A truly wonderful book.
A courageous book from a man who's sense of wanting to lay bare 'the truth' as he sees it comes way ahead of any attempts at self promotion.
Concise, clear, and easy to read.
Gilad utilises a very readable style when articulating his ideas.
The book joins the dots and exposes, among other things, the many and various strands of zionist thought for what they are. A con and a fraud.
He also seeks to illustrate that many of the more pernicious among them actually pretend, on the surface, to oppose zionism.
A rather hollow pretense ?
Of course the Alan Dershowitz's (and fellow travellers) of this world will howl with indignation accusing Gilad of being anti-semitic, a self-hating Jew etc., etc., but hey, what's new ?
These people have been attempting to close down the Palestine debate for decades with just this sort of ploy, and it's wearing a bit thin.
The nonsense that one can somehow completely separate 'Jewish' and 'zionist' is pure fantasy land.
Have these people not noticed that Israel is (and always has been) defined as 'the Jewish state' ?
It was set up in the name of the Jewish people, and has been nurtured and maintained ever since by the various Jewish communities and their allies, around the world.
'Jewish' and 'zionist' ARE inextricably intertwined.
I agree that they are not quite the same thing, but there is enormous overlap and since the whole project of Israel was created in the name of 'Jewish', the idea that Gilad (or anyone else for that matter) should wish to explore just what is meant by 'Jewish' seems like a both logical, and necessary project to me.
'Project Israel' was set up as a secular state after all, decrying religion, yet the justification for it's existence is purely biblical.
Without the religious connection there would be absolutely no justification for the 'Jewish State's existence.
How's that for a paradox ?
So the question of just what is meant by 'Jewish' and 'the Jewish people' is at the heart of the whole subject.
Also, the roots of the elitist and chauvinistic aspects of zionism lay in classical Jewish theology (talmudic law) so to pretend that the two subjects are quite distinct is downright dishonest. Further, to pretend to be 'anti-zionist' and then to seek to attack (either verbally or otherwise) someone who seeks to understand 'Jewish identity' is illogical and absurd.
Gilad is not the first, and I'm sure he won't be the last to attempt to get to the bottom of this conundrum.
Famous predecessors include Karl Marx who wrote extensively on this subject in 1843.
Marx didn't have many positive things to say, and in attempting to get to the bottom of this thorny question of identity, Marx never once used the word 'zionist' because of course the political movement called zionism hadn't yet been invented.
His musings were aimed fairly and squarely at 'The Jewish Question'.
One of his famous conclusions was that 'Jewish Internationalism' was 'the Internationalism of the financier' and that as such, lay at the heart of oppression everywhere.
But I'm wandering.
Gilad is very clearly on a journey toward understanding.
Understanding the central themes that shaped his life growing up in the newly formed Israeli state, and just like the story of 'the King's new clothes', on enquiring he finds that there is curiously little substance to the whole thing.
Jewish identity is, it seems, remarkably elusive.
All rather curious when one considers the impact that the creation of 'the Jewish state' (with it's accompanying creed of 'chosen-ness') has had (and continues to have) on the world stage.
If you like 'thinking outside the box' you will surely find this book interesting.
An absorbing journey, intelligently articulated.
Not a book for the rigid thinker.
To anyone who finds this book interesting I would definitely recommend 'Jewish History, Jewish Religion' by Israel Shahak, a wonderfully warm, intelligent guy who sadly is no longer with us.