Everywhere a Guest, Nowhere at Home
A New Vision of Israel and Palestine
By Kim Chernin
(North Atlantic Books, Paperback, 9781556438202, 149pp.)
Publication Date: September 1, 2009
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The title of this book is a phrase often used to describe the fate of the Jewish people in the world and invokes one of the central arguments for the creation of the state of Israel. In this thoughtful collection of essays, Kim Chernin suggests that the Zionist struggle has left the Palestinian people in a similar predicament; now they, too, are merely guests in their former homeland. Confronting her own uncritical support of Israel, Chernin tries to reconcile her desire for a Jewish homeland with the reality of the violence carried out in order to secure it.
Following an in-depth examination of the perspectives of both Jews and Palestinians, Chernin writes eloquently of the process by which she gradually learned to hear once-ignored Palestinian voices. By combining her knowledge of Jewish history with her insights as a psychotherapist, Chernin discovers the psychological mechanisms that have kept her and other Jews from fully comprehending the suffering of both parties in this seemingly endless conflict. She argues persuasively that by overcoming the mental blocks that prevent so many from seeing the Palestinian point of view, Jews can learn to feel empathy for them without diminishing their love and support for Israel.