Book Review

Book Review: The Kite Runner

For some people, novels are just stories with sad or happy ending. For me, novels are an exploration of people I have never met before, places I have never visited, thoughts I have never thought about. When I read a novel, I live the story as if it is happening in front of my eyes. I let myself express its emotion and its thoughts freely. I smell the words and I walk into the imaginary places.

Sometimes, I find it difficult to create a distance between my reality and my imagination, especially after I finish reading the novel.  Kite Runner is one of the novel that tremendously impacted me. It is one of the best novel I read in 2010. It is a story of two young boys, Amir and Hassan in the district of Kabul before Taliban and after Taliban took over.  The story gets really sad in the last four chapters and it shows you the misery of other people, and the complexity of their lives. I highlighted the parts of the novel that got my attention and they are:

  • “When you kill a man, you steal a life” Baba said. “You steal his wife’s right to be husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness. Do you see?
  • Never mind any of those things. Because history isn’t easy to overcome. Neither is religion.In the end, I was a Pashtun and he was a Hazara, I was Sunni and he was Shi’a and nothing was ever going to change that. Nothing.
  • Better to get hurt by the truth than comforted with a lie.
  • Tell him he’s wrong. War doesn’t negate decency. It demands it, even more than in times of peace.
  • The only thing that flowed more than tea in those aisles was Afghan gossip. The flea market was where you sipped green tea with almond Kolchas, and learned whose daughter had broken off an engagement and run off with her American boyfriend, who used to be Parchami, a communist, in Kabul, and who had bought a house with under the table money while still on welfare.
  • Tea, Politics, and Scandal, the ingredients of an Afghan Sunday at the flea market.
  • For me, America was a place to bury my memories. For Babe, a place to mourn his.
  • I was fully aware of the Afghan double standard that favored my gender. Not did you see him chatting with her? but Woooy! Did you see how she wouldn’t let him go? What a lochak!
  • I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975. I remember the precise moment, crouching behind a crumbling mud wall, peeking into the alley near the frozen creek. That was a long time ago, but it is wrong what they say about the past, I have learned, about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out. Looking back now, I realize I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years.
  • Children aren’t coloring books. You don’t get to fill them with your favorite colors.
  • If America taught me anything, it’s that quitting is right up there with pissing in the Girl Scouts’ lemonade jar.
  • One time, when I was really little, I climbed a tree and ate these green, sour apples. My stomach swelled and became hard like a drum, it hurt a lot. Mother said that if I’d just waited for the apples to ripen, I wouldn’t have become sick. So now, whenever I really want something, I try to remember what she said about the apples.
  • With me as the glaring exception, my father molded the world around him to his liking. The problem, of course, was that Baba saw the world in black and white. And he got to decide what was black and what was white. You can’t love a person who lives that way without fearing him too. Maybe even hating him a little.
  • Later that night, the sun less than an hour from rising and the guests finally gone, Soraya and I lay together for the first time. All my life, I’d been around men. That night, I discovered the tenderness of a woman.
  • Their sons go out to nightclubs looking for meat and get their girl friends pregnant, they have kids out of wedlock and no one says a god damn thing. Oh, they’re just men having fun! I make one mistake and suddenly everyone is talking nang and namoos, and I have to have my face rubbed in it for the rest of my life. Said Soraya
  • She lived to see him turn four, and then, one morning, she just did not wake up. She looked calm, at peace, like she did not mind dying now. We buried her in the cemetery on the hill, the one by the pomegranate tree, and I said a prayer for her too. The loss was hard on Hassan, it always hurts more to have and lose than to not have in the first place.
  • After all, life is not a Hindi movie. Zendagi migzara, Afghans like to say: Life goes on, unmindful of beginning, end,, crisis or catharsis, moving forward like a slow, dusty caravan of Kochis.
Book Review

Book Review: Nineteen Eighty-Four

You are being watched and followed! You are not allowed to think or question without a permission. You can’t read the past and you aren’t allowed to predict the future. You are only allowed to live the moment. The ministry of love controls how, when and who you love. The ministry of information controls the dictionary, how you perceives the word, how you understands it and even how you thinks about it. “War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength” these are the constitution of the government.

