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Itical differences; through these discussions he attempts to make sense of the conflicts in this embattled region revealing the truths that lie buried within the animosities of the Middle East From the Trade Paperback edition. Not a huge fan I found myself agreeing with Rafi about certain things they argued about In general I was a little put off by Goldberg s lack of sociological imagination Small example I myself would never want to wear a niab or become a suicide bomber but some other people do and there are real and sometimes very understandable reasons why that happens From the privileged highly educated Western individualist enfranchised perspective of a rich white American man that may seem purely barbaric and ignorant but I think he s not exactly in any position to know or understandThat said it s a very interesting story about an odd friendship an example of what is possible if a different way is attempted and invested in

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Prisoners A Muslim and a Jew Across the Middle East Divide

During the first Palestinian uprising in 1990 Jeffrey Goldberg – an American Jew – served as a guard at the largest prison camp in Israel One of his prisoners was Rafi a rising leader in the PLO Overcoming their fears and. Easily one of the best books I ve ever read Truth be told this book will probably teach you essential truths about the Israeli Palestinian conflict than most undergraduate courses on the subject Plus it reads like a novel and the writing is spellbindingly stellar Freelance journalist Jeffrey Goldberg tells his life story an American Jew who emigrates to Israel lives on a kibbutz joins the Israeli Army and serves as an MP in one of Israel s most notorious prisons during the First Intifada Goldberg catalogs his enchantment and disillusionment with the Zionist ideals of his youth and charts his lifelong attempt to understand both the Israeli and Palestinian mindset While cataloging the absurdities of ideological extremists on both sides and the obstacles they continue to lay on the path towards peace Goldberg weaves a tiny fragile but glimmering thread of hope throughout his tale not an easy task for any book about the Middle East and this subject particularlyThis is a must read for anyone even remotely interested in the Israeli Palestinian conflict

