Allison Kaplan Sommer

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Freelance writer, particularly for Israel 21c and Middle East Editor for Pajamas Media, Allison Kaplan Sommer was a full-time journalist for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and then Jerusalem Post. Born and educated in the U.S., she married an Israeli attorney, moved to Israel, and wrote for the Post until 2002.

She also freelances for Hadassah Magazine and other publications. When in the United States, she gives lectures about Israel through the United Jewish Communities Speaker’s Bureau.

Explaining her political views, "I've shifted from the left to the center on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, though I still think of myself as left-of-center. The big change is that I used to believe that the hopeless situation was just as much Israel's fault as the Arab world's and now I feel the finger of blame clearly points in their direction." Asked if she could make one change to the political system of the State of Israel, she responded, "I would make the Knesset into a body of direct representation American-style, instead of the parliamentary system. I see no accountability here of legislators to their constituents, and everything gets decided in smoke-filled rooms of political parties. I'd also set a gender quota system to force more women into the Israeli government, Scandinavian-style."[1]

American Congress for Truth archived her Pajamas Media post "Terrorists greeted George W. Bush’s visit to Israel by shooting a rocket into an Ashkelon mall and injuring dozens. Could there be a better metaphor for the failed peace process?"[2] She is a member of the Israel Hasbara Committee. [3]

In a detailed history of Israel and the UN, she takes the position "There is a widely-held belief among Israelis that the UN is irredeemably hostile to the Jewish state--and they are right."[4] The article cites Tal Becker, legal advisor to Israel's permanent mission to the UN, as explaining that the core group of opposition is the Arab bloc, followed by 56 Moslem countries, followed by . These countries are part of the larger fifty-six-member "Moslem group," part of the "Non-Aligned" group of 115, within the 133 members of the G-77 within all developing countries. "While theoretically this wide group does not need to vote together, their common history of fighting Western imperialism still binds them together," says Becker. "Add to this the simple fact that, for the vast majority of these countries, it is simply not worth it from a practical point of view to anger the wealthy and oil-rich Arab world by opposing anti-Israel resolutions. They have a great deal to lose and not much to gain. It just pays for them to side with the Arabs."

Early life

She was born in New York, grew up in Barrington, Rhode Island, and graduated from Wesleyan University with a BA in Theatre and English, studying for a year in Israel during college. She received her masters degree in journalism at Columbia University

In 1993, she married Hillel Sommer, an Israeli attorney and law professor and moved to Israel. They live in Ra'anana, a suburb north of Tel Aviv, and have three children.

References

  1. The normblog profile 49: Allison Kaplan Sommer, Normblog: The weblog of Norman Geras, August 27, 2004
  2. , May 15, 2008
  3. Israel Hasbara Committee
  4. Allison Kaplan Sommer, The UN's Outcast: "Why is Israel treated differently than all other nations?", Alabama [University] Friends of Israel