This is exciting. Guernica Magazine is excerpting a new cartoon book from the late artist Harvey Pekar, called Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me, based on interviews with the writer J.T. Waldman. It’s exciting to think that this is one of the last projects this American Jew of restless conscience was working on before his death two years ago. (Though it is framed as a dialogue, and last year I was fearful of what sad punch Waldman was bringing to the party.)
Pekar is most famous for American Splendor, an autobiographical series; and Wikipedia says his father was from Poland and a Talmudic scholar. Like Tony Judt clearing the decks on his own Zionist attachments, it was important for Pekar to get right with religious nationalism before he went. Great pictures are at the link above. The intro:
Harvey Pekar entered the world as a Zionist. As a young child in Cleveland, his mother, father, and Hebrew school teachers planted an ideal image of the Jewish state that eventually turned sour in Pekar’s mind. Just before the publicly enigmatic comic book artist and writer died two years ago, he documented a daylong conversation with illustrator JT Waldman about the history of the Jewish people, his beliefs versus his parents’, and the debilitating mixture of land, rights, religion, and death in Palestine. In this excerpt from the forthcoming graphic memoir Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me, which Pekar’s partner Joyce Brabner finished and epilogued after his death, Pekar and Waldman wrestle with fairness, justice, and solutions, ranging from the two-state option to sending Jews to the moon.
The book is coming out this month from Farrar, Straus, the same publisher that gave us The Israel Lobby. This is the way the tide is running now, friends. There’s no stopping it. Commentary has a long attack on anti-Zionists, called Attacking Israel Online. Does anyone really care? No; Jews are opening their eyes to this new chapter of our history.