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A New Voice for Israel: Fighting for the Survival of the Jewish Nation Hardcover – July 19, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Trade; First Edition edition (July 19, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230112749
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230112742
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,266,551 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Provides an arsenal of logistical and moral arguments stressing that not only is Israel's occupation over another people a threat to the Zionist dream and American interests in the region, but that it also runs counter to rabbinic values…Ben-Ami's analysis of the American Jewish vote and his fervent plea for a new voice reads like a compelling last call. (The Washington Post)

A clarion call for American reasonableness in the Middle East…With the Arab Spring, the United States has a chance for a new beginning in the region. But that will require Washington to adopt a more balanced policy. Maybe, just maybe, J Street will help create the political space to enable that to happen. (Nick Kristof, The New York Times)

A New Voice for Israel is a gripping family story, a shrewd analysis of American and Mideast politics and a rousing call to action. Most of all it is a book animated by deep love of Israel. I defy anyone to read it with an open mind and believe otherwise. (Peter Beinart, Senior Political Writer, The Daily Beast)

The author convincingly establishes his case that a two-state solution may be the only way to preserve Israel as a democratic homeland for the Jews…Certain to provoke strong reactions from supporters and detractors, this is a must-read for anyone with a stake--or even an interest--in this difficult issue. (Kirkus)

Argues for nuance rather than rigidity… Most important, Ben-Ami rejects the luxury of pessimism, the laziness of giving up on Israeli-Palestinian peace. His idealism consists not in idealizing Israel (or vilifying it) but of working to make it a better place. (Gershom Gorenberg, The American Prospect)

Jeremy Ben-Ami has articulated a clear-sighted, important argument for why it is time to rewrite the 'rulebook' that governs the conversation on Israel. Time is running out on a two-state solution. Ben-Ami issues a clarion call for more focused, determined U.S. efforts to promote peace between Israel and the Palestinians before it is no longer possible. A refreshing, must read for anyone who wants to understand the dilemmas facing American Jewry as it wrestles with what its role should be in Israel's future. (Janine Zacharia, former Jerusalem Bureau Chief, Washington Post)

A New Voice for Israel is a must-read for every Jew who, like me, struggles with balancing her devotion to the state of Israel with her moral and political values. Before being inspired by Mr. Ben-Ami's example, I had become one of his 'Generation Oy,' my discomfort with right-wing Israeli governments and even more conservative American Jewish organizations alienating me from the country itself. Jeremy Ben-Ami has provided me with a blueprint on how to be a Zionist in the twenty-first century, without compromising my commitment to human rights and democratic values. (Ayelet Waldman, author of Red Hook Road and Bad Mother)

This seamless blend of Israeli history, American/Jewish politics, family memoir, and J Street's vision culminates in a rousing call for change in the U.S. approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A New Voice for Israel is both a compelling personal narrative and a must read for all who care about peace and security in the Middle East. (Letty Cottin Pogrebin, former president, Americans for Peace Now and author of Deborah, Golda and Me)

Ben-Ami speaks with honesty and trenchancy about how American Jews think, hope, and organize. He shows why a democratic Israel needs peace, indeed, that democracy is a peace process without end. A New Voice For Israel, in its disarmingly truthfulness, explains why J Street is not only changing Americans politics but Jewish identity as well. (Bernard Avishai, the author of The Hebrew Republic)

About the Author

Jeremy Ben-Ami is the founder and president of J Street, an advocacy group and political action committee that is both pro-Israel and pro-peace. Ben-Ami has been profiled in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, CQ Weekly, and The New York Times. During his 25-year career in government, politics, and communications, Ben-Ami has served as President Bill Clinton's deputy domestic policy adviser, and as national policy director on Howard Dean's presidential campaign, and has helped run numerous political campaigns, including one for mayor of New York City. He also started the Israeli firm Ben-Or Communications while living in Israel in the late 1990s. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Customer Reviews

It is an easy read but often painful.
Joseph Psotka
The book is well written, combining a strong knowledge, often personal, of history with a call for action.
Robert Stein
We should all whip out our check books and write as big a number as we can to support J Street.
Joe-Tom Easley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By gpw on November 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
A New Voice for Israel: Fighting for the Survival of the Jewish Nation

Ben Ami gives a brief history of the founding of Israel and makes a strong and passionate plea for a two state solution. This is what all recent Israeli governments espouse, though you wouldn't know that from the book. Ben Ami focuses on the rights of "Palestinians" not making any distinction between those who are citizens of Israel (too many of which form a fifth column) and those outside the green line. There is but passing mention of what happened when the IDF withdrew from Southern Lebanon and the Israeli presence in Gaza came to a total end. Infrastructure was destroyed by the Gazians and rockets aimed at civilians were the response from north and south.

