602 internautes sur 699 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
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I've been following Israeli news and politics and visiting the region for ten years, so there was little in this book that was fundamentally new to me. But for anyone who didn't have time to keep up with the evolution of Israeli culture and politics over the last several years, this book is an excellent (and grimly entertaining) way to catch up.
An increasingly proudly racist segment of Israeli society has become mainstreamed and acceptable, saying things about Palestinians (or rather 'Arabs,' since they won't deign to use the word 'Palestinian') that would make any Jim Crow partisan cringe with shame, kicking Bedouin off of land they have lived on for generations and into ghettos/reservations simply because they are not Jewish, forming vigilante groups to keep Jewish women from dating Arab men, and marching provocatively through Muslim neighborhoods in shows of force, contempt, and intimidation.
And this is in Israel proper. In the Palestinian territories, the situation is even more dire. From "price tag" operations to rabbis who advocate the killing of non-Jewish children, it's a parallel universe, a parade of horrors of blind hatred and violence likened in many cases to "pogroms" even in the Israeli press.
When the vast majority of the Jewish Israeli public supported the grisly, pointless slaughter of Operation Cast Lead, it was truly a new low. The US government supports the Israeli government and its policies to the tune of $8 million every day, yet the American press tells us virtually nothing about these trends.
There are good people and great activists in Israel doing terrific and genuine work toward peace. But to understand what they are really up against -- not to mention what the Palestinians are up against -- this is an important book to read and an important set of realities to understand.
262 internautes sur 303 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
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From the moment I received this book I wasn't able to put it down. It's made up of short succinct chapters, each of which is a snapshot of Israeli society and politics, interwoven with deeply personal and human stories, historical background, and on the ground investigative journalism. While there are hundreds of books telling us about the how and the what of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this book talks about something that nobody touches upon in mainstream discourse, the WHY. Max Blumenthal steps deep into the belly of Israeli society and thoroughly documents the racism, fanaticism, religious fundamentalism, greed, violence, and hysteria that animates the state and its institutions. Once you understand these aspects of Israeli society, understanding the political, demographic and geographic dimensions of the conflict becomes a simple matter of logic.
I doubt that many of the one star reviewers actually read this book. This is evidenced by the fact that most of them use a single template of first attacking the author then trying to scare people away from buying the book (a really desperate tactic). But there are those that did read the book and I think their reviews are completely understandable. If your worldview necessitates a belief that Israel is inherently righteous, facts to the contrary are deeply disturbing. The cognitive dissonance of seeing these facts (full references are provided for everything in the book) and trying to square that with your faith in Israeli righteousness must be a nightmare.
318 internautes sur 371 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
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Contrary to what partisans may assume--and, for those who don't actually read this masterful book, will likely tell others in all-caps and insults--Max Blumenthal has entered the world of Israeli politics with eyes wide-opened, valuing rigorous and fair-minded reportage over judgement and aspersion. Mostly, he let's his subjects speak. And what they say is deeply disturbing.
Operating within the space carved out by liberal Zionists who also worry about the "demographic problem," large and growing segments of the Israeli right have become proto-fascist. I do not say this lightly. But from the slew of anti-democratic laws, street harassment of Arabs, immigrants, and dissidents, racist fear-mongering as a matter of routine political practice, and the repression of an already compliant media, this is the only rational conclusion one can draw.
The brilliance of "Goliath" is not that Blumenthal tells us this frightening conclusion; he vividly shows us.
I cannot more highly recommend this book.
207 internautes sur 250 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
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My best friend growing up was from Israel. Her argument for Zionism resonated with me deeply. Who can argue that Jews are not amongst the most persecuted and 'otherized' people on the planet? The strength of her argument fell to ruin upon my first trip to Israel in the late nineties.To not see apartheid in Israel is simply to not see Israel at all.
A large part of my education on this issue has been due to the unrelenting, truth telling of journalist Max Blumenthal. That education continues with the reading of Goliath. If you seek comfort in the lies of the Likud, and indeed the lies of our very own government- then this book is not for you. If your agenda is to support the ethnic cleansing of a people in the name of a 'Jews only' state - then this book is not for you.
If you wish to delve into the heart of darkness that shapes the pervasive nature of racism - read Max's book.
