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56 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I am ashamed of my own people.
Page 144: "Even after Krystallnacht on November 9, 1938, when Neville Chamberlain offered a refuge for Jewish children in England, Ben-Gurion confided that, given the choice between saving `all the Jewish children of Germany [and Austria] by sending them to England' and saving `only half of them by taking them to Palestine,' he would opt for the latter." This along with...
Published on January 3, 2009 by Charles S. Fisher

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2 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars He hates both Israel and America
This aged, former university professor should retire before he writes any more embarrassing books. This work is somewhat akin to his earlier books and articles--loopy and nasty. For those who do not know about him, he has attacked America as the single most dangerous perpetrator of terrorism in the world. (He stated this after the attacks on the World Trade Center.) I...
Published 4 months ago by SK


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56 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I am ashamed of my own people., January 3, 2009
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This review is from: Plowshares into Swords: From Zionism to Israel (Hardcover)
Page 144: "Even after Krystallnacht on November 9, 1938, when Neville Chamberlain offered a refuge for Jewish children in England, Ben-Gurion confided that, given the choice between saving `all the Jewish children of Germany [and Austria] by sending them to England' and saving `only half of them by taking them to Palestine,' he would opt for the latter." This along with the Zionist axiom that Palestine was "a land without people" for taking by the Jews, "a people without land," goes to the heart of why the Zionists have created so much misery in the Near East and have helped destabilize the world. It is inconceivable that in October of 2000, after both the UN General Assembly and Commission on Human Rights overwhelmingly criticized Israel for excessive use of force (1000 Palestinian deaths versus a few Israelis) following Palestinian riots in response to Sharon's symbolic arrogation of the Temple Mount, that the US House of Representative voted 365 to 30 denouncing the UN and blaming the Palestinians. We are living through that Looking Glass again.

Like Arno Mayer, I grew up on the lies the Zionists told me only to be awakened to the realities of the history of Zionist aggression and abuse by the Israeli revisionist historians. As I sit here and write the Israeli army is bombing woman and children, destroying universities and infrastructure in Gaza, claiming this as incidental collateral damage in their pursuit of a few terrorists who, after Israel had blockaded Gaza for months, hurled missiles into Israel which had little effect. The three or four hundred Palestinians currently being killed (and the count keeps rising) are not very many by the standard of Israel's bombing of the UN refugee camp in Lebanon or Sabra and Chatila, or the expulsions of 1948. As the conflict has become more open, Hamas' rockets are now a little more accurate. While the death of Israelis are to be genuinely mourned, Zionists are still trying to make Palestine a land without people in spite of the Palestinians refusal to go away.

Arno Mayer's preface and long prolegomena, which begin the book, lay out how he came to need to write about the history of Zionism. It reads like my own awakening---we are both Western European Jews (''' or yekes--assimilated Jews, regarded as arrogant snobs by Eastern European stettl Jews) who have lived the Western Enlightenment which the Zionists used to rationalize their land grab. He is a European historian at Princeton and I was a sociologist at Brandeis. Although Mayer's family escaped the Nazis and his father was an early secular Zionist it wasn't until Sharon's armed visit to the Temple of the Mount (the holiest Muslim sight in Jerusalem) that Mayer began to apply that same Enlightenment scholarly bent to explore the roots of Zionism. My German-American and Russian-Canadian parents met in Baghdad. I bought Israel bonds in Hebrew school in the late `40s. My childhood was steeped in a love/hate of Germany and idealization of Israel where relatives from Russia had found refuge. My father, as I did later, poured over Churchill's monumental history of WWII.

The story Mayer tells is basically that of the revisionist historians although he puts great emphasis on the warnings Buber and others made that dehumanizing the Palestinian Arabs would have terrible consequences. And Mayer doesn't recant as apparently some revisionist historians have, because surviving in Israel continuing to give lie to the ever increasingly dominant military-political and religious ideology, that the Palestinians are non-peoples who are not entitled to either the land they once lived in, political independence, their religious sites or their olive trees under which the bible asserts humans have the right to sit and not be made afraid, is just too difficult.

