What To Read on the State of Israel

Important reading on a crucial topic:

As I speak of what to read on Israel, I am here only referring to the modern state of Israel, and the issues it faces being the only viable democracy in the Middle East, surrounded by hostile Arab and Muslim countries, most of whom are wanting to see it driven into the sea.

Thus I am not here listing books about ancient Israel, the Old Testament, and so much more. Nor am I listing books dealing with modern debates about things like replacement theology, and the relation between Israel and the church, and so on.

When it comes to a controversial topic like modern Israel, as with so many other hot potato issues, this is something where volumes pushing leftist, woke, progressive and liberal views abound, while those taking a more conservative stance are far, far fewer.

This is true of topics such as homosexuality, abortion, or things like border security, etc. Overwhelmingly volumes from the secular left will dominate while conservative and Christian titles will be in short supply – or not even found at all in most bookshops.

That is certainly true of books on Israel, the Palestinian situation, the conflict in Gaza, Islamic terrorism, and so on. If I listed books on these topics by those critical of Israel and pushing the left’s spin on things, this would be a very long list. But because I am offering books here that dare to tell the other side of the story – a side almost always overlooked and attacked by the mainstream media, it is worth giving them some much-needed airtime.

This list, then, is quite short. While other such books exist, these are among some of the better ones available. Three of them are older works, and five of them are much newer. Along with each book I will feature a few quotes from each, to give you a feel for what is found therein.

Dershowitz, Alan, The Case for Israel. John Wiley, 2003.

“Two dead civilians are not morally equivalent if one was targeted for murder, and the death of the other was the unfortunate consequences of best efforts, including risk to one’s own soldiers, to prevent the murder of civilians. Both are wrongs, just as the death of two hospital patients from overdoses of a cancer treating drug are wrongs. But anyone who cannot, or will not, distinguish between the case where a black patient was deliberately overdosed by a racist nurse and another case where the patient died after consenting to aggressive cancer therapy that he knew carried a high risk of death is either morally blind or willfully bigoted. Everybody understands this difference, and everyone believes in it in other contexts. But when it comes to Israel, simple intelligence and basic morality are suspended by some who insist on applying a double standard to the Jewish state. Even if Israel is properly criticised for overreacting in particular cases by placing civilians at risk, there is still no moral equivalence between exploding an anti-personnel bomb made of nails soaked in rat poison whose sole purpose is to maximise civilian deaths and injuries, on the one hand, and targeting terrorists under circumstances in which it is likely that some innocent civilians may die, on the other hand. Both are wrong, but the former is far, far more morally culpable than the latter, because of the differing purposes. No civilised society regards premeditated first degree murder as morally equivalent to negligent homicide. This is true of the Bible, the Koran, and international law – except apparently when it comes to Israel, where longstanding distinctions and universally accepted rules of morality seemed to be forgotten.” pp. 192-193

Dershowitz, Alan, Defending Israel. Hot Books, 2019, 2023.

“Israel today is the most condemned nation in [the] world. It is also more criticized now than ever before in its history. Some of this criticism is warranted, and it even comes from Israelis and American Jews who love Israel. I myself have taken issue with some of Israel’s policies. But the degree of condemnation and demonization is all out of proportion to what is warranted.” p. 4

“Another tragic lesson of the Holocaust is that Jews and Jewish institutions need disproportionate power to survive. We are small in number, but the hatred against us looms large. Having morality on our side is essential, but it is not sufficient. The Jews who died in the Holocaust had morality on their side, but it was not enough to protect them against the overwhelming material forces arrayed against them. History has demonstrated that Jews must be prepared to defend themselves—militarily, politically, economically and in every other way. We should try to make and maintain alliances with friends, without ever counting on those friends to come through in the crunch” p. 276

Gilder, George, The Israel Test. RVB, 2009.

“Yes, there is a religious component in anti-Semitism, but there is also a political and economic element, reflected in the objective anti-Semitism of Karl Marx, Noam Chomsky, Friedrich Engels, Howard Zinn, Naomi Klein, and other Jewish leftists who above all abhor capitalism. Jews, amazingly, excel so readily in all intellectual feuds fields that they outperform all rivals even in the arena of anti-Semitism. For all its special features and extreme manifestations, anti-Semitism is a reflection of the hatred towards successful middle men, entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, lenders, bankers, financiers, and other capitalists that is visible everywhere whenever an identifiable set of outsiders outperforms the rest of the population in the economy.” p. 36

“Virtually all Americans who have achieved anything important in the twentieth century have had crucial Jewish colleagues and collaborators. Virtually none of the significant scientific and technological feats of the 20th century would have been possible without critical contributions by Jews.” p. 254

Prager, Dennis and Joseph Telushkin, Why the Jews? The Reason for Antisemitism. Touchstone, 1983, 2016.

