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Exploding Middle East Myths: 15 Years of Fighting Zionist Propaganda Paperback – May 25, 2011
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For the last 15 years, journalist Greg Felton has researched and commented on the Middle East. Few can match his knowledge and courage when writing about the Palestinian confrontation with "the only democracy in the Middle East".
Felton's first book "The Host and the Parasite" exposed Israel's dangerous influence over U.S. foreign policy. He has now published "Exploding Middle East Myths; 15 Years of Fighting Zionist Propaganda" and this collection of his columns fully lives up to its title. In it Felton marshals the facts about Israel and presents them in the context of international law.
In his earliest columns, Felton clearly believes that Israel wants peace and reconciliation with its neighbors. Writing in 1995, eight days after the assassination of Yitzak Rabin, he optimistically states that "The movement toward peace survived Sadat's assassination; it will survive Rabin's.¨ (p. 5) By 1998, however, he sees American intervention as the only way to end Israel's apartheid-style oppression of the Palestinians (p. 9). By 2010 he reaches the conclusion that "The greatest effect of the Cast Lead massacre [Israel's assault on Gaza] and the murders aboard the aid ship Mavi Marmara [Israel's attack on the aid flotilla to Gaza] has been the confirmation of Israel as a criminal state.¨ (p. 82) A shocking assertion, but Felton repeatedly proves his case.
Felton has grouped the essays in this book under five main headings:
- Zionism and History - the origins and evolution of the Zionist ideology.
- Palestine and Beyond - Israeli aggression in Palestine and Lebanon, and Israeli influence over American policies and intervention in the Middle East.
- Hasbarats and Quislings - Israeli propaganda ("hasbara") and the willingness of North American media and governments to parrot it.
- Distraction and Disinformation - Hollywood's massive pro-Israel bias. I particularly enjoyed two of these essays: Felton's scholarly demolition of the movie "300", in which he demonstrates that the film is propaganda for a war against Iran (p. 138); and his scathing satire "Oscar Preview With Lance Boyle" (p. 146) which proposes an Oscar award for best pro-Israel propaganda film. Kudos to Felton for selecting Quentin Tarantino's contemptible "Inglorious Bastards" as a recipient of the "Leni Riefenstahl Award¨.
- Censorship and Intimidation - Zionist efforts to silence all criticism of Israel.
Felton has an astonishing breadth of knowledge of his subject, frequently citing sources other journalists either can't or won't use. These include Israeli news stories about Israeli oppression of the Palestinians, reports from leading human rights organizations, historical documents, and documents of international law. All of this makes "Exploding Middle East Myths" a valuable source of information and insight. The book is also highly entertaining, thanks in no small part to Felton's satires, such as the above-mentioned "Oscar Preview¨ and his spoof address by Ban Ki-Moon to the U.N. explaining why Israel must be expelled from that organization. (p. 55) These essays bring to mind the moral outrage and mordant wit of Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal".
"Exploding Middle East Myths" is an important work. It deserves to be widely read and carefully considered.
Let’s begin with the part on Sadat. While it’s true that the great peacemaker was killed by his own soldiers, it’s not entirely correct to call it Muslims killing a Muslim. Sadat was no religious at all; he was a follower of the Ba’ath philosophy, which placed socialism above religion. Its founder, Michel Aflaq, happened to be a Christian. The soldiers who killed Sadat were Muslims, but religion had nothing to do with it. King Abdullah was killed by Arabs because he wanted peace with Israel, but the Arabs who killed him were from a rival tribe. Muslim Arabs were involved, but it wasn’t about Islam.
Another fact that author Greg Felton gets wrong is the (still believed) myth of the Khazars. He believes the unlikely story that king Bulan forcibly converted his entire tribe of Tatars to Judaism, when there is almost no record of it (except for the Kuzari, which was written centuries after the fact) and Jewish Rabbis do not go looking for converts. He says that Askenazi Jews are descended from the Khazars, and I can promise you, that is not true at all. The ancestors of the Ashkenazim lived in the Rhine Valley and were driven into Eastern Europe after the Black Death. The culture of Ashkenazi Jews is completely different from the Tatar-speaking Jews of the Black Sea coast.
More bizarre and questionable arguments follow. According to Felton, the USA didn’t accept Jewish refugees from Germany because the Zionists prevented it. Historians would say that FDR wouldn’t let them in because it would’ve hurt the New Deal he was pushing, but why argue, Felton’s entitled to his opinions. He describes Israel as a parasite, which contradicts his own argument that the Arab armies were a mess. Every military magazine I ever read blamed Israel’s winnings on the incompetent playboy officers of the Arab armies, but once again, why try to convince this guy?
Greg Felton bills himself as a journalist, but it’s not clear if he writes for any publications other than his own. No wonder he had to self-publish this kooky conspiracy book, full of one-sided arguments and obscure, distorted “evidence.” Halfway through, I was certain he’d accuse Israel of assassinating JFK or harboring extraterrestrial invaders, but who knows? As for the accusations that he’s an anti-Semite, I say they’re true. His website is full of badly-doctored photos parodying the Rabbi who allegedly controls Canada’s foreign minister. You have to wonder, in a country that gave us great comedians, couldn’t Felton come up with better gags?
I’ll give him credit for decent writing. The book could be a lot more entertaining if he’d sensationalized it just a wee bit more.