The Book

Breakthrough is available at

To my knowledge, there has never been a book that takes on the daunting challenge of describing and deconstructing the unbelievably complex emotional and intellectual journey from prejudice to compassion on this issue… until now!
— Anna Baltzer, from the Foreword

Breakthrough is a powerful, disturbing, enlightening must-read for anyone who cares about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and knows the present trajectory is a tragic cul-de-sac. Forer eloquently tells the story of the difficult but ultimately life-affirming process of awakening to the suffering of the Other. Read this book if you have the courage to acquire the wisdom to make the leap of empathy required to realize a new politics of peace and reconciliation.

— Rabbi Irwin Kula, Author of Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life.

6 thoughts on “The Book

  1. If only these words would spread themselves around the globe. I’m so glad to have found you out Richard. Thank you for your insight, courage and comittment to truth.

  2. Richard Forer, I sat in on one of your lectures (in 2012, if I remember right). I have spent almost a year in Israel (several trips). I don’t see the same Israel as you see, and I’ve had many conversations with both Jews and Arabs. Israel seems to be well-run, has a huge amount of high-tech businesses, and I have yet to meet any Arabs who have been or were being mistreated. I’ve been close to bombings twice; one killed 24 Jews, mostly young people (bus 18, Jaffa Road, Feb1996, my first trip there). The other was near Mehane Yehuda, 6 people killed by an Arab woman trying to board a bus (2003?). I’d been at the bus stop about 15 minutes earlier but decided to walk back to my apt.)

    My post is not to give a travelogue, but rather to ask you about your comments re the mystical experience when you totally/completely changed your view from supporting Israel to Palestinian supporter. If I remember correctly, you were meditating, in a trance, perhaps experiencing an out of body experience and totally at peace? I’m wondering if you questioned the source of your experience. There’s evidence in the Tenakh of others having had these experiences were possessed by spirits–some good, some evil. My question is, have you had further experiences or questioned the source of the message(s) you received, specifically the one you spoke about? Forgive me if I sound negative; I do believe they happen, and just how you described it, but it’s difficult to think G-D would have been the source of your experience that evening. He loves Israel, and it’s written in the Tenakh that we are to also love Israel. His Word says the Land belongs to Israel forever, an everlasting Covenant (Genesis, chapters 12 through 17). G-D also gave, according to the Torah, more land to the Arabs than to Jacob, and vast wealth, via oil. It seems the real answer to peace would be for the many Arab nations to take in their Area brothers, have them share in the vast wealth, and to allow the Jews to have their Land which G-D gave to them. I pray that you ask yourself if your experience challenged what G -D has said… With thanks, MJ Dean

    • MJ,
      There is no question that the Israeli occupation has terribly harmful effects on millions of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. The Israeli occupation is one of the most heinous acts of inhumanity in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Palestinians have little or no civil rights and are prevented from most of the opportunities that Jews take for granted. I don’t have time to go into the false imprisonments or the torture and sadism that is so common to the occupation, but all of that is abundantly available through human rights organizations, including Israeli ones, as well as hundreds of books on the subject.
      Many human rights groups, not to mention Israeli media, have reported for decades on Israel’s growing cruelty toward Palestinians. Given that the Israel-Palestine issue is likely the most documented relationship between peoples in world history, if you want to separate fact from fiction as best you can, why don’t you commit yourself to a deep study of the subject? That is exactly what I did. If I can do it so can you! In fact, a good starting point would be to read my book, available on Amazon. My sources were primarily Israeli government ministries as well as Israeli authors and leaders, including a number of former prime ministers. I only trusted Israeli and some Jewish sources, so I mostly avoided non-Jews in my research.
      There is also no question that Israel denies the same rights for its non-Jewish citizens within Israel proper as it provides Jews, as evidenced by over fifty laws that discriminate against non-Jews and as further evidenced by Israel’s inhumane treatment of Bedouins within Israel proper. Israel is currently displacing thousands from their villages for the simple reason that they are not Jewish. Their villages pre-date the state of Israel and almost all are citizens of Israel. Furthermore, Israel has recently given unelected clerks the power to revoke the citizenship of Bedouin. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of Bedouin are no longer citizens because a clerk decided they were not worthy. Some of the disenfranchised served in the IDF or their parents served in the IDF. Many have been tax-paying citizens for decades. Although Israeli law holds that only the High Court has the power to revoke citizenship, the actual application of the law and its protections extend to Jewish citizens only.
      If you do not see this Israel, you are not looking. It is not as if Netanyahu advertises Israel’s violations of international law and its deliberate and brutal treatment of Palestinians. You have to look with an open mind and without prejudice.
      Also, I have never denied Palestinian violence though I have pointed out that Israeli violence is far more brutal and pervasive, and that Palestinian violence is a predictable reaction to decades of mistreatment and dispossession, a reaction that Israel prefers to peace. For facts about Israel’s reneging on truces it has agreed to see Nancy Kanwisher, Johannes Haushofer, & Anat Biletzki, “Reigniting Violence: How Do Ceasefires End?” Huffington Post, January 6, 2009.
      My book answers your question about my transformation in which I discovered my common humanity with all people. None of the various speculations and conclusions you draw about the transformation are accurate.
      Finally, you are assuming that the Torah and Tanakh are absolute and irrefutable. Why don’t you question that assumption? Your interpretation of scripture is so inhumane and so unfair that it relegates G-d to the level of a Netanyahu and it demeans Judaism to the point that instead of discovering our true and divine nature, Judaism teaches a dogma of superiority. This is the opposite of real wisdom. Real wisdom arises out of our understanding and recognition that we are all Palestinians, Israelis, Muslims, Jews and Christians, not out of a self-serving belief that one people is superior to any other and that the superior people have a right to interpret their scriptures in a way that justifies gross abuse, thievery, dishonesty, and endlessly violating agreements and laws it has entered into.
      Question all your teachings, your teachers and all your beliefs. Be a true Jew and find out who you really are, what your true nature really is, what your connection is to humanity and what the real role of Jews is – to be a blessing to the world, to be a light unto nations.

  3. MJ Dean,
    Even though the post is over a year old, I felt compelled to comment when I was here getting the web address to recommend “Breakthrough” to a friend.
    Given that Rich and I lived in the same city and became friends and colleagues, I am able to confidently say that Rich has no problem differentiating between being possessed by an evil or good spirit, and the actuality of a divinely inspired spiritual experience.
    I understand you are sincere in your inquiry, MJ, but I need to stop before I say something I will regret.
    Let me just say that if you were personally acquainted with Rich, yourself, you would not even wonder about the question you have asked regarding the validity of his experience.
    Mary G.

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