The State of Israel As Goliath

tags: Middle East, Israel, Palestine



Akiva Eldar is a contributing writer for Al-Monitor’s Israel Pulse. He was formerly a senior columnist and editorial writer for Haaretz and also served as the Hebrew daily’s US bureau chief and diplomatic correspondent. His most recent book (with Idith Zertal), Lords of the Land, on the Jewish settlements, was on the best-seller list in Israel and has been translated into English, French, German and Arabic.

The rules of the Jewish student organization Hillel make it hard to invite Palestinian lecturers to speak on US campuses. The 350,000 youths who have visited the Holy Land on Taglit (Birthright) programs have not toured Palestinian towns in the West Bank. The Jewish media is almost completely off-limits to Palestinian writers. Among the more than 200 speakers who took part in the various panel discussions at the last annual AIPAC conference in the United States, only two were Palestinians.

Last week, on Sept. 18, I mentioned in Al-Monitor that even the liberal Jewish organization J Street is having second thoughts about its 2011 objection to an American veto on a UN Security Council resolution condemning the Israeli settlement enterprise.

Against this backdrop, the new book by the American Jewish journalist and blogger Max Blumenthal is particularly noteworthy. Goliath is being published by Nation Books.* Unlike most Jews — American or Israeli — Blumenthal chose to leave his comfort zone, go into disputed territory and examine the burning questions for himself. In fact, Blumenthal’s greatest strength and interest is in events on the ground and the people who live there, far from the “peace process” and diplomatic salons.

Goliath is a portrait of a modern-day Sodom, a society that years ago stopped being “David of the beautiful eyes” and is determined to sustain an image of being weak and victimized. Blumenthal points to the manipulative use made by Israelis of the memory of the Holocaust in order to shape a collective consciousness, strengthen the society's inner cohesion and shut itself off from a world perceived as threatening and malevolent....



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