Book Review – This Time We Went Too Far

by Norman Finkelstein (Jacana) ISBN: 978-0984295036

For someone that only knows the basics about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, like me, I hoped this book would educate me and shed a light on the core of the dispute. That was too optimistic.

The book reads like a university textbook. Each page has at least 5 notes and 5 more quotes, so I had to read it with a pencil and with full concentration. Only in the last two chapters, when Finkelstein writes from his experience of a visit to Gaza in 2009, I could relax and start to understand the complexity of the problems.

He explains how in December 2008, when Israel invaded Gaza, the simmering discontent of the world with Israel reached a boiling point. Finkelstein tries to analyse the motives behind this assault and records the suffering of the people in Gaza. His goal is to inform and mobilize the public around the settlement of the conflict. I think he has succeeded in his promise to inform the public, but I am gloomy about his second goal.

The sentence that stuck to my mind after closing the book was by a diehard apologist for Israel, ‘I pity them their hatred of their inheritance’. Maybe it should be, ‘I pity them their inherited hatred.’

Pauline Vijverberg

Posted on: 14th March 2012