From My Bookshelf

UnknownWhen William Daroff speaks, I listen. Thus, last week’s vacation reading included Einat Wilf‘s new e-book, Winning the War of Words: Essays on Zionism and Israel (edited by Daniel Rubinstein).

Prior to downloading and reading the e-book, I was not familiar with Wilf’s work (or, at least, did not clearly recall her byline). Formerly a member of the Israeli Knesset, she is a self-described “Roving Ambassador for Israel and Zionism, telling our story to a variety of audiences.” Judging by the essays in this collection, that’s good news for Israel and Zionism–and by extension, for all of us.

Since the book essentially compiles a number of Wilf’s published writings, I can point you directly to some of the essays that impressed me as especially cogent, insightful, and relevant to discussions and debates I’ve seen play out elsewhere.

  • An April 2012 essay on “Zionism Denial,” published on The Daily Beast.
  • An April 2014 review-essay focusing on Yossi Klein Halevi’s Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation and Ari Shavit’s My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel (from The Tower Magazine)
  • An Autumn 2013 piece titled “UNRWA: An Obstacle to Peace?” (from Fathom)
  • A November 2014 op-ed (co-written with Jonathan Schanzer) on “Sweden’s Gaza Refugee Contradiction” (from The Jerusalem Post)
  • An Autumn 2014 piece on “Winning the Media War” (from Fathom)
  • Together, these essays (along with the rest of the book*), leave me ever more convinced of the critical need for what Wilf calls an “Israel Intellectual Defense Force” (IIDF). Alas, I’m not (yet) sufficiently educated and equipped to serve in this force myself. So for now, I believe that my greatest contribution may be simply continuing to do my best to support those who are, indeed, “in the trenches.” To that end, I recommend Einat Wilf’s e-book to you. Highly.

    *With one exception. I can’t help wishing that Wilf had omitted “The Red Carpet Syndrome” from this collection. I just don’t think it serves the e-book’s larger purpose. Moreover, it’s placed at the very end of the collection, which means that its contents are the book’s final, parting words. I would have opted for something else to occupy that significant place.