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The Holocaust Is Over; We Must Rise From its Ashes Paperback – December 22, 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“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

“[A] compelling mix of polemic, personal memoir, homage to his parents and meditation on Judaism.” ―The Independent

“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.” ―Arab News

About the Author

Avraham Burg is a prominent Israeli politician, opinion maker, and former speaker of the Knesset. He has been active in politics as a leader in the Labor Party and the One Israel party. He has written for such publications as The Guardian and The International Herald Tribune, and his first book was a bestseller in Israel. He lives in Nataf, Jerusalem.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1 edition (December 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230618979
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230618978
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,467,892 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Margot Salom on July 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found Avraham Burg's book exactly what I was looking for. He has made a courageous statement on the negative effects of holocaust memory on the philosophy and ethics of Israel and the Jewish Diaspora. He makes the cogent point that it is time to move on from the position of 'narcisstic victimology' (not his term). He points out how Israel/Jews are seeing the Shoah (holocaust) as 'sui generis' and are deprecating some of the other 'holocausts/massacres' that have occurred in recent history. Bauer (2001,p20) states that" "the genocide of the Jews was neither better not worse than any other" In this book Burg is discussing the detrimental effects of this belief in the 'unprecedentness' of the Shoah in both Israel and the Diaspora.

Burg makes the important point in the choice of the title of the Hebrew version of his book -"Defeating Hitler" - indeed as another writer (Yehuda Elkana 1988) has stated "this is Hitler's paradoxical and tragic victory" Defeating Hitler is what it is all about.

The final chapters link the initial argument to Judaism and he propounds on "A New Judaism" in which the new prayer book (Siddur) says "You chose us with all of the nations" instead of ' You chose us above ll of the nations".

I can't speak highly enough of this book. Firstly for the courage to say the unsayable. Secondly for the insightful and skilled writing.

Margot Salom
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Format: Hardcover
Burg writes that disagreement is the essence of written and oral discussion. He delivers on his promise of controversy staking out positions that contradict almost all the positions of the major U.S. Jewish organizations especially AIPAC. This makes his book stimulating and refreshing stating, for example, that a refugee people (Jews establishing Israel) created another refugee people - the Palestinians. I think his message is weakened by some apparently unresolved issues with his father and by a surprisingly unrealistic idealism that frames his answer to the problems and contradictions he raises. The book is worth reading, however, and will surely anger pro-Israel hard-liners.
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Format: Hardcover
Burg's central thesis is that Israel has changed, and become like some of the nations it abhors - specifically through its constant abuse of Palestinians and increasing belief the Israelis are "God's people" (racism), all the while using the Holocaust as cover. Doing so continues to victimize current generations of Jews.

"The Holocaust is Over" can be seen as a plea for Israelis to stop seeing themselves as victims. Hopefully it will also lead to American politicians ceasing their non-stop slathering over Israel.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Burg, whose Jewish and Israeli pedigrees are impeccable asks Zionists and his country to put aside the Shoah industry and become less like the Nazis and more like univeralist, humanitarian people of the Book.

Burg's father served on the first Knesset, Avraham served more that once in the Israeli Cabinet and in the Knesset.

This presents an opportunity to hear this modern prophet give permission to rational people to disagree with the colonial character of the new Israel...and not be labeled Anti-Semites.

I have, along with my many fellow Jews, mailed hundreds of this book to Zionist imperialist Officials in Israel.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A courageous book by a brave author with credentials to address this highly controversial topic. Aware that Israel has taken a wrong turn and he has devoted himself to the unpopular cause of bringing that awareness to his compatriots so that a radical change can come about. Israel must leave the past behind and take on the responsibilities of the present. Safety for Israel will not come from building fences to keep others out, it will come from opening its doors and hearts to others. It is only then that Israel will become a true part of the brotherhood of nations not as a paranoid victim of past atrocities, but as an equal partner worthy of respect and support. That would be moving forward into a future of hope and freedom rather than remaining stuck in the chains of past despair.
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I bought this book after reading Avraham Burg's editorial article in the New York Times entitled, "Israel's Fading Democracy." This book is well-researched, detailed, and refreshing about Israel as a country and so called democracy in the Middle East. The author might be controversial in his own country but he should be revered and celebrated for speaking the truth during this times. The author is the son of an Israeli minister, former German Jew, and his mother, an Arab Jew, whose family escaped the Hebron massacre. The author writes lovingly but concerned about his country.

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.
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