Book Salon Preview: Goliath, Life & Loathing in Greater Israel by Max Blumenthal – Part One: The Book
In 2009, soon after finishing his bestselling look at authoritarian underpinnings of the evangelical core of the USA’s militant new right, Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party, Max Blumenthal went to work on his next book. He had actually conceived of the idea that became the framework of Goliath before he began writing Republican Gomorrah:
I conceived this book project before I even started my first book, Republican Gomorrah, and when I was beginning to refine the tactics that were working really well in exposing the radical right and the Republican Party. I was simply insinuating myself into the institutions of the GOP base, and into the gatherings this party would hold, getting to know people, trying to understand their mentality, and then following up with them. And making constant calls instead of relying on other people to do the reporting for me. From there, I’d conduct my own research and analysis and immerse myself in the history of the Christian right.
So what I set out to do when I made my first extended trip to Israel in May 2009, right after it elected its most right-wing government in history, is to insinuate myself into the major institutions of Israeli society.
The young author spent a lot of time in Israel and the occupied West Bank, assiduously chronicling, and interviewing, posting dozens of articles in magazines, online journals and blogs. Although Blumenthal continued to cover aspects of the far right in America, his efforts toward gathering the vast amount of information packed into the new book must have been a formidable task.
Four years later, what we have in Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel is simply the most detailed look yet taken at the increasingly racist, authoritarian and Xenophobic nation that Israel has become. The book’s narrative is relentless in its pursuit of detail. Interviews with contemporary political, cultural, religious and military figures are interspersed with well laid out chapters looking into the historical context of today’s events.
Divided into 73 chapters, and subdivided into ten parts, the book can be approached cover to cover, or tackled by looking at the subjects contained in the subdivisions. The ten subdivisions cluster chapter episodes related to a broader subject. For instance, Part V, What Lies Beneath the Forest, concentrates on the legacy of internal displacement of non-Jewish Palestinians within Israel itself. It contains five chapters, each of which looks at an aspect or ramification of this policy over the years:
The Days of ’48 Have Come Again looks at house demolitions of Palestinians inside of Israel, particularly the Lod ghetto, and in the occupied territories. Blumenthal interviews several people who had their houses destroyed, often without warning. [cont’d.]