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Sunday, July 27, 2003

New Books
Evangelical Christian author, Mike Evans, has made the New York Times best-seller list with his BEYOND IRAQ: THE NEXT MOVE. The book claims that Israel is being used as a pawn to appease the Arab world for the US war in Iraq. It made news in June by briefly ranking second between Harry Potter and Hillary Clinton on Amazon's best-seller list. See JPost for more.

In September, Alan Dershowitz will be releasing a new book, THE CASE FOR ISRAEL. Jewsweek offers readers a sneak preview of the first ten pages. Some yummy bits:
Israel is the only nation in the world whose judiciary actively enforces the rule of law against its military even during wartime. It is the only country in modern history to have returned disputed territory captured in a defensive war and crucial to its own self-defense in exchange for peace. And Israel has killed fewer innocent civilians in proportion to the number of its own civilians killed than any country engaged in a comparable war. I challenge Israel's accusers to produce data supporting their claim that, as one accuser put it, Israel "is the prime example of human rights violators in the world." They will be unable to do so.

When the best is accused of being the worst, the focus must shift to the accusers, who I contend may be guilty of bigotry, hypocrisy, or abysmal ignorance at the very least. It is they who must stand in the dock of history, along with others who have also singled out the Jewish people, the Jewish religion, the Jewish culture, or the Jewish nation for unique and undeserved condemnation . . .

I prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that a pernicious double standard has been applied to judging Israel's actions: that even when Israel has been the best or among the best in the world, it has often been accused of being the worst or among the worst in the world. I also prove that this double standard has not only been unfair to the Jewish state but that it has damaged the rule of law, wounded the credibility of international organizations such as the United Nations, and encouraged Palestinian terrorists to commit acts of violence in order to provoke overreaction by Israel and secure one-sided condemnation of Israel by the international community. . .

I argue that it is impossible to understand the conflict in the Middle East without accepting the reality that from the very beginning the strategy of the Arab leadership has been to eliminate the existence of any Jewish state, and indeed any substantial Jewish population, in what is now Israel. Even Professor Edward Said, the Palestinians' most prominent academic champion, has acknowledged that "the whole of Palestinian nationalism was based on driving all Israelis [by which he means Jews] out." This is a simple fact not subject to reasonable dispute. . .

The dramatic and almost total shift in public perceptions over so brief a period of time could not be explained by reference exclusively to principles of logic, morality, justice -- even politics. The answers lay, at least in part, in the fact that Israel is the Jewish state and the "Jew" among the states of the world. A full understanding of so much of the world's bizarre reactions to Israel's generous peace offer and the Palestinians' violent response to it requires a recognition of the world's long and disturbing history of judging the Jewish people by different, and far more demanding, standards. So too with the Jewish nation.

. . . my request is that all people of goodwill should simply apply the same principles of morality and justice to the Jewish state of Israel that they do to other states and peoples. If they would only apply a single standard, the case for Israel would largely make itself.
You can pre-order a copy of THE CASE FOR ISRAEL at Amazon.com.

Also note Phyllis Chesler's new book, THE NEW ANTI-SEMITISM -- THE CURREN CRISIS AND WHAT WE MUST DO ABOUT IT, published by Jossey-Bass, is due out next week. See The FORWARD for more. The article says she went to Bard in the 60s; I'll have to ask my husband if he knew her.