In Conversation: Prison, Politics, and My People

In Never Alone: Prison, Politics, and My People, Natan Sharansky, who spent nine years in prison in the Soviet Union for his activities as a “Refusenik” – a Jewish dissident […]


In Conversation: Prison, Politics, and My People

Authors:Gil Troy, Natan Sharansky, Bari Weiss


In Never Alone: Prison, Politics, and My People, Natan Sharansky, who spent nine years in prison in the Soviet Union for his activities as a “Refusenik” – a Jewish dissident denied permission to emigrate to Israel – reveals how his time in jail, much of it in harsh solitary confinement, prepared him for what became a very public life after his release. Gil Troy, Sharansky’s collaborator, frequently examines politics and policy and is the author of The Zionist Ideas: Visions for the Jewish Homeland – Then, Now, Tomorrow. They’re joined by former New York Times opinion writer Bari Weiss, who delivers an urgent wake-up call to all Americans exposing the alarming rise of anti-Semitism in this country – and explains what we can do to defeat it – in How to Fight Anti-Semitism.

Gil Troy

A Distinguished Scholar in North American History at McGill University living in Jerusalem, Gil Troy is an award-winning American presidential historian and a leading Zionist activist. Recently designated an Algemeiner J-100, one of the top 100 people “positively influencing Jewish life,” Troy wrote The Age of Clinton: America in the 1990s, and ten other books on the American presidency. He appeared as a featured commentator on CNN’s popular multipart documentaries, The Eighties, The Nineties, and The 2000s. Troy has published essays in the American, Canadian, and Israeli media, including writing essays for the New York Times’ “Campaign Stops.”

Natan Sharansky

Natan Sharansky is one of the most famous former Soviet Union’s refuseniks and an Israeli politician, author and human rights activist. Prominently involved in Jewish refusenik activities he was arrested by the KGB and spent nine years in jail convicted of treason against the state. Freed in 1986, he settled in Israel and wrote his memoir, Fear No Evil. He also has written The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror and Defending Identity: Its Indispensable Role in Protecting Democracy. Gil Troy is a professor of history at McGill University in Montreal and has a residence in Jerusalem. In Never Alone (Public Affairs) Sharansky reveals how spending years in prison, many in harsh solitary confinement, prepared him for a very public life after his release. As an Israeli politician and the head of the Jewish Agency, Sharansky brought extraordinary moral clarity and uncompromising, often uncomfortable, honesty. His story is suffused with reflections from his time as a political prisoner, from his seat at the table as history unfolded in Israel and the Middle East, and from his passionate efforts to unite the Jewish people. Written with frankness, affection, and humor, the book offers us profound insights from a man who embraced the essential human struggle: to find his own voice, his own faith, and the people to whom he could belong. Publishers Weekly praised Never Alone as “a worthy introduction to the life and work of one of the world’s most famous political prisoners.”

Bari Weiss

Bari Weiss was an op-ed and book review editor at The Wall Street Journal. She has also worked at Tablet, the online magazine of Jewish politics and culture. On October 27, 2018, eleven Jews were gunned down as they prayed at their synagogue in Pittsburgh. It was the deadliest attack on Jews in American history. For most Americans, the massacre at Tree of Life, the synagogue where Bari Weiss became a bat mitzvah, came as a total shock. But anti-Semitism is the oldest hatred, commonplace across the Middle East and on the rise for years in Europe. So, could it happen here? In How to Fight Anti-Semitism (Crown) her debut as author, Weiss offers an answer. The luckiest Jews in history are beginning to face a three-headed dragon Jews of other times and places had faced: the physical fear of violent assault, the moral fear of ideological vilification, and the political fear of resurgent fascism and populism. Anti-Semitism now finds a home in identity politics and the reaction against identity politics, in the renewal of America First isolationism and the rise of one-world socialism, and in the spread of Islamist ideas into unlikely places. Once a taboo, anti-Semitism is migrating toward the mainstream. Weiss’s book is a reminder that Jews must never lose their instinct for danger, and a powerful case for renewing Jewish and American values in uncertain times. Rabbi David Wolpe, author of David: The Divided Heart praised How to Fight Anti-Semitism as “urgent, frank, and fearless. There is something here to offend everyone—because there is something here to awaken everyone.”

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