I value books that hit hard, books that go to the bottom of problems and demolish the myths and ideologies that have been woven around them in efforts to obfuscate historical truth. Finkelstein's "Image and Reality" is such a book. It relentlessly exposes the legends of the Near East conflict, esp. the Zionist version of the settlement of Palestine in the first half of the 2oth century. As the author meticulously demonstrates, the popularized version of Palestine as a land devoid of people consists largely of fabricated lies and political falsehoods. There lived, roughly , a quarter of a million Arabs in the area, none of whom left their home voluntarily in reponse to the impact of Jewish immigration. Most of them were systematially expelled by the Haganah and the IDF. As even Israeli officials have admitted,atrocities and human rights violations were committed that were nothing short of the crimes perpetrated by the Nazis. From the political accounts of Ben-Gurion to Joan Peters's bestseller "From Time Immemorial" the Jewish version of the Israel-Palestine conflict offers a biased picture that operates in the service of Jewish self-interests and ideology. Finkelstein, a dedicated truth-seeker, impressive scholar and conscientious albeit controversial historian, deserves praise for setting the record straight. Not only does he analyze and reinterpret the history of Palestine's settlement, he also corrects the prevalent notion that the successive wars fought by Israel against her Arab neighbors were purely self-defensive, preemptive strikes necessitated by the aggressive conduct of Eypt and Syria. Not so, says Finkelstein. Israel was, if not the aggressor so at least the provocateur always acting with the tacit approval of the American government.