Translator Samuel Thrope was a guest on the 15 Minute History Podcast, produced from the University of Texas at Austin. The good people at UT also posted a very favorable review from Lior Sternfeld, an important scholar of Iran-Israel relations.
The Israeli Republic by Jalal Al-e-Ahmad and Samuel Thrope has been featured in the March/April issue of Foreign Affairs. You can read an excerpt of the book and new commentary by Bernard Avishai here. Free registration is required. Avishai writes:
"Al-e Ahmad repudiated Israel after the 1967 war. But it was in the wake of that war, ironically, that his view of Israel as a velayat would be realized most vividly. Labor leaders now spoke without embarrassment about the miraculous unification of Jerusalem. They sentimentalized the cultural results of deals cut earlier with the Orthodox rabbinate—deals that confirmed Orthodox precepts in ways that would soon lead to the rise of the Likud Party and the eclipse of Labor’s more secular and liberal norms. When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists today that Israel be recognized as “a Jewish state,” Palestinian negotiators may well wonder if he means Jewish in the way that France is French, or a Hebrew republic—or a Jewish velayat such as the one Al-e Ahmad anticipated."
This book should be required reading for Israelis, Iranians, and anyone interested in the ongoing conflict between them. In 1963, a leading Persian intellectual visited Israel, a place he had studied and revered from afar. In the thriving Jewish State, Jalal Al-e Ahmad saw a model for a possible future Iran. The Israeli Republic, based on his controversial travelogue, is a record of his idealism, insight, and ultimate disillusionment towards Israel. Far from a historical relic, this surprisingly modern book will change the way you think about current events.