Goliath – Life and Loathing in Greater Israel – Book Review

Nov 25 2013 / 2:28 pm
Goliath - Life and loathing in Greater Israel.
Goliath - Life and loathing in Greater Israel.

By Jim Miles

(Goliath – Life and loathing in Greater Israel. Max Blumenthal, Nation Books, 2013)

This is a powerfully written book, a mixture of current events, historical data, and personal anecdotal comments and stories. Throughout there are pervasive themes that clearly outline the nature of the Israeli state as it exists today. From May 2009 up to early 2013, Max Blumenthal passed “many prolonged stays in the Holy Land,” from which he derived this current assessment.

The over-riding themes, and they all tend to intermingle within the right wing ideologies of the Netanyahu/Leiberman government, are all based on the demographic threat that Israel perceives to be the main problem – and indeed acknowledges to be, and has always been seen as a problem from the earliest Zionists.

While in the past there were some at least minimally effective two-country advocates, the current situation has developed into one of over-riding racist state fascism. This expresses itself in the ongoing settlements developments, now more overtly antagonistic to the Palestinians, the many race based laws prohibiting Palestinian participation in society, accompanied by overt acts of racism to Palestinians and African refugees, and open expressions of hostility indicating the desire to simply get rid of both groups.

The idea of a “Jewish and democratic state” also comes to a crashing halt as there are many instances of political leaders essentially indicating that they would choose Jewishness before democracy.

The first section of the work provides the current events background that gives rise to the Netanyahu/Leiberman government. Blumenthal quotes Netanyahu as telling Israelis “To steel themselves for ‘an ongoing national exertion and the possibility of periodic bouts of international confrontation.’” He says this summarizes “the colonial logic animating his approach to the Palestinians and rationalizing it to the outside world.”

Blumenthal continues from there, discussing various domestic laws, the banning of certain books, the use of IDF and Shin Bet personnel to control the education system, the rise of security overcoming democratic concerns, and the gradual erosion of the Supreme Court in face of Zionistic fascism within the “tribalistic culture.” The much more open and hostile racial and fascistic comments keep coming, the national disguising of the news as in the Mavi Marmara incident, the effects of the national propaganda in keeping with the Knesset resets shows “the end of democracy is an inevitable outcome,” while the “occupation is hidden behind all these layers of fake democracy.”

The next section recalls the violence of the occupation, demonstrating that with the current events within the West Bank and in Gaza, the Days of ‘48 have come again, now with a “fascist government that has proven itself capable of massacring the unarmed.” That violence all comes back to ethnic/racial identity “that is the basis of apartheid.” A quick review of the initial attacks of 1948 and the original quotes of that era survive: “there is no room in the country for both people;” and “Not one village must be left, not one tribe.”

The holocaust is another theme throughout the book as it has become a theme of daily Israeli life, brought back as an excuse to continue their own violence towards others. Yet, as seen by a few, “We perpetuate death, and that’s why we will never become a normal people.”

The military is another obvious centralizing theme throughout the work. It covers the main part of two chapters, and its overall pervasiveness creates “a colonial culture in which Jewish Israeli youth become conditioned to act as sadistic overlords toward their Palestinian neighbors, and of a perpetual conquest that demanded indoctrination begin at an early age and continue perpetually throughout their lives.” The military has become the “most important institution of socialization and indoctrination” in Israeli society. Within that institution are the wellsprings of the misogynist nature of society and the highly sexualised nature of the racial taunts.

But even more powerful than the military, in liaison with it, religious nationalism now trumps both the military and justice systems. From this extreme right group now in control lie the “harbingers of wild racial violence in the future.” Part of this future are “concentration camps…erected by the Israeli rulers” as foreseen by Yeshayahu Leibowitz. The criminalizing of refugees – Palestinians and the blacks from the Sudan – demonstrates “a harrowing vision of what was possible when the government chose to tap into the public’s unfathomably deep wellspring of prejudice.”

Towards the end of the book, Blumenthal discusses the wall mentality – the security wall, the Gaza walls, the walls of the Sinai, the new walls along the Jordanian border and with Syria. Some realize, “This is our future…we’ve become a frightened nation that imprisons itself behind fences and retreats into defensive walls,” making “increasingly rigid psychological barriers.”

In his final view, Blumenthal shows that the sexualized racial taunting, the overt racial violence, is “an increasingly common feature of Israeli political language” in “the adventurous world of Israeli proto-fascism….The status quo…so entrenched, and the occupation…so manageable, [they] no longer felt compelled to mask their agenda with disingenuous appeals to Western opinions….Annexing the West Bank had finally entered the mainstream.”

One final irony highlighted itself: thirteen per cent of Israeli citizens now live outside the country. They tend to be the affluent, educated, secular and liberal younger members of Israeli society. The irony is strengthened in that Berlin has become one of the main expatriate colonies, where the Israelis go to find an open liberal more free environment to live.

Israel currently maintains diplomatic and trade relationships with many other countries, much of that on a military/security level. The image of Israel presented in Goliath is one of a fearful, arrogant, racist, non-democratic state controlled by a select right wing group. It has captured the media, the military, the Knesset and the justice system into one over-riding racialized fascist theocracy, far removed from any democracy, perpetuating its systems of fear in order to keep power intact.

