Beyond Tribal Loyalties: Personal Stories of Jewish Peace Activists
Avigail Abarbanel, author
There is an expectation in Jewish communities that all Jews embrace Zionism and offer automatic, unquestioning support for Israel, “right or wrong”. Jewish identity and Zionism are commonly and deliberately blurred. Jews who criticise Israel are often vilified and excluded. By expressing sympathy for the Palestinians, they risk being branded as traitors and accused of “supporting the enemies of Israel”. Beyond Tribal Loyalties is a unique collection of twenty-five personal stories of Jewish peace activists from Australia, Canada, Israel, the United Kingdom & the United States. The stories focus on the complex and intensely personal journey that Jewish activists go through to free themselves from the hold of Zionist ideology. Most of the contributors were once unquestioning supporters of Israel and Zionism but something happened that caused them to re-evaluate their relationship with Israel and the Palestinians people. This journey often involved a reassessment of personal values, belief system and identity. Beyond Tribal Loyalties seeks to understand what makes it possible for Jewish peace activists to go through this transformative journey & engage in activism, despite fanatical and sometimes violent opposition. This is an inspiring book for anyone who is interested in the experience of being a peace activist. It offers a fresh and unusual angle on the Israeli-Palestinian situation & is a unique contribution in a field where political analysis is common, but where the personal angle is often lacking. As this second edition goes to print, the world feels precarious. Israel is winning the propaganda war, aided and abetted by a particularly belligerent US Administration. Led by an unscrupulous and corrupt Prime Minister, Israel has become so overconfident that it no longer hides its immense influence over US and British politics. Unconditional Jewish support for Israel persists and activists continue to be intimidated into silence with baseless accusations of antisemitism. As a result, the Palestinian voice is weakening and their cause is not getting the support it needs. Six years from the original publication of Beyond Tribal Loyalties, the voices in the book and the stories they tell have a particularly powerful message to offer that is not only about Israeli settler-colonialism in Palestine but about humanity in general.