Talk:The Case for Israel

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This Article[edit]

Basically the whole article is a small criticism section. I'm sure Wikipedia writers and people knowledgeable about the book can do better right? Drsmoo 20:12, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

I agree, having just read the book I'll try to fix it up a little. LK 13:41, 23 July 2007 (UTC)
I'm pretty new at editing so please correct and format my edits properly if there's a need. LK 13:52, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

Feroze Sidhwa's review[edit]

Why is Feroze Sidhwa notable? How is he different from any other Amazon reviewer or blogger? In what way is the site he wrote this review on notable or unbiased? Jayjg (talk) 17:32, 10 July 2005 (UTC)


Re: ==Feroze Sidhwa's review== Sidhwa is notable because his is the only sustained critique of "Case for Israel" available. The review has been picked up by other websites, including the PMC. A link to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs website wouldn't be considered "unuthoritative", so I presume the Palestine Media Center should be good enough (it's the PA's foreign information service).

Furthermore, the website that originally published the review also regularly publishes material from Israeli and American professors, from Israeli and Palestinian peace activists, and many others. Recent articles include one by an assistant professor at Georgetown, one by two doctoral students and a professor of international relations at the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights, the personal observations of a professor at Boise State University, one by a journalism and international relations masters student at Columbia University, and one by a professor of international relations and Middle Eastern Studies at Columbia University; all in the last month or so.

And the issue of whether or not the review is unbiased is irrelevant (although it is, as I'm sure you'll agree if you read it - not only is it unbiased but extremely cautious and copiously documented), it's like asking if the "Case for Israel" itself should be listed in Wikipedia even though it is clearly biased. Finkelstein has a highly ideological point of view, but it makes no sense to say "oh, he's biased; let's take him off this page." Bias is a subjective designation. The reader should be given the information that's available. Where a relative abundance of information exists then you pick out that which was written by someone who teaches at a university or has written on the subject. But when NOTHING else exists, then it only makes sense to include one sentence that simply states this review exists, and that the review challenges the book's use of source material. I understand why including the long quote that was up before is too much, as it’s almost as long as the book excerpt itself, but certainly just making the reader aware of the review, and then letting the reader see it for themselves when NO OTHER REVIEW EXISTS is perfectly reasonable.

I won't put it back up until you respond, no later than July 13.

He has to be notable for some reason besides the fact that he reviewed the book. I can go on Amazon and get over 100 reviews of the book, including one by Sidhwa himself, but that doesn't make those reviewers notable either. I could write up a lengthy review and publish it on my blog, but that wouldn't be notable either. The review itself doesn't have to be unbiased, but the reviewer has to be notable. As for the website itself, and others which carry the review, they are clearly biased sites - I don't have to think very hard to imagine what the position of an "Electronic Intifada" website is. Jayjg (talk) 15:31, 11 July 2005 (UTC)
Responding to your points in turn:
1. "I can go on Amazon and get over 100 reviews of the book..." There is a world of difference between any review I've ever seen on Amazon.com and a sustained 8,000 word review of a controversial book, this is just obfuscation on your part.
2. "The review itself doesn't have to be unbiased, but the reviewer has to be notable." Again, I would agree that IF there were multiple critiques of "The Case for Israel" available, and some were by persons more "notable" than Sidhwa, then it would make sense to mention their reviews and not Sidhwa's. But THERE ARE NO OTHER REVIEWS. Thus it makes sense to give the reader access to the material that IS available, but without harping on the issue (for example, with one sentence simply mentioning the existence of the review).
3. "As for the website itself, and others which carry the review, they are clearly biased sites - I don't have to think very hard to imagine what the position of an "Electronic Intifada" website is." Yes, they are biased. But like I said, the Palestinian Authority's Palestine Media Center has picked up the review, in full, and published it on their website as well. If Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs website can be cited on Wikipedia, why not the Palestinian Authority's equivalent? Certainly you also don't "have to think very hard to imagine what the position" of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs is, either? There is no argument to be made here whatsoever.
Again, the ONLY serious point you're arguing is that Sidhwa isn't "notable", and I agree that he's not a professor of Middle Eastern Studies. But he's a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the Palestinian government found his review accurate enough to put on its website. I don't particularly care what you think of the PA, the fact is the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs is "unbiased" enough to be sourced on Wikipedia, so the PA equivalent must also be so. If Harvard hired someone to review a book, and that person happened to be some random guy off the street, then you would logically assume that, if Harvard PUBLISHED the review after it was completed, then Harvard found it credible, thus making the review itself "notable", even if the reviewer himself is not. Certainly the PA is not Harvard, but since Harvard and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs are considered credible and unbiased enough to be used on Wikipedia, I fail to see why the PA Media Center should be any different.
Unless you have a reasoned response to that you really ought to allow this one sentence note to the reader.
Responding to your points, 1) the fact that his review is lengthy doesn't make it any more authoritative. 2) There are plenty of other reviews around, just none as lengthy. 3) The fact that the PA puts it on its website doesn't mean he's notable, just that they like his opinion (unsurprising). Being included on a PA website doesn't make you notable. Jayjg (talk) 21:55, 11 July 2005 (UTC)

