Review by Choice Review
The word "terrorism" is freighted with such obvious stereotypes that a book that explores this issue from a completely different perspective is quite striking. Pedahzur (Univ. of Texas, Austin) and Perliger (SUNY, Stony Brook) define terrorism to include acts of violence, which are political in nature, intended to generate fear in others, and target civilians and noncombatants. The authors examine several Jewish groups that meet their criteria. They offer a brief history of terrorism in Israel, discuss the actions of some groups before independence (e.g., Etzel/Irgun and Lehi/the Stern Gang) and some after (e.g., Tzrifin Underground or the Brit Hakainam [Covenant of the Zealots]), and indicate the role of religious extremism that drove adherents to assassinations, vandalism, and other violence. However, the bulk of the analysis is dedicated to groups that formed in the more contemporary period after the Camp David Accords in 1978. The authors utilize original documentary sources and extensive interviews with many Israeli leaders and former terrorists to trace the lineages, networks, motivations, and actions of some of these groups and individuals and deftly weave together political, psychological, and religious factors to provide an explanatory framework. This work is timely, objective, and bold. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. A. Ahmad Black Hills State University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Israeli academics Pedahzur (The Israeli Secret Service and the Struggle Against Terrorism) and Perliger (Middle East Terrorism) point out that Muslim extremists don't hold a monopoly on terrorism: Israel has seen hundreds of attacks by Jewish terrorists-most directed against Palestinians, but some against the state itself. The authors present a carefully constructed theoretical model, positing that "radicalization within a specific counterculture, fostered by a threatening external event and portrayed by spiritual leaders as catastrophic" precipitate violence-not just by Jewish extremists but "any counterculture that adheres to a totalistic ideology." Indeed, the authors see clear parallels between Jewish terrorist cells and their Muslim counterparts, and stress that mere faith isn't enough to create violent intent (they note that "religious terrorist groups... made up less than 15 percent of all terrorist groups active in the 20th century"). Pedahzur and Perliger occasionally slip into academese and assume a close knowledge of Israeli political minutiae, but in combining exhaustive analysis with straight-forward language and compelling nonfiction narrative, they provide excellent insight into a little reported and even lesser understood reality. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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