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Breakthrough: Transforming Fear Into Compassion - A New Perspective on the Israel-Palestine Conflict Paperback – November 9, 2010
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Ever wonder what goes on inside the head of a Zionist? Anyone who is concerned about the Palestine-Israel conflict, about the Middle East, who has heard about the influence of the Zionist lobby on US politics, has probably wondered why so many people support Israel unconditionally. And if the way to achieve peace in the Middle East is to convince people who think Israel can do no wrong to take a hard look at the facts, to convince them to learn what happened during the bloody formation of Israel, to make them see what is still happening to the Palestinian people today, you might want to know what makes a Zionist tick. Richard Forer is one of those people who is very reflective, very self analytical. In telling the story of how he himself went from being a die hard supporter of Israel, from someone raised in a Reform Jewish household who saw Israel as that plucky little democracy trying to provide a secure home for the long-beleaguered Jews, to someone who now supports the Palestinians in their struggle for justice, he provides us with an inside look into the mind of a Zionist -- his own -- and how being confronted with the more grim reality changed his mind. Forer may have had in mind as one of his main audiences Jews like himself, or rather, like he was, whose uncritical loyalty to Israel has come to be a liability for Israel, since the rest of the world is slowly but surely learning the truth about Israel. But the book goes beyond that. As someone who has followed the Palestinian struggle myself for several years now, I have come across many stories of the different tragedies that happened to the Palestinians, the massacres, the dispossessions, the theft of water resources, the home demolitions, and the different propaganda techniques Israel and its supporters use to cover up Israel's actions, to divert attention, to delay the peace process while more Israeli settlements are built and more land is confiscated. In Forer's book I have found a concise and inclusive account of all it. In describing the succession of injustices done to the Palestinians, he provides a comprehensive history of the formation of Israel, and a vivid description of the Palestinians plight up to the current moment. It's all here in one place. In laying out this story, in explaining the deep, emotionally rooted motivations behind Zionism, in explaining how Israeli propaganda works, Forer actually points the way toward a resolution. But as part of that resolution, Zionism and its myths must be confronted, and here are the all facts you'd need to counter any Zionist's argument. It's the best argument against Zionism I have ever read. --Frank Conway, Bubba Muntzer Blog
It is difficult to overestimate the emotional attachment of American Jews to the State of Israel, Anna Baltzer writes in her Forward. Zionism, in the words of Baby Boomers like Jewish psychologist and author Mark Braverman, has been mother s milk to Jews in the United States and around the world. Unconditional support for Israel is not so much an intellectual choice as a deeply rooted component of Jewish identity. Indeed, in many Jewish circles today it has become more important to believe in Israel than to believe in God. Criticism of Israel feels like a personal attack, a challenge not of a state but of who we are. In my opinion, Breakthrough is a major contribution to the creation of genuine peace between Israel and the Arab population in the Occupied Territories of the West Bank and Gaza because it directly explores the emotional issues that block peace and prevents people from seeing. Where a man cannot look, Forer writes, he cannot feel; and where a man cannot feel, he has not really looked. Without both he will never understand. Without understanding there will never be peace. Forer does a masterful job of deconstructing denial with example after example of naked and incontrovertible facts. . . . Where people . . . do not want to see, Forer deconstructs their arguments so they must look away not to see. Denial is a powerful mechanism of defense. . . . Hope is something we will never give up, says Ali, a young Palestinian college student the author interviewed. My people want the world community to give us more support. They don t have to be pro-Palestinian; they just need to be pro-human rights. We don t want to replace or be replaced, and we don t want to treat the Israelis the way they treat us. We just want peace and equality. There are many books that detail Israel s . . . treatment of the Palestinians, the author wrote to me in a recent email. I think my book s strength in that regard is the logic I bring to it, how I show that the arguments that Israel s defenders make are projections [that] should be applied to Israel far more than to the Palestinians. The primary contribution of [the] book . . . is the deconstructing of the mind that creates a world of internal oppression and then projects it out into the world onto appropriate scapegoats . . . who become objects of blame. Equally primary is [the] suggestion that the root problem is a spiritual one, of identity, more so than land or religion as the root cause. If people can begin to intuit their connection to all beings and to life my book will have been effective. I agree. Once we are able to intuit our connection to all beings and to life itself, there will be no need to engage in persecution and war. And isn t that the real end we seek in this so far endless conflict? --George Polley, Palestine Chronicle
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Top Customer Reviews
To wake up, to question and to learn, thus becomes a kind of heresy. This is a brave, beautiful and generous book. It is brave because the author has risked much to share his story of awakening. He has lost close connections with his family because he no longer holds the correct views about Israel and the Palestinians. To my mind, this is a tragic and unnecessary loss that humans pay in order to be right. This book is deeply grounded in historical fact and impeccably researched.
