A Zionist among Palestinians.

Author:Schingler, Michelle
Position:Book review

Hillel Bardin (author); A ZIONIST AMONG PALESTINIANS; Indiana University Press (Nonfiction: Autobiography & Memoir) 29.00 ISBN: 9780253007384

Byline: Michelle Schingler

How much of what we think we know of Israel and Palestine corresponds to reality, and how much is fed by distortions? Hillel Bardin's nuanced account of Israeli-Palestinian peace processes is presented in "a book of contradictions, for [the] conflict is filled with them." His recollections span the period of his most acute involvement in the work toward peace, beginning during the First Intifada and continuing until now. Such margins alone highlight how antithetical the project is to popular discussions of Israel/Palestine, few of which present the intifadas as centers of peace.

And yet Bardin first began to see resolution as a possibility in the midst of them, when his discomfort over the use excessive force against pacifistic demonstrations prompted him to abandon convention and initiate conversations with those on the other side. Subsequently, empathetic bonds grew in the place of old enmity. Bardin found himself, across time, working with Palestinians in refugee camps with those who had spent periods in prison for planning acts of violence and those whose land had been encroached by settlers -- all of whom shared one surprising trait: their thirst for a two-state solution, with freedom and security for those in both nations. Against the misgivings of politicians, the general disinterest of violence-driven media outlets, and the obstacles of an...

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