Goliath is a powerful and distressing book for a view on what life in modern Israel is like.

– Jim Miles is a Canadian educator and a regular contributor/columnist of opinion pieces and book reviews for The Palestine Chronicle. Miles’ work is also presented globally through other alternative websites and news publications. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.

image_pdfimage_print
Posted by on Nov 25 2013 . Filed under Articles, Reviews . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 . You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

6 Comments for “Goliath – Life and Loathing in Greater Israel – Book Review”

  1. Michael

    “The idea of a “Jewish and democratic state” also comes to a crashing halt as there are many instances of political leaders essentially indicating that they would choose Jewishness before democracy.”

    They already DID choose Jewishness over democracy… as far back as 1947-48. You can’t drive the majority of an indigenous population into occupation or exile, and then call any subsequent election, from which that majority is barred, a “democratic” vote.

  2. 5 dancing shlomos

    jewish ness is always chosen no matter the country – england, usa, canada, ersatz israel.

    while here, everyone buy a roger waters cd(s) and give as gift for christmas.

  3. Lee Luttrell

    Sorry to say, no big press review, no Times best seller list, not even a discussion on C-Span. I am surprised he even found a publisher. Hopefully, people will read this book before the Palestinian people no longer exist.

  4. Terry

    There is nothing remotely democratic about the Jewish-only state of Israel. Israel is nothing more or less than a racist apartheid regime similar to that which infested South Africa. The fact that America supports Israel with billions in cash and military equipment every year is the primary reason America is hated throughout the Middle East.

  5. George Polley

    I am not at all surprised by what the reviewer reveals, as this malignant, tribal-based racism has been the theme of the modern state of Israel all along. Reading the review, I’m even more convinced that the Netanyahu government and its supporters are driving to own ALL of Palestine, which won’t solve a thing, due to the basic reality of the Palestinian people who live there. Israel is a deeply abusive nation that is likely to sink even further into abusing its non-Jewish residents and, in so doing, recreate the anti-Semitism that it so fears and is so obsessed with. A self-fulfilling prophecy if I’ve ever seen one.

  6. bluemoon

    “He who lives by the sword, shall die by the sword.”

Leave a Comment

Please insert the correct number.


4 + 1 =

The Free Zone | Blog

  • July 29, 2015

    Barghouti is Likely to Become President if Abbas Doesn't Run

    Results of a recent poll revealed that imprisoned Palestinian parliamentarian Marwan Barghouti is likely to become Palestinian Authority (PA) president if current President Mahmoud Abbas does not run for presidency, Qudsnet.com reported yesterday. - The poll, which was conducted on Monday by the Arab World Institute for Research and Development (AWRAD), showed that Abbas would get 38 per cent of the votes compared to... More →
  • July 29, 2015

    Palestinian Girl Reduced to Tears by Merkel Speaks Out

    The 14-year-old Palestinian girl with cerebral palsy who hit the headlines after Angela Merkel explained Germany’s tough asylum policy toward refugees in camps, reducing her to tears, said she hopes that Israel disappears and there will be only Palestine. - “My hope is that at some time, [Israel] is no longer there, but only Palestine,” Reem Sahwil told German Die Welt am Sonntag newspaper. “This country should... More →
  • July 28, 2015

    UNRWA to Delay Opening 700 Schools due to Cash Shortage

    The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) held an extraordinary meeting for its consultative committee in Amman on Sunday to discuss its financial crisis, Jordan's Al-Sabeel newspaper has reported. - The agenda included the increasing dangers caused by the probable delay of the start of the school year due to a budget deficit estimated at $101 million. If this happens,... More →
  • July 28, 2015

    Abbas: Egyptian Military Coup was a 'Miracle'

    Palestinian Authority (PA) and Fatah President Mahmoud Abbas praised the military coup in Egypt, describing 30 million people taking to the streets voluntarily to call for the coup a "miracle", Palestinian news agency Safa reported. - "If this real miracle did not take place, we, the Arab and Islamic nations, would have been staggering and trapped in the hands of darkness and dark powers," he said, "but, fortunately,... More →
  • July 28, 2015

    The Deep Roots of Turkey's War on ISIL

    By Ramzy Baroud - July 23 signalled a major shift in Turkey's policy towards Syria when its fighter jets began pounding Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) targets. - The change in Turkey's attitude towards the US-led war on ISIL is explained by many in the context of the devastating suicide bombing in the southern province of Suruc. The attack, which has been blamed on ISIL militants, killed 33 people. - But... More →
Support Palestine Chronicle
Support Palestine Chronicle
"The Palestine Chronicle is a beacon. History, witness, analysis and ways forward are here, written with authority and humanity. Long may it publish." — John Pilger.
Subscribe to Newsletter
Enter your email address to subscribe to our mailing list.
Email:
separator
Chief Complaint
Return: A Palestinian Memoir
Idea of Israel
Disclaimer RSS Feed Contact us Donation Popup
© Copyright 1999-2015 PalestineChronicle.com. All rights reserved
Powered By MediaSeniors