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on September 4, 2016
Levin, a Harvard psychiatrist and historian, explains how even many Israeli Jews show a penchant for suicidal thoughts and deeds. Should be read in conjunction with Jewish Self- Hatred, by Levin, who is also a psychiatrist. I have purchased a few copies to give to others.
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on January 16, 2016
Brilliant book by a brilliant man.
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on November 26, 2006
Why would the Israelis and the Jews sacrifice everything for a shallow peace accord with a "peace partner" who increases terror attacks, indoctrinates intensely virulent anti-Semitism at all levels of education and the media, and continues to vow annihilation of the state they feign to be negotiating peace with?

Kenneth Levin's answer approaches a perspective that is different from much of the current histories of the region. Levin illuminates a delusion that is the result of the stress of five decades of being under siege, and the result of centuries of demonization in Europe. He explores the history of the responses of the Jews in Europe to the hatred that spanned centuries and the futility of the Jews who vainly sought to appease their state sponsored tormentors by trying ever harder to assimilate. Ultimately the more they tried to assimilate the more the host nations persecuted them. Thus in spite of serving heroically in the German army in WWI they were ultimately rewarded with the holocaust.

The delusion that was Oslo was just a continuation of a desire of the Jewish community to either fit in or be left in peace. But it was also a delusion that the Jews could control the will of another party by giving more and more concessions, even when nothing is given in return. It is a unique form of arrogance and is ultimately self destructive.

The siege is not likely to end soon and Levin's prescription for Israel's survival is to educate its people on the history and moral purpose underlying the existence of the nation. Under Oslo many in the Israeli educational establishment pushed a curriculum that diminished the Jewish history and culture in favor of a more universalist approach. Revisionist historians embellished this approach with an anti Zionist slant to the story of Israel's history. Levin retorts the revisionists, but draws parallels to much of the self criticism from the Jews in Europe hoping to appease their state sponsors. Meanwhile the Palestinian educational structure, in clear defiance of Oslo, taught that the Jews had no right to the land or any historical connection to it and that it was their divine moral purpose to drive the Jews from their homeland.

The results of Oslo have taught what the Jews should have learned from centuries of oppression: that while it takes two people to make peace; it only takes one to make a war.

