November 16, 2018

Yossi Klein Halevi’s “Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor” – a Must-Read

A disclaimer – Yossi is a friend and one of the more enlightened, fair-minded, thoughtful, kind, and generous of heart people I have met in many years of engagement with Israel.

He is an oleh (immigrant) from New York where he grew up the child of Holocaust survivors and a follower of Rabbi Meir Kahanah. He is hardly the extremist these days. A writer always worth reading in articles or in his three previous books (all of which I read with a voracious appetite for the truths he expresses so honestly and freely), Yossi does not disappoint in his newest book of letters to his Palestinian neighbors.

He writes with an honesty, candor, and historical and emotional perspective that those in the Jewish community on both the right and the left can hear, and hopefully, fair-minded Palestinians can hear as well (he had the book translated into Arabic with an email address because he invited Palestinians do dialogue with him on anything they wished.

I read Yossi’s 200-page book of letters in two sittings – so will you, and this little volume will occupy an important place on your bookshelf to return to from time to time to remind yourself that though the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians seems hopeless, in the Middle East things can change quickly. Yossi argues that the road to peace is understanding the two conflicting narratives and eventually splitting the land into two states for two peoples. However, he is sober and fearful and confesses “I remain in limbo, affirming a two-state solution while clinging to the status quo. And yet I cannot accept our current state of seemingly endless conflict as the definitive verdict on our relationship.

Read it! You’ll be glad you did.

Shmuel Rosner wrote a wonderful review of the book in this week’s LA Jewish Journal, and I recommend you read it too at http://jewishjournal.com/cover_story/234358/visionarys-insight-can-yossi-klein-halevi-bring-us-hope-peace/