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Broken Promises: Review of New Book “Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me”

Truthout’s own Leslie Thatcher reviews Harvey Pekar’s new graphic novel about the fantasies of the Jewish homeland, and the realities of being Jewish in America.

Harvey Pekar and JT Waldman; Epilogue written by Joyce Brabner Not the Israel My Parents Promised MeNot the Israel My Parents Promised Me

Written By, Harvey Pekar and JT Waldman

Epilogue written by Joyce Brabner

The Israel of Harvey Pekar’s posthumously published Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me is and is not the Israel in the news right now; is and is not the mythical homeland of the Jewish people; is and is not the emotional compass of a specific Jewish consciousness. Pekar, his life and thought animated by J.T. Waldman’s transcendent artistry (which I first discovered in the amazing JPS graphic Megillat Esther provides a deeply personal, engagingly idiosyncratic entry to one of the most vexed geo-political issues of our time. They deal handily with the genesis and development of Pekar’s personal views and supply a quite useful – for all its compression and graphic whimsy – history of Judaism and the “Jewish state.” It may not be a book that changes minds, but the dance of perspective cannot help but deepen understanding. My only quibble is the omission of the great Russian immigration wave and its accelerating impact on the Israel’s rightward and racist shifts.

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