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The Holocaust Is Over; We Must Rise From its Ashes Hardcover – October 28, 2008
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“This is an important book by a very courageous man. The shadow of the Shoah and its abusive application to the contemporary Middle East have been a catastrophe for Jews, Israelis and Arabs alike. In Burg's view Israel must move beyond Hitler's poisoned legacy. If they cannot or will not do this, the Middle East will never see peace and Israel has no future.” ―Tony Judt, bestselling author of Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 and Professor at New York University
“An Israeli-born son of Holocaust survivors, Burg addresses a heartfelt plea to his countrymen: remember the past, but do not be its slaves; pathology is neither patriotism nor statescraft. A compelling and eloquent cri de coeur from a veteran of Israel's wars and politics.” ―Howard M. Sachar, bestselling author of A History of the Jews in the Modern World and A History of Israel
“Burg takes a blunt, loving, painful and desperately important look at the state of the Jewish soul today. Anyone who cares about the future of the Middle East and the fate of victimized peoples needs to read this book and think hard.” ―J.J. Goldberg, author of Jewish Power: Inside the American Jewish Establishment and Editorial Director of The Forward
“This fascinating and thought-provoking book should be read by every person who cares about Israel. Burg's central theme is that Israeli leaders use the memory of the Holocaust in ways that are warping the country's soul, creating unnecessary fear, and making it impossible to achieve peace with the Palestinians.” ―John J. Mearsheimer, bestselling author of The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy and Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago
“[An] assured and provocative polemic. . . . [A] lecture with much wisdom . . . worthy of global consideration.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“An honest reflection of a tormented man searching for the universal values in Judaism.” ―Le Figaro
“In this book of memories and reflections, the former Knesset Speaker delivers his disquieting findings about Israel that 'became a Kingdom without a prophesy.'... Foremost a book of hope from a man who wants to find ways to return Judaism to its universal calling.” ―Le Monde
“Short of being Prime Minister, Burg could not be higher in the Zionist establishment.” ―David Remnick, The New Yorker
“Mr. Burg...wrote a powerful book, an indictment of how Zionism and the Holocaust have been used.” ―Globe and Mail
“Avraham Burg has great faith in the creative power of argument. His book has already provoked much controversy and now that it has been translated is certain to provoke more. At a time when crass, catchpenny titles pour from the presses, it is that unusual thing: A new book that matters.” ―Neil Berry, Arab News
About the Author
Avraham Burg is the former Speaker of the Knesset in Israel (1999-2003). He has been active in politics as a leader in the Labor Party and the One Israel party. His article in The Guardian called "The End of Zionism" was widely read and debated. He lives with his wife in Nataf, a small village outside Jerusalem.
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This book also helps explain Israel's role in the world as the Jewish homeland and state. In order for it to remain a Jewish state, Israel has rules on immigration where many Jews from around the world make Aallyah to Israel. In fact, there are organizations who seeking Jews to immigrate to Israel. The author confronts controversial issues about Israel's relationships with Germany, Turkey, the United States, Serbia, and China too. The author doesn't fear the confrontation or problems according to the book.
In the end, I loved this author's view of the world. He is a humanist. I am deeply grateful that Avraham Burg writes freely and openly. He loves his country enough to know it's faults and flaws. He wants the Shoah generation of survivors to heal and move on with their lives. You're only a victim if you continue to dwell in the past, you are a survivor if you don't allow your past to define it. Everybody who cares about Israel should read this book to open their minds and hearts. Perhaps the past could help determine the future and solve problems in the present.
This is a precious witness to the wisdom that comes from beyond the normal and justified horror and revulsion at things unspeakable. Avram Burg spoke an essential part of the unspeakable, "this too must pass" because we may not visit the "sins of the fathers" on the children forever.
