You Never Told Me
“This site shares the experiences of Jewish summer camp, day school, and youth group alumni who grew up in institutions that ignored or justified the Occupation. We have come together under the banner of IfNotNow, to ask our institutions to provide Jewish education that advances freedom and dignity for all people.”
A Guide to Difficult Conversations About Israel and Palestine
For those of us with loved ones we don’t see eye-to-eye with, Pesach can be a challenging time, but it can also be an opportunity. Not only to convince, but to listen. To model the patience, clarity, and passion that inspires people to be their best selves.
If you’re horrified by the oppression of Palestinians, but have trouble talking about it with your friends and family, this guide from 2016 might help.
'Self-Hating Jews' and 'Hateful Settlers': Can We Jews Salvage Our Civility?
“Growing up in New York with grandparents and relatives across Israel, I saw in my own family the complexities of values-driven dialogue - of what I then just thought of as normal dinner table conversation.
When I was 11, I told my grandfather in Jerusalem that I’d begun to be interested in Israeli politics…”
The Trauma of the Jew of Conscience
A reflection by Ben Lorber:
“We are in pain when we are told by family, friends, peers and Jewish communal leaders that we are ‘bad Jews’, ‘fake Jews’, ‘self-hating Jews’ for supporting Palestinian calls for full freedom and equality, and opposing Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights. […]
This article is an attempt to lovingly excavate some of the pain of the Jew of conscience, to explore the often fraught, tangled ways this pain structures the way we relate to our own Jewishness, and to broader Jewish communities. […] To build the Jewish future we need, we must work to intentionally reconnect, with full hearts, to our Jewishness, to our trauma, and to the rest of the Jewish people.”
It’s Time for Israel Education Reform in Jewish Day Schools
“When I embarked for college at the very liberal Brandeis University, I was told I was heading into a war zone. As I unpacked my boxes and bags, I expected nothing short of falling shrapnel and constant gunfire. But I felt little trepidation: I had undergone intensive basic training. I felt I was equipped with the knowledge I would need to hold my own in battles against the campus’s most active detractors of Israel […]
The most dreaded of my enemies were the traitorous ones: the Jewish students … ”
Working for Peace in Israel and Palestine
Beautifully written and emphatic in its calm insistence on the need to take both responsibility and action, Dark Hope is notable not just for the bleak picture it paints of the nightmare that the settlers and their sponsors, the Israeli government, have brought to millions of Palestinians but also, as its title suggests, for the faith it places in a basic human decency and in the belief that there must be another way. It is essential reading for anyone who wants—or hopes, however darkly—to grasp the lay of this punished land.
— The Nation
If I am not for Myself
Journey of an Anti-Zionist Jew
In this, If I Am Not for Myself is a manifesto for a whole generation of Jewish radical activists who refuse to be deterred by the threat of being labelled, and libelled, as self-haters. Those who brand them so, says Marqusee in his conclusion, “want to steal our selves from us — appropriate our selves to their cause - and speaking as a self, I’m damned if I’m going to let them get away with it.” His book is a vital contribution to making sure that indeed they will not.
— The Guardian
Not the Israel my Parents Promised Me
Harvey Pekar’s mother was a Zionist by way of politics. His father was a Zionist by way of faith. Whether Harvey was going to daily Hebrew classes or attending Zionist picnics, he grew up a staunch supporter of the Jewish state. But soon he found himself questioning the very beliefs and ideals of his parents. In Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me, the final graphic memoir from the man who defined the genre, Pekar explores what it means to be Jewish and what Israel means to the Jews.
Over the course of a single day in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, Pekar and the illustrator JT Waldman wrestle with the mythologies and realities surrounding the Jewish homeland. Pekar interweaves his increasing disillusionment with the modern state of Israel with a comprehensive history of the Jewish people from biblical times to the present, and the result is a personal and historical odyssey of uncommon power. Plainspoken and empathetic, Pekar had no patience for injustice and prejudice in any form, and though he comes to understand the roots of his parents’ unquestioning love for Israel, he arrives at the firm belief that all peoples should be held to the same universal standards of decency, fairness, and democracy.
Kingdom of Olives and Ash
Writers Confront the Occupation
Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman
A groundbreaking collection of essays by celebrated international writers bears witness to the human cost of fifty years of Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. In Kingdom of Olives and Ash, Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman, two of today’s most renowned novelists and essayists, have teamed up with the Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence—an organization comprised of former Israeli soldiers who served in the occupied territories and saw firsthand the injustice there—and a host of illustrious writers to tell the stories of the people on the ground in the contested territories.
Kingdom of Olives and Ash includes contributions from several of today’s most esteemed storytellers including: Colum McCann, Jacqueline Woodson, Colm Toibin, Geraldine Brooks, Dave Eggers, Hari Kunzru, Raja Shehadeh, Mario Vargas Llosa and Assaf Gavron, as well as from editors Chabon and Waldman. Through these incisive, perceptive, and poignant essays, readers will gain unique insight into the narratives behind the litany of grim destruction broadcasted nightly on the news, as well as deeper understanding of the conflict as experienced by the people who live in the occupied territories. Together, these stories stand witness to the human cost of the occupation.
The General’s Son
Miko Peled is an Israeli peace activist who spends his time between Jerusalem and San Diego. Born into a strongly Zionist family in Jerusalem, as a young man Peled witnessed the transformation of his father, Gen. Matti Peled, from a well-known leader in Israel’s military to a strong peace activist. The General’s Son has been translated into numerous other languages and Peled, a gripping public speaker, has lectured around the world in his campaign to promote justice, democracy, and equal rights for Palestinians and Israelis.
Beyond Tribal Loyalties
Personal Stories of Jewish Peace Activists
Beyond Tribal Loyalties is a unique collection of twenty-five personal stories of Jewish peace activists from Australia, Canada, Israel, the United Kingdom & the United States. The stories focus on the complex and intensely personal journey that Jewish activists go through to free themselves from the hold of Zionist ideology. Most of the contributors were once unquestioning supporters of Israel and Zionism but something happened that caused them to re-evaluate their relationship with Israel and the Palestinians people. This journey often involved a reassessment of personal values, belief system and identity.
Beyond Tribal Loyalties seeks to understand what makes it possible for Jewish peace activists to go through this transformative journey & engage in activism, despite fanatical and sometimes violent opposition. This is an inspiring book for anyone who is interested in the experience of being a peace activist. It offers a fresh and unusual angle on the Israeli-Palestinian situation & is a unique contribution in a field where political analysis is common, but where the personal angle is often lacking.
Wrestling in the Daylight
A Rabbi’s Path to Palestinian Solidarity
Wrestling in the Daylight is an insightful conversation on Zionism initiated by Rabbi Brant Rosen, a prominent Jewish activist from Chicago, on his social-justice blog Shalom Rav. After Israel’s brutal military attack on Gaza in 2008-2009, Rosen began to question his lifelong Zionist beliefs. Unlike the biblical Jacob, who wrestled with his conscience in the dark of night, Rosen chose to “wrestle in the daylight” with this issue through many thoughtful essays on his blog. In this selection of content from Shalom Rav, Rosen includes both his own posts and those of his online commenters, granting readers unique insight into the largest controversy facing the American Jewish community today. In the new introduction he has written for this second edition, Rosen updates the story of the “wrestling” that both he and the American Jewish community have undertaken in recent years.