George Orwell in his novel, 1984, takes you into his prophecy of the future and how the world would look like when it is controlled by totalitarian regime like “Big Brother” which censors everyone’s thoughts and behaviors.  Winston Smith, the main character of the novel, joined a secret group of underground rebels to overthrow Big Brother regime. He meets Julia and they both fall in love and have an affair secretly. In Big Brother’s regime, “sexual intercourse was to be looked on as a slightly disgusting minor operation, like having an enema” Love is considered to be a crime and lovers are sentenced to death. So, between love, fear and sacrifice, Winston has to choose his destiny.

I highly recommend reading this novel with much thoughts and reflection. Many of the points that Orwell makes in the novel are really true in our present. The novel was first published in 1949 so it is marvelous that Orwell was able to draw all these predications from his imagination.

The following selections are from the novel and I would like to share them with you because they gained my attention a lot and they made think and reflect. Please let me know which one of the selection you like the most and why! I spent a lot of my time writing the quotes down from the novel, so I hope you have time to read some of them.

  • War is peace, freedom is salvery, ignorance is strength.
  • Either the future would resemble the present, in which case it would not listen to him:or it would be different from it, and his predicament would be meaningless.
  • How could you make appeal to the future when not a trace of you, not even an anonymous word scribbled on a piece of paper, could physically survive?
  • His mind slid away into the labyrinthine world of doublethink. To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully-constructed lies, to hold simulateneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them; to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the party was the guardian of democracy; to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into the memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget again: and above all, to apply the same process itself. That was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to be become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the world
  • To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free, when men are different from one another and don’t live alone to a time when truth exists and what is done, to a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be undone.
  • Thoughtcrime does not entail death: thoughtcrime is death
  • He was out in the light and air while they were being sucked down to death, and they were down there because he was up here. He knew it and they knew it, and he could see the knowledge in their faces. There was no reproach either in their faces or in their hearts, only the knowledge that they must die in order that he might remain alive, and that was part of the unavoidable order of things ‘doublethink’ involved the use of doublethink.
  • For how could you establish even the most obvious fact when there existed no record outside your own memory?
  • After all, what justification is there for a word which is simply the opposite of some other word? A word contains its opposite in itself. Take “good”, for instance. if you have a word like “good”, what need is there for a word like “bad”? “ungood” will do just as well-better, because it’s an exact opposite, which the other is not. Or again, if you want a stronger version of “good”, what sense is there in having a whole string of vague useless words like “excellent” and “splendid” and all the rest of them? “plusgood” covers the meaning; or “doubleplusgood” if you want something stronger still.
  • Orthodoxy means not thinking- not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.
  • ‘there is a word in Newspeak’ said Syme, ‘ I don’t know whether you know it: Duckspeak, to quack like a duck. It is one of those interesting words that have two contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it is abuse; applied to someone you agree with, it is praise’
  • Was he, then, alone in the possession of a memory?
  • It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wonder when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. the smallest thing could give you away.
  • your worse enemy, he reflected, was your own nervous system. At any moment of tension inside you was liable to translate itself into some visible symptom.
  • the only recognized purpose of marriage was to beget children of the service of the Party. Sexual intercourse was to be looked on as a slightly disgusting minor operation, like having an enema.
  • the party was trying to kill the sex instinct, or if it could not be killed, then to distort it and dirty it. He didn’t know why this was so, but it seemed natural that it should be so.