Forer's awakening began during the summer of 2006 when Israel was involved in the invasion of Lebanon and fought with Hezbollah. Forer was someone who had been deeply loyal to the state of Israel and was terrified as he witnessed the latest war that threatened the country he loved so much. He shared his anxiety with close friends here at home in the US. To his amazement, several friends urged him to get his facts straight. They recommended he read about what was actually going on between Israel and the Palestinians.Read more ›
To his credit, Mr. Forer excels at both challenging the views of Israel's and Zionism's supporters, while leaving their human dignity and respect intact. Ultimately, his is a story known and told over the ages by any who who have tried to wrestle this earthly humanity to a more humane path, whether it be Jesus, Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Tutu, and others, namely, we are all in this together, equal, not some above, or separate, or better than others; while others are below or evil. Page 310: "the non-separate state is in truth the ONLY state. It is beyond all relative phenomena, and yet contains all relative phenomena as itself without separation. All other states are impermanent and arise out of and decay back into this always-existing source of existence. From this perspective, my conditioned beliefs [about Israel] had been an illusion that never really existed or had any substance in the first place.....when the awakening "occurred," there was the intuition that the awakened state is always already the case, that it is primary, that there is no other state....That serendipitous expansion showed me that my commitment to a limited identity and its beliefs and judgments had left me incapable of real compassion and clarity. The outcome of that understanding was a breakthrough in consciousness.Read more ›
You will find his journey enlightening and provocative. It is a must read.
Forer also includes interviews with a Palestinian refugee and a Jewish woman living in a large settlement who has created a conversation group between Jewish Israelis and W. Bank Palestinians. This was particularly moving because it shows that before she actually met Palestinians, she thought of them as essentially different from Jews. Establishing communication has changed her perception of the entire situation and allowed her to access her compassion.
He also addresses the issue of any Jewish criticism of Israeli policy being called either anti-Semitic or "self-hating". As someone who has been called both, his analysis was excellent.
I have read many,many books since my visit to the W. Bank in 2008, and "Breakthrough" is comprehensive yet incredibly readable.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A compelling personal account of a dramatic transformation of self-identity that paves a way to peace.Published 3 months ago by Ann Corrin
"BREAKTHROUGH" details the authors transformation from knee jerk reactions and blind support of Zionist policies into his becoming an open vessel of compassion for all... Read morePublished 9 months ago by eileen fleming
An extraordinary narrative of the author's personal journey of discovery and transformation in understanding the conflict in Israel-Palestine. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Minnesotan
This is a book that should be read by everyone on the planet, particularly those among us with even the slightest interest in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. Read morePublished on March 14, 2013 by Rebecca Dent
It is a brilliant and intellectual book beautifully written about an awakening that changed the author's life. Read morePublished on March 14, 2013 by pat ryan
This book is well researched and most interesting in the presentation of discussion and argument concerning the Israeli and Palestinean question. I highly recommend this read.Published on January 9, 2012 by rick
This book starts off very slow and repetitive, but around 30% of the way through a great book begins. Read morePublished on August 13, 2011 by Christopher M. Whitman Jr.
This is a very up to date and important book for all folks who are interested in truth. A must read.Published on February 16, 2011 by Michael Santomauro