In an excerpt from his posthumous graphic memoir, Pekar contends with his identity and the Jewish state.

Harvey Pekar entered the world as a Zionist. As a young child in Cleveland, his mother, father, and Hebrew school teachers planted an ideal image of the Jewish state that eventually turned sour in Pekar’s mind. Just before the publicly enigmatic comic book artist and writer died two years ago, he documented a daylong conversation with illustrator JT Waldman about the history of the Jewish people, his beliefs versus his parents’, and the debilitating mixture of land, rights, religion, and death in Palestine. In this excerpt from the forthcoming graphic memoir Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me, which Pekar’s partner Joyce Brabner finished and epilogued after his death, Pekar and Waldman wrestle with fairness, justice, and solutions, ranging from the two-state option to sending Jews to the moon.

In his straightforward and self-effacing manner, Pekar urges a consideration of human decency in the face of politics, identity and death: “I’m sure someone out there has a workable solution. But what do I know? I make comic books and write about jazz. I do know the difference between right and wrong, though.”

Press the first page to enlarge.

Excerpted from NOT THE ISRAEL MY PARENTS PROMISED ME by Harvey Pekar and JT Waldman. Published in July 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. Copyright © 2012 by Harvey Pekar and JT Waldman. All rights reserved.

At Guernica, we’ve spent the last 15 years producing uncompromising journalism. 

More than 80% of our finances come from readers like you. And we’re constantly working to produce a magazine that deserves you—a magazine that is a platform for ideas fostering justice, equality, and civic action.

If you value Guernica’s role in this era of obfuscation, please donate.

Help us stay in the fight by giving here.

2 Comments on “Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me

  1. For a more insightful, as well as sympatetic, review of Harvey Pekar’s book, I recommend reading this on by Jonathan Kirsch.

  2. funny he mentions space . Howard Stern once said that if the jews all left and went to live on the moon, eventually there’d be some Arab leader announcing “We must blow up the moon!”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *