DESCRIPTION: Most of the literature on the Middle East is so distorted in favor of Israel that it bears virtually no relationship to the truth. Anyone who wants the truth must dig through daunting works by people like Chomsky, Lilienthal, Said and a handful of other scholarly writers. But when it comes to books written in plain English for regular people there is virtually nothing, just a huge gap. ARABS & ISRAEL FOR BEGINNERS, part of the 30-year running "Beginners Series," was written to fill that gap. The very identity of the series (which could be described in a word as "anti-footnote") is to communicate complex subjects with clarity and wit so that regular people can understand them. It is a concept perfectly suited to Democracy, especially when it is as painstakingly researched as this book.
In the simplest, most general terms the authors sources for ARABS & ISRAEL were as follows: 1) The sections on Early (pre-Israel) Palestine are primarily from "Encyclopedia Britannica" under the heading of "Palestine." An interesting secondary source for Early Middle Eastern History is Larry Gornick's "Cartoon History of the Universe," amazingly accurate for all of its humor. 2) A major source on the creation of modern Israel is Noam Chomsky's "The Fateful Triangle," which documents everything of importance up to and including Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon. 3) The details of Israel's invasion are from "Israel's Lebanon War," written by Israeli reporters Schiff & Ya'ari, and pre-approved by the Israeli Army. 4) "Taking Sides," an astonishing book by Stephen Green, covers the period from pre-Israel through the 1967 Six Day War by using only recently declassified U.S. State Dept. documents. 5) "While Six Million Died" by Arthur Morse is a prime source for Holocaust information. 6) "A Concise History of the Middle East" by Arthur Goldschmidt is the source for much of the info from Muhammad to the end of the 19th century.
Since it was the authors goal to learn the real truth (not one sides version of it), he never settled for only one source on anything. If he couldnt corroborate it he didnt use it. In virtually every case, the author used Israeli or Jewish sources (including Israeli newspapers) to "prove" the Arab side of the story; or irrefutably "white bread" sources (like "Britannica") that, if they bent the truth, would NOT bend it to favor the Arabs; or official documents available to anyone (Wilson's King Crane Commission Report; U.S. State Dept. documents uncovered by Stephen Green; facts [population, etc.] underlying the UN's 1947 partition of Palestine, etc.).
ARABS & ISRAEL FOR BEGINNERS tells the plain truth in plain English with a sense of humor! In the words of John Mahoney, Executive Director of Americans for Middle East Understanding: "Take the research of Noam Chomsky, enliven it with skillful drawings, then trace 12,000 years of turbulent history with the irreverence of Saturday Night Live, and you have Ron Davids ARABS & ISRAEL FOR BEGINNERS."