So being on an Israeli government website makes information notable, but not being on a Palestinian government website? That's basically what you're saying, correct?

And there is clearly a world of difference between a reviewer who gives 100 words and no evidence, just his reaction to a book ("I liked it", "I didn't like it", etc.) and an extensive, documented, footnoted review. Length isn't the issue, it's the character of the review. You're clearly comparing two things that have nothing to do with each other.

So, what your argument seems to come down to is that Israeli government sources are "notable", and Palestinian government sources are not. If that's correct then I ask you to explain how that makes any sense.

To begin with, people write 50 page polemics on websites, but that doesn't make them notable. Writing a lengthy book review doesn't make someone notable. As well, why do you keep bringing up the Israeli government websites? I don't see them being used here. How are they relevant? I haven't mentioned their websites. Please don't invent strawman arguments for me. Jayjg (talk) 22:44, 11 July 2005 (UTC)

To begin with, I explicitly said it's not the LENGTH, but the CHARACTER of the review that's at issue here. Not a QUANTITATIVE but a QUALITATIVE difference. Instead of responding you just repeated your argument about length, which we both agree is irrelevant. Let me rest my case by saying there is an observable distinction by intelligent humans between a rant of any length, and a documented, footnoted review of any length. I can't believe you're still insisting that "I like/hate this book" and "this book contains falsified information, and here are numerous and detailed examples, with page numbers and references" are the same thing, it's absolutely preposterous.

Second, I never said you mentioned Israeli government websites or that they're mentioned in this article. I said Israeli government websites are considered a legitimate source ELSEWHERE on Wikipedia, so why not their Palestinian equivalent here? You have yet to even attempt to answer the question, despite the fact that I've asked it at least three times now and that it is the only substantive issue you've raised. It's no strawman to point directly to the absurdity of your position on this matter. What's going on here is obfuscation on your part, refusing to even attempt to answer the real issue.

So let me highlight that issue for the fourth time: Since Israeli government websites are considered a legitimate source of information ELSEWHERE on Wikipedia, why should a lengthy, documented review given the imprimatur of a Palestinian government website be excluded IN THIS ARTICLE? Please answer the question I've asked instead of avoiding it by pretending I've said things I haven't.

