Dreams Deferred

Cary Nel­son, ed.
  • Review
By – November 25, 2016

This book explores the his­to­ry and cur­rent sta­tus of the Israeli-Pales­tin­ian con­flict, with spe­cial atten­tion to the Boy­cott Divest­ment, and Sanc­tions Move­ment. BDS seeks to pres­sure Israel to with­draw from the West Bank and Gaza by per­suad­ing uni­ver­si­ties, church­es, unions, and busi­ness­es deal­ing with Israel to boy­cott Israeli prod­ucts, insti­tu­tions, pro­fes­sion­als, artis­tic exhibits, and cul­tur­al per­for­mances, with the goal of de-legit­imiz­ing the state of Israel. BDS spokesper­sons, who have called for the Right of Return for mil­lions of refugees and their descen­dants to what is now Israel, refuse to accept the exis­tence of a Jew­ish state. Many peo­ple believe that the ulti­mate aim of BDS is the end of Israel. 

Cary Nel­son, the edi­tor of Dreams Deferred, is a pro­fes­sor of Lib­er­al Arts and Sci­ences and Eng­lish at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Illi­nois, Urbana-Cham­paign. The book’s con­trib­u­tors are aca­d­e­mics who are mem­bers of the Schol­ars for Peace in the Mid­dle East, (SPME), which advo­cates for free­dom of speech, a two-state solu­tion, and Israel’s right to exist as a Jew­ish state. Pub­li­ca­tion of this anthol­o­gy was sup­port­ed by the Israel Actions Net­work, an affil­i­ate of the Jew­ish Fed­er­a­tions of North America. 

An ency­clo­pe­dic for­mat offers six­ty alpha­bet­i­cal­ly arranged schol­ar­ly essays, which range from Aca­d­e­m­ic Boy­cotts” to ” Zion­ism as Phi­los­o­phy and Prac­tice.” Each entry is fol­lowed by See also” ref­er­ences. Major dis­cus­sions of a top­ic appear in bold­face in the index. Tak­en together,the entries, See also” ref­er­ences, and index pro­vide an excel­lent overview of the con­flict. Top­ics include Anti-Zion­ism as Anti-semi­tism,” Holo­caust Inver­sion,” (Israelis as Nazis), and Social­ly Respon­si­ble Invest­ing.” This work is high­ly use­ful as back­ground for debates and dis­cus­sions. The edi­tor urges small steps to ease ten­sions until an agree­ment can be reached that val­i­dates the nation­al nar­ra­tives of both peoples.” 

Lib­by K. White is direc­tor of the Joseph Mey­er­hoff Library of Bal­ti­more Hebrew Uni­ver­si­ty in Bal­ti­more, MD and gen­er­al edi­tor of the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries Newsletter.

Discussion Questions