Shlomo Sand (Author), Yael Lotan (Translator)
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 for Intelligence & Integrity, 4 For Lacking Visualizations,August 28, 2012
As an intelligence professional constantly dismayed by the lack of both intelligence and integrity in the profession, and as someone who has specialized in “Information Pathologies” for the last 20 years, I have to rate this book into my top 10% across over 1800 books reviewed here at Amazon, it is beyond a 5, it is a six. This is a profound, provocative book that re-establishes the gold standard in ethical, holistic analytics.
The book is too important to leave it as is, a bland 300+ pages of text. While the index and footnotes are world-class, there is no annotated bibliography and not a single visualization (I am loading three images above but they barely scratch the surface). This book needs to be republished and to include a series of at least ten but ideally closer to twenty visualizations of both the reality of Jewish communities over time, and the intellectual genealogy of the Jewish myth.
As the leading Amazon reviewer for non-fiction, reading in 98 categories (access my Amazon reviews by category and star rating at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog), and as an academic, government, and commercial intelligence professional who obsesses on the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, I put this book into not just my top 10% (roughly 200 books in past decade) but in my top DOZEN books across my lifetime. The methodical, ethical, integrative, holistic, balanced manner in which this author has carried out his work is in my view the GOLD STANDARD for what any intelligence professional should be capable of aspiring to. Certainly this book is ideal as a foundation for a critical analytics course in which the students–including especially mid-career students that have gotten by on cutting and pasting and regurgitating crap by others–are forced to confront the multiple realities that include every Information Pathology known to man, including history books that are fiction, political statements that are outright lies, and a recurring pattern of war crimes that regardless of what they are called (e.g. settlements, isolation by ghettoization, etcetera) are war crimes.
As I went through this masterful work, the phrase “render unto Ceasar” kept popping into my head. The author develops his arguments, his proofs, and his critique of the historiography of others in a most compelling manner (but absent the visualizations which drove me crazy throughout).
+ Jews are NOT a race.
+ Jews are NOT a nation
I am fascinated to learn that a small part of the British interest in establishing a state for Jews (never mind the pesky Palestinians) can be found in the belief among a small sub-set of British intellectuals and policy-makers that they also are descendants of one of the “lost tribes” of Israel.
Deep into the book one learns that roughly two thirds of the Palestinians and two thirds of the Jews now in the general area of the state called Israel share the same three male ancestors of 8000 years ago and a wide variety of female ancestors. This is DNA based evidence. The author is perfection incarnate in his dismantling of the various lines of myth-creation across the past century, and quite compelling in his examination of conversions–a great many conversions of convenience–and of the complete oxymoron that is the phrase “Jewish democracy.”
The author blends in the latest science and other disciplines, notably archeology, which has matured greatly in the past twenty years. This is when I miss visualization most, there is a deep need for this book to be issued and to include side by side maps of the myth versus the reality from era to era.
For some time now I have been calling for the development of religious counter-intelligence capabilities, as I am finding that as states lose legitimacy, a mix of organized crime, kinship networks, religions, and white collar financial terrorists (Wall Street) are more aggressively committing treason against the state and the rest of the citizens. I certainly do not limit my concern to dual US-Israeli citizens with Top Secret clearances, some of whom commit treason daily–I include the Mormons penetrating the CIA and FBI, the Opus Dei crowd, the Pentecostals, and the handful of Muslims that leverage their language abilities to get deep inside the US Government [the most effective, until she fled with her Al Qaeda lover, was the FBI's chief Arabic translator, making all the good documents as "not operationally useful."]
The greatest complement I can pay this author is in the selection of books that I link to below. This book is important not just to every Arab, Christian, and Jew, but to every philosopher, historian, intelligence professional, and anyone who professes to embrace the art and science of critical analytics. This book is not just a book or a history, but a standard by which future works must be evaluated.