How can Israel actually make peace with the Arabs? This is neither asked nor answered, though one might reasonably asssume that would be the theme of this book. Should Israel not be a Jewish state, one condition insisted upon by the Arabs? Should the wall come down? Is there some other way to assure the absence of suicide bombers sent by those who believe that Israel should not exist(e.g., the PA's new Hamas ally)? Not a consideration in this book.

Then there's the consideration of justice beyond just how the Arabs should be treated. There leadership insists that the area beyond the green line be "jundenfrei". What would be the reaction if the area west of the line were to be considered Arab free? As a matter of fact, nowhere is there any reference to any responsibilities the Arabs might have in the peace process.

Yes, a two state solution is the only viable solution. I am waiting for Mr.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Tucker Lieberman on August 8, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is a must-read for anyone following the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the peace process, and particularly for those interested in the phenomenon represented by the rapid growth of J Street in the American Jewish scene. Jeremy Ben-Ami opens with a gripping memoir of his father's activism for Israel and traces his own path to founding J Street.

The rest of the book focuses on Ben-Ami's analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and what is needed to assure Israel's peaceful future and survival as a Jewish democratic state. He makes a compelling case for the importance of a two-state solution and the timeliness of the issue. Ben-Ami cites polls showing that two-thirds of Israelis and three-quarters of American Jews support a two-state solution. "The creation of a political home for the Palestinian people at some point in the coming years is inevitable," he writes. The question is whether Israeli leadership will compromise now under peaceful and favorable conditions.

Only a small percentage of American Jews vote primarily based on whether a candidate shares their views on Israel. Yet Ben-Ami posits that many politicians still have the misperception that they must lean right to be perceived as "pro-Israel" by Jewish voters. In fact, there are multiple ways to support Israel, and one study found that American Jews' sense of attachment to Israel is not predicted by whether they lean right or left.

Ben-Ami acknowledges generational differences between American Jews regarding their ideas about Israel. For people under 30 today, Israel "is less a miracle than a fact." He says the Jewish community "establishment" should recognize that younger Jews are correct in their simple moral observation that it is possible for Israeli policy to be wrong.
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By Susan E. Cohen on June 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This amazing book helped me to make sense of my complicated feelings about Israel. Part of Jeremy Ben-Ami's story was my story, but it really is everyone's story. A way to understand why I was raised a Zionist and a believer in peace, and that the two can actually happen. I have always loved Israel, yet struggled with cognitive dissonance when the place I loved acted badly. I struggle with the same feelings about my own country. It's called Democracy. The only way to save Israel is to listen to the voices of the 92% - not the 8% who speak the loudest. This book inspires me to speak, and lets me know I am not alone. I am thrilled that I found this, happy to have read it, and even more happy to give copies to my friends - Jewish, Muslim, and Christian, because it explains things clearly, and to me, is more than a book, but a call to action.
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8 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Psotka on July 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is plainly written and compelling. Anyone interested in Israel's future ought to read it. It is an easy read but often painful. After establishing his credentials with a brief biography that highlights the important confluence of heredity in history, his family's in leaving the pogroms and stifling containment of the Pale, and his own as an adroit political player, the author launches his salvos of attack on the status quo of the dominant 8 % of American Jewish opinion. American jews face the quandary of staying true to their moral history or forfeiting it to their ideals for Israel. Or there is a solution in recognizing that current goals for Israel are self defeating, and new and more satisfying goals can be achieved through traditional jewish values of transparent debate, discussion, and endless disparity of opinions. For me, his most compelling proposition was that, put simply, Israel must choose among three things: the land it has occupied since 1967 beyond the Green Line, its Jewish majority and its democracy. It can only have two of the three. If it chooses to hold on to the land and remain a democracy, then in just a few years the majority of those living there will be non-Jewish and will eventually, through democratic means, assert control and override Israel's Jewish character. If it hangs onto the land and chooses to remain Jewish in character, it will have to limit the democratic rights of the non-Jewish majority. Only if it gives up the land on which a Palestinian state can be built, can it remain both Jewish and democratic. Which are the most important two?You must read the book to resolve the three horns of this trilemma.
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