Arno Mayer has done a masterful (and very depressing) job of portraying Zionism's history, the dilemma of Jews in Europe, the Wedding of Zionism to European imperialism, the impact of the Holocaust, etc. He does not stint in showing the selfishness and self-defeating dishonesty of both the Palestinians and the Arab rulers of nearby countries. But the scales tip overwhelming in the direction of Zionist viciousness and historical falsehood. It is totally reasonable that the Arabs should not be made responsible for righting the wrong of European Judeocide. What Chamberlain offered for the children, the US and Western Europe never extended either before the war or after there was knowledge of the "Final Solution." We conveniently exported the responsibility for righting the wrong to the Arabs. I remember going through some historical papers at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton and coming across its director's discussion of which Jewish mathematicians to save before Dec. 7th. He had been known as an anti-Semite. It seemed to me he lacked enthusiasm for the saving Jews. I know that opening the floodgates either before or after the war might not have been politically feasible, but neither would the Zionists have sanctioned it. Better half dead than all saved outside of Canaan.

It is interesting how little of the perspective portrayed by Mayer is acknowledged by either US politicians or available to the public at large. The blurbs on the book jacket are from a Muslim, the London Times, and the Nation. The book is published by a radical press. Where are Princeton University Press, Pantheon, and Random House who published Mayer's earlier books? Has fear of the Zionist lobby gotten to them. Look how Jimmy Carter was pilloried for making the apt comparison of Israel's treatment of Palestinians to Apartheid or the calumny heaped upon the two academic authors who showed how much the Zionist lobby has influenced American foreign policy to the detriment of the US. Would a Nancy Pelosi, Hilary Clinton, or Barak Obama have the courage to say they learned something from this book which might lead them to be more even handed in US, Near East policy? Bill Clinton tried in a weak sort of way, but never confronted Israeli leadership with the most powerful lever the US has, its blind financial and military support. And the Bush regime: well they certainly left the world and the US much worse off they found it. One could hardly imagine a more destructive and self-destructive policy than Bush and company, abetted by the Democrats, have foisted on the Middle East. If Israel was threatened with withdrawal of US support, it is my guess that its military-politicians and religious fanatics would not back down. They would go it alone. But, at least, they would not have the resources of the US to use to continually brutalize the Palestinians and threaten their neighbors. In the end real US even-handedness might bring a more just accommodation. In the mean time, I weep while listening to the news and try to give a little succor to the Palestinian children who do not deserve the death and destruction which is raining down on them from F-16s. What is the solution? A bi-national state? But then Jewish identity, which has drifted far from the vision of its Enlightenment, social democratic, Zionist founders, could not be enforced. Open the gates of the US? We did it for the Vietnamese and Hmong Something has to give and the Palestinians have little left. It thus remains to Israel to find a way to live with those they dispossessed and the US to stop supporting their refusal to do so. Mayer shows how weak their excuses for not doing so are. This book should be required reading for any one who cares.
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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Americans Should Learn What This Book Has To Teach Us, January 26, 2009
By 
sandyt (Washington State, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Plowshares into Swords: From Zionism to Israel (Hardcover)
Arno Mayer's "Plowshares into Swords" makes a thorough case against the Zionist movement, from the 1890s to the present day. It should be required reading for all Americans, whose money, after all, continues to finance Israel's bombing of Gaza and Lebanon, as well as its continued settlement of the West Bank.

Like a prosecutor, Mayer lays out his case in detail, incident by incident, quote by quote. The reader comes away enlightened and convinced that Zionism's founders never intended to deal fairly with the Arabs of Palestine. They intended to displace them. Thus they never bothered to learn anything about them, let alone to try to engage them. Their idea was to implant a Western style nation-state in the Middle East, where such things were unknown.

But there was always an alternative. There were those in the Zionist movement who wanted to create in Palestine a spiritual-cultural center which would spark a renaissance of Judaism both there and in the diaspora, which would not threaten the Arabs. Mayer's heart is clearly with these "critical Zionists": philosopher Martin Buber, rabbi Judah Magnes, editor Ahad Haam, and others, who spent decades calling for a binational state built on mutual aid and understanding between Arab and Jew. These voices, ignored for decades, speak eloquently through his book. Perhaps because they took the Middle East seriously, their ideas were more appropriate to its history and environment, where linguistic and religious communities lived side-by-side without borders.

In the event, they were suppressed by David Ben-Gurion and the militant nationalists in the Zionist movement, and the State of Israel was built on bayonets rather than on understanding. The Arabs of Palestine are still paying for this. So are we all, to a much lesser extent. For example, consider the warning by Judah Magnes in the 1920s: to establish a Jewish state "against the will of the Arabs - within and outside Palestine - could not be achieved except by armed conflict, and to maintain a state thus engendered would require endless violence and warfare...to prevail, the Jews would have to prostrate themselves before the idols of economic imperialism and militarism." Sound familiar?

