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Rabbi Brant Rosen of the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation of Evanston, Illinois, had been wrestling with his conscience for almost three decades, troubled by the ethnic nationalism at the heart of his liberal, Zionist philosophy.
On 28 December 2008, as the war on Gaza began, he felt he could no longer excuse the inexcusable: ‘We good liberal Jews are ready to protest oppression and human rights abuses anywhere in the world but are all too willing to give Israel a pass,’ he wrote. ‘It’s a fascinating double standard, and one I understand all too well. I understand it, because I’ve been just as responsible as anyone else for perpetrating it.’
Wrestling in the Daylight collects his blog posts, and responses they evoked, from the above-quoted ‘Outrage in Gaza: No More Apologies’ to the end of 2010.
I started the book with misgivings. I do not come to the conflict from a religious perspective but as a Palestine solidarity activist and a secular, indeed militantly atheist, Jew. What then could the rabbi have to teach me? As it turned out, a lot.
This is a profoundly humanistic work. You watch Brant Rosen reflecting and reappraising as he is forced to redefine ‘his love for his people’, to reconcile it with Israel’s unforgivable treatment of the Palestinians. You feel his anguish as he wrestles ‘in the daylight’ with the profound contradictions of liberal Zionism. You read the responses of those who cannot follow him and his thoughtful engagement with both their arguments and their passionate feelings and beliefs. And you see his commitment to do something about it – of which this book is one part.
This collection is a dialogue within the Jewish community. But it also is far more than that. The stress is on the word dialogue. Everyone will learn from it: both how to organise the confrontation of deeply conflicting approaches in an atmosphere of courtesy and mutual respect, and why the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is so ideologically intractable. Everyone who cares about Palestine should read this book.
Grace Blakeley investigates the curious case of Carillion: how the company’s slow decline and abrupt liquidation reveals the nature of modern capitalism.
The collapse of Carillion could be a watershed moment. Let's seize it to end economically disastrous outsourcing schemes. By Cat Hobbs.
Campaign groups highlight UK complicity in Saudi Arabia's human rights abuses.
Three founders of Momentum talk to Ashish Ghadiali about the two years that have transformed their lives and the fortunes of the British left.
Andrew Smith from Campaign Against the Arms Trade gives the run-down on one of the UK's most profitable - and most deadly - industries.
The real story behind the fire in Grande Synthe’s Linière refugee camp, Dunkirk. From 'Bordered Lives – How Europe fails refugees and migrants' by Hsiao-Hung Pai
Javier Pérez De La Cruz writes about the working class Berlin neighbourhood wrung dry by gentrifiers.
Across the world, thousands of protesters are taking on the planet’s biggest fossil fuel companies. We should support them – and if we can, we should join them. By Kara Moses
Students are suffering the effects of financial instability, stress, and slashed mental health services. Mark Crawford reports.
They're not defending free speech - they're just seeking to shore up their own power, writes Ilyas Nagdee
Jeremy Hunt is poised to flog the last of the NHS
Peter Roderick sounds the alarm on an 'attack on the fundamental principles of the NHS'.
Viva Siva, 1923-2018
A. Sivanandan, who died this week, was a hugely important figure in the politics of race and class. As part of our tributes, Red Pepper is republishing this 2009 profile of him by Arun Kundnani
Sivanandan: When memory forgets a giant
Daniel Renwick calls for the whole movement to discover and remember the vital work of A. Sivanandan, who died this week
A master-work of graphic satire
American Jewish cartoonist Eli Valley’s comic commentary on America, the US Jewish diaspora and Israel is nothing if not near the knuckle, Richard Kuper writes
Meet the frontline activists facing down the global mining industry
Activists are defending land, life and water from the global mining industry. Tatiana Garavito, Sebastian Ordoñez and Hannibal Rhoades investigate.
Transition or succession? Zimbabwe’s future looks uncertain
The fall of Mugabe doesn't necessarily spell freedom for the people of Zimbabwe, writes Farai Maguwu
Don’t let Corbyn’s opponents sneak onto the Labour NEC
Labour’s powerful governing body is being targeted by forces that still want to strangle Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, writes Alex Nunns