“The universality of antisemitism is attested to by innumerable facts, the most dramatic being that Jews have been expelled from so many of the European and Arab societies in which they have resided. Jews were expelled from England in 1290, France in 1306 and 1394, Hungary between 1349 and 1360, Austria in 1421, numerous localities in Germany between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries, Lithuania in 1445 and 1495, Spain in 1492, Portugal in 1497, and Bohemia and Moravia in 1744-45. Between the fifteenth century and 1772, Jews were not allowed into Russia; when finally admitted there, they were restricted to one area, the Pale of Settlement. Between 1948 and 1967, nearly all the Jews of Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, in Yemen fled these countries, fearing for their lives.” pp. 3-4

“The Arab world (with the exception of Jordan) refused to allow Palestinian refugees to become citizens of any Arab country. Driven by its hatred of Israel, the Arab world had a policy of keeping these people homeless and in refugee camps. Otherwise, this problem would have been solved long ago.” p. 165

Senor, Dan and Saul Singer, The Genius of Israel. Constable, 2023.

“In many respects, Israel looks like the modern and prosperous democracies of North America, Europe, and Asia. As of 2021, its GDP per capita has surpassed those of Germany, the UK, France, and Japan, and its economy has been growing faster than the U.S. and EU. Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and other cities are festooned with construction cranes building new office towers, hotels, and apartment buildings. Israel’s economic and military strengths are visible and known, What no one seemed to have noticed, including us and most Israelis, was the evidence that Israel was an outlier in societal health.” p. 5

“For many Israelis, one of the most meaningful experiences in their lives is to be entrusted with real responsibilities for securing the state, primarily through their military service. The threats they face are not abstract or thousands of miles away. They know that if they don’t do their job, enemy forces could get through Israel’s defenses and harm their families.” p. 37

“Israel is a country built on a story. It is the bookend of the story of exile, of the return of a people to their ancient land and language, and to sovereignty over their own fate. Every country has its story, but only a few have an animating myth without which they would not exist.” p. 124

Simon, Jake Wallis, Israelophobia. Constable, 2023.

“It is hard to overstate the demonisation that surrounds the Jewish state and colours public perception of it. It stands condemned for failing to observe the rules-based international order at a time when it was not followed by any country. It is doubly condemned for falling below standards that are upheld by nobody today, least of all those in the Middle East. Like any other nation, Israel has a positive and negative side to its Ledger. And as with any other nation, some people will tend to judge it kindlier than others. Yet unlike other nations, it is targeted with exceptional levels of hatred.” p. 67

“The original UN partition proposal of 1947 allowed a number of Jews to live in a Palestinian state, just as some Arabs became citizens of Israel. Yet the modern Palestinian government bans Jews from obtaining residency, with harsh penalties for any Arab found guilty of selling land to Jews. Throughout the west, modern liberals support this racist policy. They would not be in favour of laws that ban Hindus from Pakistan, say, or Muslims from Britain, or Mexicans from the United States. How can banning Jews from Palestinian areas be justified, especially given their ancestral links to the area?” p. 120

Spencer, Robert, The Palestinian Delusion: The Catastrophic History of the Middle East Peace. Bombardier Books, 2021.

“When discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, pundits and politicians often tell us that Jerusalem is one of the holy cities of Islam—indeed, its third-holiest city, right after Mecca and Medina. But in reality, the Islamic claim to Jerusalem is extremely tenuous, based only on a legendary journey of Muhammad—a journey that is at best a dream and at worst a fabrication.” p. 58

“The Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 gave the world an intimation of what a Palestinian state would be like. Mortimer Zuckerman and the others who raised money for greenhouse equipment for the Palestinians assumed that once the Israelis were gone and the ‘occupation’ was over, the Palestinians would lay down their weapons and resume normal life. Many likewise continue to hope that if a Palestinian state is finally established, Palestinians will end their jihad against Israel and the two states will indeed live side by side in peace. But the ‘river to the sea’ chant that has become so popular among leftists in the United States is a maximalist imperative that leaves no room for any Jewish state at all. The State of Palestine would, like unoccupied Gaza, become a new base for jihad attacks against diminished Israel. It would inevitably be a rogue state, dedicated only to the destruction and conquest of its Jewish neighbour.” pp. 218-219

Tishby, Noa, Israel: A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth. Free Press, 2021.

