David Harris-Gershon and his wife, Jamie, moved to Jerusalem full of hope. Then, mere days after Israel thwarted historic cease-fire negotiations among the Palestinians, a bomb ripped open Hebrew University’s cafeteria. Jamie’s body was sliced with shrapnel; the friends sitting next to her were killed.
When a doctor handed David some of the shrapnel removed from Jamie’s body, he could not accept that this piece of metal changed everything. But it had. The bombing sent David on a psychological journey that found himdigging through shadowy politics and traumatic histories, eventually leading him back to East Jerusalem and the Hamas terrorist and his family. Not out of revenge. Out of desperation.
Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, this fearless debut confronts the personal costs of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and our capacity for recovery and reconciliation.
David Harris-Gershon is a popular online columnist on Israeli-Palestinian issues for Tikkun magazine, the Jersualem Post, and Daily Kos, the most-read progressive politics website in the world. He received his MFA from the University of North Carolina, and his essays and creative writing have been published in numerous venues. He and his wife live in Pittsburgh.
‘Harris-Gershon’s book succeeds, at last, because he shows how easy it is to talk… Speaking to the Odeh family, he finds voices he can trust.’
'Harris-Gershon's honesty and humility give the memoir historical context, and ultimately elevate his story from the individual to the universal.'
– Time Out New York
'Brave and impressive.'
'Fierce... A tale of redemption and new beginnings and of truly embracing the other. Harris-Gershon's story is not really about Middle East politics so much as it is a story of healing—a debate about whether South African–style reconciliation and restorative dialogue can really bring about closure after an event of unspeakable pain and violence.'
'It is a story about how a great personal trauma can lead to a journey that upends long-held beliefs and ideas. The terrific thing about this book is that the author manages to tell his story without sentimentality, grandiose pronouncements, or false humility. He pulls the reader in with his unpretentious, laconic style, and with his refusal to shy away from acknowledging his own flaws.'
– Daily Beast
'There is plenty of beauty and humor in Harris-Gershon's brisk page-turner . . .What Do You Buy doesn’t claim to make any prescription toward wider reconciliation between Palestinians and Israeli Jews, nor is it an interrogation of Zionism; this book's value is in Harris-Gershon's personal experience demonstrating humanity's capacity for reconciliation.'
– Electronic Intifada
'Inspiring and thought-provoking.'
'This enormously compelling title smashes preconceived notions while delivering an unforgettable and provocative story about the roots of terrorism and the nature of victimhood... Bracing, intense, and relentless, this is a book about how we as humans get to the darkest of places and the questions we must ask to find our way out. A transformative reading experience.'