Speaking Truth to Power

Review of James Loeffler’s Rooted Cosmopolitans: Jews and Human Rights in the Twentieth Century; Yale University Press 384 pages; $32.50   The exponents of human rights can often be an irritant to those who hold office even in democratic lands. Those who speak “truth to power” in countries ruled by authoritarian figures often risk imprisonment or worse. … Read more

Will the Jews leave Britain?

To what degree should U.K. Jews fear a Corbyn-led Labour government? The most recent wave of anti-Semitism accusations against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has once more brought into sharp relief the claim that British Jews will leave for safer countries. This comes after a survey published last year, covered widely by the right-wing British press, … Read more

The Transition from Left to Right in Israel

INTRODUCTION Some Israelis privately bemoan the passing of the “Old Israel” whereby a new society—different from the ones from which they had emigrated—would be constructed. Nostalgia aside, today’s start-up nation proudly boasts innovation and entrepreneurship—values to be admired and emulated—yet the gap between the “haves” and “have nots” actually resembles that of western Europe. “Egalitarianism” … Read more

Orbán and Netanyahu

Next week Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s authoritarian prime minister, will visit Israel and be greeted effusively by Benjamin Netanyahu. It will follow the recent visit of Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, in which both governments agreed an amendment to the Polish law that said Poles as a whole were not responsible for crimes committed by the … Read more

Simon Schama’s Belonging: A History of the Jews 1492-1900

Review of Simon Schama’s Belonging: A History of the Jews 1492-1900 Published by the Bodley Head, 800pp, £25   Simon Schama is a teller ofhistorical tales par excellence. As a professor of art  history, the long and multilayered history of the Jews lends itself to his expertise. He captures vignettes of forgotten events and paints a … Read more

In Search of Israel

Review of In Search of Israel: The History of an Idea  by Michael Brenner, published by Princeton University Press, pp. 372   The renowned sociologist, Zygmunt Bauman, a refugee from the anti-Semitic campaign in Communist Poland during the 1960s and subsequently a professor at the University of Leeds, popularised the term ‘allosemitism’. It depicted the ‘otherness’ … Read more

Take Me to Your Leader

Review of Anshel Pfeffer’s Bibi: The Turbulent Life and Times of Benjamin Netanyahu Published by Hurst, pp. 424 Netanyahu” means “given by God” in Hebrew. Anshel Pfeffer, one of Israel’s most insightful journalists and the author of this excellent biography, clearly doesn’t believe this to be the most appropriate of surnames for Israel’s current prime … Read more