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Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist: An American Story

Overview

When Yossi Klein Halevi was a boy, his father told him stories - not fairy tales, but stories of his own harsh past, of living in a tiny hole in the ground to hide from the Nazis, of the nightmarish experience of the Jewish people. He grew up, his father's stories grew within him, and Halevi found himself identifying more and more with the persecution and suffering of his people. Even as a boy, he wanted justice, retribution, and action. By the sixth grade, Halevi was learning how to handle a gun, handing out ...
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1995 Hard cover Lst ed. New in fine dust jacket. NO Priority in this item. (Ab) Sewn binding. Paper over boards. Audience: General/trade.

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Overview

When Yossi Klein Halevi was a boy, his father told him stories - not fairy tales, but stories of his own harsh past, of living in a tiny hole in the ground to hide from the Nazis, of the nightmarish experience of the Jewish people. He grew up, his father's stories grew within him, and Halevi found himself identifying more and more with the persecution and suffering of his people. Even as a boy, he wanted justice, retribution, and action. By the sixth grade, Halevi was learning how to handle a gun, handing out leaflets, joining right-wing movements. Soon he was swept away by the extremist rabbi Meir Kahane and was on the front lines of every protest, hoping to see his face and raised fist on the television news reports. At the climax of his activism, he led an unprecedented demonstration in Moscow to force the world to free Soviet Jews. But then Halevi began questioning the basic premises of his life, repudiating rage as a worldview, and trying to free himself from the bitter accounts of history. He wished for a life that embraced a world different from his father's. In Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist, Halevi looks back on his youth with wry affection, reflecting on who he was - and why - and seeing his hotheaded and passionate fellow activists from the perspective of time.

An award-winning journalist for the Jerusalem Report looks back on his youthful career as a Jewish radical--a hot-headed campaign of protest and sabotage that took him from Brooklyn to the Soviet Union to Israel.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In this absorbing memoir, Halevi, a writer for the Jerusalem Report, traces his life and involvement in right-wing Jewish political movements. The son of Holocaust survivors, Halevi grew up in a modern Orthodox family in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn. He first embraced the right-wing Zionist revisionism of BETAR, with its emphasis on Jewish military training and self-defense. The most compelling portion of his book describes his involvement with the Jewish Defense League (JDL) and its controversial leader, the late Meir Kahane. Here the author outlines themes such as the plight of Soviet Jews and the influence of the Six Day War on many Jewish young men and their involvement with Jewish identity politics. The memoir concludes with Halevi's struggle to find a political definition for his life after the collapse of the JDL. Recommended for popular collections.-Mark Weber, Kent State Univ., Lib., Ohio
Aaron Cohen
Stories of personal growth redeeming someone from hatred are not rare--Malcolm X's autobiography is a notable example--but Klein Halevi's is unique. The son of a Holocaust survivor, he grew up in Brooklyn and spent his young adulthood obsessed with the Holocaust. The fear that the Gentile world was completely hostile drove him into the company of such underground groups as the Jewish Defense League. Much of his recollection chronicles inadvertently comic escapades while harassing Soviet diplomats in the 1960s and 1970s. Eventually, he married a lapsed Episcopalian who converted to Judaism, they moved to Israel, and he became an advocate of Jewish-Christian reconciliation. Besides providing a rare glimpse into the insular world of small-time firebrands like Meir Kahane and his disciples, Klein Halevi's narrative is quite moving. The account of his relationship with his father, his development as a journalist, and his recent visit to Holocaust-scarred Eastern Europe is compounded of a fine mixture of humor and pathos. One wonders who will portray Klein Halevi in the inevitable film treatment.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316498609
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 11/28/1995
  • Edition description: lst ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.43 (w) x 9.52 (h) x 0.97 (d)

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