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Israel and the Family of Nations: The Jewish Nation-State and Human Rights (Israeli History, Politics and Society) Paperback – September 10, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0415781374 ISBN-10: 041578137X Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"...Yakobson and Rubinstein have written a thoughtful and provocative study that sheds real light on Israel's approach to civic equality, in the context of the behavior of other democracies. The book will be a valuable addition to courses on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East politics, or liberal democratic theory and practice." -- H-Net Reviews (2010), Michael Galchinksy, Georgia State University

'...it is an important book, whose ideas deserve to be widely heard' - The Economist, 2008

'The book is not a traditional pro-Israel polemic in the sense that it does not extol Israeli behavior, but seeks to point out that, in its basic definition and goals, Israel is well within the norms of democratic practice. In Yakobson's words, while "every state is unique, Israel is not 'exceptional' in the negative sense. It is not an abnormal democracy."

The book includes chapters on Israel's establishment and the UN debates on partition in 1947-9, when the international community voted for a "Jewish state"; the views of the Zionist movement on the character of the future Jewish state and the rights of the Arab minority; international law, human and minority rights and their application in different democratic countries; religion and state in Western democracies; the relationship between nation-states and their national minorities; along with other issues that come up in the intellectual debate over Israel's legitimacy.

In dealing with the argument equating Zionism with colonialism - a favorite in both academia and Arab politics - the authors once again bring homegrown Israeli anti-Zionists into the ring. ' - The Jerusalem Post, 2008

'In a Sophisticated discussion of notions of citizenship, deeply informed by the new literature on multiculturalism, Yakobson and Rubinstein provide array of examples that belie Israel's exceptionalism' - SA Jewish Report, April 2009

'Israel and the Family of Nations is a timely and necessary book. It is scholarly but accessible and should provide a basis for intelligent debate about israel and for defending its institutions and foundations' - Seth J. Frantzman, Middle East Quarterly, Fall 2009

 

About the Author

Dr. Alexander Yacobson is a Senior lecturer in the history department of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.

Prof. Amnon Rubinstein, is currently Provost and Dean of the Radzyner School of Law at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzlia. He is a former Minister of Education and a regular contributor to Israseli Dailies.

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Product Details

  • Series: Israeli History, Politics and Society
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (September 10, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 041578137X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415781374
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #489,822 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Rajesh S. Raghavan on November 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I ordered this book from Amazon after reading a timely review in the 23 Oct 2008 issue of "The Economist": "Jewish and Democratic - Two Israeli Academics offer a robust and timely defense of the Zionist Idea". I have not been disappointed.

Ever since first learning about the Nazi Holocaust as a child in school, I have sympathized with the Jewish plight. However, for quite a long time--essentially from the 1980s onwards--I have also asked the question, "If it was Germans who murdered six million Jews, why should Arabs pay the penalty for the sins of European Christians?" Even after I have begun to read this book, this is still a difficult question to answer; however, it is no longer as difficult an answer for me to reach as it has been in the past. This is not a question which Yakobson and Rubinstein directly answer; but since their arguments help me to answer the question, this will be the context in which I review their work.

To state that perhaps a Jewish state should have been established in a portion of Germany after World War Two, ignores several facts. First, as of 1947, the British Mandate of Palestine--distinct from Transjordan, a separate entity after the end of the First World War--was already one-third Jewish. Second, over 95% of the Jews who were still "Displaced Persons" in Europe--primarily in camps in Germany, did not want to remain in Germany or in Europe. They wanted to emigrate to Palestine. Finally, this argument seems to suggest that were it not for the Nazi Shoah, there would have been no need for the State of Israel. However, this denies the national aspirations of the Jewish people.

Yakobson and Rubinstein squarely address the national aspirations of the Jewish people.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Seth J. Frantzman HALL OF FAME on November 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
It is one of the great shames of the modern world that there is still a question as to whether Israel has a right to exist in its present form or any form at all. The first twenty years of Israel's existence was, despite the relative insecurity of the country militarily, relatively free from this problem. Recent years have seen a rise in academic circles, student movements and a general cultural shift against the existence of Israel throughout the western world, particularly in Europe. But there has been a gap in the realm of an academic and more robust refutation of the accusations against Israel. Alexander Yakobson and Amnon Rubinstein's Israel and the Family of Nations is a brilliant attempt to fill that gap. The central idea behind Israel and the Family of Nations is not dramatically different than Dershowitz's attempt to defend Israel by providing a case by case examination of the accusations against her.

Yakobson and Rubinstein provide the readers with six chapters devoted methodologically to answering five questions or responding to five accusations: Can Israel be both Jewish and truly democratic? Is the Israeli Law of Return unique? Is the nexus between Israel and the Jewish diaspora an exceptional one? How can a nation-state be a state of all its citizens?

There are interesting stories, for instance why India rejected to the partition and why an Arab MK in Israel called Arab regimes racist for assaulting Jews. In terms of whether Zionism is colonialism the authors correctly note that the Zionist movement as a national movement was unique and that its relationship with the British government, rather than being an arm of that government, distinguishes it from other European colonial attempts.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By R. Doherty on May 18, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I got this book for my daughter whose work is about the Middle East and Human Rights. She liked the book.
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