As a politically conservative American, I do not agree with every idea floated in this fine book, nonetheless Gordis' book (Saving Israel) is a must-read for every American Jew, every Christian, as well as every non-Christian who is interested in Israel, the Middle East and the conflict in the Middle East. I go back and re-visit chapters from this book often. The narrator, Robert Blumenfeld, is superb.
If you are looking for a near complete absolution of President Obama's handling or mishandling of the Benghazi, Libya debacle, this is your book. The authors rely on the word of Obama appointees; his Joint Chiefs Chairman, Gen. Martin Dempsey, for example, who acts like a surrogate rather than a wise counselor to his Commander in Chief.
The authors rejected reports that General Carter Ham (Commander, U.S. Africa Command) in violation of orders, attempted to aid desperate American officials under siege in Benghazi for which he was relieved of command. "Great story, but completely false," the authors say, citing Obama appointee General Martin Dempsey who wrote:
"The speculation that General Carter Ham is departing Africa Command (AFRICOM) due to events in Benghazi, Libya on 11 September 2012 is absolutely false. General Ham's departure is part of routine succession planning that has been on going since July."
The authors wrote: "Contrary to the many media myths about Benghazi, requests for help were not denied by the Obama administration."
So there you have it. "Definitive!"
I guess an earlier reviewer, David Newcastle, Australia, has a couple or so critics here. He titled his review: "Tautological and terribly tedious..." Because of the importance of this book, I am approximately 2/3 the way through Professor Edward Said's seminal work; forcing myself to listen on. Little doubt there is validity to the professor's charge, European Orientalists (many) were motivated by racial supremacism and intolerance of oriental or asiatic peoples from which I originate. I am hoping to read the late professor's take on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Actually it is Israel's conflict with the greater Muslim world which does not recognize the need for a sovereign Jewish state in Dar al-Islam - the territory of Islam. I remember the media accounts of Professor Said in southern Lebanon joining protesters by throwing a stone at Israeli soldiers just across the border. Said and President Obama were acquaintances or friends. There are pictures of the two families dining together. If you like recondite. If you like abstruse scholarship, you will love this book!
As a life-long conservative and a forty year plus Republican, I have long recognized that too few Republicans and conservatives were and still are willing to challenge former President George W. Bush's foreign policy blunders; policy decisions that are being furthered by President Barack Obama. President Bush's effort to implant democracy in the Muslim and the Muslim-Arab world were bound to fail for reasons McCarthy aptly details in this book. President Obama's toppling of largely secular-leaning dictators (albeit brutal dictators) is helping to further the most extreme interpretation of Islam in the Middle East and North Africa. Bush and Obama have replaced one dictatorship with another far more dangerous form of sharia-compliant dictatorship. If readers are interested in apprehending the perils of these misguided policies, listen to this book.
I've got no particular beef with Mearsheimer and Walt's over all critique of AIPAC, except where AIPAC works to bolster moral support for Israel in the United States. I am one who would like to see Israel wean herself off American aid and dependency. I believe it would be healthy both for the United States and Israel. Where I take exception with these two professors is their criticism of Israel and her right to self-defense. These two are clearly what we call "anti-Zionists." That is, they question not just Israel's right to defend herself from murderous jihad terrorism, but they bring into question her fundamental right to exist.
Unfortunately, I did not know nearly enough about George W. Bush when I voted for him in 2000. I hoped he would be different from his father (George H. W. Bush) as he claimed to be a Christian believer. Few, if any on the political right wrote anything in-depth like Unger, about George W. Bush and his father's lucrative business dealings with the Saudis. Not to my knowledge. My fellow conservatives and Republicans closed ranks around Bush even though we knew many things he was saying and doing were amiss.
After the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, I wondered why, only days after the attacks, Bush unveiled a vision for another Muslim state in the Middle East; this one in Israel's strategic heartland. Unger relates that in late August 2001, just before the 9/11 attacks, Bush bowed to (then) Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah's brinkmanship on Israel. In keeping with a pledge he made to Abdullah, Bush became the first American president to make a Muslim (enemy) state in Israel a "formal goal of US policy." Little doubt Bush knew this newly created state would be dedicated to Israel's destruction. If he did not know it, he had no business being president of the most powerful nation in the world.
Post 9/11, I sought out and read honest / objective authors on Islam, its history and its teachings; the life and the example of the prophet Muhammad, etc. Why was Bush telling the public these untrue things about Islam and its mandate to wage jihad (holy war) on unbelievers? Why did Bush say the "terrorists" were traitors to their faith? Why was Bush doing his utmost to protect the Saudis who as Craig Unger, Robert Baer ("Sleeping With The Devil") and others reveal, have been and are up to their necks financing and supporting international terrorism; even the late Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda? Unger goes a long way exposing this long term, secret relationship between the these two families / dynasties.
I am disappointed by the less than positive reviews on this history of the Jewish people written by Christian author, Paul Johnson. Readers might not agree with Johnson's every insight on the history of the Jews, yet they are worthy of consideration. Arthur Hertzberg (New York Times Book Review) wrote on the back cover: "A tour de force....A remarkable achievement." I would hate to think these reviews might turn away audible readers. Nadia May has a fine, crisp voice. She reads this book well. It is well worth listening to in my opinion.
Like other books in this genre (Robert Spencer, Brigitte Gabriel, etc.), this one is packed full of useful and solid information by a politically conservative journalist; one who travels widely. The narrator, Tom Weiner, is superb.
For me, this book breaks some new ground. Stakelbeck, to his credit, is an unapologetic Christian Zionist, as was his father. I wish Audible would offer more books on this topic (the Middle East, Islam, national security, Israel, etc.) by authors who are not apologists for Islam, though I do read (listen to) some of these as well. The author is properly critical of the Obama administration - and President Obama in particular - for misleading the public about the ideological underpinnings of the Islamic terror threat. Jihad is deeply rooted in the texts and the teachings of Islam, not to mention in the example of the prophet Muhammad. Stakelbeck travels to and interviews jihadists and former jihadists. He's done his homework. The author might have been more critical of former President George W. Bush (a man I voted for in 2000) in that Bush set the "Islam is a religion of peace / the hijackers are traitors to their faith" tone only days after the 9/11/2001 attacks on American soil. Bush made the establishment of a Muslim state in Israel (one dedicated to Israel's destruction) a formal goal of U.S. policy, early October 2001. That Obama has deep sympathies for the world of Islam is apparent. This is a fine book; well worth downloading. It contains important warnings to Americans, and to others living in the West, who treasure our liberty and our way of life.
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