Customer Reviews


32 Reviews
5 star:
 (20)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (5)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


58 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Informative and Honest
"We realize that by criticizing Jewish fundamentalism we are criticizing a part of the past that we love. We wish that members of every human grouping would criticize their own past, even before criticizing others. This, we further believe, would lead to a better understanding between human groups and would be followed, perhaps, slowly and hesitantly, by better treatment...
Published on June 27, 2002 by James

versus
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Jewish Religious Intolerance In Israel.
_Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel_ by Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky is a problematic book which nonetheless provides some important insights into the political situations of ultra-religious Jews in Israel. For one thing there is the abuse of the term "fundamentalism". Fundamentalism properly understood refers to a group of Protestant Christians who believe in the...
Published on October 2, 2004 by New Age of Barbarism


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

58 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Informative and Honest, June 27, 2002
"We realize that by criticizing Jewish fundamentalism we are criticizing a part of the past that we love. We wish that members of every human grouping would criticize their own past, even before criticizing others. This, we further believe, would lead to a better understanding between human groups and would be followed, perhaps, slowly and hesitantly, by better treatment of minorities." -authors.
Far from being anti-Semitic, a label being thrown around carelessly these days which is most unfortunate. Shahak (himself a Jew) takes pains to separate fundamentalists from secular and traditional Jews. He further differentiates between groups under the fundamentalist influence. This book gives the reader a rare look of what happens in rabbinical circles and what is printed in Hebrew press that the rest of the world doesn't get to see. I wish MEMRI would be more altruistic and translate some of the Hebrew press. The major threat is that these groups pose a threat to Israel's democracy, and are major deterents to peace in the region. Without a doubt, Palestinian Muslim fundamentalists are equally to blame, however this book focuses (as the title indicates) solely on Jewish fundamentalism. A very eye-opening book and a bit frightening for lovers of peace and democracy. The complexity of Jewish society and culture is absolutely incredible. This book was clearly written for academics, NOT anti-Semites looking for "ammunition" with which to spew their hatred. I only wish there was a book written by Muslims that was as open and honest in their criticism of Islamic fundamentalists as this book is of Jewish fundamentalists. One certainly learns that broad generalizations of culture groups is wrong and non-representive. Shahak details the history and development of events leading up to Rabin's assasination, the massacre committed by Baruch Goldstein, and more. The book also details the rise of the Haredim in Israel and how political influence is won and lost in the Knesset. When an orthodox Jewish friend of mine told me how cruel Jews can be to other Jews, I had no idea how serious he was until I read this book. It is saddening to read. An excellent book recommended to those who are reading to learn of another perspective, not for those looking to increase their anti-Semitic hate. The information in this book could easily be taken out of context; the beauty of this book is that it provides everything IN context so that the reader understands the severity of the problem of fundamentalism without drawing the incorrect conclusion that Jews are somehow racist. Truly an incredible read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


89 of 105 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An eye-opener, October 12, 2000
By 
Phelps Gates (Chapel Hill, NC USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Fascinating insights into the groups which are generally over-simplified into the "ultra-Orthodox" (itself a serious misnomer, since "Orthodoxy" isn't the issue at all). The authors explain the differences between the various fundamentalist factions and sub-factions (Haredim, Shas, NRP, Kookists, Gush Emunim, etc., etc... and the black vs. knit skullcaps), who often put more energy into battling each other and other Jews than they do against the Palestinians. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the book is that it draws almost entirely on Israeli sources in Hebrew, rather than the self-censoring and often apologetic English-language press which attempts to put as good a light on things as possible, largely for the benefit of the diaspora. I was unaware, for example, of the extent of open rejoicing among fundamentalists (and many other Israelis) over the Patriarch's Cave massacre and the murder of Rabin; and the role of "magic amulets" in election campaigns. Alas, the book does not make one optimistic about the prospects for reaching peace through rational discussion.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


