Harvard law professor Dershowitz is out to defend Israel again"this time, with a little help from his friends. In this volume, some 80 writers, scholars and journalists, many of them prominent figures, most of them Jewish, contribute short pieces about the meaning of Israel in their lives. The breadth of authors is impressive, from Sen. Norm Coleman of Minnesota and the Rev. Pat Robertson to the actresses Natalie Portman (Jewish, born in Israel) and Christina Applegate (not Jewish, visited Israel). As might be expected, many of the pieces emphasize the writer's emotional connection to the Jewish state. Some are prone to hyperbole (former Cabinet member William Bennett counts himself "among the millions of Americans who see America's fate and Israel's fate as one"), while others are overly sentimental. But to Dershowitz's credit, the collection includes selections from more nuanced and critical thinkers. Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts points out the importance of Israel as a haven for Palestinian gays and lesbians, while noting that Israel has a way to go in ridding itself of homophobia. Some authors oppose Israel's existence or, like Israeli politician Shulamit Aloni and American Jewish activist Michael Lerner, are critical of Israeli policy in the West Bank, in essays that may expand the readership for this collection beyond the usual pro-Israel suspects.
Paperback, 368 Pages