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September Liberal Book Club Meetup

Our subject is the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and most people preferred Sept 6 to Aug 30. So Sept 6 it is, at Monica’s for the moment.   I picked two books, of which you need read only one.  Both are what you might call "middle of the road progressive" points of view on the conflict, not harshly anti-Israel or slavishly supportive. 

1.  My Promised Land, by Ari Shavit; 2013, 460pp Paper:

2.  The Crisis of Zionism, by Peter Beinert;[masked]pp  paper.

The San Diego City library has 4 copies of the first book and 2 of the second.  Most members, I think, use the library or buy them on Amazon or Barnes/Noble or ebook.

  I'll see you on Sept. 6.

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  • Andrea M.

    Very interesting topic. I think it's inevitable that , on topics like this, discussion will become heated. Having said that, I see one of the purposes of this group as all of us learning to make more logical and"supported by the facts" arguments - as well as learning about the issues, of course. That's almost impossible when one or two people dominate the discussion, even if they do know more about the topic. I myself was not at all well-informed on this topic, am not Jewish, have not been to Israel. I would have learned more from a variety of viewpoints. I t would probably also help keep the discussion on track to reference the books more. I believe a heated discussion is a good thing, so long as everyone is respectful and given a reasonable chance to participate.

    September 12, 2014

  • Jerry L.

    If the discussion was “too heated” it was probably largely my fault. Unfortunately, I am not good at expressing my sometimes passionate opinions in the cool, polite and respectful manner that would ideally be held to in such a discussion. I arrived about 15 minutes late, so I don’t know how the meeting started. When I arrived it seemed to be dominated by one speaker who was a committed apologist for Hamas, and as things developed it seemed that I was the only Jew present, and the only defender of Israel. Consequently, even though I probably spoke more than my share, Israel’s case often went undefended. And I wish I’d done a better job. I keep waking up at night with points I wish I’d made.

    September 11, 2014

    • John M.

      thank you for your passion and input

      September 12, 2014

  • John M.


    September 12, 2014

  • David G.

    As moderator, I tried to get everybody involved. It's hard when 1 person tries to dominate. I'll try to do better next time, but a little better cooperation would be appreciated. What makes it a little tricky is that we're a book club devoted to politics. In my experience, political book clubs, unlike fiction clubs, tend to be all over the place since it's natural to bring up info that is not in the book. I think it makes for better issue debates but poorer book club discussions.

    As for summarizing the books' contents and arguments and going thru them point by point, that places a lot of work on my shoulders. Sometimes I can do that but usually I can't. I, also, was surprised that so few people referred to the books' arguments when they spoke, even though I tried to refer to them as much as possible. So, next month let's try just a single book. Let's do Elizabeth Warren's autobiography. Details shortly

    September 11, 2014

  • Jerry L.

    Given that the issues are so fraught, complex and contentious, I feel a more structured discussion might have helped. I read Shavit’s book but didn’t get to Beinart’s. I would have liked to have heard summaries of the main points of both books. We could have discussed the pros and cons of their analyses. As it was, the readings were barely mentioned, though perhaps I missed that part of the meeting.

    I will try posting to the message board several points I wish I'd made.

    September 11, 2014

  • Molly H.

    It was too heated.

    September 6, 2014

  • Mia

    My work day just got extended. :-( I'm sorry to miss this interesting discussion.

    September 6, 2014

  • David G.

    URGENT: Monica;s is closed. Our new location, same time, same place, is walking distance of Monica's: Red House Pizza, 4615 Park Blvd. It's three blocks south on the same side of the street as Monica;s was.

    September 5, 2014

  • David G.

    Here's info about the books in case you didn't finish. Plus, in addition to Neil’s suggestions I thought you might find a few other articles to be interesting. Promised Land, L.A. Times:

    Crisis of Zionism: Religion Dispatches:
    New York Magazine:

    Hamas’ Choice at London Review of Books:

    Problem with saying “pro-Israel and “Anti-Israel:

    Harsher view of Israel:

    September 3, 2014

  • Neil V

    I know I'm gone, but may I suggest two short additional readings, from two different point of views.

    "The End of Liberal Zionism" - Antony Lerman talks about how it's been increasingly difficult to reconcile modern Zionism and liberalism -

    "Two reasons the `I can’t be a Zionist because I’m a liberal' meme is false= David Bernstein rejects the notion that liberalism or any other political ideology is incompatible with Zionism -

    August 31, 2014

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