  • until the become conscious, they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled, they cannot become conscious.
  • It struck him that the truly characteristic thing about modern life was not its cruelty and insecurity, but simply its bareness, its dinginess, its listlessness.
  • Everything faded into mist. The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became truth. Just once in his life he had possessed after the event: that was what counted- concrete, unmistakable evidence of an act of falsification.
  • The immediate advantages of falsifying the past were obvious, but the ultimate motive was mysterious. He took up his pen again and wrote: I understand HOW: I don’t understand WHY.
  • Perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one. At one time it had been a sign of madness to believe that the earth goes round the sun: today, to believe that the past is unalterable. He might be alone in holding that belief., and if alone, then a lunatic. But the thought of being a lunatic did not greatly trouble him: the horror was that he might also be wrong.
  • Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.
  • To do anything that suggested a taste for solitude, even to go for a walk by yourself, was always slightly dangerous. There was a word for it in Newspeak: own life, it was called, meaning individualism and eccentricity.
  • ‘if there is hope,’ he had written in the diary, ‘it  lies in the proles.’ The word kept coming back to him, statement of a mystical truth and a palpable absurdity.
  • when you put it in words it sounded reasonable: it was when you looked at the human beings passing you on the pavement that it became an act of faith.
  • It was precisely against suicidal impulses of this kind that he had hoped to guard himself by openning the diary.
  • Many of the disappearances were suicides. But it needed desperate courage to kill yourself in a world where firearms, or any quick and certain poison, were completely unprocurable. He thought with a kind of astonishment of biological uselessness of pain and fear, the treachery of the human body which always freezes into inertia at exactly the moment when a special effort is needed.
  • It struck him that in moments of crisis one is never fighting against an external enemy, but always against one’s own body.
  • Life is a moment to moment struggle against huger or cold or sleeplessness, against a sour stomach or an aching tooth.
  • Why was it not possible to cut a few days or weeks out of your life? Nobody ever escaped detection, and nobody ever failed to confess.
  • His whole mind and body seemed to be afflicted with an unbearable sensitivity, a sort of transparency, which made every movement, every sound, every contact, every word that he had to speak or listen to, an agony.
  • ‘I hate purity, I hate goodness! I don’t want any virtue to exist anywhere. I want everyone to be corrupt to the bones’
  • That was above all what he wanted to hear. Not merely the love one person, but the animal instinct, the simple undifferentiated desire: that was the force that would tear the party to pieces.
  • In the old days, he thought, a man looked at a girl’s body and saw that it was desirable, and that was the end of the story. But you couldn’t have pure love or pure lust nowadays. No emotion was pure, because everything was mixed up with fear and hatred. Their embrace had been a battle, the climax a victory.
  • She didn’t much care for reading’, she said. Books were just a commodity that had to be produced, like jam or bootlaces.
  • ‘When you make love you’re using up energy; and afterward you feel happy and don’t give a damn for anything. They can’t bear you to feel like that. They want you to be bursting with energy all the time. all this marching up and down and cheering and waving flags is simply sex gone sour.
  • There was a direct, intimate connection between chastity and political  orthodoxy.
  • She believed that it was somehow possible to construct a secret world in which you could live as you chose. All you needed was luck and cunning and boldness. She didn’t understand that there was no such thing as happiness, that the only victory lay in the far future, long after you were dead, that from the moment of declaring war on the party it was better to think of yourself as a corpse.
  • So long as human beings stay human, death and life are the same thing.
  • I am not interested in the next generation, dear, I am interested in us.
  • the smell of her hair, the taste of her mouth, the feeling of her skin seemed to have got inside him, or into the air all round him. She had become a physical necessity, something that he not only wanted but felt that he had right to.
  • talking to her, he realized how easy it was to present an appearance of orthodoxy while having no grasp whatever of what orthodoxy meant.
  • By lack of understanding, they remained sane.
