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Rabbi Outcast: Elmer Berger and American Jewish Anti-Zionism Hardcover – June 1, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 258 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books Inc. (June 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597976970
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597976978
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,824,698 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"This is a seminal book, nothing less than the rediscovery of American Jewry’s dissenting tradition. Ostensibly about the fascinating and controversial Rabbi Elmer Berger, it is really much more—a nuanced and readable portrait of people and ideas undeservedly erased from American Jewish history."—Murray Polner, former editor of Present Tense, author of Rabbi: The American Experience, and coeditor of Shalom: The Jewish Peace Letter

"An important book for anyone interested in understanding the complex history of how American Jews have related to the State of Israel. Jack Ross not only tells a fascinating story about the life and times of Rabbi Elmer Berger, a deeply committed anti-Zionist, but he also makes it clear that Zionism is not the religion of all American Jews and certainly was not in the decades before Israel was created."—John J. Mearsheimer, R. Wendell Harrison Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago, and coauthor of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

"As Jews of conscience continue to speak out today against Israeli atrocities in Palestine, Israel’s claim to represent world Jewry has lost all credibility. As this book will show you, there is not and has never been consensus among Jews on the Zionist project."—Anna Baltzer, author of Witness in Palestine

"In his informative and engaging biography of Berger, Jack Ross resurrects the memory of an important Jewish dissident, a man with whom many may disagree, but whose important insights into the nature and consequences of Zionism may be ignored only at our own peril."—Thomas Kolsky, History News Network Book Review, July 7, 2011

About the Author

Jack Ross attended Montgomery College and George Mason University before receiving his BA in labor history from the National Labor College in 2006. Since 2005, his work has appeared at Antiwar.com and Taki’s Magazine, and more recently in The American Conservative, History News Network, and Washington Report for Middle East Affairs. Since 2008, he has been a regular contributor to the blog Mondoweiss, covering the Middle East and Jewish affairs, as well as to the blog Postright of The American Conservative. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Sheldon Richman on June 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Bravo, Jack Ross! You have introduced an unjustly forgotten sage to the world. Rabbi Elmer Berger was the last of the great Classical Reform rabbis, who stood for reason and justice. His opposition to Zionism sprang from the facts that Judaism is embodied in a highly diverse global religious community (not a biological entity) and that Palestine was not for the taking by presumptuous, terrorist politicians and military men in the name of the "Jewish people." His story deserves to be told and and heard. Well done!
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Richard A. Siegel on August 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I think this biographer has done an important service in bringing attention to the work of this important rabbi and of his organization, the American Council for Judaism. The reason that Berger's name is so obscure is that the Zionist world wants it that way. Most of world Jewry today has been taken over by Zionism, and the powers that be want to equate Zionism with Judaism, and by extension Anti-Zionism with Anti-Semitism. So they don't want it known that there was a strong movement- albeit not strong enough- within a legitimate and popular branch of Judaism, which asserted that the essence of Judaism was the universalism of the prophets, not the tribalism and nationalism of Zionism. In an age in which many Jews are appalled at Israel's crimes against humanity, and are beginning to question their obligations as Jews to support Israel, it's reassuring to bring this rabbi and his organization out of obscurity, to show that Zionism and Israel have never been intrinsic to Judaism and to what it is to be Jewish, and that in fact there has always been opposition among Jews to Jewish tribalism and nationalism, and to their manifestation in Zionism and Israel. The book could have used a bit more editing. In a number of places I found myself re-reading a sentence a few times to try to make sense of it. But even so, the important story of this rabbi and what he stood for was portrayed quite well.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Truth Insister on June 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I haven't bought this book yet, but I am going to because of watching Rabbi Berger on YouTube. Is there going to be a Kindle version? Please?

Since we can't post links here, search for this title on YouTube to watch him: "Rabbi Elmer Berger - May 1989 Air date."

This is living history. Berger confirms what Miko Peled says in his new book The General's Son that his father General Peled forced a preemptive war against Egypt in 1967. Israel was under no threat whatsoever. Israel has never been under threat ever since its existence.
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