The central theme of this book that Jews, Israelis and Zionists have allowed the Shoah (Holocaust) to shackle them; and how the Zionist movement have effectively exploited the Shoah and its memories and its survivors for political purposes. This book really contains lots of good materials which was not known to me, such as the African Herero Genocide by the Germans and the Armenia Genocide by the Turks and how how they were the prelude to the Jewish Holocaust only couple of decades earlier. Ironically, I was amazed how little the events of the Holocaust were covered in the Zionist press (in Palestine before 1948) even as it was being executed in Europe, and how most Zionists looked down on the survivals for not fighting back. It was really shocking to me how Israelis are helping the Turks cover up the Armenian Genocide (which inspired Hitler to commit the Holocaust) and to down play the Herero Genocide when it was recognized by the world community 100 years later in 2004; in my opinion that is really shameful; the Holocaust survivors and victims deserve much better.
He clearly stated that without the Holocaust the state of Israel could not have existed. Before I read the book I used to think anti-Semitism and the Holocaust were the major causes for the state of Israel, but after I read his arguments & facts I think he is right. Without Shoah Israel could not have been founded. For example he showed that the Bunds were VERY strong in Europe and their organization was almost completely wiped out during WWII and the Holocaust. In other words, the playing field was empty post WWII and the Zionists survived because they were not in European, and that was exploited by Zionist. In the book, as well as in the 7th Million for Tom Segev, he showed that most of the Jews who fought back Pogroms in Europe were Bunds, not Zionists. Zionists wanted to leave, Bunds wanted to stay and to fight for equal rights. I was shocked to know that most of the Ghetto Warsaw Uprising was led by Bunds who were anti-Zionists at the time, and the true story was ONLY translated to Hebrew 50 years later in 2001! Ironically, Zionist now use as it is their victory; same goes to Massada!
No question about it; this book scratches many taboos in the Jewish community and will challenge them to the core. As an amateur historian; it was very helpful to me.
On the other hand, if you are a Palestinian or a supporter of the Palestinian cause; you will find this book a great great disappointment. The word "Palestinian" was not mentioned until page 50 or so and when Mr. Burg spoke about them, he lectured Palestinians on what they should and should not do, such as giving up their right of return to their homes and farms which they have been dispossessed and ethnically cleansed from. In my opinion; this tells me that deep at heart Mr. Burg is still a Zionist and he delude himself in attempting to "reform" Zionism instead of abolishing it; sadly Zionism is beyond repair and in a way this great book is a major indictment against Zionist and its supporters. The central problem with Zionists (inclusive of Mr. Burg) that they think they have the "right" to immigrate to Palestine irrespective of the wishes of the indigenous populations', no wonder how most Zionists Jews actually believe that Palestine was empty; it is easier to colonize other countries when the indigenous population simply do not exist; easily their human rights can be taken away. Mr. Burg does the same exact thing, he is acting as if we Palestinians don't exist and we should forgo our rights as if we simply not there. On top of that he is praising the defunct Geneva Accord! Mr. Burg, can you be really out of touch to this degree! Most of the Palestinians "intellectuals & politicians" who lent their names to this defunct Accord were voted out of office in West Bank and Gaza in the latest election; I guess you know what happened to them.
Mr. Burg failed to recognize that Palestinians are the most important factor needed to unlock or liberate Jews from Shoah's shackles. Palestinians are needed Mr. Burg to forgive Jews (at least the Zionists amongst them). Palestinian forgiveness is REQUIRED for Jews to move on post-Shoah; it will free them from the shackles of "The Never Again" and "The whole world is Against us" slogans. Palestinians' forgiveness is the KEY Mr. Burg and in your book they have been marginalized as if we don't exists; as if our wishes and opinions are not needed. In that respect, Mr. Burg, you really have failed to make this book a master piece; what a shame. I was really hoping that you take it to the next level
Since this book attempts to tackle taboos in the Jewish Community; that is why I will give it 5 stars, I wish I can give it 4.5, but the system in Amazon does not allow me to do so.
Finally, I have written a short article called "The Spartan Jew" (written before the release of English version of this book) which is similar to the book's main idea, but I have taken it to the next level. I hope one day it will become a book which in my opinion will complete this book.