A new documentary called WitchHunt points out the narrow room for debate over alleged antisemitism in the British Labour Party. Anti-Zionist Jews are excluded as unrepresentative of British Jews. And why is it okay to talk about antisemitism and Zionism in Britain without asking a Palestinian what their direct experience of Zionism has looked and felt like?
Category Archives: Reviews
“Even a thousand films on the Nakba would not suffice,” says Ahlam Muhtaseb, co-director with Andy Trimlett of a new film, “1948: Creation & Catastrophe,” which is based in part on interviews with survivors, many of them of advanced years. The film has been subject to protests by Israel supporters, and a screening in West Hollywood was scratched under pressure in December, now rescheduled for March. Stephen Shenfield interviews the co-directors.
Which is more painful: to be forced to abandon your homeland, or to remain, watching strangers erase all traces of your culture and history? This dilemma forms the crux of Rabai al-Madhon’s Fractured Destinies, which Lesley Williams calls, “a lyrically rich portrait of contemporary Palestinian society”
Ben White’s consistently engrossing new book, “Cracks in the Wall: Beyond Apartheid in Palestine/Israel,” argues that “The end of Israel as a bipartisan issue of concern in US politics, along with the wider left’s alienation from and the far right’s embrace of Israel” will undermine Israel’s ability to maintain the status quo. But is he right? Joel Doerfler wonders if Israel can get along without its traditional allies.
Micah Goodman’s book Catch-67: The Left, the Right, and the Legacy of the Six-Day War has been celebrated for its “pragmatism” and “realism” and topped the Israeli nonfiction best seller list for weeks while being read by Benjamin Netanyahu and many top officials involved in administering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But Joel Doerfler says, “the most striking thing about Goodman’s argument is the utterly conventional and largely unexamined set of historical and moral assumptions on which it is founded.”
From the author of “P is for Palestine,” comes Goldbarg Bashi’s next children’s book “Counting Up the Olive Tree: A Palestine Number Book,” due out in January 2019. Young readers learn to count with a band of Palestinian children who ditch their soccer game to save “the last olive tree” from a “woeful woodcutter.”
Marcello Di Cintio’s political-literary travelogue “Pay No Heed to the Rockets,” follows Palestine’s “brokers of grace,” writers and poets who reveal contemporary Palestinian life, in constant navigation of their own lives set against an occupation.
Ilene Cohen defines ‘Ziosplaining’ as “the efforts of Zionists of so-called moderate stripe, who are endlessly pained by reality, to explain to Palestinians (and the world) that they have no choice but to support the Israeli occupation of Palestine.” She says the latest effort in the genre is Yossi Klein Halevi’s Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor. “That neighbor, by the way, is the author’s imaginary neighbor—the only one possible for such an exercise, because few and far between would be the Palestinians who wouldn’t gag at this patronizing effort to have their situation ‘explained’ to them,” Cohen writes.
In an interview by Robert Cohen on his latest book, “Finding Our Voice,” Marc H. Ellis explains there is only one question for Jews today, after the Holocaust, the creation of Israel and the occupation of Palestine — What side are you on?
Anyone deluded enough to believe that Israel truly wants democracy to spread in the Middle East must read David D. Kirkpatrick’s outstanding first-hand account of the 2011 uprising in Egypt and its ugly aftermath, “Hands of Soldiers: Freedom and Chaos in Egypt and the Middle East.”
A Palestinian Boyhood, the new autobiography by Palestinian writer Reja-e Busailah, relates a remarkable story about overcoming the challenges of growing up blind in Palestine in the years up to and including the 1948 Nakba, which uprooted his family. Georgia Beeston: “Simply written, the book takes the reader through the author’s daily life, underlining the everyday challenges of the visually impaired.””
Reja-e Busailah’s memoir ‘In the Land of My Birth: A Palestinian Boyhood,’ is an unheralded masterpiece of the Nakba. A burgeoning scholar at 18, Busailah was forced out of Lydda with his family in 1948. This book’s poignant portraits of friends destroyed and traumatized by the Zionist militias tops any Israeli’s account of the Nakba.
