Daniel Sokatch, New Israel Fund CEO, Presents a JBC Author Talk on Can We Talk About Israel: A Guide for the Curious, Confused and Conflicted

Tuesday, October 26, 7:00 – 8:00 P.M. Virtual and aired live on FCTV Public Channel 13 Falmouth

Co-hosted by Falmouth Jewish Congregation and the Worcester JCC

“Daniel Sokatch has done the impossible-he writes a breezy, sometimes even witty book about the always hot-button, depressing, and controversial topic of Israel and Palestine. His is a calm voice of miraculous common sense. He is sardonic but empathetic. He has an eye for irony and hypocrisy. But somehow he weaves a historical commentary that is both authoritative and entertaining. He must be some kind of wise man-or at least a mensch.” ―Kai Bird, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of CROSSING MANDELBAUM GATE and THE OUTLIER

“[Sokatch] earnestly and humanely parses the Palestinian-Israeli conflict . . . from the fair-minded position that Israelis and Palestinians are both right and both wrong . . . An optimistic, evenhanded instruction manual, with upbeat illustrations, for anyone trying to understand the conflict.” ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“[A]n accessible and balanced survey of the Israel-Palestinian conflict … Flashes of humor, including Noxon’s witty black-and-white illustrations, lighten the mood without sacrificing in-depth analysis. Readers will welcome this informative and fair-minded primer on one of the world’s most fiercely debated issues.” ―Publishers Weekly

Daniel Sokatch, Chief Executive Officer of the New Israel Fund, will present a free, virtual Jewish Book Council author talk about his new book Can We Talk About Israel? (Bloomsbury, October 19, 2021). The event, hosted by Falmouth Jewish Congregation and Worcester JCC, will take place virtually on Tuesday, October 26 at 7:00 P.M. Members of the public can view the program thanks to FCTV, which will carry it live on FCTV Public Channel 13 in Falmouth. After a year of similar events limited to its members, Falmouth Jewish Congregation is pleased to welcome back the public to its monthly author talks. You can find more information about the series at www.falmouthjewish.org. Books are available from Eight Cousins Bookstore in Falmouth and can be ordered in person, by phone or online at www.eightcousins.com.

“Can’t you just explain the Israel situation to me? In, like, 10 minutes or less?” This is the question Daniel Sokatch is used to answering on an almost daily basis as the head of the New Israel Fund (NIF), an organization dedicated to equality and democracy for all Israelis, not just Jews. Sokatch is well-versed on Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Can We Talk About Israel?: A Guide for the Curious, Confused and Conflicted is the story of that conflict, and of why so many people feel so strongly about it without actually understanding it very well at all. It is an attempt to grapple with a century-long struggle between two peoples that both perceive themselves as (and indeed are) victims. And it’s an attempt to explain why Israel (and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict) inspires such extreme feelings-why it seems like Israel is the answer to “what is wrong with the world” for half the people in it, and “what is right with the world” for the other half. As Sokatch asks, is there any other topic about which so many intelligent, educated and sophisticated people express such strongly and passionately held convictions, and about which they actually know so little? Complete with engaging illustrations by Christopher Noxon, Can We Talk About Israel? is an easy-to-read yet penetrating and original look at the history and basic contours of one of the most complicated conflicts in the world.

NIF (https://nif.org) helps Israel live up to its founders’ vision of a society that ensures complete equality to all its inhabitants, working to advance liberal democracy, including freedom of speech and minority rights, and to fight the inequality, injustice and extremism that diminish Israel. Before becoming CEO of the NIF, served as the Executive Director of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties, and as founding Executive Director of the Los Angeles-based Progressive Jewish Alliance. Sokatch has been named four times to the Forward‘s “Forward 50,” an annual list of the fifty leading Jewish decision makers and opinion shapers. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and other publications. Sokatch holds an MA from the Fletcher School at Tufts University, a JD from Boston College Law School, and a BA from Brandeis University.

Illustrator Christopher Noxon is a journalist and illustrator whose work has appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic, the New York Times Magazine, Salon, and his book Good Trouble: Lessons from the Civil Rights Playbook.