A New Voice for Israel
Fighting for the Survival of the Jewish Nation
By Jeremy Ben-Ami
(Palgrave Macmillan, Hardcover, 9780230112742, 256pp.)
Publication Date: July 19, 2011
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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Many Americans who care about Israel’s future are questioning whether the hard-line, uncritical stances adopted by many traditional pro-Israel advocates really serve the country’s best interests over the long-term. Moderate Jeremy Ben-Ami, founder of J Street, the new pro-Israel, pro-peace political movement, punctures many of the myths that have long guided our understanding of the politics of the American Jewish community and have been fundamental to how pro-Israel advocates have pursued their work. These myths include:
• that leaders of established Jewish organizations speak for all
Jewish Americans when it comes to Israel
• that being pro-Israel means you cannot support creation of
a Palestinian state
• that American Jews vote for candidates based largely on
their support of Israel
• that talking peace with your enemies demonstrates
• that allying with neoconservatives and evangelical
Christians is good for Israel and good for the Jewish community.
Ben-Ami, whose grandparents were first-generation Zionists and founders of Tel Aviv, tells the story of his own evolution toward a more moderate viewpoint. He sketches a new direction for both American policy and the conduct of the debate over Israel in the American Jewish community.
Jeremy Ben-Ami is the founder and president of J Street, an advocacy group and political action committee that is both pro-Israel and pro-peace. Ben-Ami has been profiled in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, CQ Weekly, and The New York Times. During his 25-year career in government, politics, and communications, Ben-Ami has served as President Bill Clinton's deputy domestic policy adviser, and as national policy director on Howard Dean's presidential campaign, and has helped run numerous political campaigns, including one for mayor of New York City. He also started the Israeli firm Ben-Or Communications while living in Israel in the late 1990s. He lives in Washington, D.C.
“Provides an arsenal of logistical and moral arguments stressing that not only is Israel’s occupation over another people a threat to the Zionist dream and American interests in the region, but that it also runs counter to rabbinic values…Ben-Ami’s analysis of the American Jewish vote and his fervent plea for a new voice reads like a compelling last call.”—The Washington Post
“A clarion call for American reasonableness in the Middle East…With the Arab Spring, the United States has a chance for a new beginning in the region. But that will require Washington to adopt a more balanced policy. Maybe, just maybe, J Street will help create the political space to enable that to happen.”—Nick Kristof, The New York Times
"A New Voice for Israel is a gripping family story, a shrewd analysis of American and Mideast politics and a rousing call to action. Most of all it is a book animated by deep love of Israel. I defy anyone to read it with an open mind and believe otherwise."—Peter Beinart, Senior Political Writer, The Daily Beast
“The author convincingly establishes his case that a two-state solution may be the only way to preserve Israel as a democratic homeland for the Jews…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.”--Kirkus
“Argues for nuance rather than rigidity… Most important, Ben-Ami rejects the luxury of pessimism, the laziness of giving up on Israeli-Palestinian peace. His idealism consists not in idealizing Israel (or vilifying it) but of working to make it a better place.”—Gershom Gorenberg, The American Prospect
"Jeremy Ben-Ami has articulated a clear-sighted, important argument for why it is time to rewrite the 'rulebook' that governs the conversation on Israel. Time is running out on a two-state solution. Ben-Ami issues a clarion call for more focused, determined U.S. efforts to promote peace between Israel and the Palestinians before it is no longer possible. A refreshing, must read for anyone who wants to understand the dilemmas facing American Jewry as it wrestles with what its role should be in Israel’s future.”--Janine Zacharia, former Jerusalem Bureau Chief, Washington Post
"A New Voice for Israel is a must-read for every Jew who, like me, struggles with balancing her devotion to the state of Israel with her moral and political values. Before being inspired by Mr. Ben-Ami's example, I had become one of his ‘Generation Oy,’ my discomfort with right-wing Israeli governments and even more conservative American Jewish organizations alienating me from the country itself. Jeremy Ben-Ami has provided me with a blueprint on how to be a Zionist in the twenty-first century, without compromising my commitment to human rights and democratic values."--Ayelet Waldman, author of Red Hook Road and Bad Mother
"This seamless blend of Israeli history, American/Jewish politics, family memoir, and J Street's vision culminates in a rousing call for change in the U.S. approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A New Voice for Israel is both a compelling personal narrative and a must read for all who care about peace and security in the Middle East."--Letty Cottin Pogrebin, former president, Americans for Peace Now and author of Deborah, Golda and Me
“Ben-Ami speaks with honesty and trenchancy about how American Jews think, hope, and organize. He shows why a democratic Israel needs peace, indeed, that democracy is a peace process without end. A New Voice For Israel, in its disarmingly truthfulness, explains why J Street is not only changing Americans politics but Jewish identity as well.”—Bernard Avishai, the author of The Hebrew Republic