Ironically, the phrase “a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes” is frequently attributed to the wrong person. Regardless of who said it, the sentiment is as true now as whenever it was first uttered – especially in the era of social media. And few topics have had as much misinformation spread as Israel (just as “the Big Lie” was spread about Jews in the early 20th century).
The subtitle to Industry of Lies is “Media, academia, and the Israel-Arab conflict” and it exactly the media and academia that come under the scrutiny of Ben-Dror Yemini – an Israeli journalist with degrees in Humanities and History, as well as Law.
Yemini takes a methodical and nuanced approach in dealing with the sensitive subject of the Israel-Arab conflict. He catalogues some of the many lies told by leading intellectuals and printed in leading media outlets and then dispels the myths and provides well-researched and referenced truth. In his own words, Yemini describes the purpose of his writing to
focus on the terrifying effort … and success in creating one of the greatest blood libels of the twentieth century—a blood libel that turns Israel into a monster. A blood libel that confuses and distorts the mind of anyone who deals with the subject. A blood libel that clouds the mind of innumerable writers, thinkers, activists, and politicians who address the issue. A blood libel that convinces vast swathes of humanity that Israel is a threat to world peace, if not the greatest threat. Ben-Dror Yemini
The book not only addresses the lies told about Israel but gives context to whatever nugget of truth there might be in anti-Israel talking points. For example, Chapter 9 is titled “the genocide that wasn’t” and Yemini not only uses historical evidence to show there was no intent for, lest of all the act of, genocide but he also looks at “The Butcher’s Bill of the Arab and Muslim World”, documenting the death toll and atrocities in 18 nations that could be far better described as “genocide” or were far more heinous than Israeli actions during war, yet have received far less attention, if at all.
Yemini describes himself as a left-winger, and claims a “long track record in the Israeli peace camp”. And, as such, he finds criticism for Israel and acknowledges “serious, at times infuriating, and painful mistakes that have only increased the damage and suffering of both nations.” This book was written as much for critics of Israel who are openminded as it was for anyone who wants to deepen their knowledge about Israel.
Though Industry of Lies was first published in Hebrew in 2014 and the English version first hit the shelves in 2017, the material will invariably and unfortunately last for a long time yet. It is an invaluable reference book and the ideal gift for anyone who is anti-Israel, but only through ignorance.
Paperback: 354 pages