Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me

Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me

Book - 2012
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Harvey Pekar's mother was a Zionist by way of politics. His father was a Zionist by way of faith. Whether Harvey was going to daily Hebrew classes or attending Zionist picnics, he grew up a staunch supporter of the Jewish state. But soon he found himself questioning the very beliefs and ideals of his parents.

In Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me , the final graphic memoir from the man who defined the genre, Pekar explores what it means to be Jewish and what Israel means to the Jews. Over the course of a single day in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, Pekar and the illustrator JT Waldman wrestle with the mythologies and realities surrounding the Jewish homeland. Pekar interweaves his increasing disillusionment with the modern state of Israel with a comprehensive history of the Jewish people from biblical times to the present, and theresult is a personal and historical odyssey of uncommon power. Plainspoken and empathetic, Pekar had no patience for injustice and prejudice in any form, and though he comes to understand the roots of his parents' unquestioning love for Israel, he arrives at the firm belief that all peoples should be held to the same universal standards of decency, fairness, and democracy.

With an epilogue written by Joyce Brabner, Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me is an essential book for fans of Harvey Pekar and anyone interested in the past and future of the Jewish state. It is bound to create important discussions and debates for years to come.

Publisher: New York : Hill and Wang, c2012
ISBN: 9780809094820
Branch Call Number: GRAPHIC NOVEL Pekar
Characteristics: 172 p. : ill., ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Waldman, JT.


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One of the last things that Harvey Pekar wrote before he died, NOT THE ISRAEL MY PARENTS PROMISED ME is a graphic rendering of a discussion the author has with the artist JT Waldman about Pekar's estrangement from the state of Israel. The dividing line for Pekar is the 1967 war. After Israel destroys the Egyptian air force, Pekar can find no justification for the seizure of the Golan Heights, the Sinai, and the West Bank. To Pekar it makes no sense for a victimized people like the Jews to become colonial overlords. What was helpful to me was less the 20th century stuff and more the ancient history.

Omnivores38 Nov 23, 2014

I enjoyed this brief history of the Israeli - Palestinian conflict. Despite it being a comic, the illustrations didn't add much to the account. If the goal was to illustrate (sorry) the complexity of this issue and inspire the reader to delve deeper into the history then I say well done.

Mar 24, 2013

This may be Pekar's best. Waldman's art is incredible and well suited to the subject.

SkycycleX2 Jan 30, 2013

This is Harvey Pekar's journey of growing up with Zionist parents to questioning Israel's actions. He tells the history of the Jewish people and Israel as a nation along with his own developing opinions and covers similar terrain as Sarah Glidden's graphic novel "How to Understand Israel in 60 Days of Less." I enjoyed it more than Glidden's book because the artwork here by JT Waldman is better than Glidden's and Pekar's point-of-view and personality is more engaging (and grouchy). Pekar doesn't offer any more answers or solutions than Glidden did but I recommend it more for Pekar and Waldman's relatability. This, incidentally, was Pekar's last book and has an epilogue by Pekar's wife, Joyce Babner and Waldman that is poignant in it's adherence to Pekar's unsentimental style.

Oct 01, 2012

Insightful and sensitive exploration of Pekar's relationship to Zionism and Israel. This is an autobiography, and a quick but fascinating work of history. Pekar's best, in my opinion. He is gone too soon.


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