Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor

Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor

New York Times bestseller "A profound and original book, the work of a gifted thinker."--Daphne Merkin, The Wall Street JournalAttempting to break the agonizing impasse between Israelis and Palestinians, the Israeli commentator and award-winning author of Like Dreamers directly addresses his Palestinian neighbors in this taut and provocative book, empathizing with Palestin...

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Title:Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor
Author:Yossi Klein Halevi
Rating:

Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor Reviews

  • Kiwi Begs2Differ  ✎

    I’ll admit that it was with some skepticism that I picked up this book, but am very happy to have read it. I applaud the author for his efforts in extending a hand in peace to his Palestinian neighbor. Halevi’s 10 open letters seems to me a genuine conciliatory gesture, when he says:

    I’ll admit that it was with some skepticism that I picked up this book, but am very happy to have read it. I applaud the author for his efforts in extending a hand in peace to his Palestinian neighbor. Halevi’s 10 open letters seems to me a genuine conciliatory gesture, when he says:

    I am neither Jewish not Arab, I know the wounds of the people of the Middle East are deep and that the underlying issues leading to the current situation are complex. I personally learned a lot from it, and in this sense, for me, it was important an eye opener.

    It seems to me that this book is a welcome step in the right direction. Dialogue is defined as a conversation with two (or more) voices, though. I would love to read book with the same premises that would present the Palestinian perspective on the issues raised by Halevi.

    I’d encourage everyone to read this book not to find faults but keeping an open mind.

    Fav. Quotes:

  • Cam

    In Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor, Yossi Klein Halevi intends to break the silence between Israelis and Palestinians. The book details different viewpoints from both sides of the conflict, as well as the author’s own viewpoint and personal story, all in an attempt to explain the Israeli side of the conflict to Palestinians, while staying sympathetic to both sides. The author, being Jewish and living in Israel, takes a stance that is more in favor of Israel, but in support of a two-state sol

    In Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor, Yossi Klein Halevi intends to break the silence between Israelis and Palestinians. The book details different viewpoints from both sides of the conflict, as well as the author’s own viewpoint and personal story, all in an attempt to explain the Israeli side of the conflict to Palestinians, while staying sympathetic to both sides. The author, being Jewish and living in Israel, takes a stance that is more in favor of Israel, but in support of a two-state solution.

    The book was written as a “letter” to a supposed “neighbor” that represents those living in the West Bank. More specifically, the neighbor represents the houses that the author is able to see from his house that borders the West Bank. In the writing, the author directly addresses the reader, as if they are the “neighbor” he is talking about, making the book feel very personal. This book makes an attempt to fully explain the author’s perspective on the Israel-Palestine conflict, by explaining multiple views from the pro-Israel side and by sympathizing with the Palestinian neighbor’s vies. Overall, this book does a good job in explaining the conflict better and in offering those in support of a Palestinian state a wider range of knowledge to constitute their political ideology.

    Personally, as someone who identifies as a Zionist and is very strong in his stance in support of a Jewish state in Israel, this book helped me further understand and sympathize with the Palestinian argument. From reading, I learned much more about how Palestinians view the conflict, yet from a standpoint that I feel comfortable listening to. Still, I believe that this book could have been stronger in explaining both sides if it included letters coming from the “neighbor” instead of just the author. While the book is intended to be a message from an Israeli to a Palestinian, in which the Israeli shows support for the Palestinian, I believe the book would do better in spreading the message if it included letters from both sides. Aside from this, I believe that this is a fantastic book and a must-read for anyone interested in this topic. Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor captures the emotion felt on both sides of the conflict, as well as gives a sympathetic view to both Israelis and Palestinians, and sympathy is crucial in solving this issue.

  • Naama

    For me, there wasn’t much new in YKH’s words – part history part musing - they seemed very familiar. Yet, I was impressed by the eloquence with which he put together all those heartfelt thoughts and feelings.

    YKH’s letters, in nutshell, seemed to boil down to the following pleas:

    Please recognize that we are a nation, not just a religion, but that either way, Israel is an inextricable part of our peoplehood and religion.

