The Political Right In Israel: Different Faces of Jewish Populism

By Colin Shindler, April 15, 2010

By Dani Filc
Routledge £75

Why do so many impoverished Israelis vote for the Right? Netanyahu's policies of privatisation and empowerment of the private sector clearly seem to be against their interests. Yet they shout: "Long live Bibi and Israel".


The world turned upside down: the global battle over god, truth and power

By David Conway, April 15, 2010

By Melanie Phillips
Encounter Books, £13.99

Many westerners subscribe to one or more of the following propositions, all patently false according to Melanie Phillips. Why they do forms the subject of her far-ranging, absorbing study.

First, in its long-running conflict with the Palestinians, Israel has always been and remains principal aggressor and they principal victims.

Second, the West was taken to war in 2003 on the false pretext that it faced imminent threat from weapons of mass destruction that the Saddam regime had manufactured and was stockpiling.


Review: Final Demands

By Madeleine Kingsley, April 8, 2010

By Frederic Raphael
JR Books, £16.99

Dust off your classical dictionary; fine-tune your ear to irony, aphorism and erudition. Frederic Raphael's Final Demands fires all his favourite literary feux d'artifice, so you may as well come duly equipped to this third novel in the Glittering Prizes trilogy.

Few readers (and viewers) over 50 need an introduction to Raphael's recurring hero Adam Morris, the too-clever-to-be-kosher Cambridge graduate who, with his coterie of media stars and academics, took the 1960s by storm, scholarship and a soupçon of Hollywood scriptwriting.


Review: No Enchanted Palace

By Adam Lebor, April 8, 2010

By Mark Mazower
Princeton University Press, £16.95

For Israeli governments and their supporters, the United Nations is only slightly less malevolent than the devil incarnate.

Numerous UN bodies, whose memberships are dominated by the developing and Islamic worlds, are obsessed with Israel. Bashing the Jewish state provides a useful distraction from those decrepit regimes' failures to provide basic freedoms and services for their citizens.


Review: The Myths of Liberal Zionism

By Jonathan Beckman, April 1, 2010

By Yitzhak Laor
Verso, £14.99

Somewhere inside this tendentious rant are the seeds of much better book. It would be about the strangeness of Israel's attitude towards Europe: how does it psychologically accommodate its close relationship to countries that connived in the destruction of so many Jews? And why does it so vigorously aspire to envisage itself as Western?


Making mutual hatred

By Irwin Mansdorf, April 1, 2010

Nazi Propaganda for the Arab world
By Jeffrey Herf
Yale University Press, £20

From Empathy to denial
By Meir Litvak and Esther Webman
Hurst, £25


The literary entertainer

By David Herman, March 25, 2010

Manhood for Amateurs
By Michael Chabon
Fourth Estate, £16.99

Maps and legends
By Michael Chabon
Fourth Estate, £8.99


Review: 36 Arguments for the existence of God

By Ariel Kahn, March 18, 2010

By Rebecca Goldstein
Atlantic, £12.99

Cass Seltzer stands on a narrow bridge. Gazing out at the river that has frozen into sublime ice sculptures, he experiences a moment of transcendence.


SUM: Forty tales from the afterlives

By Judy Jackson, March 11, 2010

By David Eagleman
Canongate, £9.99

Orthodox Jews believe in the afterlife. Aggressive atheists like Richard Dawkins do not. In the middle is David Eagleman, who says: "both seem to have complete certainty about things they can't possibly be certain about." A neuroscientist by day, Eagleman has spent his evenings concocting scenarios of what Heaven might look like and who (or what) will be the Deity who welcomes us.


Legacy mayhem

By David Herman, March 11, 2010

Take a mournful shlemiel from Austria. Drop him in Venezuela where he has gone to collect an inheritance from his uncle, a Jewish refugee from Hamburg, start a violent coup and stir in a cast of vivid characters, shysters, swindlers, lawyers and even a wonder-rabbi, and then you get a sense of The Inheritance (Pushkin Press, £10) by Peter Stephan Jungk, published in German a decade ago, and now superbly translated by Michael Hofmann.