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~Sophia~

Looking for book recommendation

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However, I do not understand why it is so obvious that he did not verify his sources.

The book in question and used as a source by him was From Time Immemorial by Joan Peters. Here is a six-part review of it from Capitalist Magazine - by someone who did the research to find that if Peter's data and claims were, in fact, valid.

Edited by ~Sophia~

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Had the book not mentioned Dershowitz at all and, instead, focused simply on spewing Finkelstein's anti-Israel propaganda, I daresay Dershowtiz would not have tried to stop its publishing.

What is your daresay based on?

He had to mention him because it was a response to his book. Mr. Dershowitz has an option today of releasing full text of his letters in order to show that he only sought to ensure (as he claims) that Beyond Chutzpah did not include maliciously false personal attacks instead of trying to stop the publication of the entire book due to it's content. He has yet to do so. I don't find it insignificant.

All of this is enough for me to pass. Thanks. Like I said there are other options.

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What is anti-Semitic is to single out Israel for criticism, especially in light of the far worse human rights records of the other countries of the Levant, including the Palestinians themselves.

Properly, actions are judged by a standard of an objective moral code of ethics and not against the actions of others. Each is to be judged separately.

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What is your daresay based on?

The fact that he hasn't tried to prevent any other of the plethora of anti-Israel books out there.

He had to mention him because it was a response to his book. Mr. Dershowitz has an option today of releasing full text of his letters in order to show that he only sought to ensure (as he claims) that Beyond Chutzpah did not include maliciously false personal attacks instead of trying to stop the publication of the entire book due to it's content. He has yet to do so. I don't find it insignificant.

Sure, he needed to mention Dershowitz in a response to his book. He can do that by contesting his conclusions or his methods. You can disagree with someone politically without accusing them of dishonesty.

And are you insinuating that his letters said something like "please use the law to prevent the publishing of this book because I disagree with his conclusions?" As a highly-respected law professor, he would never be stupid enough to think that something like that would get him anywhere.

All of this is enough for me to pass. Thanks. Like I said there are other options.

Okay, fair enough. But why make your other option Norm Finkelstein? I don't, for a second, think you have made much of a case against Dershowitz. But, if you have, then the case against Finkelstein is at least as strong. Do you really deny that there is a strong case, out of this whole affair, that Finkelstein engaged in dishonesty? At the very least, the fact that the man traveled to Lebanon to provide encouragement to the leader of Hizballah--that mother of all Islamic terror groups--should give you pause to wonder if he's really a good choice.

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Properly, actions are judged by a standard of an objective moral code of ethics and not against the actions of others. Each is to be judged separately.

No disagreement here. But the Israeli-Palestinian conflict involves all of the nations in the Levant. Focusing in on Israel while ignoring human rights abuses of the others necessarily leaves out critical context that has the potential to drastically alter the moral issues involved. Context is everything in this situation.

Next time you see a picture of some crying Palestinian child being used as evidence of Israel's atrocities, demand to know what the context around the situation is. Maybe, as in the case of Mohammad al-Dura, he was actually shot to death by Palestinians, while a fire-fight involving Israelis raged nearby. In that situation, it was an intentional trapping of a Palestinian boy and his father, so that the video-tape could be used as anti-Israeli propaganda.

Allow me to briefly describe a presentation I used in grad school...imagine this being done in powerpoint with diagrams and everything:

Imagine there are people sitting on a beach. They don't seem to be doing anyone any harm...just sitting there, talking to each other, maybe smoking cigarettes. Then, out of nowhere, boats containing thousands upon thousands of men land on the beach and proceed to slaughter everyone they find there. Most people, when hearing this story, will instinctively side with the people on the beach.

I probably don't have to tell you where I'm going with this, but I will anyway. After this part of the presentation, I revealed a few more details. Namely that the "people on the beach" had enslaved half of Europe and started a war that ultimately resulted in the deaths of 60 million people. Context is everything.

This is exactly what Norm Finkelstein and many of his ilk do. Criticizing Israel is fine...even necessary. But placing all of the blame on Israel, as Finkelstein does, is the equivalent of condeming the Allies for slaughtering the Germans on D-Day. To drop the context of the surrounding political situation is anti-Semitic, because it is a vapid attempt to place all of the moral blame on Israel, when the reality is far more complicated.

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For those interested, Alan Dershowitz expresses his views on the smear tactics of Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein and Alexander Cockburn directed towards him in particular and Israel supporters in general here.

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But why make your other option Norm Finkelstein?

Curiosity. Also, the book has been published by one of the leading academic publishers. Due to this controversy - it went through scrupulous review process. Instead of the typical one or two it was sent to six external reviewers. Due to the potential threat of a lawsuit it was subjected to rigorous fact checking and vetted by lawers in both Britain and US.

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Context is everything.

I have said as much in one of my previous posts. I have observed context dropping on both sides. That is why I have asked for objective sources as I noticed their scarcity.

anti-Semitic

If I criticize job done by my dentist it does not mean that I am hostile to all dentists, including retired dentists out there. And if I am a dentist myself - such claim becomes even more rediculous.

