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Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel's War Against the Palestinians Paperback – November 9, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Although much of the material collected here precedes Israel's recent military attack on a Gaza-bound international flotilla of embargo-breaking humanitarian aid, this succinct and eye-opening collection of recent interviews and essays from the renowned linguist and activist Chomsky (Hopes and Prospects) and prominent Israeli historian Pappé (The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine) gives essential context to the crisis. The reader will find Chomsky's consistent positions on everything from the origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the issue of a one- versus two-state settlement. Pappé adds vital and unexpected historical background, including a chapter on the deep American evangelical roots in the support of Zionism and the birth of modern Arab nationalism in Palestine. Pappé and Chomsky are not perfectly in synch on every point: Chomsky remains skeptical of an academic boycott of Israel, for instance, called for in the past by Pappé and others. But the fundamentals of the crisis--and its scale in humanitarian, moral and political terms--are clear, as well as clearly expressed, between them. This sober and unflinching analysis should be read and reckoned with by anyone concerned with practicable change in the long-suffering region. (Nov.) (c)
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About the Author

Noam Chomsky is widely regarded to be one of the foremost critics of US foreign policy in the world. He has published numerous groundbreaking books, articles, and essays on global politics, history, and linguistics. Among his recent books are the bestsellers Hegemony or Survival, recommended by Hugo Chavez in the United Nations, and Failed States. He is Institute Professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Ilan Pappe´is professor of history at the University of Exeter in the UK, where he is also co-director of the Exeter Center for Ethno-Political Studies, and director of the Palestine Studies Centre. He is author of the bestselling The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (Oneworld), A History of Modern Palestine (Cambridge), The Israel/Palestine Question (Routledge), and is a long time political activist.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Haymarket Books; Original edition (November 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608460975
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608460977
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #601,042 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 72 people found the following review helpful By William Podmore on November 29, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a brilliant collection of essays and interviews by Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappé, the well-known Israeli historian. Edited by Frank Barat, it comprises eight pieces: The fate of Palestine: an interview with Noam Chomsky; two essays by Ilan Pappé: Clusters of history: US involvement in the Palestine question, and State of denial: the Nakbah in Israeli history and today; `Exterminate all the brutes': Gaza 2009, by Chomsky; Blueprint for a one-state movement: a troubled history, by Pappé; The ghettoisation of Palestine: a dialogue with the two authors; The killing fields of Gaza 2004-2009, by Pappé; and A Middle East peace that could happen (but won't), by Chomsky.

In June 2008, Israel and Hamas signed a ceasefire agreement, which Israel broke when it sent forces into Gaza on 4 November, and again when it launched its full-scale invasion on 27 December. Israeli forces used US-made white phosphorus shells against civilians, a war crime. In January 2009, the President of the UN General Assembly called Israel's attack on Gaza genocide. Israel still imposes its vicious blockade of Gaza: an ongoing war crime.

Israel could defend itself better by ending its criminal actions in occupied territories and accepting the two-state solution urged by the vast majority of the world (and vetoed at the UN by the USA ever since 1976). The Arab League, Hamas, Iran, Hezbollah, the Palestinian National Council all back the two-state solution (i.e., recognising Israel's right to exist). Only the USA, Israel and a few Pacific island US dependencies oppose it.
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28 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Z. Cohen on December 10, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This work presents an enlightening combination of two of the most principled, informed, and perceptive voices on the Israel/Palestine conlict: Israeli historian Ilan Pappe and US linguist, dissident, and socal critic Noam Chomsky.

Gaza in Crisis contains a series of relatively short but dense and informative essays and interviews by one or both authors. I find their insights to be highly complementary, as Chomsky generally speaks of the conflict after 1967, while Pappe has conducted extensive research into the events leading up to the 1948 war, relying on the declassified Israeli military archives as well as Palestinian witness accounts.

This book is informative both to people relatively unfamiliar with the conflict and those with more knowledge. While sketching out a broad outline of major events between 1948 and the december 2008 Israel attack on Gaza, there are a few more focused essays presenting material I had no yet encountered in the author's other work. In particular, Pappe has an essay investigating 5 major trends in US politics and society that he identifies as most influential on US Israeli policy, which I found highly thought provoking. In general the authors document the profound government of Israel's profound disregard for human rights and its constant pursuit of expansion over security. The brutal conditions and murderous military attacks to which thousands of innocent people in the occupied territories have been subjected to for decades is discussed at length.

Other essays deal with Nakba denialism, analysis of the one/binational and two state solutions, and the evolution of Israeli policy and brutality in Gaza.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking to better understand this complex issue.
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Format: Paperback
‘Gaza in Crisis’ systematically tries to demonize one of the sides of a long and complex conflict. This alone suggests that it should be taken carefully.

1) It is most likely that the authors are manipulating facts. Since the beginning in fact, the authors state one of their main theses, give some information that supports it, and then proceed to repeat it countless times throughout the book. Then, in the last fifth of the text, the same thesis is repeated adding further information. I argue that this further information has the potential to put said thesis into question (more details and ‘spoilers’ in Annex I). This raises questions on the kind of ‘filter’ used in all of the other claims of the authors.

2) The authors often claim that one side of the conflict systematically filter and distort reality to support their ends. However, the authors themselves are doing exactly the same thing (cfr. Point 1). In such a clumsy way that the proofs of this doing are inside their own work. My brain is feeling insulted.

3) The authors strongly disagree with each other on the role of the US policy. If for the first the US is the master holding Israel’s leash, the other considers the US more or less like the muscular imbecile that follows the lead of the short evil guy (Annex II). It is obvious that no more than one of these interpretations can be correct.

4) I personally found many of the theses of the authors very difficult to support (Annex III)

To summarize: the book is biased, emotional, technically imprecise, inconsistent and hypocritical. It is admittedly better than sheer propaganda, but still bad.
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