Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel: New Introduction by Norton Mezvinsky

Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel: New Introduction by Norton Mezvinsky

by Israel Shahak, Norton Mezvinsky
     
 

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Could Jewish fundamentalism derail the peace process, plunging Israel into civil war? In this controversial book, acclaimed Israeli writer Israel Shahak and American scholar Norton Mezvinsky explore the consequences of the fundamentalist belief that people of Jewish faith are special before God, a belief the fundamentalists passionately defend.

The authors consider

Overview

Could Jewish fundamentalism derail the peace process, plunging Israel into civil war? In this controversial book, acclaimed Israeli writer Israel Shahak and American scholar Norton Mezvinsky explore the consequences of the fundamentalist belief that people of Jewish faith are special before God, a belief the fundamentalists passionately defend.

The authors consider the consequences of this belief in the light of the considerable political influence and power of Jewish Fundamentalism. They make a clear distinction between the fundamentalist ideology of Israel's Ashkenazi Jews and that of the Sephardic Jews. The growing impact of these two movements on Israel, at both the political and grassroots levels, is also examined.

Shahak and Mezvinsky argue that Israeli Jewish fundamentalism is closely associated with a new form of national religious messianism. Rising from the 1967 settling of the conquered territories, this growing trend vehemently opposes the peace process.

The authors conclude by analyzing the possibilities for civil war in Israel between religious fundamentalists and secularists.

Editorial Reviews

Socialist
The fact that Jewish fundamentalists in Israel glorify murderers, undermine the peace process, and practice the most vicious forms of sexism is rarely even acknowledged. Many are afraid to mention this problem for fear of encouraging the anti-Semitism that is endemic in all western societies.....Israel Shahak, an Israeli human rights activist resident in Jerusalem for more than 40 years, and Norton Mezvinsky, an American history professor with great experience in Judaism, have bravely decided to break the silence about the fundamentalist danger. They report that the problem has been glossed over by those reporting on Israeli society much in the way that the crimes of Stalinism were glossed over by some leftists in discussions about the late USSR......The authors conclude that if fundamentalists ever get into power, they will treat non-Jews in Israel very badly, and treat Jews they consider heretics - the vast majority of the Israeli population - even worse. Perhaps more frightening is that they would stop female education and force women to withdraw from public life. The authors ....are right to warn us of the danger, especially the danger of failing to give these people the attention they deserve and judge them as we would other groups. The first thing for Americans to do is brave the wrath of those who don't allow Israel to be criticized and demand a stop to US aid to a system which helps groups that are dangerous to women, democracy and world peace.
Gore Vidal
The voice of reason is alive and well, and in Israel, of all places. Shahak is the latest — if not the last — of the great prophets.
Noam Chomsky
Shahak is an outstanding scholar, with remarkable insight and depth of knowledge. His work is informed and penetrating, a contribution of great value.
Gordon Peake
In this deeply disturbing book Shahak and Mezvinsky highlight the dangers that Jewish fundamentalism poses to democracy in Israel. Using Hebrew sources previously untapped by Western researchers, the authors elucidate the religious philosophy that underpins the politics of Shas, the National Religious Party and like-minded settler parties.......The picture they paint is a shocking one. Pulling no punches they liken the 'intolerance' and 'hatred' of Jewish fundamentalist thought to Nazism (p65 and contend that both the Israeli public and their politicians have been too indulgent of the religious parties.......Illuminative, insightful and accessible, this is an important book that deserves as wide a readership as possible.
Outlook on Books
... The dominant North American public intellectual culture 'disappears' the Shahaks and Mezvinsky's with their upsetting challenges to prevailing dogma.
From the Publisher

'Illuminative, insightful and accessible, this is an important book that deserves as wide a readership as possible.' --Ethnic Conflict Research Digest

'A first-class overview of the different fundamentalist movements … A fascinating and thought-provoking book.' --Neue Zurcher Zeitung (Switzerland)

'Shahak and Mezvinsky’s explicit objective is to rouse the reader, particularly the North American reader, into an acknowledgement that Jewish fundamentalism is as ‘pernicious’ as other fundamentalisms. This requires us to approach the Jewish past not as folk-tale, but as history.' -Outlook

'Unlike all other English-language accounts [this] is frank and fiercely critical … A must-read for anyone interested in exploring the dark corners of an ideology that has an impact on international events.' --Race and Class

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780745320908
Publisher:
Pluto Press
Publication date:
07/01/2004
Edition description:
New
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
5.32(w) x 8.47(h) x 0.70(d)

What People are saying about this

Noam Chomsky
Shahak is an outstanding scholar, with remarkable insight and depth of knowledge. His work is informed and penetrating, a contribution of great value.
Gore Vidal
The voice of reason is alive and well, and in Israel, of all places. Shahak is the latest -- if not the last -- of the great prophets.

Meet the Author

Israel Shahak was a resident of the Warsaw Ghetto and a survivor of Bergen-Belsen. He arrived in Palestine in 1945 and lived there until his death in 2001. He was an outspoken critic of the state of Israel and a human rights activist. He was also the author of the highly acclaimed Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel (Pluto Press 1999) and Jewish History, Jewish Religion (Pluto Press 1994).

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