The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is in the headlines daily, but do most Americans really understand what it is about? With dramatic events happening almost every day in this region, and the US government increasingly becoming involved, the American public deserves to hear both sides. Arabs & Israel For Beginners provides an intelligent, in-depth, yet humorous and accessible Palestinian perspective on the struggle between the two nations.
Arabs & Israel For Beginners covers the Middle East from ancient times to the present, tells the truth in plain English. If you want to know the truth about 12,000 years of Middle Eastern history, then Arabs & Israel For Beginners is the perfect place to start.
5 thoughts on “Arabs and Israel For Beginners”
This book is so brazenly pro-Arab and anti-Israel, so partizan in its selection of facts, as to be utterly breathtaking. While the back material says that the book is “relentlessly fair”, it is certainly not. Nor is it, as the title suggests, some neutral bit of history for “beginners,” an “Arabs and Israel for Dummies” kind of book.
The first page says, “I swear to you, I cannot see how any fair-minded person with an IQ over fifty can believe the Zionist/Jewish/Israeli version of what happened in the Middle-East.” The last paragraph of the book has this conclusion:
“Although I don’t think that Israel benefits anyone, including the Jewish people, I don’t expect Israel to quit the Middle East. So what do I want? I want a few famous American Jews…Norman Mailer…Woody Allen…to stand up and say, ‘let’s quit lying to the world–and to ourselves. We stole Palestine. We stole it.'”
While there are plenty of pro-Israel, anti-Arab books that are just as biased, if you’re looking for balance, this isn’t the book for you. The only value this book has is to learn a decidedly and profoundly pro-Arab point of view.
Rating: 2 / 5
Mr. David is correct in his own personal review about the many facts in his book. Many of the figures, documents and the like are perfectly legitimate. My problem isn’t the facts. It is how they are presented.
They are recorded as just plain facts without the historical context in a form in which anyone can interpret them any way they choose to and present their version of them as gospel. Mr. David has done a marvelous job at taking his own slanted interpretation of events and recording it as history in his book.
Lets take his theory that Middle East terrorism had its genisis with pre state Jewish underground organizations and movements. To anyone that knows the history of any of these groups, Mr. David’s assertion must appear to be absolute rubish.
The Haganah was founded in the aftermath of Arab violence against Jews. 1920 and 1921 saw horrific riots against the Jewish community in Palestine. It is against this backdrop of Arab violence that the Haganah was created and an organization from which the Stern Gang and the Irgun would later split.
The violent actions the Haganah, Irgun and Stern Gang did take were against British military targets and not an innocent populace of women and children. It is true that later on a few officials not associated with with the British military were murdered by some extremist elements within the Stern and Irgun.
It is also suggested that Israel invented the art of plane hijacking in 1954 when a Syrian airliner was hijacked by Israelis. It is true that the Israeli airforce did force to land a Syrian plane. No one was harmed and the plane was allowed to return to Syria in days. The tactics used had nothing in common by the tactics used by the PLO in plane hijackings. No one was ever threatened and no goals were achieved by it. This is in stark contrast to the aircraft hijackings carried out by Palestinian terrorists.
Mr. David appears to have a little bit of an anti-semitic attitude as well. His final demand at the end of his book is that prominent Jews admit that “we stole Palestine.” He mentions several non-Israeli Jews that do not live in Israel, have never served in the IDF and do not participate in Israel’s political system. In his mentioning of the protests of Israeli Jews after the Sabra and Shatila massacres he mockingly writes that the “Jewish people” cry about Sabra and Shatila while being indifferent to the Palestinians. He doesn’t refer to Jews as individuals and he clearly sees us as collectively guilty for the “ethnic cleansing” of Palestine and that this “ethnic cleansing” was the “end of Jewish innocence.”
Mr. David does an incredible job of misrepresenting the King-Crane Commission as well.
The King-Crane Commission was made up of people who were decidedly anti-Zionist to begin with. That is specifically why they were chosen by Wilson for the job. One feature for which the report is still remembered today was an early statement skeptical of the viability of a Jewish state in Syria. The logic of the commission went along the lines that the first principle to be respected must be self-determination. Since the commission had a very “maximalist” view of Syria – what would today encompass Syria, Israel, Palestine, Jordan and the Gaza Strip – it pointed out that a majority of Syrians were against the formation of a Jewish state. It is important to remember that at this time there was no distinct Palestinian nationist movement and most Arabs living in what would become Israel, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza Strip saw themselves as Syrians and were proponents of reuniting with an independant Syria.
What is telling about this “affront to democracy” is that three years after the King-Crane commission was sent to Palestine the American House and Senate voted on a resolution favoring the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine.
The Author also ignores that the facts on the ground changed tremendously between 1919 when the King-Crane Commission studied Palestine and 1948 when Israel declared it’s independance and that several other studies were done on the population after 1.) Syria and Jordan were independant states in charge of their own populace. 2.) Substantial Jewish immigration to Palestine had occured and 3.)Substantial Arab immigration had occured to Palestine in the wake of the economic oppertunites created by Jewish immigration and settlement.
I am running on the assumption that Mr. David is an American or possibly Canadian. As an American or Canadian, I would assume he is ashamed of himself for continuing to live in a land that literally was stolen from it’s native population. Maybe he should write a book entitles “Whites and Native Americans for beginners” and discuss America’s ethnic cleansing of an entire continent. Maybe he should seek residency in Europe so he does not remain on stolen land and his conscience will be clear.
Rating: 1 / 5
This book is just plain awful. Not only does it repeat almost every anti-Israeli conspiracy theory, that Israel had a “technological advantage” in the 1956 War (both they and the Egyptians were using WWII Shermans, a model that wasn’t even the best tank of the war), that Israel deliberately displaced the Arabs living in Palestine in 1948, that the Israeli Army outnumbered the combined Arab armies of Jordan, Syria, Egypt and Lebanon during the War of Independence (!!!), that the first World Trade Center attack was an Israeli operation, etc. etc. but is also notably silent on the anti-Jewish riots in 1930s Palestine which very nearly reached pogram level, of the terrorist attacks in which Jewish women and children are target (in an effort to force the “Zionists” to negotiate) of Arafat and his routine lies while holding himself up as a “statesman.” The author doesn’t just try to use “moral relativism”… he does entire backflips in order to justify the idea that everything is Israel’s fault.
One notable line, in trying to justify terrorists Ron David says on page 162 “More Americans die in their bathtubs than are killed by terrorists in a year.” This book came out in 2001, I’m guessing before September. I hope that those 3,000 deaths makes Mr. David feel better. At last the terrorists are catching up!
Rating: 1 / 5
If you are looking for a primer on the conflict in Israel/Palestine, you can’t do better than this. I chose it in large part because the writer is Jewish and could be expected to put the case for Israel in the best possible light. Readers may be surprised, and some even angered, by the author’s conclusions, but he doesn’t stray far from the facts. Not overly verbose (it is illustrated), the book can be read in a couple of hours.
Rating: 4 / 5
This book brings an argument of old saying “There is or was no such thing as Palestine” and goes into great detail of history both biblical and historical facts. Thing is people want to believe what they want to believe because their minds are made up before they read the book. If they even read it fully. The only agenda the author is using is telling the truth. Only thing is…the truth hurts. Many will deny it and only a few will accept it.
Rating: 5 / 5