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Blaming the Victims: Spurious Scholarship and the Palestinian Question Paperback – September 17, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-1859843406 ISBN-10: 1859843409 Edition: Subsequent
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The aim of these exhaustive, detailed essays and book reviews is to highlight what Said, a professor at Columbia, calls in his introduction the "grotesque, almost parodistic garishness" of pro-Israeli, anti-Palestinian scholarship in the West, particularly in the U.S., where, he says, "it is as if even the narrative of Palestinian history is not tolerable." In one piece, Said examines the reception of Joan Peters's book, From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict over Palestine, which argues that most of the Arabs in Palestine in 1948 were recent arrivals from other parts of the Arab world: despite widespread enthusiasm in the U.S., the book was greeted with embarrassed disavowal in Israel and a critical thrashing for shoddy methodology in Britain. Hitchens, a columnist for the Nation, attempts to debunk the longstanding Israeli argument that Palestinians left their homes in 1948 because Arab governments made broadcasts urging them to do so, not because Israelis forced them out. Noam Chomsky maintains that in the 1980s, in the U.S., terrorism as applied to the Middle East "refers to terrorist acts by Arabs, but not by Jews, just as 'peace' means a settlement that honors the right of national self-determination of Jews, but not of Palestinians." Other contributors argue that there was an Israeli policy in 1948 of expulsion of Arab civilians, discuss the characteristics of Palestinian population over the centuries, and so on. This is a challenging book.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“The wide-ranging scope and demythologising structure of Blaming the Victims makes it especially relevant at the present time when the actions of the state of Israel seem to contradict received opinion as to its nature. The book provides a great quantity of information, analyses it convincingly and, through an impressive body of notes on primary and secondary literature, points the reader in the direction of further information.”—Middle East International

“These forcefully argued treatises will be as enlightening as they are disturbing for anyone with an interest in Middle East politics.”—ALA Booklist
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; Subsequent edition (September 13, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1859843409
  • ISBN-13: 978-1859843406
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #425,816 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 54 people found the following review helpful By David Kamper on May 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
This collection of essays draws from a wealth of scholars to support the existence of Palestine before and after the rise of Zionism. The authors therein never once resort to the name-calling tactics of Zionist supporters, but rather intelligently dissect the Zionist agenda and put it to shame as the bigoted movement it is.
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57 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Dan Willard on July 29, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book. Edward Said, in a collection of material, demolishes the scholarship of hate as practiced in Israel. That scholarship reached its absurd peak when Israelis started writing books to prove that Palestinians simply didn't exist and were never a majority in what is now Israel and occupied territories. What Said misses is that in the end, the stupidity and basic lie of the scholarship has only led to damage the Israeli cause internationally. In essence, its a self-destructive activity. The only consumers of it being Bible Belt Christians Conservatives in the rural and southern united states and at best the fringe of the right wing in Israel.

Do what they might, they can't undo the basic reality that the first census conducted after the creation of palestine showed a population of over 600,000 non-jews and 83,000 jews. And every other census before and after shows a stable and growing palestinian population over time. So what can they do when the basic facts are so firmly against their claims? They go to "scholarly works" like the travel accounts of Mark Twain to prove that the land was utterly empty until they arrived.

The true reason for all this scholarship in the end is to justify Israel's actions in expelling palestinians by force in 1948 during the war. Its well documented that in 1948 that even the villages the palestinians had lived in were erased with dynamite so that no trace of the homes of those who had lived in what is now Israel for centuries would remain.

The other purpose behind the scholarship is to prepare Israel mentally to accept the preferred solutions of the far right to the problem of palestinians. That solution is "transfer". Rounding them up in trucks and pushing them over the border into other countries.
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24 of 33 people found the following review helpful By J. ABDO on October 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent and must read on the conflict, but it is very academic, I should warn you. It reads like a textbook rather than human interest, so it is hard to get into, but it is worth the trouble.

This is a great explanation of the often neglected Palestinian point of view. The Israeli position is always well supported, understood and explained in our media and government; you will be a step ahead of the majority by reading this book since you will know both sides.

In a world where criticism of Israel = anti-Semitism, you have to do yourself a favor and read this book!
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I chose this rating because I felt this book should be read by anyone interested in politics or international affairs. It was factual and explained in detail how people have been deceived by the media and governments. The language is fairly heavy going but well worth struggling through and one can get the main meaning of the sentiments expressed in this book. This book is for anyone who wants to know the truth and feels that being part of a democracy means representation of the individual and not a plutocracy where the voice of the people is ignored. The Palestinians have endured much oppression because of ignorant policies and people should know the truth. Christopher Hitchens to my knowledge has never put his name to anything that is not true. World leaders should read this book.
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11 of 17 people found the following review helpful By J W Sachs on May 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
Edward Said, known for his ability to provide clarity to the heavily distorted pro-Israel perspective out of the U.S., presents solid arguments on the Israel-Palestine issue. Said and Hitchens expose unacademic "pop" critics such as Thomas Friedman as those who write to inflame prejudice and hatred against the Palestinians, rather than make any effort to provide well-researched information on the complexities of the issue. A must read for anyone who can accept the fact that the powerful Jewish influence on the U.S. media has resulted in a loss of some of its journalistic objectivity and integrity.
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60 of 94 people found the following review helpful By Srebrenica Forever on May 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
By way of introduction, the obvious cannot be overstressed here, namely that Israel is the occupier and therefore the aggressor while the Palestinians are the occupied and therefore the victims. Paradoxically, this fact is hardly ever even taken into consideration by western politicians, thus ignoring the fundamental element of the conflict. Needless to say, attempting to solve this conflict without differentiating between the aggressor (Israel) and the victimized (the Palestinians) will never lead to permanent peace. According to Said, understanding the root causes of the extremist movements in the Palestine is crucial. People turn to extreme measures when in extreme despair and agony. Surely, no one chooses to blow himself in the air when happy and contented with life. Instead, it is in situations in which people see no other way out but to resort to terrorist actions. Needless to say, understanding why terrorism exists does not mean that it is justifiable and morally acceptable. On the contrary, violence is never a solution to any problem. Instead, it can only further aggravate matters. Killing innocent people is always wrong and morally reprehensible. Said further claims that Israeli government mainly consists of extremists and fundamentalists. This is never mentioned in mainstream media; the sole focus is on Islamic fundamentalists. Western politicians never ask themselves the fundamental question: why does terrorism emerge? Said recognizes a number of factors, the most important of which are injustice, poverty, subjugation, inferiority and discrimination. Thus, terrorism is not a result of justice and equality. Israel commits terrorist actions every day and violates international law but no one condemns nor criticizes Israeli government. Instead, the U.S.Read more ›
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