Israeli government websites are valuable links when providing information about the Israeli government, or Israel itself; I would not consider them valid links for book reviews by non-notable individuals. Were there specific links to Israeli government websites you had in mind? Jayjg (talk) 19:54, 12 July 2005 (UTC)

This Wikipedia entry relays information from the Israeli government about Palestinian practices: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_suicide_bomber

"...an Israeli military report on 229 cases of minors involved in militant activity..."
"Many groups, including the Israel Defense Forces (IDF)...claims that many children are paid by militant groups such as Hamas or the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades to throw pipe bombs at Israeli soldiers, often resulting in severe injuries and handicaps to the children through premature detonation." This then gives a link to the IDF website.
"According to Israeli security forces, there have been 229 cases of minors involved in militant activity."
"The data collected by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) regarding the involvement of Palestinian children in suicide bombings is grim." This, too, gives the IDF website as a source.
"On May 29, 2004, The New York Times reported Israeli allegations that the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades were using children to recruit classmates as suicide bombers." The source is a newspaper article relying exclusively on an Israeli government source.
"On August 7, 2004, a 15 year-old Palestinian was killed while trying to launch an anti-tank missile on Rafiah Yam settlement in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli Defence Forces returned fire and hit the missile, and he was apparently was killed by the explosion. Later that day, in an attempt to sabotage the Israeli Gaza Strip Barrier, one Palestinian was killed and a 16-year-old teen was arrested. An IED explosive charge was found nearby." This gives a link to an Israeli newspaper which, again, reported these charges from an Israeli government source, no other.
"On September 23, 2004, a day before Yom Kippur, the Shin Bet and the Israeli police captured a 15-year-old suicide bomber and a 7 kg explosive belt in Dir-Hana village in the Western Galilee. The 15-year-old was a part of joint terrorist cell of Tanzim and Islamic Jihad from Yamon village near Jenin. The four were Palestinians who worked illegally in Israel. The 15-year-old teenager was paid 1000 Shekels in order to blow himself up in Afula." Again, Israeli newspaper source, relying completely on the Israeli government for information.
This is the first "external link" under "Reports on child suicide bombers": "Palestinians exploit children for terror - Background - Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs report"
This is the first link under "Reports and allegations of incitement and indoctrination of violence", despite the fact that looking at the website for two seconds shows that it is extremely biased, far more than anything I've ever seen on Electronic Intifada or even the PA Media website: "PA Indoctrination of Children to Seek Heroic Death for Allah"

That's one article, there are others but I'm not inclined to go through each and every one like this. This is straightforward Israeli governmental information on the actions of Palestinians, so why not straightforward Palestinian governmental information on the actions of American supporters of Israel? (That is, except for the last item, which is from an incredibly and openly biased site and cites NO verifiable information; as opposed to the biased website Sidhwa's article appears on, which cites LOADS of verifiable information.)

These Israeli governmental websites and sources are not giving information about "the Israeli government, or Israel itself", but about the practices of Palestinian militant/terrorist organizations, and are based on wholly unverifiable information. So again, I don't understand why a Palestinian governmental website based on wholly VERIFIABLE information should be discounted as so unreliable that it cannot even be mentioned in this article.


My response has been up for several days now. Please respond by tomorrow, July 16, or I'll assume you agree with what I've said and put the sentence mentioning Sidhwa's review back up. Thanks.
The examples are entirely different. One is a government reporting on actions, and is attributed to that source. The views of the government of Israel on actions affecting Israel are notable; one accepts that they will be from a certain POV. The other is a book review written by a nobody, and posted on a webpage. The two have nothing in common. Jayjg (talk) 21:54, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

You are absolutley correct that the "views of the government of Israel on actions affecting Israel are notable; one accepts that they will be from a certain POV." And, by exactly the same logic, since the views of the government of Israel on actions that affect Israel are inherently notable despite the fact that they will have a certain POV, the views of the Palestinian Authority on actions that affect Palestinians are also notable, despite the fact that they will have a certain POV. In other words, exactly what I've been saying for the past week. Please respond by tomorrow or the next day, this has been going on for far too long.

