Synopses & Reviews
If I Am Not For Myselfis a passionate, thought-provoking exploration of what it means to beJewish in the twenty-first century. It traces the author’s upbringingin 1960s Jewish-American surburbia, his anti-war and pro-Palestinianactivism on the British left, and life as a Jew among Muslims inPakistan, Morocco, and Britain. Interwoven with this are theexperiences of his grandfather’s life in Jewish New York of the 1930sand 40s, his struggles with anti-Semitism and the twists and turns thatled him from anti-fascism to militant Zionism. In the course of thisdeeply personal story, Marqusee refutes the claims of Israel andZionism on Jewish loyalty and laments their impact on the Jewishdiaspora. Rather, he argues for a richer, more multi-dimensionalunderstanding of Jewish history and identity, and reclaims vitalpolitical and personal space for those castigated as “self-haters” bythe Jewish establishment.
"In If I Am Not for Myself, Mike Marqusee confronts some of the most sensitive political issues of our times, weaving them into a compelling personal narrative. Re-approaching his own past, the author reclaims an authentic secular Jewish identity that is not centered on Israel ... A clear, distinctive, provocative voice speaks throughout. Worldly and life-affirming, scathingly candid and painfully honest, If I Am Not for Myself is in the best tradition of ethical, diasporic Jewish writing." Brian Klug
"In this extraordinary journey through family memory and New York leftwing history, Marqusee introduces us to unforgettable Jewish heretics and heroes, including his brawling grandfather and the Prophet Amos. In proudly reclaiming the Jewish radical tradition, he reminds us that cultures are not the exclusive franchises of nation-states, and that Zionists and anti-semites share the same sinister, racialized concept of group identity. Both in the eloquence of his writing and the deep humanism of his vision, he stands shoulder to shoulder with the spirits of Isaac Deutscher and Edward Said." Mike Davis
"Zionism is an ideology and a political movement. As such it is open to rational dispute. From this simple yet profound premise Mike Marqusee confronts in his characteristically lucid manner the dilemma of being an internationalist secular Jew opposed to all forms of oppression, including those that speak in his name. Weaving personal reflections with political insight and biographical and autobiographical narrative with historical analysis, he sets forth a principled, thoughtful, and compelling anti-Zionist vision that is urgently needed today." Anthony Arnove
An eloquent and deeply felt memoir exploring the author's complex relationship with his Jewish identity.
In recounting Morand"s radical journey through religion and politics, his struggles with anti-Semitism and the twists and turns that led him from anti-fascism to militant Zionism, Marqusee paints a rich picture of the city"s seamy political life; in the process he argues for a richer, more multi-dimensional understanding of Jewish history and identity.
About the Author
Mike Marqusee‘s books include Wicked Messenger: Bob Dylan and the 1960s, Redemption Song: Muhammad Ali and the Spirit of the Sixties, War Minus the Shooting, Anyone but England and If I Am Not for Myself. He is a regular contributor to the Guardian and writes a fortnightly column for the Indian newspaper The Hindu. He lives in London.