I’m pleased to announce that my new book, The Unmaking of Israel — on the crisis of Israeli democracy and how to solve it — will be published in November by HarperCollins. I’ll be coming to North America for a lecture tour at that time. The book is now available for pre-order at all the usual places.
The Unmaking of Israel is both a journey through unexplored parts of Israel’s history and an argument for a liberal vision of its future. In it, I describe how Israel’s parliamentary democracy and activist judiciary indeed made it unique among the countries born in the post-colonial era.
But by keeping and settling territory it conquered in 1967, Israel has crippled its democracy and the rule of law. The ties between state, settlement and synagogue have promoted religious extremism and distorted Judaism.
To rebuild itself, I argue, Israel must end the occupation, separate state from religion, and create a new civil identity that can be shared by its Jewish and Arab citizens. Reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians is not only an essential end in itself, but a means to ensuring that Israel expresses basic Jewish values.
Based on previously unpublished documents and years of on-the-ground reporting, The Unmaking of Israel presents:
- Evidence that on the eve of Israel’s independence, its leaders were not planning the “ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians, but rather planned on them staying put and becoming part of the new state.
- The decisions by Israel’s secular founders that created today’s ultra-Orthodoxy, with its large families, non-working men, and dependency on state funds.
- The story of how Israeli governments annexed West Bank settlements in all but name.
- The money trail connecting the government to settlement outposts and to the religious academies of the radical right.
- The argument for a two-state solution as the necessary condition for creating a more liberal Second Republic in Israel.
The Unmaking of Israel can be pre-ordered now at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and other online bookstores. Organizations interested in hosting lectures in November can contact me directly. Publications interested in review copies should contact Beth Harper at HarperCollins.