September 11, 2005

Wherefore is this this state different from all the other states?

I'm almost finished reading Norman Finkelstein's Beyond Chutzpah lately and something just leapt at me from the first page of the conclusion.
In many respects, Israel's record, as distilled from thousands of pages of human rights reports, is quite singular. "What renders Israel's abuses unique throughout the world," B'tselem observes, "is the relentless efforts to justify what cannot be justified." The Israeli Supreme Court has "rationalised virtually all controversial actions of the Israeli authorities" (Hebrew University professor David Kretzmer). For example, in a 1997 ruling "unprecedented in the world" (Amnesty International), the Supreme Court legalised hostage taking. [As Finkelstein himself points out, they have since rescinded this but only because the hostage taking didn't work!].......Israel was "the only country in the world," according to B'tselem, "where torture was legally sanctioned."
So next time someone asks why poor little Israel is being singled out, those are some of the reasons that should spring to mind. And that's before we get into troubling little issues like colonial settlement, ethnic cleansing and racist rule.

Regarding Beyond Chutzpah, it's taking me forever to read it because, whilst it is very readable, I keep using it for reference so I go back over bits to cross check them with their sources and so on. So that's my recommendation; it's an enjoyable read, it comprehensively destroys whatever reputation "human rights lawyer" Alan Dershowitz had and it's very useful for reference. Unlike the first edition of the Holocaust Industry, another highly recommended read, it's well indexed.

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