Books

Review: 1948: The First Arab-Israeli war

By Ahron Bregman, May 30, 2008

By Benny Morris
Yale University Press, £25

Writers and scholars (myself included) have tended to ignore, or dismiss, the jihadi character of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war and to regard the Arab rhetoric that accompanied their assault on the Jewish community and state as empty words.

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Qaradawi predicts a Muslim apocalypse

By Leon Symons, May 30, 2008

The unexpurgated views of Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi about Israel, Jews, Zionism and Palestine have been revealed for the first time in an English translation of a book he wrote in Arabic four years ago.

In a compilation of 14 rulings on various aspects of the Middle East conflict called Fatawa on Palestine, or “Rulings on Palestine”, the Islamic scholar feted by former London Mayor Ken Livingstone predicts an apocalyptic final battle between all Jews and all Muslims that would presage the day of judgement.

Mr Qaradawi believes that:

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Bibi plans ‘comeback book’ on the economy

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 30, 2008

Likud Leader Binyamin Netanyahu is preparing to bring out an autobiographical book on his term as Israel’s Finance Minister as part of his plan to rehabilitate his image and sweep back to power in the next elections.

The new book, expected to come out towards the end of summer, deals with the reasons that Israel’s economy is booming, despite a lack of natural resources and devoting a significant portion of its GDP to security costs.

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The baroness leading a grey-power rebellion

By Alex Kasriel, May 23, 2008

Julia Neuberger is fed up with the way society marginalises older people. It’s time they fought back, she tells Alex Kasriel

Julia Neuberger has a thing about loos. She wishes there were more public ones. Why? Because she feels that without them, old people are too scared to go out. 

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Review: A Question Of Honour

By Vernon Bogdanor, May 23, 2008

By Lord Michael Levy
Simon & Schuster, £18.99

In July 2006, Lord Levy, Tony Blair’s chief fund-raiser and personal envoy to the Middle East, was enjoying a birthday lunch with his family when he was told by his solicitor to report to Colindale police station, in North London, where he was going to be arrested. A Question of Honour describes in graphic detail the purgatory he and his family endured for over a year before he was released without charge.

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Review: The Story Of Israel From Theodor Herzl To The Roadmap For Peace

By Colin Shindler, May 23, 2008

By Martin Gilbert
Carlton Books, £30

This celebratory book, covering events from the endeavours of Herzl to the erection of the separation barrier, is all of 64 pages long. Yet it is replete with maps, detachable posters, illustrations and pull-out facsimile documents. It tells the remarkable story of Israel’s 60 years — an achievement recognised in the Arab world and beyond.

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Review: A Very Great Profession

By Sophie Lewis, May 23, 2008

By Nicola Beauman
Persephone Books, £10

This book about “the woman’s novel 1914-39” is not a work of academic criticism, although it is braced by exemplary indexes and references. It is a work of deep interest verging on obsession — with the lives and self-expression of unfashionable women in an unfashionable period.

Beauman focuses on the novels of middle-class women (working-class women hadn’t the time to write, while the upper classes had still some vestige of the unconstrained lives others could only dream about).

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Finchley rabbi quits to start new chapters

May 23, 2008

Rabbi Roderick Young is quitting Finchley Reform Synagogue to focus on his writing. He is finishing a children’s book and is about to embark on the story of his family and how he discovered Judaism at the age of 23.

Rabbi Young became the congregation’s principal minister in November 2006. Since January, he has shared rabbinical duties with Rabbi Miriam Bayfield, an arrangement designed to give him more writing time.

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Insights of a child running from the Nazis

By Miriam Halahmy, May 16, 2008

Child of all nations
By Irmgard Keun (Translated by Michael Hofman)
Penguin Classics, £14.99

Holding my breath
By Sidura Ludwig
Tindal Street Press, £8.99

It is 1936, and nine-year-old Kully and her parents are on the run from Nazi Germany. Her father, a well-known author, has published his opposition to the regime. Penniless, they join the mêlée of émigrés swilling around the capitals of Europe, scrounging for every meal.

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Review: Reappraisals - Reflections On The Forgotten Twentieth Century

By David Cesarani, May 16, 2008

By Tony Judt
William Heinemann, £20

A few biographical details about Tony Judt tell us much about the subjects he chose to write about in the essays and reviews collected in this volume. He was born in the East End in 1948 of immigrant parents; his mother came from Russia, his father from Belgium. They were left-wing, Yiddish-speaking and Zionist. Judt spent his gap year on a kibbutz and rushed to Israel prior to the 1967 war. He studied history at Cambridge and taught in Oxford before moving to New York University.

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