Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel

Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel

3.8 5
by Max Blumenthal

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In Goliath, New York Times bestselling author Max Blumenthal takes us on a journey through the badlands and high roads of Israel-Palestine, painting a startling portrait of Israeli society under the siege of increasingly authoritarian politics as the occupation of the Palestinians deepens.

Beginning with the national elections carried out during


In Goliath, New York Times bestselling author Max Blumenthal takes us on a journey through the badlands and high roads of Israel-Palestine, painting a startling portrait of Israeli society under the siege of increasingly authoritarian politics as the occupation of the Palestinians deepens.

Beginning with the national elections carried out during Israel's war on Gaza in 2008-09, which brought into power the country's most right-wing government to date, Blumenthal tells the story of Israel in the wake of the collapse of the Oslo peace process.

As Blumenthal reveals, Israel has become a country where right-wing leaders like Avigdor Lieberman and Bibi Netanyahu are sacrificing democracy on the altar of their power politics; where the loyal opposition largely and passively stands aside and watches the organized assault on civil liberties; where state-funded Orthodox rabbis publish books that provide instructions on how and when to kill Gentiles; where half of Jewish youth declare their refusal to sit in a classroom with an Arab; and where mob violence targets Palestinians and African asylum seekers scapegoated by leading government officials as "demographic threats."

Immersing himself like few other journalists inside the world of hardline political leaders and movements, Blumenthal interviews the demagogues and divas in their homes, in the Knesset, and in the watering holes where their young acolytes hang out, and speaks with those political leaders behind the organized assault on civil liberties. As his journey deepens, he painstakingly reports on the occupied Palestinians challenging schemes of demographic separation through unarmed protest. He talks at length to the leaders and youth of Palestinian society inside Israel now targeted by security service dragnets and legislation suppressing their speech, and provides in-depth reporting on the small band of Jewish Israeli dissidents who have shaken off a conformist mindset that permeates the media, schools, and the military.

Through his far-ranging travels, Blumenthal illuminates the present by uncovering the ghosts of the past—the histories of Palestinian neighborhoods and villages now gone and forgotten; how that history has set the stage for the current crisis of Israeli society; and how the Holocaust has been turned into justification for occupation.

A brave and unflinching account of the real facts on the ground, Goliath is an unprecedented and compelling work of journalism.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In his latest book, journalist Blumenthal (Republican Gomorrah) takes the Israelis to task for their racist and proto-fascist tendencies. He begins by critiquing the "herd of clueless American reporters and columnists who into Jerusalem and Tel Aviv each week." The charges of a "rising climate of repression" portending a "frightening authoritarian future" are amply substantiated, and inevitably, much of the book is deeply depressing. Blumenthal takes a hard if extreme look at the social structure. Palestinian citizens of Israel who take work as security guards in coffee shops are described as having given in to "sustained pressure to participate in the Jewish state's security sector," while the Zionist left is "well-educated Ashkenazi teens insert themselves into frontline combat units to civilize their less cultivated, lower-class peers from Mizrahi and Russian backgrounds." Blumenthal's Israel is represented by its basest instincts, a blunt look at a country where citizens are clearly divived into the "haves" and the "have nots". (Oct.)
From the Publisher

"There is much in its gruesome vignettes of modern Israeli hypernationalism in action ... heart-wrenching."
David Shulman, New York Review of Books

"[A] bold, personal and unapologetic book."

"Goliath is a particular kind of exposé-minded, documentary-broadside journalism whose place we generally recognize and respect... Blumenthal has made a sobering prima facie case that there are extreme forces [within Israel’s current political-social dynamics] to be aware of, and reckoned with more fully that American discourse usually does."
James Fallows, The Atlantic

Goliath…shows in forensic detail the reality of the Israeli mainstream’s embrace blatant racism against Arabs and Africans.”
Antony Loewenstein, TheGuardian.com

"[A] heart stopper... Goliath is a threat to the Israeli status quo...because it tells too many inconvenient truths."
Larry Gross, Director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication

"Max Blumenthal’s Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel is the most important political and investigative journalist book of 2013."
TarheelDem, Firedoglake Reader Diaries

"[A] bold and shocking book, presenting persuasively a major theoretical and polemical argument about Israel almost completely at odds with the image most Americans have of it... Even those generally well-informed about Israel and its occupation of the Palestinian territories will have their views challenged by Blumenthal’s sharp eye and deadpan factual presentations."
The American Conservative

"[A] scathing critique of the Jewish State... Supporters of Israel should be encouraged to read this book...As Israel’s greatest supporters, American Jews who care at all about the future of the country need to understand what’s happening within the borders."
The New York Observer

"I would like to send a copy [of Goliath] to every Jew I know...This is the sort of book that even if you want to diss it, you can't dismiss it."
Charles H. Manekin, Professor of Philosophy, Director of the Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Center of Jewish Studies at the University of Maryland

"Blumenthal’s new book offers an unflinching look at the racist reality of Israel that America’s establishment media simply does not have the guts to confront."
Ali Abunimah, Electronic Intifada

"Brave reporting of a sad, even tragic tale. Makes me wish he wrote for the New York Times."
Stephen Walt, Professor of International Affairs at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government

"Erudite, hard-hitting, [Goliath has] the potential to influence American public opinion on Israel..."
Rayyan Al-Shawaf, Mondoweiss

