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Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History, Updated Edition, With a New Preface

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  660 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Meticulously researched and tightly argued, Beyond Chutzpah points to a consensus among historians and human rights organizations on the factual record of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Norman G. Finkelstein exposes the corruption of scholarship and the contrivance of controversy shrouding human rights abuses, and interrogates the new anti-Semitism. This paperback edition ...more
Paperback, 488 pages
Published June 2nd 2008 by University of California Press (first published 2005)
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Start your review of Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History, Updated Edition, With a New Preface
I probably would do well with an opinion piece and hope to get away with it as a review.

Let's start with the book itself. One Jewish scholar, Norman G. Finkelstein, attacks another, Alan Dershowitz, and it gets ugly. The problem between the two is....wait for it....Israel. And in particular, Dershowitz's book The Case For Israel. Finkelstein revels in the plagiarism by Dershowitz and accuses the latter of preventing the former to get tenure at his university. A plethora of footnotes and evidence
Ned Rifle
Dec 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a thorough and well researched book - no surprise there. What makes this book far more enjoyable than others on the Israeli-Palestine conflict is that it is framed as an elaborate and detailed rebuttal of Alan Dershowitz's 'The Case for Israel'. Alan Dershowitz is a horrid but hilarious character, always one to go to for an original idea (see his idea to put the separation wall on wheels: "I proposed, actually, that the security fence be placed on wheels and constantly be able to be mov ...more
Apr 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a careful, comprehensive, concise work that provides understanding of why Israel is so reviled in the world and which indicts, through its focus on one highly visible, well-connected, "media-savvy" apologist, Alan Dershowitz, an entire class of mainstream elite. This elite regularly justify war crimes and horrific human rights abuses on TV and other media. The sections on collective punishment (destroying homes of the accused, their family members and sometimes neighbors, even with them ...more
Simon Wood
Aug 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Norman Finkelstein first appeared in the 1980's with his thorough debunking of Joan Peters "From Time Immemorial" which had been widely praised on publication by Zionists and other supporters of Israel who were overjoyed to read an "academic" work that supported the Zionist assertion that the Palestinians didn't exist. Finkelstein in a memorable contribution to "Blaming the Victims" showed Peter's magnum opus to be a tissue of lies, distorted quotations
Aaaand...I'm officially down the Middle East rabbit hole. I spent last following Israeli elections in pain as Netanyahu won another term. And I don't know how I got here. I think it was originally from my news feed that Airbnb decided to boycott West Bank settlements (a move which they reversed last night).

This is a great book. But don't be fooled by the title. It is a meticulous and rigorous academic demonstration that Alan Dershowitz is a pathological liar. You can't really publish a scholarly
Dec 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mideast-politics
Norman Finkelstein is a hero of truth. This book offers a rare look at the dishonest history and publicity manufactured by the Israel lobby. In every generation since Biblical times the Jews seem to produce prophetic figures who are doomed to speak truth to power -- Finkelstein is such a one.
Ahmed Daabel
Sep 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a scholarly, very tightly reasoned book. It will not sway ideologues or zealots, but will clarify issues for anyone who is open to rational argument on the inflammatory subject of Middle-East politics and reality. Firstly, the book points out the moral and intellectual corruption of Dershowitz and his crowd. Alan Dershowitz, holding a named chair at the Law School is, for some reason, immune.

During the 1967 war, I happened to make the comment that "Palestinians are people with rights, t
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very informative collection of Israel's human rights abuses and how Jewish elites distort and deny the findings of respected NGO's.
Jordan McPeek
Dec 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Israel/Palestine: terribly complex issues, tread carefully, don't want to be anti-Semitic. Finkelstein says not really, that's just so much smoke thrown up by pro-Israeli apologists to keep people from examining the issues. This book tackles many of them, primarily through closely examining the work of Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard law professor and a leading proponent of Israel, and comparing it to reports from various human rights agencies. When reading opinion pieces like this, I assume I'm ju ...more
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book from a well respected author and currently being put under pressure by the very few he is denouncing, is a proof of how the medias in the US, as well as the world of scholar is biased against anyone criticizing the policy of Israel. Even though there are tens of thousands of Jews criticizing the regime, it stays difficult in the US.
Derschowitz wrote a book "the Case for Israel" in 2003 and it is proved in this book that it is a poor work, full of lies, approximations and plagiarisms.
Aug 16, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Totally destroys Alan Dershowitz's credibility. A little shrill, to say the least.
Dec 07, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Serious scholarship that illuminates a painful history.
As a minority Jew in a circle of liberal friends, I often get questioned about my take on the Israel-Palestine conflict. However, my view has been fairly muddled and I could never produce a sophisticated answer as to why I felt so conflicted. In an effort to get up to speed on the various issues and views, I gathered up as many books on the topic as my library carried and started reading. Unfortunately, I can't say I'm any less conflicted, but the nuances now have more depth.

Finkelstein's books
Mohamed al-Jamri
Nov 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: israel-palestine
A very important book exposing the politics and distortions when it comes to writing the history of Israel-Palestine conflict.
Dec 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This book (and, frankly, most of Finkelstein's books) could just as aptly be titled Norman Finkelstein Complains about People and the Dumb Things They Say. To be honest, that's largely why I read his books. I find something about his moral outrage and indignation utterly fascinating. And they can be quite funny--he's a sassy little malcontent who just can't help but be recklessly abrasive.

