Palestinians and the Queer Left
Book review

Drucker, Peter

Publisher:  Against The Current
Date Written:  07/01/2013
Year Published:  2013  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX20068

A book review of Israel/Palestine and the Queer International by Sarah Schulman.



Life is hard for the Palestinians. It isn’t a picnic for leftists in LGBT movements either. So a book that brings good news on both fronts is a definite reason for celebration.

Sarah Schulman, author of Israel/Palestine and the Queer International, has decades of organizing experience under her belt in New York in groups like ACT UP. But she is even better known as the author of 17 books, most of them novels. It shows. She may not be a theorist, but she clearly knows how to tell a good story: entertaining, suspenseful, heartwarming and honest -- sometimes painfully honest about her own naiveté.

Schulman’s story begins on a personal note in 2009, when she’s invited to speak at the University of Tel Aviv. At that point she’s still what she calls PEP, a "Progressive Except Palestine." By her own account, she hasn't given Israel all that much thought. So she asks advice from people on the left she trusts: mostly other lesbians from the United States and Israel and -- as she later notes with some discomfort -- mostly Jewish. Nonetheless, the advice she gets -- for example, from prominent queer theorist Judith Butler -- is: If the Israeli state is paying for this, just say no.
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