58 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars detail on jewish fundamentalism, March 13, 2000
By A Customer
I enjoyed this book. There is a tremendous amount of detail on the different Jewish fundamentalist political groups, the major one being Shas. Certain areas of the book interested me more than others. I felt the points on religiosity and fundamentalism were interesting. Another major point of my interest was the work on Baruch Goldstein. Shahak and Mezvinsky did an excellent job in substantiating that Baruch Goldstein was part of a larger Jewish fundamentalist movement that is accepted by Israel rather than a single crazy man.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest, but sobering depiction of Israeli politics, April 6, 2000
By A Customer
Shahak explains in vivid detail various strains of Jewish fundamentalism and their political ambitions. Having come from a religious background, he describes accurately the mindset which the ultra-orthodox have and their motivations.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Settler Ideology, January 30, 2004
By A Customer
Jewish fundamentalism is only rarely considered in the Western press--try looking up references to Gush Emunim, the settler's movement, in the NY Times index, to find how well its tenets have been explained to the American public. Try looking up "Jewish fundamentalism" and contrasting the number of results with "Islamic fundamentalism" to get some idea of the magnitude of the bias in the media on this topic, so crucial to understanding the wars of our time.
Shahak and Mezvinsky have done us a great service by providing a coherent and well researched explanation of the ideologies of the fundamentalists in Israel, and how they influence the policies of the state. The authors have, they explain, decided to use as their primary sources documents that are explicitly not written in English, and are therefore not only less accessible, but more honest than the sanitized works written for the gentiles.
Their contribution provides a powerful introduction to those who wish to gain some understanding of the real basis for the mess in the Middle East, which has finally dragged the US into a full scale war and occupation of Iraq.
The root cause of the conflict is that the fundamentalists, who are comprised of several different groups, mostly agree on their predestined occupation and settlement of the West Bank. They have managed to bring along the political world of the secularists, embodied in the Likud and Labor parties, who have provided the wherewithal to generate and support the settlements consistently over the years, whatever the stage of the "peace process" currently in vogue.
The book is clearly written, well organized, incredibly informative, and a must read for all Americans.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


41 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars #1 on the List for Contemporary World Political Culture, April 11, 2000
By 
Hal Womack (San Francisco, California, USA) - See all my reviews
Add Kevin MacDonald's CULTURE OF CRITIQUE [1998] to Israel Shahak's ["IS" ]latest work, result = a genuine binary intellectual weapon. Such items can be hot to handle. Opening at random my copy of "JFII", I find a reference to an execution in the Spanish city of Alicena nearly a millennium ago "dictated by the need to explain to all Jews that the duty of killing a Jewish informer is more important than other religious considerations...Maimonides said that the obligation to kill both informers and heretics is a tradition that is applied in all cities of the west." [p.140] As Gore Vidal has rightly suggested, IS qualifies through his three recent titles as a sage roughly on par with the prophet Isaiah. Since the clique which IS so learnedly describes has managed to achieve a decisive degree of influence over the Gore-Clinton regime, the American reader will find the remarks herein striking home to quite an intimate degree. IMHO the single most important sentence in JFII = "since the inception of Israel the secret slogan of Israeli politicians was 'we shall conquer first the security apparatus and then the Knesset and government." [p.93] The phrase "security apparatus" can be better translated into plain, old-fashioned English as "the secret police". Students of recent politics will want to review the Oklahoma City bombing, that moment of salvation for Mr.Clinton & the C.I.A, in the light of JFII. I would describe the author as the insider's insider who, to the great benefit of the species at large, has opened the door at the top of his tower in order to get an essential breath of the fresh air of truth, that vitally inflamatory oxygen of the human spirit. So how long will the Sulzbergers' New York TIMES take to get around to reviewing Shahak?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


27 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reference book. Very well written., January 19, 2001
The truth hurts. This is the truth. I have traveled in the described areas at length and have spoken to all political factions. It has always bothered me that it is politically incorrect to talk about the atrocities that the jews commit in the Middle East. This Book Is Long Overdue.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


18 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Guarded Praise, December 21, 2004
No religious community is monolithic. Many people who consider themselves devout dissent from certain aspects of their religions. One cannot assume that because some sage wrote something thousands of years ago that modern adherents necessarily act on those passages.

The failure to make the above point clear, especially in light of two thousand years of anti-Semitic persecution, is a serious flaw in an otherwise good book. The reader unfamiliar with Judaism might erroneously conclude that all observant Jews agree with the more extreme passages cited by Shahak and Mezvinsky but, in fact, many do not.

The authors have done an excellent job dissecting one part of the spectrum that is Judaism. Yes, ther are observant Jews who are racist, discriminatory, and advocate violence. I was reminded of that when talking to a formerly secular friend who has become observant. He returned home from a West Bank Yeshiva and openly laughed about settlers who shot Arabs guilty only of quarrying stone for their houses.

Still, these fanatics do not represent all of Judaism.

On a personal note, I have met both Shahak and Mezvinsky. The world has never seen a finer human being than the late Israel Shahak. His years of suffering in the Warsaw Ghetto and Bergen Belsen left him with a deep sensitivity for the oppressed. He was a secular saint.

Mezvinsky is another person altogether, but I really can't comment.

