New Internationalist

The other Israel: voices of refusal and dissent

Issue 374

Much is made of this book’s condemnation of the occupation and the Israeli Government. But after reading The other Israel, one feels that challenging the occupation and Ariel Sharon is only part of what this collection of 26 Israeli writers offers. In many ways, it does what few books critical of Israel have been able to do, and that is to speak directly to an Israeli audience and to pro-Israel supporters around the world. Here we have the undiluted opinions of some of Israel’s most respected activists, journalists and academics, some of whom have been featured previously in the NI. The spirit of Israel’s dissidents emanates from the testimonies of Refusenik soldiers who refuse to serve in the occupied territories to the anguish expressed in celebrated Israeli author David Grossman’s depiction of a people living in a ‘kind of latent death’. Despite the deep despair that many of the writers feel, there is also the simple hope that, through their actions, they might be able to dismantle the ‘checkpoints of arrogance’ in Israeli society. They all share a hope that one day, we Israelis will be able to ‘let go of our fear enough to find a way forward’. This book is urgent reading if only to remind us that the real battle for Israel’s soul is being waged not on the streets of Gaza, but within its borders.

Adam Ma'anit

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