NPR

'Spies Of No Country' Offers Nuanced Understanding Of Israel's Complexity

For half a decade, Matti Friedman has been working hard, and publicly, to dispel easy narratives about Israel. In his book about four spies, he aims to show that Israel is "more than one thing."
Spies of No Country, by Matti Friedman Source: Workman Publishing

My grandfather was too young to serve in World War II. He watched from Bridgeport, Conn. as Hitler, then Stalin, murdered unspeakable numbers of Jews, including most of his family.

The helplessness and guilt he felt underpinned his lifelong Zionism. He believed, unshakably, that Jews needed a place of refuge. Stories like his are common, and easy to empathize with. I imagine that the Israeli Canadian writer Matti Friedman would empathize. Then he would say, without ceremony, that my grandfather's version of Zionism is done.

For half a decade, Friedman has, Friedman rejects the narrative of Israel as a country filled with Europeans and their descendants, motivated by memories and guilt like my grandfather's. And he does it through a spy story.

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