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The Case Against Israel Paperback – February 1, 2005

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About the Author

Born 1946, the son of German Jewish refugees working for the US State Department.   Graduated from Columbia University, followed by a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Toronto.    He teaches moral and political philosophy at a Canadian university.   He has written What's Left?, a critique of sixties radicalism, The Rule Of Law: Politicizing Ethics and numerous articles relating to the Israel/Palestine conflict. 


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: CounterPunch / AK Press; 1st edition (February 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904859461
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904859468
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #854,133 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

157 of 191 people found the following review helpful By Gordon C. Duus on January 14, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I always considered myself pro-Israel. But I struggled to see how the West Bank and Gaza settlements could be considered fair to the Palestinians. When I raised the issue with my pro-Israel friends, I was surprised that they were so angry at my even bringing it up. I also found it peculiar that they had so many arguments to justify the settlements, none of which I found persuasive. As I questioned their responses and pointed out how one-sided they were, completely ignoring what I thought were legitimate Palestinian positions, they practically accused me of anti-Semitism. I could not understand why an open discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of each side's positions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would make me anti-Semitic. I found it interesting that they essentially refused to answer when asked what they would do if they were Palestinian.

Then it dawned on me. The presentation of this issue in the American media and throughout our society is so one-sided and imbalanced that any attempt at a balanced and reasoned analysis appears pro-Palestinian. So I sought out a book on the issue which went through all of the issues my friends had raised in support of Israel to see how they held up to a more informed scrutiny than my own. This book provided just what I was looking for.

The author, Michael Neumann, is a Jewish professor of philosophy at Trent University in Ontario, Canada. After a thoughtful and fair discussion of each side's positions, his ultimate verdict is that "Israel is the illegitiate child of ethnic nationalism. The inhabitants of Palestine had every reason to oppose its establishment by any means necessary.
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91 of 117 people found the following review helpful By R. Michael Neumann on March 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
I wasn't hoping my book would win me a Mr. Congeniality award, and I won't complain about the obviously hostile reviews. But I do complain about the reviewer who accuses me of inconsistency ('Inconsistent'). Because he seems reasonable and moderate, someone might actually believe his wild claims.

(...)I by no means adopt a fascist definition of the state; I adopt a definition from the decidedly unfascistic Lawrence Krader, Max Weber and Robert Nozick, one which is quite standard among political theorists.

It is entirely false that I claim for the Palestinians a right of self-determination; I merely claim for them a right of self-defense which I explicitly say is available to everyone, including Jews.

Do I "forcefully argue that Palestinians have a right to self determination because they are a separate people"? I say: "...before the Zionists came, there were a bunch of people who lived in the area. Whether they were called Palestinians, whether the area was called Palestine, whether the people in this area considered themselves a people, Palestinian or otherwise, are all questions without the slightest importance when assessing Zionism." And, 'many pages' on, when I 'argue against the Jordanian option for the Palestinians', I say "Nor does any of this have anything to do with whether the Palestinians are in some cultural or anthropological sense a `people'."

(...) I leave it to others to explain how my book can be both "a consistent summary of Neumann's writings" and 'inconsistent'.
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72 of 94 people found the following review helpful By James Generic on April 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
A huge issue in our times and our world has been the injustice of an the Palestinians and Israelis. It is not an easy issue, either, in America, where there is a large Jewish population. Many Jewish radicals come from families who whole-heartily support Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and are used to being named as self-hating Jews. They are often torn between their own experience of growing up in a predominantly Christian nation as well as being apart of a people who have been persecuted mightily throughout the world, and that experience being used by Israel to justify their imperialist activities in the Middle East. Indeed, American Jews have been known to unquestionably support the actions of the Israeli government even more than Israelis themselves, who are more torn into different viewpoints. This is the experience this book, "The Case Against Israel", was written from, as the author, Michael Neumann, is a Jewish professor, who in the introduction states he has never been incredibly pro-Palestinian, teaching Philosophy at Trent University in Ontario, Canada (close enough to America.)

It is also a touchy subject, because one certainly does not want to be accused of anti-Semitism as a non-Jew. I am not Jewish, making it difficult for me to get involved in this discussion without being shut-down as simply "not understanding the plight of the Jews" as has been said to me. The book, however, is a step-by step logical and moral counter to the arguments of Zionism and the government of Israel. It proceeds in a very calm but very encompassing style.
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