“A Guide for the Confused”

A friend of mine from high school moved to Israel many years ago and married, had five children and spent his life as a professor at a university in Jerusalem. I asked him once to explain the Israel/Palestine conflict in a succinct way. He told me that it was impossible to do that. He did say that he had one child who built a house on the West Bank and he had refused to help pay for it. That was the extent of what clarity he could share with me.

I appreciated his candor when I read the book pictured above Can We Talk About Israel by Daniel Sokatch published in October of this year. He walks the reader through the whole history of the nation of Israel, the decisions that allowed its creation, the people who already lived there who weren’t consulted and the inevitable discord that has existed since then.

Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, promised to “solve” the conflict maintaining that it was “really just a real estate issue.” I knew at the time that his intervention was absurd, but the book clarifies just how much worse his involvement made the region, particularly promoting moving the American embassy.

Sokatch’s careful walk through all the Prime Ministers in Israel’s history was very clarifying. He is able to go beyond the “right wing” “left wing” labels so often used in the American press. I was able to see how radically differently the government at any one time attempted to work with or work against the Palestinians.

The book is easy to read, humorously illustrated and just detailed enough to allow any one of us to admit we know much less about Israel and Palestine than we thought we did. I welcomed the humbling and thought back to my friend’s true answer to my request for a simple explanation: “it is impossible to do that.”

26 thoughts on ““A Guide for the Confused”

  1. “Tribalism” is said by some to be a major factor in our (the world’s) cultural and political divide. In that sense, the Jewish and Palestinian “tribes” of the Middle-East are too dominated by uncompromising leaders and factions to even want peaceful solutions — much less achieve them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I would also like a book explaining the conflict in laymen’s terms, but that’s like asking someone to describe artificial intelligence simply.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As Pete implies, on this issue that whatever view you take someone will say it is wrong – or worse. But thanks for mentioning the book. I’ll bear it in mind in case I do get into a disagreement with someone close.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. HI Elizabeth, I read this last night and got distracted before I left a comment. This sounds like an interesting book, I agree this conflict is an interesting one. My son wrote one of his final school papers on this conflict and how he thought it could be resolved.

    Liked by 1 person

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