Rabbi Michael Lerner discusses his book Embracing Israel/Palestine: A Strategy to Heal and Transform the Middle East

Jan 30 2012 - 7:30pm

The bestselling author and editor of Tikkun magazine, Rabbi Michael Lerner, will be appearing at Pegasus Books Downtown to discuss his new book, Embracing Israel/Palestine: A Strategy to Heal and Transform the Middle East.


Wheelchair accessible; refreshments served

This event is free

Event address: 
1855 Solano Ave
94707-2306 Berkeley
Embracing Israel/Palestine: A Strategy to Heal and Transform the Middle East By Michael Lerner Cover Image
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9781583943076
Published: North Atlantic Books - November 22nd, 2011

Embracing Israel/Palestine: A Strategy to Heal and Transform the Middle East
By Michael Lerner

A major modern conundrum is how the Arab/Israel conflict remains unresolved and,seemingly unresolvable. In Embracing Israel/Palestine, Rabbi Michael Lerner examines how the mutual demonization and discounting of each sides’ legitimate needs drive the antagonism, and explores the underlying psychological dynamics that fuel the seeming intransigence on both sides. Lerner shows the importance of being both pro-Israel and pro-Palestine, challenges the master narratives in both Israel and Palestine to the extent that they demean the other side, and exposes the false idea that “homeland security” (either for Israel or for the U.S.) can be achieved through military, political, economic, or cultural domination. Lerner argues that real security is best achieved through an ethos of caring and generosity toward “the other” and presents a Global Marshall Plan whose first location would be the Middle East.

Insisting that any agreement reached at the negotiating table will be worthless without a fundamental transformation of consciousness, Lerner shows how we in the West could play a central role in facilitating that change if we ourselves were to adopt a more rational approach to homeland security and foreign policy. Lerner’s approach, drawn from his own work as a psychotherapist with Israelis and Palestinians and addressing the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that politically cripples both societies, presents a vital and creative new direction that will provide hope and instruction to anyone who seeks a lasting peace for the Middle East and a healing of the U.S. as well.


About the Author:
Best-selling author Michael Lerner, PhD, is the rabbi of Beyt Tikkun synagogue in San Francisco and the editor of Tikkun magazine, one of the most respected intellectual/cultural magazines in the Jewish world. Lerner founded Tikkun in 1986 as “the voice of Jewish liberals and progressives” and as “the alternative to Commentary magazine and the voices of Jewish conservatism.” From the start, the magazine was dedicated to Jewish ethics and to healing and repair of the world, but it has evolved into one of the leading interfaith intellectual magazines in the West and the spur to a new movement: the Network of Spiritual Progressives, www.spiritualprogressives.org. A frequent lecturer and scholar in residence at universities, synagogues, churches, and mosques around the United States, Canada, and England, Rabbi Lerner was, in 2001, awarded a special PEN Award for his stance in breaking the censorship that effectively exists around Israel-Palestinian matters in the U.S. media, and in 2005 the Martin Luther King, Jr./Mahatma Gandhi Peace Award from Morehouse College. He has appeared on numerous television shows,including Larry King Live, CNN News, Meet the Press, and Bill Moyers Journal. Featured in a five-page story in the NY Times Sunday Magazine as “This Year’s Prophet,” Lerner has been the subject of continued attacks from Rush Limbaugh and other right-wing commentators, has frequently debated Alan Dershowitz on national television, and has become a unique figure as a spiritual leader of the religious left in the United States. He lives in Berkeley, California and can be reached at rabbilerner@tikkun.org.


Recent Praise:
“Rabbi Michael Lerner provides us with a brilliant and hopeful vision of how to transform the Middle East from a
cauldron of violence to a vanguard of peace. For several decades Lerner has been a remarkably courageous rabbi,
defying the orthodoxies of some in his own community to insist that Biblical teachings require recognizing the equal
value to God of both Israelis and Palestinians, and the practical necessity to embrace both Israel and Palestine with
compassion and love, thereby challenging the extremists on all sides. In Embracing Israel/Palestine, Lerner presents
us with a path to peace that will require our replacing! the strategy of domination and war with what Lerner
appropriately describes as the far more effective path to homeland security: the strategy of generosity and genuine
caring for the well-being of everyone involved. This is practical and effective advice for the world. I hope every
American will read this book and apply its lessons for changing how we deal with the Middle East.”
—Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States of America and recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize

“Embracing Israel/Palestine is a terrific book by a pioneer of global transformation. Out of love for both Israelis and
Palestinians as equal creations of God, Rabbi Lerner offers us the deepest way out of the bloody conflict. Not just a
political agreement, not a simple "real estate" and power sharing transaction, Embracing Israel/Palestine draws from
a deep psychological and political understanding of the dynamics of the Middle East. Lerner's book is coming out of a
loving heart and a powerful analytic mind. He offers us a strategy of trust that could heal and repair the mentalities of
fear that limit the current perspectives that dominate our politics.”
—Avrum Burg, former chair of the Jewish Agency and World Zionist Organization, speaker of the Knesset, and
interim president of Israel

“Rabbi Michael Lerner is one of America's most significant progressive intellectuals and political leaders, and
Embracing Israel/Palestine is not only a great conceptual breakthrough in dealing with the Middle East but also
demonstrates a methodology for how best to think about global and domestic U.S. politics. For many decades
Muslims, around the world have been cheered by Rabbi Lerner's challenge to the media’s demeaning of our religion
and dismissal of the rights of Palestinians, just as they have been challenged by his insistence that they recognize
the importance of truly and deeply accepting Israel's right to exist in peace and security. I hope my colleagues on
Capitol Hill, the cynical media, and leaders in Israel, Palestine, and throughout the world are pushed by ordinary
readers to grapple with the brilliant path to peace and reconciliation put forward in this book. Rabbi Lerner's
commitment to nonviolence and a path of love and generosity should not be dismissed as utopian. My experience in
the Congress leads me to believe, on the contrary, that it is precisely his way of thinking that is the only path that will
give Israel, Palestine, and the United States the peace, security, and well-being all three deserve!”
—Rep. Keith Ellison ( D-Minn.), the first elected Muslim to the U.S. Congress and chair of the seventy-member
Progressive Caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives

“Embracing Israel/Palestine is a must-read for those who care about peace in the Middle East. It is provocative,
radical, persuasive, and, if given the attention it deserves, could make a major contribution to reconciliation. Please
read this book!”
—Archbishop Desmond Tutu

“Rabbi Michael Lerner is one of the great prophetic figures of our time. He inherited this mantle from his teacher and
my hero, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. This book should be the indispensable work on the delicate and difficult
effort to keep track of the precious humanity of Jews and Palestinians in the epic struggles for security and justice.”
—Cornel West, author of Race Matter and professor of African American studies and religion at Princeton University