    Please recognize our 2000-year long connection to the land and our undying l

    For me, there wasn’t much new in YKH’s words – part history part musing - they seemed very familiar. Yet, I was impressed by the eloquence with which he put together all those heartfelt thoughts and feelings.

    YKH’s letters, in nutshell, seemed to boil down to the following pleas:

    Please recognize that we are a nation, not just a religion, but that either way, Israel is an inextricable part of our peoplehood and religion.

    Please recognize our 2000-year long connection to the land and our undying love for it. Zionism is neither racism nor colonialism.

    We don’t want to lord over you. We do recognize your connection to the land and would be more than willing to work out a 2-state solution, as difficult as it would be to give up any part of Judea and Samaria, but we need to be convinced that it won’t be just a stepping-stone to our destruction. So, please consider a paradigm shift where you stop viewing us as a cancer that must be cut out from the land and accept us as neighbors instead.

  • Jeanne

    (p. 19).

    My family has lived in the US for fewer than 125 years, yet Ireland (where most of my father's family comes from) and Germany (my mother's family) barely touch me. My grandfather, whose older sisters were born in Germany, spoke only a wee bit of German around

    (p. 19).

    My family has lived in the US for fewer than 125 years, yet Ireland (where most of my father's family comes from) and Germany (my mother's family) barely touch me. My grandfather, whose older sisters were born in Germany, spoke only a wee bit of German around us, and we never ate German foods. I never saw "Ireland" from my other grandparents, only a vague, half-serious yearning to see Ireland. I saw it more in their love of words, their emotional cut-offs when angry.

    In Yossi Klein Halevi's

    there is a much greater sense of history than my family has, than most of us in the US have. Here, an old house is 100 years old. 9/11 touches us, but not the Depression. We talk about veterans of wars, but not the wars and their impact on our country. Halevi talks of the Holocaust, but also wars and decisions throughout the 20th century – and yearnings over the last two or three millennia. His language is often passionate and poetic as he talks about the past, which is alive and tightly intertwined with the present.

    In that context, Halevi can see the conflict between Jew and Arab and understand it. Both Israelis, at least Jewish Israelis, and Palestinians feel that they have the high ground. Halevi instead looks for the common ground. He suggests that

    (p. 123).

    I have great sympathy for Israel, but when I read about the politics of Israel and Palestine –

    or

    , I end up flipping back and forth between Israel and the Palestinians. There are no devils and heroes here, just men and women making poor decisions in the name of righteousness (and good decisions, too).

    (p. 186)

    It's hard to read these books (and Muslim writers, too) without wanting to sit both parties across the table from each other, to engage in some family therapy and get past the mess both sides are enmeshed in. Both sides have valid points that get lost in their arguments.

    Halevi wants to have this story heard and is offering

    in Arabic translation for free downloading. I hope it is downloaded and read thousands of times. I hope that both Arabs and Jews listen to his words and take them seriously.

  • Dee

    I gave up on this book about halfway through - I thought the author was patronizing and self-serving. Although he claims to want a "dialogue" with his Palestinian neighbors, what he really wants is to preach at them as to why he (Jewish people) deserve to live in the entire land of Israel (while maybe making some minuscule "accommodation" to the Palestinians who have been live there for several millennia. He tries to justify the Jewish connection to the land, while ignoring the Palestinian's equ

    I gave up on this book about halfway through - I thought the author was patronizing and self-serving. Although he claims to want a "dialogue" with his Palestinian neighbors, what he really wants is to preach at them as to why he (Jewish people) deserve to live in the entire land of Israel (while maybe making some minuscule "accommodation" to the Palestinians who have been live there for several millennia. He tries to justify the Jewish connection to the land, while ignoring the Palestinian's equally strong connection and all of his "history" is told from the Jewish perspective (not surprising as it is the "winners" who write history!) The more I read, the angrier I got - I've lived in Palestine as a human rights observer and he barely mentions the indignities that I witnessed on a daily basis. Had he written this book as a "point/counterpoint" with a Palestinian perspective added to his, I might have been able to read it - but as it stands, no thank you!!

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