Ronen Bergman’s book Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations tells that story of how from 1979 to 1983 very senior Israeli officials conducted a large-scale campaign of car-bombings that killed hundreds of Palestinians and Lebanese, most of them civilians. While the book has received the highest praise from reviewers, this secret operation has not been mentioned once. Remi Brulin writes this is a perfect illustration of the political discourse on “terrorism”: “The secret car-bombing operation Israeli officials conducted in Lebanon in the early 1980s represents a remarkable historical example of such ‘silences,’ and of the ‘rules’ that underlie the discourse on ‘terrorism’ and ensure that certain things simply ‘cannot be said,’ certain facts simply aren’t ever mentioned.”
Palestinian poet Mohammed al-Kurd talks with Mondoweiss
Nada Elia reviews ‘Why Palestine Matters: The Struggle to End Colonialism,’ a new book by the Presbyterian Church Israel Palestine Mission Network: “With Why Palestine Matters, the Israel Palestine Mission network of the Presbyterian Church is once again proving that it is serious in enacting solidarity, with a highly-readable book providing accessible analysis, online resources, discussion guidelines, and concrete action steps towards a solution.”
Dr. Vacy Vlazna reviews Ramzy Baroud’s new book ‘The Last Earth: A People’s Story of Palestine’ – “This is a dangerous book because by inviting us into an intimacy with the people of Palestine, it predicates compelling moral action to end the monstrous injustice; for this reason Baroud’s The Last Earth must be read and shared.”
Controversy has arisen in recent weeks over the 2017 film, The Insult, Ziad Doueiri’s film and Lebanon’s submission to the 2018 Academy Awards. In a review, film scholar Terri Ginsberg says the movie is a vehicle for pro-Israel propaganda.
Human rights organizations Amnesty International, B’Tselem and Human Rights Watch stopped itemizing Israeli crimes in the 2014 assault on Gaza, the worst of them all, Norman Finkelstein documents in his impassioned record of war crimes against the strip, Gaza: An Inquest Into Its Martyrdom, published by the University of California Press.
Palestine was not empty. The Jewish people are not a nation with a homeland in the Middle East. Palestine was not ‘redeemed’, it was colonized. Its people did not flee, they were ethnically cleansed. Jews are not all Zionists. These are some of the myths that scholar Ilan Pappe exposes in his new book.
A new documentary on the conflict, In the Land of Pomegranates, suggests that Israelis and Palestinians only need to understand the other’s narratives of victimization to overcome their differences and get along. But its portraits of young Palestinians and Israelis scarred by violence shows that only outside pressure and structural political change will allow the two peoples to get along, and the film’s politics are meaningless.
Marilyn Garson reviews Norman Finkelstein’s new book ‘Gaza: An Inquest Into Its Martyrdom’: “Finkelstein has set out to deconstruct the false narrative of war in Gaza, by refuting its component parts. One by one. Finkelstein is an author, activist and scholar with decades of archives and outrage to bring. ‘Gaza’ is one exhaustive act of witness.”
No individual had as large a role in Israel’s shift from an embattled settler state to a regional power as James Angleton, the head of counterintelligence at the CIA in the 50s-70s, who relied on Israeli intelligence in his battle against communism. Angleton overlooked Israel’s acquisition of nukes, Jefferson Morley relates in his new biography of Angleton, The Ghost.
The Ken Burns Vietnam documentary on PBS left out what the U.S. did during the Cold War era in numerous other places including Iran, Guatemala, Latin America in general, Indonesia, and sub-Saharan Africa, both during and after the Vietnam War. It is not a pretty story.
Zohra Drif’s Algeria memoir has hard lessons for Israel/Palestine — the colonized will resist violent occupation by any means necessary.
The left is trashing the Vietnam documentary by Ken Burns on PBS. Though it is didactic and middle-brow and America-centric, the documentary is majestic in its depiction of murderous arrogance, and should educate millions to the horrors of occupation and the ferocity of a subjugated people’s resistance.