"[Blumenthal is] genuinely interested in the truth, and knows that the truth in politics often lurks in those dark caves of viciousness... [Goliath is] the kind of book that you just open to any chapter and quickly get a sense of both the particular and the whole. You'll find yourself instantly immersed in an engrossing family romance-one part tender, one part train-wreck-and wish you had the entire day to keep reading. Put it down, and pick it up the next day, and you'll have the exact same feeling."
Corey Robin, associate professor of political science at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center

"A rich, roiling examination of 'the State of Israel during a period of deepening political and societal crisis' ... Blumenthal is an enterprising reporter."
Kirkus Reviews

“Brash, gritty, personal and close to the ground, this is a report from an Israel and a Palestine we seldom see in the mainstream media. The sharp-edged scenes and portraits in this disturbing book shows why the chances for lasting peace in the region have gone from bad to worse.”
Adam Hochschild

"Armed with a critic's eye and a sharp pen, Blumenthal sets out to document what he regards as the fulfillment of Yeshayahu Leibowitz's darkest prophecy regarding the Israeli occupation. Exposure to the impressions from his journey through the Land of Israel-Palestine might be outrageous, unsettling, often heart wrenching. But those who fear for the image of this land would be well advised to respond to the challenge and to deal with his flowing descriptions of the struggles he witnessed and of the brave souls he met in one of the most divided and conflict-ridden places in the world."
Akiva Eldar

Goliath lifts the carefully maintained veil concealing the reality of Israel as it actually is today, a reality that is elided in most reportage from the region… Blumenthal's book is packed with remarkable vignettes illustrating the dangerous path Israel is currently following.”
Rashid Khalidi

"It is about time someone wrote this book. Anyone who thinks he knows what is happening in Israel and its occupied territories will think again after reading this great work."
Charles Glass

“The only worthwhile, honest discussion of Israel can come from someone who possesses two attributes: fearlessness and expertise. Max Blumenthal wields both in abundance, and the result is an eye-opening and stunningly insightful book about the dramatic plight of a country central to America's political fortunes.”
Glenn Greenwald

"Max Blumenthal lays bare in rich and riveting detail the full, shocking scope and virulence of a cancer, both institutional and popular, which, unchecked, will surely do more to destroy Israel from within than its enemies — essentially of its own racist and colonialist making too — from without."
David Hirst

Library Journal
Journalist Blumenthal (formerly, senior writer, Daily Beast; Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement That Shattered the Party) presents the Israel-Palestine conflict as the result of a colonialist endeavor to displace an indigenous population and establish a racist, militaristic, theocratic state on its land. Though he focuses on the past 20 years, Blumenthal seeks to convince the reader that Israel has become a fascist society and that neither Greater Israel (including the West Bank) nor Israel proper (the territory behind the 1948–67 Green Line) could ever be Jewish and democratic. His contention—that the current right-wing government is different in degree but not in kind from all previous Israeli governments in its persecution of Palestinians within and outside the Green Line—is supported by references to the Palestinian narrative that cites public and private statements of Jews and Arabs and through descriptions of public reaction to demonstrations by and in support of Palestinians. VERDICT Blumenthal's clear political left bias and some obvious factual errors should cause some skepticism in readers. Ari Shavit's My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel, which uses in-depth interviews to explicate the positions of significant figures in present-day Israel and Palestine, will leave many with more hope for Israel's future, while those less supportive of the Jewish state may find Blumenthal's book appealing.—Joel Neuberg, Santa Rosa Junior Coll. Lib., CA
Kirkus Reviews
A rich, roiling examination of "the State of Israel during a period of deepening political and societal crisis." From the gory details of Operation Cast Lead, when Israel pummeled the Gaza Strip with laser-guided missiles in late 2008, through the right-wing election sweep soon afterward of Bibi Netanyahu and the unleashing of racist, nationalist elements and rushes for new settlements, Blumenthal (Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party, 2009) tracks the escalating rhetoric and violence in episodic fashion. Having established himself in various parts of Israel over the ensuing years to observe and flush out the action--he recognized he could sail through airport security since, as an Ashkenazi Jew, he "would be automatically afforded special rights according to the designs of Zionism"--Blumenthal is an enterprising reporter, finding lessons in vanished Palestinian neighborhoods, such as once-thriving Jaffa, before the Israelis drove out the residents, razing homes and appropriating land; and hanging out at the Knesset, which he sarcastically calls the "Fortress of Democracy," where he chased down various cronies of right-wing Avigdor Lieberman's party to explain a series of alarming proposals enacted to suppress Palestinian expression. With acquiescent support of the left as well as the general Israeli public, the legitimization of (to Western readers) frightening cultural concepts like homogeneity and Judaization has instigated what Blumenthal and some of his left-leaning interviewees call fascist measures in a once-lively democracy, where a dissenting version of the official narrative is not permitted. Government officials, young educated Arabs, border police, journalists, Army refuseniks and rabid nationalists: Blumenthal taps them all in this vivid and relentlessly negative portrait of Israel. Dense, in-the-trenches reportage revealing details that go from grim to grimmer.

Product Details

Nation Books
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Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
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File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and bestselling author whose articles and video documentaries have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Daily Beast, The Nation, The Guardian, The Independent Film Channel, The Huffington Post, Salon.com, Al Jazeera English and many other publications. His book, Republican Gomorrah: Inside The Movement That Shattered The Party, was a New York Times and Los Angeles Times bestseller. He blogs at maxblumenthal.com

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Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
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h060tu More than 1 year ago
Long and tiresome. If you are really interested in Israel-Palestine, then read it. But if you don't have time, or patience with going through this huge tome... I would leave it on the shelf.