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Prejudices the two men began a dialogue that over than a decade grew into a remarkable friendship Now an award winning journalist Goldberg describes their relationship and their confrontations over religious cultural and pol. A great book about an idealist journalist Goldberg who is in search of his Jewish roots and what happens to him in finding it in Israel The uest on peace in Israel really rests on individual relationships of understanding between Jews and Palestinians a la Jeff and Rafi Perhaps having similar temperaments of individuals such as Jeff and Rafi can bridge a such a huge chasm between Israeli and PalestiniansGoldberg rightly sees the irony of celebrating Jewish Passover in a Israeli prison that is suppressing Palestinian s fighting for their own freedom Jeff returns to America because he feels disillusioned by his view of Israel as the promise land of Peace Besides wanting to believe Peace is possible I think Jeff in his need to become a war journalist experiences exhilaration in being in an environment in which war is imminent and danger is just around the corner After reading this book I am convince that there must be strong political will on both the Israeli and Palestinian side of the euation because whoever enacts the two state solution will not be popular with their populace from the Palestinian side this means HamasIslamic Jihad and from the Jewish side it will be the settlers who will not be happy But despite their stringent ideologies both the Israeli and Palestinians are ready for peace though there is significant distrust on both sides of the divide The only way forward toward a lasting IsraeliPalestinian peace is if there is a two state solution with clear national boundaries This means Palestinian s giving up their uest for the right of return in exchange for Israeli s getting kicked off their settlements in the West Bank and Gaza It is really hard to take seriously a peace in which there are no clear borders because incursion by both sides could mean open war A significant sticking point seems to be the city of Jerusalem The irony here is of course it is the holiest city of the three big monotheistic religion but it is what violently divides these religion I think the only solution here is to make Jerusalem an international city under the auspices of UN security The UN army would be made up of all three religions and they would provide security for their own holy sites The UN security members would have to swear loyalty to the UN and would be fired if it is known that they have sectarian loyalty above the UN While the ground troops may be from people from the region the upper level officers must be from these religions but have no ties to the region The officers would come from dispassionate third party country at least in the beginning that has no regional loyalties whatsoever The failure of the late 90 s peace accords really lies on Arafat s lack of political will in making an unpopular right decision Now it is Bibi turn with his increase in settlement building I understand the annoyance of the Palestinians with the settlements because if the roads between Israel and their settlement fall under Israeli command it can seriously hamper the sovereignty of the Palestinian state If Israel is truly serious about peace Israel would welcome a Palestinian state with responsibilities of a state because it is harder to govern than to be a freedom fighter As Palestinian s themselves like Rafi found out Arafat and his exiled PLO fighters were corrupt and are no saint The problem for Israeli security is Palestinians are currently overwhelmingly against Israeli occupation If the occupation is lifted and they have their own state the Palestinians will be too preoccupied with fixing their own problems to worry about Israel look how Al uaeda no longer has pull in Egypt as it once did because of Egyptian democratic self determination because Egyptian s know that they have to fix their own problems Since the Palestinians are currently dependent on Israel for its economy the state will be hard pressed to bring to justice any Palestinian terrorist lest their whole economy and thus their state falls into shambles And as a state Palestine would be condemned by the international community as sponsor of terrorism if that occurs Also I would think Israel would think this is an opportune time to have as state of Palestine since the Palestinian population will outnumber Jews soon so it would be impossible to have Jewish democratic stateOf course both extremist on both sides Sephardic Orthodox Jews and Islamist fundamentalist Hamas try to destroy the peace process by antagonizing each other How can peace thrive when two groups who hate each other are unified in their opposition to peace and would do anything to prevent peace from occurring According to Goldberg some of the Arabs assertion that Israeli kill innocent people as a preemptive measure is correct leading to never ending rounds of violence I am beginning to understand the Jewish people intense affinity for Israel which to us seems to be a fight over desert land I think the affinity stems from the heritage and religion that is found in the bible It is like if American history was not only important national history but also important religious history tooI always wondered why Jews align themselves with the oppressed minority social causes when they look like the majority The book explains that just as Black people have the specter of the American slavery past that haunts them even now Jews have holocaust and countless other progroms that continue to influence their collective consciousness as Jews The feelings of being a historically oppressed group makes them lean heavily toward civil rights movements that give minorities a voice eual to the majority Goldberg apathy for being American is a kin to an American black man s feeling of disconnect to America when he finds out the America had a slavery past Speaking of oppression the Soviet Union of religious suppression combined with cultural suppression must have been extremely oppressive in their vaunted state police state Plus the fact that the Soviets imprisoned Jews for wanting to go to Israel made me realize why there are a lot of Russian Jews in Israel Also it constantly surprises me how Christians prosecuted Jews for so long and we were the ones who instituted progroms toward the JewsIt is predictable that any oppressed group which have a feeling of powerlessness once they are in power become the oppressors This is why given the fact that Jews have been oppressed for so long it does not surprise me that they in turn will oppress the Palestinians Speaking of the victims becoming the victimizers I know realize that maybe the saying that one man s hero is another man s terrorist might be true considering Begin and Sharon who were prominent Israeli prime ministers were at one point massacred Palestinians en masse Begin and Arafat share a feature of terrorism in pursuit of the absolute cause they believed in After reading this book I now understand the affinity that Americans have for Israel It is the fact that like Americans Israeli s feel the consciousness of manifest destiny that is the God has preordained the land of Israel to belong to his chosen people just like America was preordained to Americans despite the obvious fact that there were people who already lived on the land that the Divine bestowed on them The settler s issue tend to remind me of American settlements in Native American lands Having said this I also think that the Arabs are right that there is no way the state of Israel could exist in its current form without foreign aid from America If 8 years of occupation in Ira and Afghanistan can make our debt and economy so bad rationally think what 50 years occupying the West Bank and Gaza does to the Israel Despite the fact Jews are one of our main ethnicities that promote growth in US Israel a country of Jews is not one of the G 20 because of their constant state of war In fact Israel is only second to the US in start ups yet ranks 27th GDP per capita Now considering this fact how does one suppose one gets 1st grade military hardware without having one of the best economies in the world the only conclusion is through American foreign aid So why doesn t the US give just enough military aid for Israel to