Eye-opening and incisive, THE STATE OF ISRAEL VS. THE JEWS illuminates the stark realities of Israel’s present and probes how Jewish people around the world can work toward making its future more equitable.
THE STATE OF ISRAEL VS. THE JEWS also arrives at a turning point for Israeli legislature; Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (a member of the right-wing Likud party), missed the May 4, 2021, deadline to create a new governing coalition, meaning that his opposition could form a government for the first time in 12 years. More urgently, the facts Cypel presents underscore the causes of the escalating, violent unrest in Jerusalem between the city’s Palestinian residents, Israeli police and Jewish right-wing extremists—a conflict unfolding during Ramadan, one of the holiest months in the Islamic faith. Tensions have been further compounded by a hearing to evict six Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem, an incident symptomatic of broader human rights issues that stem from anti-Arab policies.
Through interviews with experts on Israeli military and government, primary news sources, and survey data, Cypel contextualizes the facts behind Israel’s headlines. He delineates the militarized occupation of Palestine, including the 2018 “nation-state of the Jewish people” bill that segregates Israel’s Jewish ethnic majority from all other groups, specifically Palestinian Arabs, who comprise 95 percent of non-Jewish citizens. Cypel also examines Prime Minister Netanyahu’s alliances with authoritarian regimes in countries such as Hungary, India, and Brazil, and with the U.S. under Donald Trump’s presidency. In turn, he explores how Israel has evolved into a security state, fostering hundreds of cybersurveillance startups whose espionage innovations, according to a Haaretz report, have been utilized abroad “to locate and detain human rights activists, persecute members of the LGBT community, silence citizens critical of their governments, and even fabricate cases of blasphemy against Islam in Muslim countries that don’t maintain formal relations with Israel.”
Expertly synthesizing his findings, Cypel then compares how Jews in the U.S. and France—which boast the two largest Jewish populations outside of Israel—approach Zionism at a moment when championing a Jewish homeland comes increasingly at the cost of condoning harmful ethnocentric policies.
About the author: Sylvain Cypel is a writer for Le 1, the magazine America, and the online news website Orient XXI. He is a former senior editor at Le Monde, which he joined in 1998 as deputy head of the international section, following a five-year tenure as editor in chief of Courrier International. From 2007 to 2013 he was Le Monde’s permanent US correspondent in New York. Cypel holds degrees in sociology, contemporary history, and international relations, the last of which he earned at the University of Jerusalem. He lived in Israel for twelve years and is now based in Paris. His book Walled: Israeli Society at an Impasse was published by Other Press in 2007.