Synopses & Reviews
2014 Lannan Foundation Cultural Freedom Notable Book Award
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 pastand#151;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.
"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 exposand#233;-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 Israeland#8217;s current political-social dynamics] to be aware of, and reckoned with more fully that American discourse usually does."
James Fallows, The Atlantic
and#147;Goliathand#133;shows in forensic detail the reality of the Israeli mainstreamand#8217;s embrace blatant racism against Arabs and Africans.and#8221;
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 Blumenthaland#8217;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 Blumenthaland#8217;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 Israeland#8217;s greatest supporters, American Jews who care at all about the future of the country need to understand whatand#8217;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
"Blumenthaland#8217;s new book offers an unflinching look at the racist reality of Israel that Americaand#8217;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."
and#147;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.and#8221;
"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."
and#147;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 regionand#133; Blumenthal's book is packed with remarkable vignettes illustrating the dangerous path Israel is currently following.and#8221;
"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."
and#147;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.and#8221;
"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 and#151; essentially of its own racist and colonialist making too and#151; from without."
About 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