Edited by ~Sophia~

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A few more book suggestions for Sophia, none of which I have read (yet):

Pro-Israel:

The Shackled Warrior by Caroline Glick. Although I have not read it yet, this one is on my longer "to read" list. The author is a syndicated columnist, a senior foreign policy analyst and was an assistant foreign policy advisor to then Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. This book should be good!

Hamas vs. Fatah: The Struggle for Palestine by Jonathan Schanzer. I am eagerly awaiting the release of this book because Daniel Pipes is a contributing author and has written the foreword.

Anti-Israel:

The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. This one is doing really well in bookstores and is receiving very good reviews on Amazon.com. It has caught the attention of many pro-Israel writers such as Daniel Pipes, Caroline Glick and Alan Dershowitz, so it is probably an important representative source from the anti-Israel library.

Palestine: Peace not Apartheid by Jimmy Carter. I would never read this myself, but it might be of interest to you given your stated purpose. I am not sure how scholarly this book is, if at all.

I hope that this helps!

Edited by DarkWaters

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I hope that this helps!

Yes. Thanks!

I have herd that From Beirut to Jerusalem and Longitudes and Attitudes by Thomas Friedman are good, fair/unbiased selections. Can anyone comment?

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I have herd that From Beirut to Jerusalem and Longitudes and Attitudes by Thomas Friedman are good, fair/unbiased selections. Can anyone comment?

Although I have not read either of these books, I used to be an avid fan of Thomas Friedman's op-ed columns in the New York Times*. In general, I view him as a journalist who makes honest, non-inflammatory and non-partisan attempts to explore serious issues. I think Thomas Friedman especially strives to be objective on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

To my understanding, From Beirut to Jerusalem documents Friedman's trips to the Middle East as a journalist investigating the Israel conflicts against the PLO in Lebanon in the early 1980s. This book is supposed to be written in an entertaining, but serious, manner and has won much recognition. Although I think this work largely focuses on the more recent Israeli-Palestinian developments at the time in which it was written, it should still be informative on the different attitudes of the various individuals on the ground. In this context, I expect the book should be very valuable.

This book should also be valuable as a historical reflection. It is my understanding that Thomas Friedman started out as being very pro-Israeli at the beginning of his journey but concluded from his experiences that a more diplomatic solution is urgently needed. Since the book has been written, many diplomatic approaches have been embraced. Most notably, the Oslo Peace Accords in 1993 and the Barak-Clinton Peace proposal in 2000. That being said, I think it would be interesting to glean Thomas Friedman's opinions for diplomacy that he expects should work, and the reality of what actually transpired over the 20+ years that followed the book.

Given your stated purposes, From Beirut to Jerusalem might be a very good book for you to read.

Longitudes and Attitudes is just supposed to be a collection of Thomas Friedman's op-ed columns before and after the September 11th attacks. I do not think reading this is the most focused choice for a crash-course on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

*As a side note, I lost interest after he spent week after week discussing how the U.S. needs to impose more taxes to combat global warming (unfortunately he really bought into the hysteria) and to end our Middle Eastern oil addiction. Not that these were entirely devoid of value; I just did not find his articles on these topics worth reading.

Edited by DarkWaters

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I recommend Princeton academic Bernard Lewis, as a generally good pro-Israel commentator

Although I am not familiar with his work concerning Israel, as a historian he seems to be of the "ideas are not important" type. I read his The Middle East, which is supposed to be a comprehensive overview of the history of the Middle East for the past 1,000 years or so. He really seemed to forgo discussion of broad philosophic trends to focus on a fusillade of minute details. Although his documentation of said details was truly impressive, I found that the book was not that enjoyable to read at all.

According to several well-written Amazon.com reviews of many of his other works, this seems to be a consistent writing style of Bernard Lewis. Moreover, with regards to how the Middle East went from the flourishing intellectual society with advances in science, medicine, art, philosophy and the like to its modern medieval state, Bernard Lewis seems to attribute this to a combination of military defeats, poor decisions in trade agreements and overconfidence of eternal superiority over the West. He does not focus on how al-Ghazali, who is essentially the anti-Thomas Aquinas, convinced the former reason-loving Islamic world that faith and reason cannot coexist and therefore reason must be rejected in all forms. One reviewer even indicates that Bernard Lewis that the downfall of the Middle East had nothing to do with Islam. However, I am not sure how this claim of the reviewer can be reconciled with the thesis of Bernard Lewis' book The Crisis of Islam. Perhaps Bernard Lewis meant that there is no problem with moderate Islam but radical Islam is a problem.

I suppose Bernard Lewis' books might be of value for their encyclopedic amount of facts and as a counterpoint, in the specific context of Middle Eastern history, to the view that ideas drive history.

Edited by DarkWaters

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Although I have not read either of these books, I used to be an avid fan of Thomas Friedman's op-ed columns in the New York Times*. In general, I view him as a journalist who makes honest, non-inflammatory and non-partisan attempts to explore serious issues. I think Thomas Friedman especially strives to be objective on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

I always get a kick out of Friedman predicting that the future of Iraq will be determined in the next six months. Trouble is, this critical six month period keeps getting bumped back every time Friedman appears on TV: Tom Friedman's Flexible Deadlines

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