My favorite parts of this book were those that focused on Alan Dershowitz and his Case for Israel. The speci
Henry Lockett
Sep 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think that Finkelstein puts too much focus on discrediting Alan Dershowitz; he sometimes comes across as petit. However one of the main aims of the book is to illustrate how stretched the definition of 'anti-semitism' has become, and much of Dershowitz's writing is a shining example of such abuse. So perhaps the popularity of his book 'The Case For Israel' warrants the critical review given in 'Beyond Chutzpah'. The record needed to be set straight.

Finkelstein's footnotes and references are ex
Dec 25, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful guide on the correct methods of academic citations.
Syed Fathi
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is the second Norman Finkelstein’s book I read. The first book I read was The Holocaust Industry, in which Finkelstein brilliantly exposed the international Jewry conspiracy which used the Holocaust memory to gain monetary gain from Europe at the expense of the Holocaust survivors. Like the first book, this book also were equip with tonnes of footnotes, making it exhausting to read. But, the reading would be easy and less exhaustive if you decide not to read each of the footnotes. The ...more
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the beginning Finkelstein is tearing Dershowitz to shreds, pointing his massive hypocrisy, incitement to war, his fraudulent books, but also highlights how U.S. media are always silent when it comes to Zionist pro-Israel shills propagating their views for, and them belittling the Palestinians and the hardship they are still enduring. The book though main focus is to combat this new "Antisemitism" charge that is frequently employed against anyone daring to critique Israel, and how it's misused ...more
Mar 07, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics, nonfiction
There are two parts to this: an opening section on the way that charges of 'anti-Semitism' are used to smear and intimidate anyone who is critical of Israel's policies, and a sustained dissection and attack on Dershowitz' book 'The Case for Israel'.

You've probably noticed that in recent years television pundits have been leveling charges of anti-Semitism at critics of Israel. Even if the critics are Jewish; even if they are Israeli citizens; it doesn't matter. By definition, now, if you criticiz
Firstly, I should say that this is both a well-written and well-researched book, and deserves to be read by anyone interested in the Middle East conflicts. While it's probably only going to be read by people with similar beliefs to Mr. Finkelstein's (and those of myself, for that matter), it should be read by a broader spectrum, even though it almost certainly won't be (obvs).

But I should also add that it is a bit snarky and a bit polemical, which might annoy you, and that especially whenever Al
Nov 05, 2008 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
this is a second edition--i didnt read the first one so is al new to me--norman finkelstein is one of the most extraodinary scholars of words i've encountered, as he combines, to me , any way, a literary, legalistic, historian's approach, really out of a Talmudic tradition i think--he's a brilliant teacher, really, as i feel like i am learning continually how to read and examine words in reading him and following his thought--one of the best speakers i ever heard on issues and matters of languag ...more
May 05, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Poorly structured and written, very partisan language and misleading title (only a minor part dealt with new antisemitism). Let a real writer rewrite it, give it a different title and this book could be relevant.
Timothy Faust
Just, you know, some light reading.
Jayde Schwerin
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First Paperback (2008) edition with new Preface.

Finkelstein makes the works of fraudsters public in this tome comprising thorough research and observation of the works of Joan Peters and Alan Dershowitz. Finkelstein shows how brazen the lies are peddled by "scholars" who either have flat-out falsified their research sources, or refuse to cite credible human rights NGO sources for their research because it would severely ruin the message they are trying to instill in uneducated or unaware people.
Fernando Pestana da Costa
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book has two main themes: the "new anti-semitism" and the poor Israel human rights record. What unites both is an utterly devastating rebuttal of the book The Case for Israel by the Harvard Law School professor and preeminent member of the Israel lobby, Alan Dershowitz. Finkelstein's work is, as usual, powerful, deeply informed, and, in stark contrast with his target, intellectually very honest, providing the reader with a detailed and very precise references that the reader can check if he ...more
Chris Ramirez
Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's no better asskicking I like seeing better than an intellectual one. Where people take what you wrote, quote it, and then quote other stuff to show how silly the claim is or how full of shit a guy is. No one seems to do it better than Norman Finkelstein especially when he's laying into Zionist apologist like Alan Dershowitz. Yes, the Harvard legal scholar you see on TV all the time and member of OJ's dream team is a HUGE apologist for the atrocities committed against the Palestines and le ...more
Jean Jessup
Feb 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Horrifically Eye-opening, but hard to read due to legaleze. I have great respect for Norman Finkelstein.
Mar 05, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a certain way, this is an appendix of what has to be Finkelstein's centrepiece, which is the Holocaust Industry. It represents the ongoing fight against nasty types like Alan Dershowitz, like Daniel Goldhagen, like Joan Peters.

When I first happened upon Finkelstein, I think at the beginning of the last Gaza conflict in 2014, I was stricken by his views and his idiosyncratic expressiveness. I live in a country where Israel has few defenders and it seemed strange, then, and even shocking, to se
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Norman Finkelstein, son of a holocaust survivor, is a fierce and controversial critic of Israeli policy, especially toward Palestinians. He has had a tense rivalry with his pro-Israel counterpart, Alan Dershowitz. In 2007 DePaul University denied his tenure, a decision for which Dershowitz lobbied. For his views and suspected connections to anti-Zionist groups, Israel has denied Finkelstein entry ...more

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