Winning the War of Words: Essays on Zionism and Israel by Einat Wilf
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From the United Nations to the media, and from academia to international NGOs, the attacks on Israel’s legitimacy as the nation-state of the Jewish people are growing. To win this war of words, Israel’s defenders must be able to clearly explain the ideas and circumstances that led to the creation of modern Israel and underpin its existence today. In this single-volume collection, Dr. Einat Wilf does just that, presenting her most important essays on the Middle East, Israel, Zionism, and public diplomacy.
In the book’s opening chapter, “The Dangerous Unraveling of the Middle East,” Wilf explains that the violent upheaval in the Middle East of today will take decades to sort itself out and that Israel should position itself as a “neutral bunker” in the region.
In chapter two, “The International Community and the Limits of Good Intentions,” Wilf urges world powers to reexamine the paradigm through which they approach the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Wilf focuses on the negative role played by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which makes peace harder to achieve by inflating the number of Palestinian refugees and encouraging them to believe that Israel will one day disappear.
In chapter three, “A Vision for Peace,” Wilf presents a formula for Israeli-Palestinian peace based on the concept of “two states for two peoples” – a Jewish state for the Jewish people, and a Palestinian state for the Palestinian people, with each people enjoying dignity and sovereignty in their own national home. She also presents an inclusive vision of Zionism in which Jews, Christians, and Muslims live in harmony with a shared purpose.
In chapter four, “Telling Our Story,” Wilf reminds readers that the story of the Zionist movement is among the most inspiring dramas in human history and that it can continue to move people today. With this in mind, Wilf insists that the creation of Israel must not be portrayed as the outcome of the Holocaust, because such “Zionism denial” robs the Jewish people of their role in reviving their ancient homeland in the decades before World War II. Also in this chapter, Wilf shares her experiences as a “roving ambassador” for Israel and offers advice on how best to make Israel’s case for an audience that is eager for more than sound bites.
In the concluding chapter, “On Other Matters: Elections, Education, and Entitlement,” Wilf defends her contrarian position that Israel’s electoral system is no worse than other democratic countries’ systems and should not be reformed. She also shares her thoughts on how to improve Israel’s education system by focusing on the fundamentals rather than sweeping reforms. Finally, she ends with some advice for recent graduates on how to achieve their life’s dreams.