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Historian talks Nobel rot

    The latest crop of Nobel winners reminded me of a lecture given by the late Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm a few years ago, when he dismissed Zionism as a backward step, contrasting the Nobel prizes won by diaspora Jews with the supposed lack of them by Israelis.

    In fact, an Israeli won a Nobel that very year. Half of the eight Israelis recognised for literature, economics or science (and excluding awards for peace) won their Nobel since his comments — and seven have come since 2000. Of the five Jewish award-winners announced this week, one is from Israel and another taught there.

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