protect itself not so they have to withdraw from PalestineI generally like the Israeli Peace Now movement of the left because the Peace Now movement have a very practical side to it and that is they want to be left alone by the Arabs in Peace The reason why there is a greater credence to this particular movement is because the people in charge of the movement are soldiers who fight in the front lines and who would die for the state of Israel Kibbutz or Zionist socialism experiment is a failure because the descendants of the original founders loses the ideals of the founders to them socialism is just an inefficient way to do business Thus socialism works only during the founders generation and if the population is small enough in which collectivism can be enforced without laws Although is disconcerted about his American naivitee I think that it is exactly this naivietee that gives Americans as a whole the hope for world peace Because America is largely a society in which peace reigns we expect other nations to be the same so as such we become the light of the world for peace and human rights within a nation Likewise immigrants love to come to the US because we are the land of opportunity in which our economy is open to all as such we should keep our economy strong so we can serve us a light to other nations to follow America is the greatest hope for Peace in the world today with its enormous diversity that spans every country in the world a certain understanding can develop Only in the fertile moral grounds of American openness and understanding can American Jew be raised to want to search for peace with his mortal enemy the Palestinian by becoming friends with him and at the same time keep his distinct Jewish identity I like the fact that America vetted Rafi and Kemal so they can study in American universities Even though Rafi loyalty to Gaza was strong he does yearn for his Washington days when he could move up in American society based on merit Later it states that the Western ways made both Kemal and Rafi become fundamental Islamist with the same pulsing hatred that the suicide bombers showed toward America But it is also informative that they became moderate when they went back to the middle east with jobs Thus giving credence to my theory that we have to promote democracy abroad so these people have a say in their government We should also promote a stable middle class growth because it is only with a thriving engaged citizenry will fundamentalist stop making suicide bombers to bomb us Rafi radicalism became compliant when he went back to the middle east to practice his craft which he learned from America In terms of foreign policy and terrorist and suicide bombers mentality I think it is extremely important that these peoples own government be a democracy so instead of causing problems for us they have to worry about their own welfare and thus their own government a thriving market economy and thus a growing middle class so they have something to live for and eually a fear of something to lose in engaging in terrorist activities and an education based on critical thinking skills so they can uestion the random religious edict that whether suicide bombing is actually the will of Allah or Satan After all the perfect breeding ground for terrorism are failed states with a stagnant economy with high accompanying unemployment that blames their failure as a state on external countries such as the US Rafi feeling of superiority due to him being Arab underscores the importance that a vibrant democracy with a huge middle class in Ira Tunisia Libya and most importantly Egypt thrive I think the US diplomatic mission to those places underscores the importance that these places have in the war on terrorWe now know that the real terrorist state is Pakistan not Ira The issue of terrorism and suicide bombing really rest on changing the thinking by changing the culture in these places to value life It is no wonder these people do not value life with high unemployment for young adults coupled with the loss of human dignity and lack of national self determination is very dangerous One cannot fear the loss of life when one does not have a life to speak of It is also suspicious that suicide bombers tend to be unattached and unemployed young malesI think Arabs Muslims are angry because they are experiencing a cognitive dissonance in that the Koran says they are the chosen people but their countries and culture is falling behind the rest of the world So they cling to their former greatness which occurred in the era of Ahmed Goldberg shows that these Palestinians actually want to get punished for their cause so they can prove to their tribe that they are hero s of the tribe How can one punish a person who wears punishment as a badge of honor We really have to slowly but surely change the way these people think in order for them to think life has a value instead of life being devoid of value Terrorist want a war of civilization So the smart thing to do to counter this is targeted killings of their leadership combined with a disruption of the their finance couple with cultural diplomatic and multi development minded action in order to destroy the recruiting efforts of these terrorist groups Also the value of cross cultural trade as a means for peace by initially imparting to the Palestinians and Israelis the value of dispassionate trust and interconnectedness is a I believe the first step to long lasting peace By cross cultural trade the Palestinians and Israeli s will be forced due to intertwining economies to temper their blood lust for each otherThe folly of placing all Palestinians in jail regardless of crime is that the jail cells become their recruiting centers Apparently jail is where Palestinians get indoctrinated into the Palestinian movement If I were Israeli s I would separate the Palestinian mastermind and intellectuals from their rank and file member especially those who have not been indoctrinated into Palestinian mentality I would also treat the 1st time offenders better that shows of the compassionate side of Jews to stem the recruiting efforts of Palestinian terrorist Like Rafi a mistake by Shabak in arresting an innocent man led him right in to the arms of HamasFatah where he was indoctrinated and rose to a command position because of his intellect The best way for terrorist to recruit is to force Shabak to arrest innocent people thus leading credence that terrorism is the people s only salvation I would also flood the Palestinian with information so that they are not continuously brainwashed into Palestinian propaganda The ICRC floods Palestinians with revolutionary ideology but why not the non violent movement Another interesting thing is that collaborators are killed by Palestinians themselves even a hint of collaboration can lead to someones death Apparently there is a difference between Hamas and Fatah that makes Fatah the ones who are likely to negotiate for peace Whereas Hamas struggle is deeply fundamentally religious thus making it harder to negotiate peace with them Fatah is practical in its Palestinian resistance approach Theological reasoning for temporal policies are the main issue that is keeping Israel from Peace Be it Hamas who reason that it is God s will the Jews be kicked out of Palestine or the Israeli settlers who insist that God gave them the West Bank and Gaza as state in the Torah it is these unyielding theological dogma that is keeping Israel from long lasting peace I think this is how Christianity with its focus on saving of individual souls is superior to both Judaism and Islam because by its theology Christianity focuses on individual betterment as a path to salvation and leaves temporal concerns to earthly powers One hopes that an elected official is influenced by Christianity but even serious evangelical politicians would be laughed off the political stage if he sights the Bible as what he measures his policy proposal withJeffery Golberg and Rafi s friendship underscores the importance of friendships between diplomats of enemy states because even if we do not share the others views in terms of policy the relationship between friends will keep the dialogue alive Incidentally this observation also applies to our polarized political climate I think it is only through friendship and admiration can one work with someone who ideologically you are opposed to

