were chanting in the streets of Tel Aviv: "There is no school tomorrow in Gaza, because there are no children left. Ole, ole, ole."

The fanatical hatred emanating from that crowd was chilling and left the viewer wondering what is going on in Israel these days?

Max Blumenthal's book answers that question. It is divided into many short chapters and each chapter is like a piece of a jigsaw that looks at one specific aspect of Israeli and Palestinian life and society. From the arrival at Ben Gurion Airport, an experience in itself, Blumenthal takes us on a journey through Israel and the Occupied Territories. Along the way we meet a broad range of people from all walks of life.

In Haifa, for example, we encounter a young Palestinian woman, who had opened a café which had an easy-going bohemian atmosphere and became a favourite hangout with both, young Palestinians and Israelis. The café had one rule: "No uniforms allowed." However, the café's fate was sealed when one day an Israeli soldier in uniform with a gun slung over his shoulder walked in and demanded a drink.

Then there was the eighty-nine-year-old Holocaust survivor who rented rooms in his house to three Palestinian students. When in December 2010 a group of around 50 state-sanctioned Israeli rabbis issued a religious edict, urging Israelis not to rent to Arabs and other non-Jews, this old man became the target of hate messages, which were regularly pinned to his door, denouncing him as a traitor.

In a chapter on the West Bank, Blumenthal describes the protests and demonstrations against the separation wall. In order to get information on the protest leaders the Israeli army raids Palestinian homes in the middle of the night. They then arrest children from as young as nine years old at gunpoint, who are taken to a military prison and interrogated by the army or the Shin Bet, the internal security service, until they are ready to supply the required information. This can involve beatings, blindfolds and having a loaded gun pointed at them. According to a soldier who served in Hebron "they always cry, s*** in their pants."

At the end of the book a picture has emerged of an all powerful Israeli state which brutalises a virtually defenceless Palestinian population. The state and the media combined have whipped up a hysterically racist atmosphere in Israeli society. Internal dissenters are bullied, intimidated and threatened, and this even applies to Holocaust survivors. The international media are only reporting the tip of an iceberg. The EU and even more so the US government are looking the other way, pretending not to see or hear anything while supplying the Israeli military with the next batch of fighter jets, tanks and missiles.

Goliath is an important book and a must-read for anybody who wants to understand what's happening in Israel/Palestine today.
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on 23 February 2014
An excellent and informative book, in the main fairly balanced and calibrated. Should please every liberal Zionist and every Palestinian sympathiser.
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on 26 July 2014
I'm Jewish and have lived in Israel. Things were pretty bad when I lived there and, predictably for a state whose very basis is the racist assumption that Zionist Jews have a right (whether God-given or not) to dispossess Palestinians of their land and human rights, Israel has moved closer to fascism in the intervening years. This book tears away the Zionist propaganda and gives a clear description and analysis of what a monster it has become. I don't just detest Zionism for what it has done to Palestinians, but also for the moral and spiritual destruction it has wrought on Jewish communities. With Gaza currently suffering such horrific, inhuman bombardment, this book helps explain the cause.
On a recent visit to Palestine, the first since I left Israel many years ago, I was shocked and moved by the conditions of Palestinians. I saw how settlers ride horses at and throw stones at Palestinian children, how they throw bottles of urine down onto the narrow streets of Hebron from the houses they have stolen from their Arab owners, so that streets have to be protected with "roofs" of netting. I also met some of the tiny minority of brave Israeli Jews who are prepared to take enormous risks to try to get justice for Palestinians. But, most of all, I was struck by the fact that, as a Jewish visitor, I was welcomed into Palestinian homes, whether in towns, villages or refugee camps. I felt perfectly safe on my own walking around West Bank towns and even if I went into a shop in Jericho, Hebron or Bethlehem and had to resort to using Hebrew because they didn't understand English (making it clear, if they couldn't see from my appearance, that I am Jewish), the total strangers in the shop were helpful and glad that I had come to see and share their conditions. I was completely open with Palestinians and Israeli Jewish activists about being Jewish and about having lived in Israel. During that visit, the only hostility and agression I encountered was from Israeli Jews and I preferred not to tell them that I was also Jewish as I had no wish to identify with them in any way.
So, I know from my personal experience that the picture given by Max Blumenthal is devastatingly accurate.
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on 1 February 2015
Blumenthal paints a picture of contemporary Israel which exposes the inevitable moral depravity into which the Zionist settler state has become after seven decades of ethnic cleansing, war, occupation, oppression and apartheid. Taking advantage of the relative freedom to move around which his status as an American jew affords him, the book reads like a travelogue of despair, as he reports on his encounters with activists and politicians, oppressors and oppressed, whilst providing enlightening insights into the events and people which have shaped and defined the rogue state in recent years. Brilliantly written, I can guarantee that you will learn so much from this book - the mainstream media simply won't report much of what is covered here. A superb book by a very gifted and principled investigative journalist which I cannot recommend enough.
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on 15 December 2014
Outstanding Book - just essential reading for anybody wishing to understand the current trajectory in Israeli society and politics.
Very well researched, but also readable, this is a cold-eyed, fearless and ruthless analysis of a society in denial.
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on 12 December 2013
Firstly, this book is factually correct. Even its honest critics have conceded this. The only people claiming otherwise are propagandists.

Very good book if the Israel / Palestine conflict interests you and if it doesn't, you should read it and get interested.

The great thing about this book is that the short chapters deal with one subject at a time. Much of the reason the I/P conflict is ignored is due to the apparent complexities of the subject. I believe this is purposely made so by those parties who want to turn people off of the subject so that the Israeli occupation and disappearing of the Palestinians from their homeland continues. Blumenthal handles this extremely well by the use of short chapters dealing with single issues without allowing himself to become sidetracked.

The other great thing about this book is that the structure makes it instantly 'dippable'. For anyone who's read on this subject, one came become acutely bored by some commentators and historians. This is not the fault of the authors, more the subject. Again Blumenthal's style means you can pick it up and absorb small doses. Highly recommended.
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on 19 June 2014
An excellent book. The veil is not just opened, it is torn down. A must read for all Americans and Europeans.
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