94 internautes sur 115 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
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There are two kinds of countries or societies or places to live. In the first kind, decent, fair, kind, and respectful treatment of every person takes precedent over anyone's preferences for how a culture changes or how much effort is expended trying to slow the change of a culture, or which cultures mix with each other, or which groups intermarry. In this first type of society -- admittedly a nonexistent ideal -- people identify with humanity and welcome any member of humanity into their group of associates, their neighborhood, and their family. Desire to keep some corner of the globe inhabited by people with a particular skin color or language isn't just slightly outweighed by diligent observance of individuals' rights. Instead, such sectarian or tribal desire doesn't exist. And its absence leaves room for concern over war, environmental destruction, hunger, poor healthcare, illiteracy, and all sorts of problems not involving the exclusion of some people from a group.
In the second kind of society, importance is placed on creating or maintaining a population that is exclusively or predominantly of a particular appearance or background, religion or ethnicity. Such a society strays, mildly or moderately or extremely, from democracy, as its demographic project conflicts with people's rights to immigrate, marry, practice or abandon religion, and speak and behave as they choose. Valuing some types of people over others leads toward anti-democratic positions and leaves a society open to easy manipulation through fear and prejudice, distracting energy away from real problems that might appear harder to solve. In extreme cases, this type of society becomes fascist. Hatred and violence become admirable. Lynchings and apartheid and Jim Crow and mass incarceration and sadistic punishment follow.
The nation of Israel claims to be both a democracy and a Jewish state. It can't be. Similarly, the United States cannot be a Christian nation or a white nation and a democracy. A poll in Israel in 2012 asked, "Israel is defined as both a Jewish and democratic state. Which is more important to you?" 34% said Jewish, while 22% said democratic, but 42% said that both were equally important. People in that 42% misunderstand the necessity to choose, as they no doubt do choose every day. The same poll asked, "Speakers should be prohibited from harshly criticizing the State of Israel in public ... ," and 20% agreed, while another 29% strongly agreed. Hmmm, is that the democracy or the Jewish state talking?
Max Blumenthal's new book, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel, is 400 pages of fascistic horrors, a dystopian vision of where the United States or most any other country could go and where Israel has gone. Of course, Israel uses World War II to justify its outrages, just as the United States uses World War II to justify its military presence in 177 other nations. The United States arms Israel and protects it from legal consequences for crimes. U.S. companies and individuals and universities and churches fund and take part in Israel's brutality. U.S. Congress members listen to Israeli war propaganda as attentively as do Knesset members. So, there are perhaps extra reasons for those of us in the U.S. to pay particular attention to Israel's fascistic tendencies.
And what do these consist of? Well, permanent war, permanent crisis, fear-mongering, racism, legal and popularly imposed segregation and harassment. False beliefs about past and current crimes of the Israeli military are so openly willful that Israel has a contest show on television for amateur propagandists. Crimes by soldiers or civilians go unpunished or lightly punished when the victims are non-Jews. These crimes include lynchings, assaults, torture, harassment, humiliation, eviction, home destruction, job discrimination, and constant traumatization. Soldiers always nearby. Drones always buzzing overhead. Artificial sewage called Skunk sprayed through open windows of homes. The star of David painted on homes and businesses destroyed to intimidate non-Jews. Crowds gathered on a hill to watch and cheer for the bombing of Gaza like Washingtonians picnicking in Manassas to watch a civil war slaughter. Israeli soldiers openly describing themselves as fascists. Trials with pre-determined outcomes. Incarceration of masses of people in concentration camps.
Blumenthal's portrait of Israel is a partial one to be sure, but a terrifying one nonetheless. He contrasts the relentless hatred and abuse he documents with brief moments of imagining something else. At a restaurant in Haifa, writes Blumenthal, "seated at a long table in Fatoush's outdoor garden, listening to a mélange of English, Arabic, and Hebrew amid a crowd of Palestinians, Jews, and internationals, it is sometimes possible to imagine the kind of place Israel could be if it ever managed to shed its settler-colonial armor."
That place is not a Jewish democracy or a white democracy or a European democracy. That place is a democracy, and a democracy is a place where you're happy for your son or daughter to get married because they're in love, not because of the ethnicity of their beloved.