  • I don’t mean confessing. Confession is not betrayal. What you say or do doesn’t matter: only feelings matter. If they could make me stop loving you- that would be the real betrayal.
  • The war, therefore, if we judge it by the standards of previous wars, is merely an imposture. It is like the battles between certain ruminant animals whose horns are set at such an angle that they are incapable of hurting one another. But though it is unreal it is not meaningless. It eats up the surplus of consumable goods, and it helps to preserve the special mental atmosphere that a hierarchical society needs.
  • The best books, he perceived, are those that tell you what you know already.
  • Throughout recorded time, and probably since the end of the Neolithic Age, there have been three kinds of people in the world, the high, the middle and the low. They have been subdivided in many ways, they have borne countless different names, and their relative numbers, as well as their attitude toward one another, have varied from age to age: but the essential structure of society has never alerted. Even after enormous upheavals and seemingly irrevocable changes, the same pattern has always reasserted itself, just as a gyroscope will always return to equilibrium.
  • The aims of these three groups are entirely irreconcilable. The aim of the High is to remain where they are.   The aim of the Middle is to change places with the High. The aim of the low, when they have an aim- for it is an abiding characteristic of the low that they are too much crushed by drudgery to be more than intermittently conscious of anything outside their daily lives- is to abolish all distinctions and create a society in which all men shall be equal. Thus throughout history a struggle which is the same n its main outlines recurs over and over again.
  • For long periods the High seem to be securely in power, but sooner or later there always comes a moment when they lose either their belief in themselves or their capacity to govern efficiently, or both. They are then overthrown by the Middle, who enlist the Low on their side by pretending to them that they are fighting for liberty and justice. As soon as they have reached their objective, the Middle thrust the Low back into their old position of servitude, and themselves become the High. Presently a new Middle group splits off from one of the other groups, or from both of them, and the struggle begins over again. Of the three groups, only the Low are never even temporarily successful in achieving their aims. It would be an exaggeration to say that throughout history there has been no progress of a material kind. Even today, in a period of decline, the average human being is physically better  off than he was a few centuries ago. But no advance in wealth, no softening of manners, no reform or revolution has ever brought human equality a millimeter nearer. From the point of view of the Low, no historic change has ever meant much more than a change in the name of their masters.
  • The cyclical movement of history was now intelligible, or appeared to be so; and if it was intelligible, then it was alterable.
  • The invention of print, however, made it easier to manipulate public opinion, and the film and the radio carried the process further.
  • It had long been realized that the  only secure basis for oligarchy  is collectivism.
  • Wealth and privilege are most easily defended when they are possessed jointly.
  • Human equality was no longer an ideal to be striven after, but a danger to be averted.
  • To make sure that all written records agree with the orthodoxy of the moment is merely a mechanical act. But it is also necessary to remember that events happened in the desired manner. And if it is necessary to re-arrange one’s memories or to tamper with written records, then it is necessary to forget that one has done so. The trick of doing this can be learned like any other mental technique.
  • Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. The party intellectual knows in which direction his memories must be alerted; he therefore knows that he is playing tricks with reality; but by the exercise of doublethink he also satisfies himself that reality is not violated. The process has to be conscious, or it would not be carried out with sufficient precision, but it also has to be unconscious, or it would bring with it a feeling of falsity and hence guilt.
  • To tell deliberate lies with genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the  reality which one denies- all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tempering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.
  • If one is to rule, and to continue ruling, one must be able to dislocate the sense of reality. For the secret of rulership is to combine a belief in one’s own infallibility with the power to learn from past mistakes.
  • In general, the greater the understanding, the greater the delusion: the more intelligent, the less sane.
