“There is room on the raft for everyone” – learnings from our events with Daniel Sokatch

In early March 2022 we were joined in London by Daniel Sokatch, Global CEO of the New Israel Fund, to discuss NIF’s work and Daniel’s new book “Can We Talk About Israel? A Guide for the Curious, Confused, and Conflicted“.

At Jewish Book Week, Daniel was in conversation with Haaretz Journalist Anshel Pfeffer, and NIF UK’s Chief Executive David Davidi-Brown hosted a briefing with Daniel for NIF supporters.

Below you will find key takeaways from Daniel’s visit, as well as our interview with Daniel.“It was like you were taking my hand and leading me across a minefield”Daniel wrote this book to give people a guide to navigate the conversation around Israel today. Whether it’s BDS, Apartheid, or Antisemitism, he doesn’t shy away from the difficult topics, and discusses them all with intelligence and compassion. He described the book as being “for those uncertain about their certainty, [those with] open minds & open hearts”.

 

“I worry about the dimming of nuance”In the age of fake news, Daniel provides information from verified historical sources, presented in an approachable manner. He encourages us all to get our news from reliable sources, and to support reliable journalistic organisations like the Guardian, Haaretz, and the New York Times by paying and encouraging others to pay for their work.

 

 

 

“It’s bad enough what it is without using complicated and imperfect analogies”In one of the book’s most powerful chapters, Daniel challenges the fixed binaries set up in the debate around the use of the word “apartheid” when referring to Israel/Palestine. He asks open-minded people, no matter their beliefs, to listen and learn before coming to their conclusion. Once again, Daniel rejects the simple answer in favour of a complex, compassionate debate. You can find a section of that chapter below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“There is room on the raft for everyone”Daniel celebrates the work of NIF grantees throughout the book, and in the last chapter he hands over to 3 NIF grantees: Maisam Jaljuli of Omdim b’Yachad, Sudanese asylum seeker and activist Mutasim Ali, and Gadi Gvaryahu of Tag Meir. By handing the microphone to these activists, Daniel shows the power of the organisations that NIF supports, and provides hope to those who want a better future for everyone living between the river and the sea.

 


 

Signed Copies of Daniel’s book are available from the New Israel Fund. We suggest a donation of at least £50. Please leave a comment saying “Can we talk about Israel”, and a member of our team will be in touch to arrange delivery.

During his visit, Daniel was interviewed by Jenni Frazer for the Jewish News.