You have confused a book with "actions that affect Palestinians", and the P.A. in any event didn't commission or write this book review. No matter how you slice it, this guy's views are not notable. Jayjg (talk) 06:30, 17 July 2005 (UTC)


The PA didn't commission the review, but did endorse it by putting it on their website. If the EU commissioned a study and then refused to publish its findings, nobody would argue that the review has the imprimatur of the EU behind it. The issue when determining whether or not an institution endorses work is not whether or not it commissioned that work, but whether or not it published the work. That's elementary, so your second point makes no sense.

As to your first point, "pro-Israel" propaganda most certainly affects Palestinians, especially American "pro-Israel" propaganda. If you just look at the examples I gave it's clear that the Israeli government and far more dubious sources have been relied on to produce claims that do not, per se, affect Israel. For example, from the examples I gave earlier:

"This is the first "external link" under "Reports on child suicide bombers": "Palestinians exploit children for terror - Background - Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs report"

And also, this example from an unabashedly biased website, which, incidentally, has been roundly criticized by everyone who has studied their material:

This is the first link under "Reports and allegations of incitement and indoctrination of violence", despite the fact that looking at the website for two seconds shows that it is extremely biased, far more than anything I've ever seen on Electronic Intifada or even the PA Media website: "PA Indoctrination of Children to Seek Heroic Death for Allah"

Whether or not Palestinian children are being "exploit[ed]" or "indoctrinat[ed]" does not directly affect Israel - the issue affecting Israel is the use of children in military operations. Whether or not this counts as "exploit[ation]" or requires "indoctrination" is entirely subjective (I think it does, of course, but that's not the issue).

And furthermore, falsification of Palestinian history, including the outright denial that the Palestinians are even from Palestine most certainly affects Palestinians, and I fail completely to understand why the PA's views on such denials by a prominent American professor are considered less than notable. (Also, your argument that this book does not count as an "action" is a bit odd. Did it fall out of the sky and into Dershowitz's lap, or did he write it? Does or does it not allege to deal with "actions" of the past? The answers are obvious.)

Again, we both agree that Sidhwa is not a well-known individual, that's obvious and beside the point. The issue is the PA's endorsement of an extensive review of a "pro-Israel" book. If the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs can comment on "exploitation" of Palestinians, meaning comment on the propaganda allegedly used to “exploit” or “indoctrinate” these children, why can't the PA comment on "pro-Israel" propaganda? Both are discussing actions that happened in the past - in the case of the Israeli MFA, in the more recent past, in the case of the PA Palestine Media Centre, in the more distant past. That cannot possibly distinguish between the two.

Clearly there is no fundamental difference, and your arguments are starting to border on absurd. The book isn't an action? The PA didn't commission the review, only published it? This has gone on for quite some time now, so forgive my frustration, but can we please be serious? Do you have a sustainable objection, meaning one that actually makes sense and doesn't discriminate between sources based on their national affiliation, or do you just not want this review to be know to readers?


I responded six days ago and you have yet to issue a rejoinder. Please do so by tomorrow, July 26.

Hi, to the anon IP, first of all, could you sign your posts, please? It's hard to follow who has said what otherwise: please see Wikipedia:Sign your posts on talk pages. Regarding the review, Feroze Sidhwa is a pre-med student, not a journalist, professional reviewer, politician, academic, or other person who might have specialist knowledge. [1] His opinions on this issue really are just his own personal views, and therefore aren't notable enough for inclusion here. SlimVirgin (talk) 21:42, July 25, 2005 (UTC)

Sorry about not signing the posts, problem solved.

We've already covered the fact that Sidhwa is not a well-known person. However, your assertion that "his opinions on this issue really are just his own personal views" is simply false. His "personal views" – your characterization of an 8,000 word, heavily documented review – are endorsed by the institutions that published them. That includes the Palestine Media Centre. I’ve already covered that in excruciating detail above. There are far more dubious sources reporting on issues relating solely to the Palestinians from the Israeli point of view, including Israeli governmental sources (the PMC is the PA's media institute) all over Wikipedia. Again, several examples are given above. There's no reason other than a distinction between sources based on national/ethnic identity to justify excluding Sidhwa's review as published by the Palestine Media Centre. We all know the PMC represents a "biased" point of view, but it is just as notable and biased as the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and is far MORE notable and less biased than the ridiculous sources I cited above from another Wikipedia page dealing with Palestinian use of children in military operations.