10 thoughts on “Prisoners A Muslim and a Jew Across the Middle East Divide

  1. says:

    The second book I've read this week by a white male writer who is an elouent prose stylist but whose basic outlook I disagreed with so completely it was almost uncomfortable reading I don't think we're supposed to feel sympathy with poor Rafi in this book as his FORMER CAPTOR constantly pursues and interrogates

  2. says:

    This is an impressive book Far better passionate and mature than From Beirut to Jerusalem At times it reads like a thriller that’s how engaging a writer Goldberg is You can tell something is at stake here for him It’s not just a dispassionate discussion about Jews and Muslims analyzed at a remove But I enjoyed his analyses too As a guard in a prison for Palestinians he becomes familiar with Fatah indoctrination “Much Fatah talk was

  3. says:

    Easily one of the best books I've ever read Truth be told this book will probably teach you essential truths about the Israeli Palestinian conflict than most undergraduate courses on the subject Plus it reads like a novel and the writing is spellbindingly stellar Freelance journalist Jeffrey Goldberg tells his life story an American Jew who emigrates to Israel lives on a kibbutz joins the Israeli Army and serv

  4. says:

    GREAT unfiltered perspective on how the Israel Palestine conflict is experienced and viewed by those involved Very intense If you're looking to find some hope about this conflict this is not the book But it is a great read and was a wonderful new view point diverging from the academic reading I've done about this conflict in the past

  5. says:

    Love to know what Rafi's side of the story is

  6. says:

    A great book about an idealist journalist Goldberg who is in search of his Jewish roots and what happens to him in finding it in Israel The uest on peace in Israel really rests on individual relationships of understanding

  7. says:

    First off the title is a bit misleading It should be renamed Jeff Goldberg and Jeff Goldberg across the Middle East Divide because it is far autobiographical than about a conversation or friendship of Muslim and Jew The title implies history and insights from the Muslim than we get which is next to nothing comparatively He tells ho

  8. says:

    Goldberg's examination of his own captivity becomes the frame for uestions about the nature of incarceration power and freedom He details the fear that made him dismantle a gift in a hotel room at 3 am doubts about whether h

  9. says:

    Not a huge fan I found myself agreeing with Rafi about certain things they argued about In general I was a little put off by Goldberg's lack of sociological imagination Small example I myself would never want to wear a niab or become

  10. says:

    Very Perspectivedetailed