Where the Jews Aren’t

Review of Where the Jews Aren’t by Masha Gessen (Schoken 2016) pp.171.   When should the Jews leave and when should they stay put? This is the general question which the gay, Jewish, American-Russian writer Masha Gessen asks about her own life. She was beaten in primary school, ostracized at secondary school and barred from university in the USSR because of her Jewishness. Her … Read more

Jeremy Corbyn’s New Model Labour Party and the Jews

The roots of the current crisis between British Jews and the leadership of today’s Labour Party, are not new. They are a consequence of debates that stirred passions over 100 years ago in Europe between socialist factions, following the deaths of Marx and Engels; friction between loyalists and critics of the Kremlin within the Communist … Read more

East Germany’s Jewish Problem

Jeffrey Herf, Undeclared Wars With Israel: East Germany and the West German Far Left 1967–1989 (Cambridge 2016)   After 1945, Communist East Germany and the far Left in West Germany felt that they had no moral responsibility towards Israel. In their eyes it was just another outpost of imperialism that had placed the yoke of colonialism around the necks of Palestinian Arabs. Prof. Jeffrey Herf’s … Read more

Labour Values, Jewish Values

A RECENT academic survey indicated that 93 percent of British Jews believe that Israel forms some part of their identity. Given the crisis of anti-Zionism in Labour, this poses a dilemma for Labour Jews ‒ where does their loyalty lie, to their Jewishness or to their party? While Jews have historically been prominent in leftist movements, it is also true that a ”Jewish … Read more

The Last Days of Stalin

The Last Days of Stalin Joshua Rubenstein Yale University Press, £25 When Stalin died on Purim, in 1953, beggars in Jerusalem rattled their tin cans and cried “Haman is dead!” In the USSR, there were public tears and private joy. Huge, inconsolable crowds appeared in the streets and many participants were crushed underfoot in the … Read more