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The Settlers and the Struggle over the Meaning of Zionism Paperback – September 27, 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Jewish settlements in occupied territories have always been a particular point of contention in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Taub examines them through the lens of Zionism, which he argues has always been an explicitly secular and democratic movement that seeks political self-determination for the Jews. A small minority, however, define Zionism as the redemption of the Land of Israel, not the establishment of political independence in the state of Israel, thereby justifying settlements. His thesis is that settlements are a manifestation of an underlying struggle concerning the definition of Zionism itself and not simply an internal political debate. By clearly and concisely tracing the history of religious Zionists and examining their ideology, settlement activities, and shifting political rhetoric, Taub does a great service presenting a very complex situation that, viewed from afar, may seem quite simple. --Christopher McConnell --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Anyone who has been concerned or angered by the debate over the future of liberal Zionism ... should hurry to read "The Settlers.""--Adam Kirsch, "Tablet Magazine"
--Adam Kirsch "Tablet Magazine "
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (September 27, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030017764X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300177640
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #197,399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Matthew Smith on October 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book wasn't at all what I expected, instead of a look at the settlers themselves this book is an exploration of the settler ideology of the later movements. This book doesn't look at the early leftist settlers, but instead examines the right's version of the settler movement. The author looks at the settler's leaders and how they intellectualize their movement. What the author shows is that this movement is in no way static but ever evolving with the times. This makes them more difficult to confront because they are willing to change their arguments to better fit the times. The problem with this fluidity for the settlers is that it ultimately makes their movement shallow and intellectually hollow.

The author follows this movement from its inception as a messianic movement designed to initiate the end times by reclaiming all of the holy land. After the seemingly miraculous victory in 67 it seemed that their movement was God's will, but as the years past and the victory proved not to be the intitiator of the end times but a much more ambiguous victory which produced more questions than answers the settlers ideology lost some of its luster.

This is the crux of the work. What started out as a messianic movement has morphed several times into many different things. It pragmatically evolved into a movement of security. As vangaurds of the security establishment's vision of providing the state with strategic depth their ideology became a mix of religion and secular military considerations. This allowed them the best of both worlds in that they became the brave, stoic settlers in a harsh land like the earlier settlers but they could also keep their religous undertones as well.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Gadi Taub, a professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem where I go, writes a book about the religious and religious Zionist settlers in the West Bank and Gaza. The book reads like long editorials instead of an academic or scholarly work. He put a good amount of personal research, meaning going to settlements and talking to them, but not much academic research. The book is a tid disorganized and does not do in depth analysis. It has some very interesting points and questions brought up but is not consistently coherent. He jumps around so much and gives little new information. The book is a rather quick read and a good introduction to one sect of the settler movement, but there are many other better books for more analysis/history. He seems to be writings from a "why can't we go back to the good ole labor" days instead of really delving into the subject of religious Zionism. He seems to be yearning for a golden age of Zionism, and not its most recent form, which muddles the book's points greatly. Lastly, where he does little to no research he relies on narrative instead of researching the subject and pushes the narrative as fact. The first part of the "Disengagement" chapter is a perfect example of this where he relies on Israeli narrative of Camp David II, and the narrative of Khartoum in 1967, angers the reader.
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Format: Hardcover
Gadi Taub writes clearly and sharply about the nature of Zionism, and how the settlements are its antithesis. It's a book for any lover of Israel who hates the occupation. Here is the book to help you articulate why the settlements are the enemies of a democratic Jewish state, without spouting ill-informed anti-zionsim. Taub is pro-Israel, anti-settlements, and provides his readers with the balance to keep walking on the tightrope.
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