This book is a wonderful addition to the writings and analysis of the situation in Israel and is uniquely illuminating. I highly recommend it.
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on April 23, 2006
This is, by far, the best written analysis of the apparently mindless descent into potential oblivion that Israel appears headed to. It begins by setting the stage of Jewish self-hatred and self-effacement as a reaction to anti-semitism, as it developed in the Diaspora during this last millenium. Specifically, there is a detailed analysis of this phenomenon in the "civilized" world of 19th and 20th century Germany, as contrasted with the more "primitive" Eastern European Jewish experience. The author shows how the constant self delusion of the Jews - in its myriad of forms and expressions - is the basis for the present day erosion from within that the Jewish State is undergoing. I believe that this book should be mandatory reading in any Middle Eastern course, or for that matter, for anyone seeking to understand this unique group psychological phenomenon. As a proud Jew and a Zionist, I wish that this book would be sent - gratis - to journalists, academics, politicians, and to other people who collectively can influence the course of history.
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on August 17, 2015
Excellent book. Well researched and well written.
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I finally pushed through to the end of this important book. It is scholarly, with 50 pages of end notes and 7 pages of bibliography. It is comprehensive, reviewing Jewish diaspora history through the ages with the author's analytical perspective as a psychiatrist. I understand that the author wishes to drive home his central concept that the Stockholm syndrome best explains Israel's compromises in defending her sovereign rights (her "right to exist"). But the effort to weave this theme throughout the book bogs it down a bit with repetitive loops. The first half of the book provides some outstanding historical briefs. I was especially impressed with chapter six, "American Jews and the Holocaust: Catastrophe and Failure." In 25 pages, the author documents most of the material I have read in whole books on the subject; plus adding additional material that I have never read elsewhere!
My main takeaway from THE OSLO SYNDROME is the recognition of the "two different kinds of Jews" in Israel. The good Jews are the the peacemakers. They are the ones behind the backdoor diplomacy that dumped Oslo on the doorstep of the Israeli's as a "done deal." They are the ones who push for a two-state "solution," and for Israeli concessions without reciprocity. This is because they believe that only when Israel has conceded EVERYTHING will the "peace partner" concede ANYTHING. Therefore, the continuance of terrorism is the fault of Israel, until such time as she retreats behind the "1967 borders" and acquiesces to "the right of return."
The bad Jews are the Zionists who insist on a JEWISH national homeland, and who build homes in the Jewish National Homeland that was awarded to them by the League of Nations in 1922, seized by the Jordanian army during the 1948 War of Independence and retaken by the Jews in the 1967 war. (There is a lot of history skipped over here, but it does not change these basics.) The bad Jews are called "settlers" for building homes in Jerusalem, Hebron and Shiloh. Once known as Judea and Samaria, these "territories" are known by their Jordanian name, "the West Bank;" even though Jordan relinquished claims in 1988.
The peaceful Jews are regarded by the world as the modern, reasonable and realistic voice of Israel. They are the heirs of the Frankfurt school tradition transferred via Hebrew University notables such as Martin Buber to the elites and governors of Israel. On the other hand, the Zionist Jews are regarded as racists, religious extremists, and nationalist radicals. They are the heirs of two thousand years of Jewish history and hope, best expressed perhaps in the work of founding rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook and his son rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook.
The peaceful Jews seek a "democratic" Israel, "like the other nations;" a multicultural nation with no particular cultural allegiance. The ethos is "universalist," seeing the Jewish mission "to lead the way to a new postnational world." (p.213) In their view, the Jews have "evolved spiritually beyond needing a state of their own. They had developed to the point of comprehending and embracing a universalist sensibility and universalist vision, and a Jewish state represented regression to a lower form of national-religious existence." (p.425)
The Zionist Jews seek a Jewish-majority nation where the rights of minorities are protected by the law of a sovereign Jewish state which will never relinquish its right to exist and defend the survival of the Jewish people. "Menahem Brinker, a professor of Hebrew literature at Hebrew University, declared in a "Jerusalem Post" article in September 1995, that Zionism is a 'totalitarian' concept that 'has outlived its usefulness and will ebb away in time.' Hebrew University anthropologist Danny Rabinovitch joined those urging that such insights be translated into policy. He advocated government confession of 'the original sin of Israel' and establishment of a day of mourning to 'mark the suffering of the Palestinians during the rise of Israel.'" (p.368)
"Ze'ev Sternhell, a professor of political science at Hebrew University, argued in "The Founding Myths of Israel" (first published 1995) that the founders of the state, while proclaiming socialist and liberal principles, lacked proper universalist sensibilties and were really driven first and foremost by nationalism. Even worse, their nationalism was imbued with religious meaning. According to Sternhell, Israel's difficulties have essentially flowed from this." (p.368)
There is so much more I wish I could share from this book, but I hope what I have shared is eye-opening and clarifying. I hope readers will further investigate the Frankfurt school as its philosophy continues to infect the world (see excellent article here: [...], and shapes the world view of Israel's elite and governing class. I'll close with the Nathan Alterman poetic lines quoted on p.370:
Then Satan did say:
'How will I conquer this beleaguered one?
He possesses courage, ingenuity, resourcefulness and tools of war.'
Then he said:
'I'll not rob his strength, nor bridle him, nor rein him in, nor enervate his hand.
But this I'll do --
blunt his mind, till he forgets his cause is just.'"
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on December 10, 2015
I gave it one star mostly because I didn't have the option to give it zero. I thought I was going to get an authoritative explanation about how entire societies can submit to the tyranny of an oppressor. Instead, what I got was a pretty clear example of how oppressors justify their tyranny by portraying themselves as victims. I found this book and it's author to be quite arrogant, deceptive, and vile.
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on August 23, 2015
Dr. Levin says it like it is. As for the leftists and their fellow travelers, we can only pray they never take Israel on any more of their peace rides lest everything end up looking like the photo on the front cover. Wish it was in electronic format too, (unfortunately) the subject matter is as relevant as it was in 2005.
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on December 13, 2008
This issue is so loaded with the human narrative that it is an excellent vehicle for studying who we are and how we work. This could be about the "battered woman," but it's so much more, since the author takes his particular knowledge and experience and applies it to a real, well-known, well-studied issue. If ever there was an example of applied psychology, this is it. The "battered woman syndrome" has its limits, compared to the raw, historical, ubiquitous experiences of the ancient Jew in this world. This is a richer syndrome, and maybe the "battered woman" should be considered only a subset of the Jew syndrome, a study for all humanity. Obviously, it does not deal with the meta-physical, and that's fine, since that is not its purpose.

Synopsis: We should all look into our own lives and be open to the reality that we cannot "make friends" with everybody...sometimes it has nothing to do with how we behave, but rather with the essence of the other person.
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