  • the problem, that is to say; is educational. It is a problem of continuously moulding the consciousness both of the directing group and the larger executive group that lies immediately below it. The consciousness of the masses needs only to be influenced in a negative way….”
  • One clear illustration of this is the fact that war hysteria increases in intensity as one rises in social scale. Those whose attitude toward the war is most nearly rational are the subject peoples of the disputed territories. To these people the war is simply a continuous calamity which sweeps too and fro over their bodies like a tidal wave. Which side is winning is a matter of complete indifference to them. They are aware that a change of overlordship means simply that they will be doing the same work as before for new masters who treat them in the same manner as the old ones. The slightly more favored workers whom we call “the proles” are only intermittently conscious of the war. When it is necessary they can be prodded into frenzies of fear and hatred, but when left to themselves they are capable of forgetting for long periods that the war is happening. It is in the ranks of the Party, and above all of the Inner Party, that the true war enthusiasm is found. World-conquest is believed in most firmly by those who know it to be impossible. This peculiar linking-together of opposites–knowledge with ignorance, cynicism with fanaticism–is one of the chief distinguishing marks of Oceanic society
  • The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy; they are deliberate exercises in doublethink.
  • But there is one question which until this moment we have almost ignored. It is: why should human equality be averted? supposing that the machines of the process have been rightly described, what is the motive for this huge, accurately planned effort to freeze history at a particular moment of time?
  • Winston became aware of silence, as one becomes aware of a new sound.
  • In no other way could the ancient cycle be broken. If human equality is to be for ever averted – if the High, as we have called them, are to keep their places permanently – then the prevailing mental condition must be controlled insanity.
  • “And the people under the sky were also very much the same…everywhere, all over the world, hundreds or thousands of millions of people just like this, people ignorant of one another’s existence, held apart by walls of hatred and lies, and yet almost exactly the same — people who had never learned to think but were storing up in their hearts and bellies and muscles the power that would one day overturn the world.
  • He moved himself mentally from place to a place, and tried to determine by the feeling of his body whether he was perched high in the air or buried deep underground.
  • Besides, was it possible, when you were actually suffering it, to wish for any reason whatever that your own pain should increase?
  • Everything was all right, there was no more pain, the last detail of his life was laid bare, understood, forgiven.
  • You preferred to be a lunatic, a minority of one. Only disciplined mind can see reality, Winston. You believe that reality is something objective, external, existing in its own right. You also believe that the nature of reality is self-evident. When you delude yourself into thinking that you see something, you assume that everyone else sees the same thing as you. But I tell you, Winston, that reality is not external. Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes and in any case soon perishes: only in the mind of the Party, which is collective and immortal.
  • Perhaps one did not want to be loved as much as to be understood.
  • What most oppressed him was the consciousness of his own intellectual inferiority.
  • Never again will you be capable of ordinary human feeling. Everything will be dead inside you. Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty and then we shall fill you with ourselves.
  • Do you remember writing in your diary, “I understand how: I do not understand why”? It was when you thought about “why” that you doubted your own sanity.
  • The individual only has power in so far as he ceases to be an individual.
  • But the world itself is only a speak of dust, And man is tiny-helpless! How long has he been in existence.
  • ‘How does one man assert his power over another, Winston?’ Winston thought. ‘by making him suffer,’ he said.
  • Stupidity was as necessary as intelligence, and as difficult to attain.
  • The one certain thing was that death never come at an expected moment.
  • She had seemed to be not merely with him, but inside him.
  • For the first time he perceived that if you want to keep a secret you must also hide it from yourself. You must know all the while that it is there, but until it is needed you must never let it emerge into your consciousness in any shape that could be given a name.
Book Review

