A Palestinian family reacts after Israeli bulldozers demolished their home in the Arab East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina, Feb. 5, 2013. (AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
Newly elected Israeli Knesset member Yair Lapid (l), leader of the Yesh Atid party, speaks to Naftali Bennett, head of the hard-line national religious party the Jewish Home, during a Feb. 5 reception in Jerusalem marking the opening of the 19th Knesset. (URIEL SINAI/GETTY IMAGES)
Richard Curtiss at work in his Washington Report office. (STAFF PHOTO D. HANLEY)
Then-Vice President Dick Cheney (l) and Likud chairman Benyamin Netanyahu, out of office at the time and serving as the official Israeli opposition leader, at a March 23, 2008 breakfast meeting at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. (PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III (r) shares candies with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief Murad Ebrahim during a Feb. 11 visit to the rebels’ stronghold in Sultan Kudarat on the island of Mindanao. (KARLOS MANLUPIG/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
Emad Burnat views his five broken cameras in his documentary of the same name. (PHOTO COURTESY KINO LORBER)
Washington Report, May 27, 1985, Page 3
The Fate of Author of "Fate"
By Roberta Strauss Feuerlicht
I am the unknown Jew. Just as there are monuments to the unknown soldier and the unknown political prisoner, there should be a monument to the unknown Jew. We are Jews who oppose Zionism, who deplore Israeli oppression and aggression, who fear that Judaism may not survive Israel. We are probably a majority of Jews, but no one knows this because we have been effectively intimidated and suppressed by the Zionist minority.
The degree of suppression is inconceivable in a democratic society. I wrote a book called The Fate of the Jews, which was published in August, 1983. It argues that Jewish ethics and Israeli power are incompatible; that Jewish obligations to love thy neighbor, do justice and love mercy, oppress not the stranger, are being obliterated by Israel; and that the Israelis are surviving, but not as Jews.
Attempts were made to bury the book even before publication. For example, a liberal magazine expressed interest in publishing an excerpt, the text of which apparently was given to a prominent liberal Jewish journalist. His reaction was vehement; the magazine changed its mind about the excerpt and the journalist wrote a personal letter to my agent trying to kill the book with one mighty blow. "It is a preposterous book," he said, "easily the worst I've looked at in years."
So much for Jewish liberalism. Shortly thereafter, Publishers Weekly, the bible of the publishing industry, offered a very different opinion in its prepublication review. "The book is an outcry right out of Jeremiah." said the review. "Written with courage and clarity, Feuerlicht's detailed analysis of what she sees as American Jewry's embrace of a false god in the state of Israel is certain to place her book in the heart of a raging controversy."
But I was not fated to be at the heart of a raging controversy, because you cannot hear silence. The publisher did not take out a single advertisement for the book. Many bookstores refused to carry it. In one major chain, where it had been ordered, it was on a list of books not to be reordered.
The least expensive way to promote a book is to put the author on television and radio. For a previous book on the Sacco-Vanzetti trial in the 1920's, I was on 65 or 70 TV and radio shows in just four cities. For this more timely book on Jews and Israel—a story that is in the headlines almost every day—the publisher found no television and only eight minor radio shows in New York. Of the eight, two were cancelled and two that had been taped were not broadcast, at least not when they were scheduled.
Finally, I hired my own publicity person and though some shows did turn me down, I was booked on major TV and radio programs in Washington, Cleveland, Detroit, Boston, and Houston. I didn't go any farther because I couldn't afford to and because appearances cannot sell books that are not in bookstores.
I have written children's books that received more attention than The Fate of the Jews. As far as I know, only three newspapers reviewed it, The Los Angeles Times, The Pittsburgh Press,and, under prolonged pressure, The Christian Science Monitor. The Washington Post praised the Sacco-Vanzetti book on the front page of its Sunday book review; The Fate of the Jews went unnoticed.
When all else failed, I told my story to several well known iconoclastic journalists. All were suitably indignant, all promised me their support, all were either voluntarily or involuntarily suppressed.
Jews are disturbed about Israel. I believe more of them would have read The Fate of the Jewsif they knew it existed. Zionists feared the book because they were judged by Jewish standards and found wanting. They didn't dare openly criticize or burn it because the noise or the smoke might have attracted attention. In the freest country in the world, with the aid and acquiescence of the freest press in the world, a zealous minority successfully suppressed dissent and stoned me to death with silence. The book is now out of print.
Limited copies of The Fate of the Jews by Roberta Strauss Feuerlicht are available from the American Educational Trust at reduced prices.