... supremely nuanced ... broad in scope yet detailed in analysis, thought-provoking for the well-informed yet accessible for the new learner. It is an important and needed addition to the books on the subject ... Sokatch is remarkably deft at holding multiple competing narratives at once. The detailed prose moves quickly, beginning with succinct explanations of Israel’s history, from ancient to present ... Sokatch does not shy away from assessing difficult subjects ... The subjects are controversial, but the arguments are well crafted and supported, leaving nothing out, and also much room for discourse. The illustrations by Christopher Noxon highlight key stories and capture their emotions. The side notes throughout, coupled with the extensive glossary and bibliography at the end, provide ample opportunities for continued study ... If you’re looking for a detailed, nuanced conversation about Israel, this is the book for you. It is an important addition to the existing lexicon, with a fresh and honest voice, a critical eye, careful attention to detail, great concern for the humans at the heart of the story, and the resolve that one should not give up hope for a peaceful resolution (or resolutions), somehow, someday.
... an engaging and evenhanded, if cursory, history of the conflict, from its 19th-century origins to the most recent mini-war between Israel and Hamas in May 2021. He also addresses some common and contentious questions such as whether Israel can be both a Jewish state and a democracy and if its rule over the Palestinians is akin to apartheid. Sokatch’s answers to all these questions can be summed up in two words: It’s complicated ... While this may disappoint readers seeking clear, definitive answers, and might seem evasive to some, Sokatch stresses the need for nuance and casts both Israelis and Palestinians as 'righteous victims,' a phrase he borrows from the Israeli historian Benny Morris. Throughout the book, Sokatch interweaves the story of his own evolving, sometimes agonizing, relationship with Israel, recounting his adolescent adoration and then his heady optimism living in Israel during the Oslo peace process.
A self-described liberal American Jew earnestly and humanely parses the Palestinian-Israeli conflict ... a two-part narrative enhanced by Noxon’s illustrations ... An optimistic, evenhanded instruction manual, with upbeat illustrations, for anyone trying to understand the conflict.