Inside The kingdom

The following piece is from the book Inside The Kingdom by Robert Lacy. I got the book from the publisher last month but I wasn’t able to finish reading it until last week. I will write a book review about it soon. By the way, I don’t think this book would be allowed to be sold in Saudi Arabia.

In page 250-253, Robert Lacy wrote:

“As the bombs were going off in the Saudi Capital, the columnist Hussein Al-Shobokshi wrote of his dream of a better place- of how, twenty years or so in the future, these dreadful shooting would be a distant memory. He imagined himself flying into Jeddah from Riyadh on Saudia Airlines (since this was a dream, the airline was privatized and the plane landed on time) to be met by his daughter, who would then be twenty-seven, qualified and working as high-powered trial lawyer (female lawyer can not at present appear, let alone speak, in the courts of Saudi Arabia).

“How was the trip, Daddy?” his daughter asked, as she drove her car smoothly through the Jeddah traffic. “Great,” replied Hussein. “I attended the World Conference of Human Rights in Riyadh, where the Kingdom received a special award for the fairness and efficiency of its judicial system”

“I went to congratulate our neighbor Fouad Tarshlo on his marriage to the daughter of Sheikh Golehan Al-Qtaybi,” Hussein imagined himself saying from the passanger seat. “Then I flew up to Buraydah to meet the mayor, Reza Baqir”

The satire lay in the surnames. It was quite impossible to imagine a Hijazi (Tarshlo) being accepted into the family of Nejdi Sheikh (AlQtaybi); while a Shia (Reza Baqir) could not hope to get work in a Wahhabi stronghold like Buraydah as a street cleaner, let alone become a mayor.

“Hurry up,” Hussein told his daughter. “I want to get home to watch the television.  The minister of finance is on tonight, getting grilled by the Shura members on all the details of the budget.”

perhaps it was this final fantasy that went a step too far. When the Saudi budget is published every year, no less than 40 percent (166.9 billion riyals in the budget for 2008) is labeled “Other Sectors,” which includes defense, national security, intelligence, direct investment outside the country…etc

Hussein Shobokshi himself reckons it was his religious imagination that got him into real trouble. Toward the end of his “dream” he expressed his intention of going to the Grand Mosque in Mecca to listen to the teachings of a learned member of the supreme ulema, Sheikh Taha Al-Maliki. with a name like that, the sheikh could only be a Sufi.

The call came within hours- from Hussein’s editor in chief. “I have had ten calls already,” he said, “from the Ministry of Information,”  Shobokshi was banned from being published, with immediate effect, and when he got to the TV studio, he discovered a message canceling his talk show- plus an in-box jammed with angry e-mails.

Book Review

Book Review: How Israel Lost

how israel lost book review

Richard Ben Cramer in his book  How Israel Lost took me beyond Israeli borders to witness the construction of Israeli’s society and to understand the complexity of Israel-Palestine’s conflict. The reasons I picked up this book because first, the writer is a jewish and an american journalist who  lived  for a long time in both Israel in Palestine. Secondly, I am interested in Judaism studies and culture. Anyway, Cramer primarily discuss the four following questions:

  • Why do we (American) care about Israel?
  • Why don’t the Palestinians have a state?
  • What is a Jewish state?
  • Why is there no peace?

I was very curious to know the reason behind America enormous support for Israel and I found out from this book that Israel existence is very important for American christians because it prepares for the second coming of Christ. According to Cramer: ” The bible says that the second coming of Christ will require that the Jews be “ingathered” again in Zion, which will bring on Armageddon, which will cause Jesus to return. There’s also a political meeting of the minds, going back to the days when the Christian right saw Israel as a brave anti-Soviet outpost of Judeo-Christian values”

I thought it is interesting to know that Israeli society is split over between religious and secular Jews (It seems that there is always a fights between religious and secular people in every society in this world!!) In addition, Israel’s society  is divided into tribes like, the Ramat Hasharon tribe, the tribe of the Russions, the tribe of the Old Left, and the tribe of the settlers and the old Right Wing and finally the tribe of Haredim. Cramer thinks that “Some of this tribalization did come to Israel from outside- from other Western societies. The zionist state has always been kind of trendy in its social engineering. Zionism itself was just a Jewish version of European nineteenth century nationalism”

From the book, I learned that Isreal’s society is build up of: First, Ashkenazi sabras who were born in Israel from European families, “they are the intellectuals, heads of high-tech companies, the head of the army- and they’re looking down with hubris on the entire rest of the population”. Second, the Russions, who lives in their ghetto. “They have their theaters, their papers, their own TV, their Groceries.” Thirdly, Israeli Arab who lives also in their ghetto. “They also have their papers, their own TV, their own politics”. Fourthly, the ultra-orthodox- who also “have their own paper, fifty stations on the radio- no TV because they don’t watch TV”.  Fivthly, the settlers and finally the Sephardim who came from Arab countries. “They are the cooks, the drivers, the workers”