The history is detailed and competent, as one would expect from the author of "The Furies" and "Why Did the Heavens Not Darken?". In my opinion, Mayer does an outstanding job of combining diplomatic, social and military history.

Mayer provides an extensive bibliography but no footnotes. He explains at the beginning of the book that he left them out on purpose because the citations would be superfluous for experts and overwhelming to lay readers. I suggest he reconsider. It is quite frustrating read an inspiring quote from some sharp thinker almost lost to memory, and to have no idea where to find it.

As an American whose taxes go to fund the mayhem in the Middle East whether I like it or not, I think it is my responsibility to try to understand the history and the actors. If you are an American, it is your responsibility too. Mayer's book is an outstanding place to start.
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2 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars He hates both Israel and America, March 14, 2014
This review is from: Plowshares into Swords: From Zionism to Israel (Hardcover)
This aged, former university professor should retire before he writes any more embarrassing books. This work is somewhat akin to his earlier books and articles--loopy and nasty. For those who do not know about him, he has attacked America as the single most dangerous perpetrator of terrorism in the world. (He stated this after the attacks on the World Trade Center.) I find that people who hate the United States invariably hate Israel too since our values are so similar and both have stood up to the forces of aggression and barbarism.
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3 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anti-semitism or (just) Anti-Zionism? Nietzscean horizon forming and the death of the west, December 4, 2009
By 
Jeffrey Neuzil (rockford illinois) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Plowshares into Swords: From Zionism to Israel (Hardcover)
Arno J. Mayer has bequeathed to the modern world its central political problem: the relationship of the Jews to modernity; in this he stands firmly in a tradition that was originated in the work of Karl Marx who advocated the destruction of the Jewish Problem by the elimination of the Jewish religion; Dr Leo Strauss, in my opinion, sought to create the tensional elements in modernity--make no mistake about this, his project is emphatically political, not merely theoretical--which would explode, thereby allowing for a consideration in action of "a universal human problem" as he calls the theological-political-problem (see Heinrich Meier, "Leo Strauss and the Theolgical Political Problem" for the best analysis of this concept in Strauss). Elsewhere, I have sought to demonstrate the kinship and fellow-traveling of Mr. Strauss with comunisim, a political species of Heideggerian-Nietzscheanism (which Mayer is well aware of at least in the Zionist tradition), and, even--Heaven forefend--Bakunian anarchism.These are the elements that a devious Mr. Strauss cooked-up in his Wierd Sisters' pot (inhabitants of Lesbos): Double, double, toil and trouble.
But Strauss' work is subtle, possibly maliciously subtle (Einstein said that God was "subtle, not malicious," but his god died under the knives of Zionists, and from his Durkheim wounds, we are all bleeding). Mayer's work is also subtle, maybe malicious.
We have to ask ourselves what Strauss meant by his "statement" and his "re-statement" in "On Tyranny," (published in the year that president John Fitzgerald Kennedy was slain in Dallas Texas and re-issued in every prominent assassination year of the 1960's: the implication of this is that a world tyranny, if attained "by any means necessary," transforms the Jewish Question of freedom from persecution to a Universal Question of what is freedom from persecution to anyone in the modern, technological (Heidegger), garrison state, where all communications, on hypothesis, are monitored, and thus technological tyranny becomes the means of persecution in a "perpetual psychological war" (Contrast Kant (Perpetual Peace) and Marx's vision of, ultimate, cosmopolitan utopia with Strauss' Chicago School's (see Meier) Nietzschean orientation, which seeks "perpetual war of a psychological nature.).
In private research I am attempting to demonstrate that Dr. Strauss, Alexander Kojeve, Dr. Carl Schmidt, Dr. Hannah Arendt, Dr. Eric Voegelin, and--the Grand mufti--Dr. Martin Heidegger founded a world or Universal tyranny.
Now we are face-to-face with that tyranny, if it was founded as a Nietzschean life-giving horizon; I further assert that the University of Chicago's political science department in the inter-war years was laying the Solomonic architecture for this world tyranny by planning the foundation of the state of Israel; for Strauss said that in 1947 he completely changed his orientation; that was, not insignificantly, the year in which Martin Heidegger issued his "Letter on Humanism" in which he indicated that his philosophy is far indeed from any humanism, if it does not represent a monstrous inhumanism; this 1947 declaration of inhumanism coincided with the murder of Mohandas Gahndi of India whose death sparked a civil war in that country, and we can range over the globe in the years that this group of irresponsible intellectuals tampered with international, nay founded, international syndicalist political movements; it is not, in my opinion, a matter of indifference that in the years just after Strauss' death a number of right wing governments across the globe collapsed, the hegmonic politics suppoted by Strauss' "Gentlemen" class weakened when he died.
