Ellis, a prominent Jewish intellectual, writes a provocative book that is likely to outrage many Jews as well as Gentile supporters of Israel, but it must be seriously considered. Most “Jewish” criticism of Israel comes either from nominal Jews with little attachment to the Jewish community, or from ultra-Orthodox Jews who feel only the Messiah can restore the Jewish state. But Ellis fits neither description, and many of his assertions are likely to strike nerves. He convincingly asserts that post-Holocaust Jews are united less by language or religious tradition than by their attachment to the survival of the state of Israel. In the process, he maintains, Jews have abandoned their prophetic mission and replaced it with support for a military state that oppresses Palestinians. He urges Jews to consider separating their Jewish identity from Israel. Ellis paints with too broad a brush, since many staunch supporters of Israel’s existence criticize particular policies of the Israeli government. Many of his criticisms of the Israeli government are simplistic and one-sided. Still, this is a strongly argued work that should and probably will be heatedly debated. --Jay Freeman
About the Author
Marc H. Ellis is a leading authority on contemporary Judaism and is widely recognized as one of the most influential Jewish thinkers of his generation. A University Professor of American and Jewish Studies and the founding director of the Center for Jewish Studies at Baylor University, he is the author of fifteen books and has written articles published in the International Herald Tribune, Christian Century, and Ha’aretz. Ellis regularly provides commentary and analysis on NPR and the BBC and has been inducted into the Martin Luther King Jr. Collegium of Scholars at Morehouse College. He lives in Waco, Texas.