Now three people are involved in this discussion. I still have yet to hear anything from either of you two that is consistent with the way the rest of Wikipedia is run concerning use of Israeli governmental sources to comment on Palestinian issues. Does anyone have an objection that makes any sense? Sidhwa is a pre-med student? What kind of objection is that? Maybe he's a male stripper too, of what possible significance could that be? How do you know he’s not a pre-med student with a Master's degree in political science, as I happen to be? As far as I can tell the New York Times has monkeys write most of its editorials, but those editorials are still the opinion of the institution called the New York Times. The issue is the review itself, not Sidhwa. An institution published the review, and that institution’s Israeli counterpart is taken as notable on Wikipedia, cited directly, and nobody minds. Furthermore, nobody should mind, because that institution has an interest in this conflict and the issues discussed, just as the PMC and PA do. If the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs is "notable" when commenting on issues related to the conflict, why isn't the Palestinian Authority's Palestine Media Centre notable when commenting on issues related to the conflict?

It is obvious that the views of the Palestinian Authority are notable and important, as expressed by whomever the PA chooses to express them: monkeys, Sidhwa, Dershowitz, what difference does it make? They are the views of the institution - the PA/PMC - itself. That is clearly what’s at issue here.

So unless one of you two is going to go through Wikipedia deleting any reference to an Israeli governmental source commenting on Palestinian propaganda, I'd appreciate this matter ending. If you are going to do that, then, of course, the matter is over and done with, and you should have said so long ago. But either both the Israeli and Palestinian governments are valid and "notable" sources of information when commenting on issues related to the conflict, or neither is valid and notable. That’s simple and elementary. Despite having gone through eight separate exchanges now, neither of you has yet to even attempt to address this central and obvious point.

So please, one of you two do one of three things: explain why Palestinian and Israeli sources are so inherently different that you've bothered to go through this whole process; go through Wikipedia and delete any reference to information that came from the Israeli government; or put back the single sentence mentioning the PMC-Sidhwa review. 24.162.48.7 06:12, 29 July 2005 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

Remove unnecessary disambiguation.

Hoax?![edit]

Did Norman Finkelstein actually use the word "Hoax"? I've added a {{Fact}} tag. I think checking up on this is somewhat of a priority. It sounds slightly out of context and regardless of the side of this hot button debate you fall on, the choice of words seems to be in rather poor taste considering its use in anti-semitic circles regarding the holocaust. I must say that I don't know much about Finkelstein, but I'm assuming he is not an anti-Semite if only for his name.Kevmitch 05:07, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

Until now I'd never heard of Norman Finkelstein, but according to his Wikipedia entry, he seems to be a left-wing anti-Israel scholar. Which doesn't mean that his opinion shouldn't be on this page, but can't we have a summary of what's actually *in* the book before we start citing what this guy Finkelstein says against it? I thumbed through "The Case for Israel" one time in a book store, but I didn't end up buying it and don't feel qualified to give a summary on this page. HowardW 11:50pm UTC, April 29, 2006
The citation for the use of hoax shows that the word hoax is used. Unfortunately, I didn't find a quotation that I really wanted to replace the clause with. The real problem, though, is that this article is unbalanced. We need significantly more about what is in the book. In an article about the book, the description of the book should be more than one sentence long, and probably longer than the criticism section. GRBerry 19:06, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

This wikipedia entry page seems to be entirely devoted to citing the book for the sole purpose of pointing out the criticisms--which are really just noise. The entry should discuss the key issues of the book (without violating the copyright) and the research involved. The book is certainly not "pro-Israel" propaganda...it is in fact the opposite, and an attempt to impartial providing information based on cited research from one of the top scholars in one of the top Universities in the world, and while this may be open to review and debate, it is ridiculous to consider what is clearly Islamo-Facist (i.e NAZI) propaganda as some form of legitimagte criticism.— Preceding unsigned comment added by 16:18, 31 December 2006 70.48.69.236 (talkcontribs)

Unsourced claim moved from article[edit]

"The book has received a positive review from President Bill Clinton."

