If I Am Not For Myself: Journey of an Anti-Zionist Jew

  from http://www.mikemarqusee.com/?page_id=397


“A tour-de-force of political and cultural analysis of various aspects of Jewish, Zionist and anti-Zionist history and politics. Marqusee touches on many painful spots … The comparisons he draws between Zionism, Hindu nationalism, and other similar and dissimilar political phenomena are incisive and accurate. He shies away from no controversy, and his accounts of incidents in and around the anti-war movement are penetrating and intellectually honest…. a manifesto for a whole generation of Jewish radical activists who refuse to be deterred by the threat of being labelled, and libelled, as self-haters.” – Daphna Baram, The Guardian

“When I had finished this book, I wanted to cheer… The personal and the political coalesce, making this book, subtitled “the journey of an anti-Zionist Jew”, a rare and precious work. Its polemical force is anchored in experience…If Jewish adolescents got Marqusee’s book as a barmitzvah present, there might be a chance of avoiding the repetition of history’s mistakes .”
Michael Kustow, The Independent

“The personal story is rich and exciting, ranging from the Bronx to suburbia to Pakistan, Morocco and finally London. The thinking about “what it means to be a Jew in the 21st century” is bold and innovative. No one can read this book without having his or her perspective on the Middle East, religion and the left, expanded.”
John Nichols, The Nation

“Erudite and well-argued… he should be lauded for this provocative and timely book, which throws up a host of important questions.” – Times Literary Supplement

“His vigorous voice speaks clearly and decisively for the old Jewish radical tradition.” – Sunday Times

“Marqusee’s thoughtful book blends family memoir and history to bring Marqusee to his own well-informed reservations about Israel and knee-jerk Zionism of any kind. An important book that may be a difficult but salubrious encounter for many Jewish (but also Christian) readers.” – Library Journal

“Superb.” – Mark Thwaite, The Book Depository

“Marqusee’s arguments are beautifully arranged and pulsate with the philosophy of the great rabbis.” – Camden New Journal

“A most personal and deeply felt exploration of the connections between family, Jewishness, nationalism, Zionism and its wrongs. It is a brave endeavour… Marqusee’s book is an important contribution to the debate both within and outside the Jewish community.” – The Spokesman

“Compelling, passionate and hugely impressive in both its depth of historical research and its lucid, life-affirming humanism, this book should be read by everyone, Jewish or not, who wishes to comprehend some of the central issues and problems in today’s world.” – Rab McWilliam, N16 Magazine

“A fascinating, if quirky exploration of the Zionism-versus-anti-Zionism debate, to which it adds fire.” – Julia Pascal, Jewish Chronicle

“It’s such a liberation to read ‘If I Am Not For Myself’, the new book by Jewish socialist Mike Marqusee. It’s a joyous meander through history, theory and personal memoir, that bounces from a section about the book of Amos in the Old Testament, (who turns out to be one cool multicultural prophet), to an account of his grandfather’s journey from dedicated socialist to devout Zionist, and Mike’s upbringing in New York, and later life in London … The account that follows performs the marvellous service of disentangling Jewishness from Israel. And that means countering an idea that many Jewish organisations repeat as an incontestable fact.” – Mark Steel

“In this extraordinary journey through family memory and New York leftwing history, Marqusee introduces us to unforgettable Jewish heretics and heroes, including his brawling grandfather and the Prophet Amos. In proudly reclaiming the Jewish radical tradition, he reminds us that cultures are not the exclusive franchises of nation-states, and that Zionists and anti-semites share the same sinister, racialized concept of group identity. Both in the eloquence of his writing and the deep humanism of his vision, he stands shoulder to shoulder with the spirits of Isaac Deutscher and Edward Said.” – Mike Davis, author of Planet of Slums

“If I Am Not For Myself is a highly readable and engaging mix of biography, autobiography and political analysis. It was interesting to gain a better understanding of how Zionism came to grip the lives of left wing diaspora Jews … It can only be hoped that clear-sighted books of this kind assist in loosening that grip and that Jews and non-Jews alike will begin to apply the same standards to Israel as any other country founded on settler-colonialism.” – Daniel Machover, Socialist Lawyer

“Mike Marqusee’s book If I am Not For Myself, newly available in paperback, is a fascinating, meandering sort of family memoir… It mostly tells the story of Marqusee’s grandfather Edward V. Morand, based on an inherited suitcase full of his old personal letters, newspaper clippings and so forth. Morand (or EVM as he is referred to throughout) was an American lawyer, sometimes columnist and Jewish activist. The fight against anti-Semitism on the streets of New York during the long build-up to the Second World War forms a large part of the narrative thrust of the book. Marqusee takes us through the Jewish and leftist milieus of the period, with extensive detours via extracts from his own life story, with analysis on religion, history and politics… a fascinating critical insight into Zionism, and a crucial warning from history on Palestine for the liberal left of today.” – The Electronic Intifada

1 Comment

Filed under Left politics, unusual people

One response to “If I Am Not For Myself: Journey of an Anti-Zionist Jew

  1. Manel Fonseka

    I have wanted to buy this book for some years…but it is among the many I have to forgo. If u know anyone in Sri Lanka whp wd LEND it to me…please ask them to email me.

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