  • My Selections from the book:

If George W. Bush derives any benefit from caring about Israel, or trying to help Israel, it isn’t from Jews. The only plausible political gain comes from his fellow born-again Christians. p5

The fact is, Israel sells. And we have sold ourselves on Israel. Why? Because in some measure we all Christians who see and support shared value there. p6

Thirty five years of occupation doesn’t make it smell like home to us…. Or put it another way: somewhere along the line, we got the feeling, “they aren’t like us” Or maybe we don’t want to be like them. And this is just one of the ways- one big one- how Israel lost. p13

And then I met the Arabs- live ones- and they were good: hospital, dignified, rational, articulate, and oppressed. But that wasn’t the most surprising and disturbing fact that I had to work in. The true astonishment was, simply, they were here. They were here, their fathers were here, their grandfathers.. for centuries! p18

The latest studies show that one out of nine Israel women lives with violence (beating, rape or threats of death) from the male at home. p28

“If you say they build an unauthorized settlement, then they call you a liar because they say they got their authorization from God, three thousand years ago.” If Elisha (Israel journalist) ran a story on Arabs- or put anything on the air about Arabs- that didn’t take proper account of “their murderous nature” then he was an apologist” p34

In the orthodox vision, Jews were supposed to live by the laws of Moses, study the Torah, and pray to God to send the Messiah- their (only) salvation. p146

The idea of a Jewish state, based not on study but on labor.. based not on God’s law but on the principle of the Enlightenment- on Rousseau… The idea of Jews toiling and fighting for a land of their own- so they could write their own laws- the rabbis regarded as a disgraceful heresy.p 146

In that same chapter, God also says to Moses: ” But if you don’t drive out the inhabitant of the land from before you, then it shall be that those whom you let remain shall be irritants in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall harass you in the land where you dwell. Moreover, it shall be that I will do to you as I thought to do to them. p167

If the Jewish state is about Jewish law, then how is that different- in any moral sense from an Islamic republic? p168

The idea that wives and daughters would be out of the house learning!- was anathema (Collection of remains for burial is, after all, a commandment of the Torah, and ultra-orthodox women do not study Torah.) Plus, they would be talking to people outside their families- which is a sin. p174

Meshi :”So, being Jewish, you don’t need a state. You can be a Jew in Germany, America, Morocco- the meaning is simply that you’re keeping the rules you got from the Torah. That’s the only meaning of it”. p176

Fruman said he has studied Islam for twenty years, and he will not, cannot, claim that as a Jew, he has that One Great Thing: “I don’t have God or The Truth, and they don’t have God or The Truth. But God is between us” He said his life’s work is making a meeting over the differences. p184

” I can’t say why,” she says. “But I want to go into a thing as deeply as you can. For me, activism is not telling others what to do. I have to do it myself… It is too high, what I say,,,,” p187

Some of this tribalization did come to Israel from outside- from other Western societies. The zionist state has always been kind of trendy in its social engineering. Zionism itself was just a Jewish version of European nineteenth century nationalism. p 194

But any Jew who’s not an Israeli, and not an Israeli, and not on psychotropic drugs, could solve this Peace-for-Israel in about ten minutes of focused thoughts” p227

It’s a nice American way to say: That’s not our business, we can’t sort that out. But we are the ones who can sort it out and since the holy-in-the head warriors have made bombs of our airplanes, it behooves us to try.p228

The fact is, Arabs and Jews lived in peace, or at least in habitual calm, for hundreds of years under the Turks whom they equally and severally feared and resented. Anti semitism was an import from Europe- like Zionism- and it wasn’t coincidence that they took root at the same time. p228

For without fear- without dead Jews, attack on Jews, grief or hate for jews- without threats to Jews, zionism itself has no rationale. p265