“To understand what is going on in Gaza, we must first understand Hamas, and for that, we need to understand the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood is a Sunni Islamist movement that originated in Egypt in 1928 and aims to implement Islamic law, known as Sharia, all over the world, starting with the Middle East.” p. 177

“So, yes, Gaza is indeed under siege. It is under siege by a terrorist Islamist organization that in its charter speaks of Jewish trees and aspirations for martyrdom, and whose religious doctrine is the earthly manifestation of rape culture and the legalization of violence against women, infidels, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. The people of Gaza do live in an open-air prison, and they deserve better.” p. 183

“Yes, Israel did take over territories in a defensive war, and then returned them in exchange for peace when that option was available. Israel gave up the entire oil-rich (and stunning) Sinai Peninsula, which is bigger than the State of Israel itself, in exchange for peace with Egypt. The Gaza Strip was handed back to the Palestinians, only for Israel to watch Hamas brutally take it over, killing both Palestinians and Israeli civilians.” pp. 284-285

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6 Replies to “What To Read on the State of Israel”

  1. Thanks Bill. One of the most foundational questions is should Israel even exist as a Jewish state. We need a clear legal basis.

    What is Article 80 of the United Nations Charter?

    Article 80 of UN Charter was the result of their efforts. The Mandate for Palestine was thus duly recognised by the UN. This measure guaranteed that Jews had the unalterable right to live anywhere in Palestine, in the region between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

    Aside from the League of Nations signing into international law the undeniable right of Jews to create their own sovereign state in Israel based on historical and ancestral rights, Article 80 of the United Nations (UN) Charter is equally as important to acknowledge. When the League of Nations dissolved, the United Nations was shortly formed afterwards. In 1945, at the San Francisco Conference, Jewish leaders came forth to ensure that the Jewish rights to Israel were secured.

    The Mandate for Palestine was thus duly recognised by the UN. This measure guaranteed that Jews had the unalterable right to live anywhere in Palestine, in the region between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Even today, this legal right allows Jews to live anywhere in Jerusalem, Judea & Samaria, and in Gaza.

    The International Court of Justice (ICJ) reaffirmed the meaning and validity of Article 80 in three separate cases; the dates included 1950, 1971, and as recently as 2004.
    Eli M. Hertz, an expert on Israel notes, “Professor Eugene Rostow concurred with the ICJ’s opinion as to the “sacredness” of trusts such as the “Mandate for Palestine”:
    “‘A trust’ – as in Article 80 of the UN Charter – does not end because the trustee dies … the Jewish right of settlement in the whole of western Palestine – the area west of the Jordan – survived the British withdrawal in 1948. … They are parts of the mandate territory, now legally occupied by Israel with the consent of the Security Council.”

    “Under international law, neither Jordan nor the Palestinian Arab ‘people’ of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have a substantial claim to the sovereign possession of the occupied territories.”

    Arabs were never granted political rights under the Mandate for Palestine, only Jews. The reason for that is because Arab political rights were granted in 4 territories: Iraq, Lebanon, Transjordan (later Jordan), and Syria.

  2. One cautionary word if we’re talking about about anti-Semitism is western culpability for it in the first place. The horrific ordeal that caused the mass slaughter of six million Jews occurred in the heart of European ‘civilisation’. Shamefully, the histories of both German Catholicism and Lutheranism contributed to it, given both tolerated the circulation of antisemitic conspiracy theories and propaganda within both faith communities, giving Hitler’s poison fertile ground to germinate within.

    We would do well to remember that and not to tolerate western antisemitism wherever it occurs. The far left is certainly one culprit, but let’s be clear. There are organisations like the League of Rights in Australia and ‘alt-right” activists in the United States who make no secret of their atavistic and demonic hatred for Jewish people. They should be rebuked and unequivocally condemned just as vigorously.

  3. Thanks, Bill for all the info and being brave enough to have a topic about Israel as when the 7 Oct 2023 massacre in Israel occurred we had many anti-semantics in cities around the world agreeing with the massacre. Then a friend said it’s not a good idea to get bogged down in trying to refute what people were saying, which is true, I cannot believe the antisemitism propaganda out there on some blogs. So I found this guy’s take on where the Palestinians came from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0qxMNO7G9E I think he says the Aegean Sea area, so if he is correct, the Palestinians aren’t native to Gaza etc. Not sure if you mentioned it Bill, but the Bible does say it is the promised land for the Israelites in Ezekiel 48, giving all the borders for each tribe.

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