Mayer (not Meier) and I are in complete agreement about the imperial intentions of Israel, about its lack of concern for the settlement of the Arab question in any but militaristic terms, and Mayer profits his reader by showing that Brit Shalom and Martin Buber's advocacy of a free and equal state in which the Jew would lay with the Arab was swept aside in favor of the violent horizon-forming- poetics of Heidegger;in Strauss this violent poetics is decribed as the "Literary Character" of a writing, which is a writing in biology and eugenics, something the Jews practice, and, I submit, that Heidegger and Nietzsche (who in my opinion was authored by Strauss/Heidegger) also exhort their followers to practice: the magic library whose volumes are almost infinite: INGSOC; to confirm this hypothesis would require a stylometric analysis of Strauss' writings with those of Nietzsche/Plato in order to prove that there is a high degree of probability that Strauss and Heidegger as well as the others tampered with or authored the tradition of philosophy and political philosophy and the American founding or re-founding; my theses are being hammered on the Vatican wall) were the first to systamatize scientifically in the creation of what Strauss calls "Natural Right"or Aristotelian "natural slavery."
This is not all of the story, and we will now have to await the carrying out of the stylometric analysis, but we may have discovered the real Leo Strauss, and his thought has had revolutionary consequences. I hypothesize that in 1947 Strauss and the others were planning the foundation of the state of Israel, so the oil wealth could be secured, and a Nietzschean workless "Realm-of-freedom" could be established against a laboring "Realm-of-necessity"; so Nietzschean-Platonic communism is for the few, Marxian for the many.
But creating an economy of plenty was the goal, so the philosophic life could be pursued by some who utilize "warrior workers" to rebuff inquires into the foundations of American empire, which Israel is co-extensive with on my view.
You will notice that the theses I put forth do not accuse anyone directly of anything, but, rather, establish an interpretive hypothesis which I hope the world's best stylometrists, biologists, and physicists, to say nothing of philosophers of mind, will seek to prove; the eugenic thesis is well within the bounds of a scientific hypothesis, and I will now indicate what that entails:--
--My hypothesis is that the destruction of Nagasaki and Hiroshima were the anti-biblical acts of Zarathustra/Heidegger, and they allowed for a world wide shift in the intelligence spectrum, if radiation can be shown to alter intelligence levels in those who are exposed to it; we know it has mutagenic properties, and we can prove using demographic data from the 20th century that the shift occured in those regions where the greatest exposure to radiation occurred, if the thesis is sound. Mayer gets much right in his book; he is accused of anti-semitism, but he is, in fact, only guilty of anti-Zionism; perhaps there are, after all, guilty pleasures. For imperialism is brash and murderous; it destroys the sanctity of the mind and the body of its oppressed victims; nobody should apologize, except in the Socratic sense, for having opposed this imperialism, and historical revisionist theses should be tested scientifically against the best available evidence utilizing, as Aristotle argued in book one of "Nicomachean Ethica," (Spinoza/Aristotle), all of the sciences to analyze the problem. This is how academics earn their living--testing theses, not rejecting them out of hand.This is how academics earn their living--testing theses, not rejecting them out of hand. And the weak charge of "historical revisionism," lodged against Mr Mayer or myself is paltry when set against the rigorous science of our age, which, if these things are as I say, will demonstrate them to a high degree of probability. The wars that Nietzsche predicted in the 20th century, wars of great destruction, may, if his writings belong to the 20th century be ahead of us, not behind, and we should gaurd ourselves against the "cunning of History."The King James Bible (with book and chapter navigation Kindle 2)The Meaning of the Pentateuch: Revelation, Composition and InterpretationOn the Origin of Species: The Illustrated EditionNietzsche's Task: An Interpretation of Beyond Good and EvilFrancis Bacon: The Major Works (Oxford World's Classics)
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Plowshares into Swords: From Zionism to Israel
Plowshares into Swords: From Zionism to Israel by Arno J. Mayer (Hardcover - August 17, 2008)
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