Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Waiting for Paradise

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Waiting for Paradise

Article excerpt

Waiting for Paradise

By Dan Drost, JanMar Publications, 2007, 362 pp. List: $18.95; AET: $16.95.

Reviewed by Dan McGowan

An entertaining and exciting novel, Waiting For Paradise deals with the massacre at Deir Yassin and the ethnic cleansing that it ushered in. There are hundreds of books written on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, of course, but most deal with it from the Israeli point of view. In standard American vernacular, this book tells the Palestinian side of 1948-and for that reason is likely to be shunned by most major presses.

Drost's very original work is in many ways a description of the metamorphosis of ordinary people raised on Zionist myths (of a land without people for a people without land, for example, or that God gave the Jews the land) whose opinions change radically when they learn the truths about 20th century Palestinian history. Many people, Jews and non-Jews alike-and especially Americans-go to Israel imbued with the half-truths continuously told by Elie Wiesel, Alan Dershowitz, Morton Klein, Dennis Ross and other political pundits. After only a short time living and talking with real Palestinians, however, they become activists for Palestinian human rights. Drost's character, Sean MacNamee, is such a person.

Waiting for Paradise is of real importance, not for the history it tells, nor for the action novel it is, but for its ability to tell historical truths to ordinary American readers. And Drost does it with subtlety and humor.

Sean is a middle-aged ne'er-do-well, with no particular direction. He survived Catholicism, plays table tennis with Jewish friends at the temple, is tough but tender, and has no perspective beyond drinking beer, driving an obnoxious SUV, and having sex. …

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