Books: The Making and Unmaking of a Zionist

The author at 15, about to leave for Zionist youth camp

The Making and Unmaking of a Zionist: A Personal and Political Journey

In 2011 I completed writing a book on my personal, political and intellectual engagement with Zionism and Israel, which goes back almost five decades.

Pluto Press published it in August 2012 and I trailed it in a Guardian op-ed on 21 August. You can order the book through the Guardian here:

or through Amazon here:

Here’s the dust jacket blurb:

As a teenage socialist in the 1960s Antony Lerman enthusiastically embraced Zionism. In this book he explores how he gradually lost his Zionist ardour and became a leading Jewish critic of Israel’s political direction.
Becoming an Israeli citizen in 1970, Lerman lived on a kibbutz and served in the Israeli army. He returned to England in 1972 increasingly troubled by doubts about Israel’s disquieting trajectory. In the 1990s Lerman founded the Institute for Jewish Policy Research and was active at the highest levels of international Jewish political and intellectual life.
In charting this journey, he details his ostracism by the Jewish establishment and, as an insider, offers unique insight into the difficulties faced by Jews who choose to speak out against Israeli policies towards the Palestinians.
Written with passion and generosity, Lerman’s memoir conveys a message of hope in arguing that a just and peaceful resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict can be achieved through taking responsibility for the past and being guided by the universal principles of human rights.

And here are the three endorsements:

An honest and moving account of how Antony Lerman – like so many Jewish liberals of his generation – fell in and out of love with the Zionist dream as translated into Israeli reality. A singular figure of principle in the grubby world of communal politics, Lerman retells factually and with a commendable lack of bitterness his shameful treatment at the hands of the British Jewish establishment.

Rabbi David J. Goldberg, author of This Is Not the Way: Jews, Judaism and Israel (2012)

In this very courageous, personal yet intellectual exposé, Antony Lerman, who, unlike many of his peers, refused to cross the red lines into the ideological territory of ethnocentric particularism, explores his journey to and from Zionism. His critique contains sharp insights and the inspiration of an optimistic prophet who believes that peace, justice and human rights are the true Jewish values.

Avrum Burg, former Speaker of the Israeli Knesset and author of The Holocaust is Over: We Must Rise From its Ashes (2008)

Antony Lerman’s journey from fervent Zionist to thoughtful critic of Zionism is fascinating enough. But this rich and compelling account also charts his sustained vilification and shows how extensively bigotry has replaced reason in the Middle East debate. You leave it, however, uplifted by the encounter with a commentator who has wrestled with these difficult questions with seriousness and integrity all his professional life.
Anne Karpf, sociologist, journalist and author of The War After: Living With the Holocaust (1996)


I do hope you are stimulated enough about the subject matter to order a copy and I look forward to receiving comments and feedback.


1 Response to Books: The Making and Unmaking of a Zionist

  1. Vicki Coleman says:

    I decided to buy this book after hearing Antony Lerman talking to Rickie Ross on Radio Scotland this morning (Sunday). I grieve for suffering Palestinians and also Isrealis many of whom are innocent of violence. Weapons cannot be the way to solve this conflict.

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