There is no citation for the above sentence thus it has been moved here from the article. --70.48.69.236 16:18, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

Critical Reception[edit]

The whole first paragraph, unfortunately, I think must go. I refer to:

"The book is widely regarded[citation needed] as an authoritative and scholarly text on the intricacies of Israeli history and outspoken in what Dershowitz holds to be the validity of many Israeli policies. Dershowitz has received numerous[citation needed] praises for the eloquent articulation of arguments that many in the pro-Israel community have traditionally held."

Phrases like "eloquent," "widely regarded," and "many," if ever used, must be well cited. I've added the cn tags for now, but I think that if these statements are seriously revised, they must be removed. Wiki.correct.1 (talk) 10:12, 2 January 2013 (UTC)

Recent deletion of material cited to academic presses without explanation[edit]

No adequate explanation has been given for the recent deletion of material cited to an academic source and it should be restored per WP:NPOV. Also further changes were made to the article without explanation and restored without explanation after I reverted the changes as unexplained. Dlv999 (talk) 17:26, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

Explanations were given - You may not agree with that viewpoint, but please don't misleadingly claim that no explanation was given. To repeat - what you refer to as an "academic source" is a reprint of a Counterpunch article. We should not be using things like that in an encyclopedia, regardless of who reprints them. Stuck in SD with Yaming (talk) 17:50, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
The University of California press has decided that Metranez' opinion is significant enough to publish under their imprint on this topic. Our policy states that we include all significant published opinions on a topic. The cited source is a University of California press publication (an academic source). Despite requests here and in my edit summary, no explanation has yet been forthcoming for the other changes and deletion of content originally made by Brewcrew and repeated by yourself. Dlv999 (talk) 19:25, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
No, that's false. The publication in question is Finkelstein's book, to which the reprint was added as an afterward. Finkelstein may think a grad's student's "analysis" of his argument with Dershowitz, published in an online rag is significant enough to be an epilogue to his book (Not surprising, since the student supports him wholeheartedly, and there are apparently no notable academics who are equally fawning), but this is just Finkelstein' opinion, so it belongs under the heading of Finkelstein's allegations. This is a serious encyclopedia, not a forum for political debate. Stuck in SD with Yaming (talk) 20:04, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
Finkelstein didn't publish the book. It was published by the University of California press. Dlv999 (talk) 20:17, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
It' still his book. I heard your argument, you heard mine (and Brewcrewers). Let wait for a consensus, preferably hearing from users who are not as involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Stuck in SD with Yaming (talk) 21:02, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
I have reviewed the commentary above and cannot find any case for the omission of Menetrez from the article. It is obvious that Menetrez's charges and the ensuing argument between him and Dershowitz are a part of the history of this book. It was a very public slanging match that is notable even if a version of Menetrez's article wasn't published by a university press (but it was). So, in some form, it definitely belongs here. I'm not impressed by stunts like calling Menetrez a "student" (he had a PhD already when his first article on the subject was published in 2007, see here). I'm also not impressed by the misrepresentation of the case as in the sentence "Dershowitz once (accurately) quotes a remark by Mark Twain using the same ellipses as Peters did when she used the same quotation in her book" (no, Dershowitz used wrong page numbers, joined together two passages that are far apart, and deviated from the edition he cited in multiple places, in all cases following Peters). Zerotalk 01:50, 23 October 2013 (UTC)