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Rise and Kill First

04 Apr 2018

I saw a review for Rise and Kill First a month or so ago and immediately put it on my reading list. I decided to read it after I picked up about ten books for my next batch of reading. This is a tremendous piece of history. The subtitle is "The Secret History of Israel's Targeted Assassinations" which is basically all you need to know.

The Israeli state is a source of controversy no matter how you look at it. The conflict with the Palestinians has garnered an increasing amount of international attention to this day. This book provides a fair look at one of Israel's more commonly used techniques of statecraft. I did not get the impression that the author was providing an overly biased view, but rather he was presenting facts. Part of those facts includes the Israeli perspective but this makes it all the more compelling as it is not so much what happened but why one group decided to act in the way they did.

Everyone seems to approach the conflict between Israel on one side and the arab groups/states that hate them on the other as if there is a clear good guy and a clear bad guy. Even people who admit that both sides have some bad elements which get lumped in with everyone else, it seems that people have this inate bias to want to blame one side or the other. Either all Israelis are just a form of imperialist zionists or all arabs are terrorists. I felt that this book painted a picture of the conflict from the perspective of Jews in the middle east and was open about who did what and let you make up your own mind.

One man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist. One man's military operation is another man's war crime. Sometimes a mistake can be seen as a mistake, sometimes one sees it as criminal. There is more nuance to these issues than we often are led to believe by various biased sources. Israel has made some mistakes and killed the wrong people, killed civilians they did not intend to. The PLO financed and ran terror operations within Israeli occupied terrority and around the world. I don't think this book is about placing blame insomuch as understanding the past.

I highly recommend this book. It reads somewhat long because of the sheer volume of people and places that are discussed but there really is no better publicly available summary of all of the activities Israeli intelligence has been up to around the world.


Category: book