Ben-Ami ’84 calls for new approach to Israel advocacy

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New book: A New Voice for Israel: Fighting for the Survival of the Jewish Nation, by Jeremy Ben-Ami ’84 (Palgrave Macmillan)

 
The author: The founder and president of J Street, a lobbying group with a left-of-center stance toward the Middle East that backs a two-state solution, Ben-Ami served as President Bill Clinton’s deputy domestic policy adviser and as national policy director on Howard Dean’s presidential campaign. Ben-Ami was selected as one of 50 “people of the decade” last year by Ha’aretz, an Israeli daily newspaper, and The Jerusalem Post named him one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world.
 
The book: Ben-Ami shares his personal story — his grandparents were first-generation Zionists and founders of Tel-Aviv, and his father fought for Israeli independence in 1948 — and argues that the efforts to secure a safe and democratic future for Israel are heading off-track and that there is more than one way to be pro-Israel. A New Voice for Israel calls for a new approach to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to Israel advocacy — one that allows for more debate and conversation and that moves “away from its traditional zero-sum paradigm,” he states in the introduction. Ben-Ami argues that friends of Israel must give up the idea that support for Israel requires unquestioning loyalty to the Israeli government and recognize that the creation of a Palestinian state will increase Israel’s chance of survival.
 

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From the book’s conclusion: “To assist in bringing peace and security to Israel at this moment in its history is the ultimate act of Zionism. It is the final chapter of this installment of the history of the Jewish people. … Our voice must speak the truth as loudly and clearly as possible: The present path that the state of Israel is on is unsustainable. The occupation of another people and the denial of their national aspirations and their rights is not only morally unacceptable, it is a fatal threat to the entire enterprise of the State of Israel.”

 
Review: A critic for Kirkus wrote: “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.”
 

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