Jessica Ramer
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Jewish Religious Intolerance In Israel., October 2, 2004
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
_Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel_ by Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky is a problematic book which nonetheless provides some important insights into the political situations of ultra-religious Jews in Israel. For one thing there is the abuse of the term "fundamentalism". Fundamentalism properly understood refers to a group of Protestant Christians who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible which must be interpreted literally. Jews and Muslims do not refer to themselves as fundamentalists. Secondly, the book is rather poorly written and contains quite a bit of left wing goofiness, which distracts from an otherwise interesting subject matter. The issue of intolerance among religious Jews in Israel is particularly disturbing. This book details much of that level of intolerance, particularly for the Palestinian population living in the land of Israel, but also for Gentiles in general and fellow Jews deemed heretics. Perhaps the most famous case of persecution of heresy among religious Jews is that of the philosopher Baruch (Benedict, Latinized) Spinoza who was excommunicated for going against the rabbinate. The authors try to make the claim that similar occurrences have happened throughout history (see _Jewish History, Jewish Religion_ by Israel Shahak) and continue to happen in Israel dominated by religious forces. The authors spend a great deal of time discussing various political parties including the Haredim and Gush Emunim. The conflict between secular Jews and the orthodox and ultra-orthodox sects becomes apparent in such issues as the conscription of Israeli youth to the military, where those studying for the rabbinate do not have to participate and are supported by the state. An even more radical viewpoint is expressed by the followers of Rabbi Meir Kahane, who moved to Israel from New York. Kahane advocated a radical form of Jewish supremacism and racism, basing his chauvinistic views on the arrogant myth of "the chosen". One follower of Kahane took his views seriously and gunned down a group of Arabs praying in a mosque at the Tomb of the Patriarchs, Baruch Goldstein. The authors show how the Jewish response to the Goldstein rampage was less than honest, many outright supporting what Goldstein had done. The authors also discuss the murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was perceived as a moderate willing to concede lands to the Arabs by the Israeli "far right". Another disturbing issue involves religious idolatry of the Temple Mount, on which sits a mosque which many claim must be destroyed to bring about the Messiah. (An interesting discussion of this issue in full and how it relates to Christian evangelicals may be found in the book _The End of Days_ by Gershom Gorenberg.) In sum, this book brings up some disturbing issues about the political parties in the land of Israel and should not be dismissed as mere "anti-Semitism".
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


27 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Anti-Semitism?"....How about Jewish anti-Gentilism??, March 22, 2003
By 
zonaras (Jimbo's House of Pie) - See all my reviews
This book is divided into four parts after the preface and introduction: it discusses the ultra-orthodox Haredim, Gush Emunim and the Israeli National Religious Party (NRP), Baruch Goldstein, and Yigal Amir and the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin.
First of all, the record is set straight on how the Haredi Jews regard the texts of the Scriptures/Bible. Except for the Pentateuch, they are not studied or even known except within the context of the Talmudic passages and the Cabala. Judaism is not based on the Bible but rather on its skewed interpretations by past Rabbis.
The authors expose the phenomenon of Jewish fundamentalism, especially its messianic beliefs and thought. The horrors of Christian and Islamic fundamentalism are well documented in the mass media, but Jewish fundamentalism is ignored, as Shahak and Mezvinsky detail. The goal of these movements is the restoration of the past, ideal Jewish society, comparable to Eastern European Jewry in the 16th-19th centuries. Their basic doctrine is that Jews are superior to non-Jews, derived from the teachings of the Cabala as developed by Issac Luria. The foremost teacher of this doctrine in modern times is the spritual founder of Gush Emunim, Rabbi Kook, the Elder. The belief is that the messiah will come and establish Jewish rule over non-Jews through military force, followed by another messiah who will perform miracles and wonders. The authors point out that the Bible teaches that there will be only one messiah, while the Cabala says there will be the two messiahs, who are supposed to be specific individuals.
Rabbi Kook went further and taught his followers that the Gush Emunim party ('Block of the Faithful') is both of the messiahs and that the messianic passages refer to a collective group of people rather than individuals. They believe they are infallible; destined to make the State of Israel the Kingdom of Israel with a king and ruling Sanhedrin, and that Israel will become "heaven on earth," and "God's throne." Jewish fundamentalists look to the day when all of the churches are destroyed in Israel and all the Arab Palestinians uprooted form "Jewish land." Furthermore, they quote Biblical passages in order to justify a Jewish Middle Eastern empire that would dominate the Sinai, Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, Syria, parts of Saudi Arabia and Iraq. The Hebron massacre committed by Baruch Goldstein and assassin Yigal Amir based their actions on precepts taken from Jewish fundamentalist teaching, from such revered figures as Moses ben Maimon. The last chapter of the book is about how some of Judaism's more controversial teachings are intentionally ommited from English language sources because they cast an unfavorable light upon Israel, Jews, and Judaism that many Jews in political positions and influence would wish to avoid. This is the reason why Shahak and Mezvinsky devoted a whole chapter at the end on why they refused to provide a bibliography of English language sources on Judaism and the topics they brough to light. Magic, amulets and spells are very popular in Israel and books in these subjects often make it into the best-seller lists. There are a great number of fascinating topics described in this book that should shock readers of any backround, if they can get over their prejudices regarding this type of subject matter.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel (Pluto Middle Eastern Series)
Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel (Pluto Middle Eastern Series) by Israël Shahak (Hardcover - October 1, 1999)
$65.00 $61.75
Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we'll deliver when available.
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.