From Publishers Weekly
With violence between Israeli Jews and Palestinians continuing and the death toll rising, playwright Kushner and journalist Solomon have compiled a book of thoughts by a progressive and diverse group of notable Jewish writers on the current situation in the Middle East and the prospects for peace. According to the contributors, the media presents an apparent unanimity of Jewish opinion on the conflict, which distorts the real diversity of the community's convictions. To give some historical perspective to the debate, the book begins with the writings of such figures as Ahad Ha'am, Martin Buber and Hannah Arendt; contemporary contributors include Arthur Waskow, Ellen Willis, Susan Sontag, and lesser-known writers. The essays address such issues as how and why American Jews are connected to the land of their ancestors, and how Zionism has influenced Jewish identity. Rather than distancing themselves from controversy, the editors have encouraged contributors to examine the covenant that links the Jewish people and Israel and to let it be "loosened and strengthened, de-mythified, de-fetishized, considered as a dynamic problematic, as is only appropriate to the consideration of a living bond."
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
For left-wing "or progressive" American Jews, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues to present a wrenching predicament. Many are almost genetically sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, viewing Palestinians as oppressed, even colonized, victims. Yet their sustaining identity as Jews will not allow them to abandon Israel, or even Zionism, entirely. Kushner and Solomon have assembled a wide variety of journalists, scholars, and activists who consider the dilemmas and even suggest possible solutions. Some of these articles are thoughtful, provocative, and certainly worthy of further consideration. Some are filled with pointless guilt-mongering and lead nowhere. If there is a common theme here, it is that, given compassionate and reasonable Israeli policies, a comparable Palestinian response will be forthcoming. This is an interesting, useful compilation that offers an alternative to the seemingly unanimous support the Sharon government receives from many "mainstream" Jewish writers. Jay FreemanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved