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Words of the Week

“Missing from these earnest and well-intentioned pieces, however, was any acknowledgment of the role the media themselves have played in creating the conditions under which anti-Semitism flourishes. The media do not grasp, the media refuse to see, the relation between the biased and hostile coverage of Israel they produce every day and the anti-Semitism on which they report.”
–Matthew Continetti, “Anti-Semitism: Now They Notice” (Commentary)

“Support for equal pay, or health care reform, or union rights, or abortion rights, or anti-discrimination laws, or protecting the environment, or the idea that corporations should pay their fair share of taxes—none of these are enough of a basis anymore for your liberalism. What now defines American Jews—and only American Jews—as liberals is whether they back the administration on Israel. If you don’t think Netanyahu is not just an opportunistic politician but also the devil; if you don’t see Mahmoud Abbas as a man singlemindedly committed to peace; if you don’t agree that John Kerry is doing God’s work bringing Israelis and Palestinians together; if you don’t think the leaders of Hamas are people who can be reasoned with—and even if you agree with all of the above but are perhaps a little unsure about the wisdom or the necessity of ever-closer U.S. ties with the Mullahs in Tehran—then you should accept that you aren’t a liberal anymore.”
–Tablet Staff, “American Jews Don’t Have to Choose Between Liberalism and Israel”

“Indeed, as Cary Nelson correctly points out in his introduction, boycotting Israel as a solid manifestation of detesting its very existence has become arguably the single most potent marker of being of the left today. He quotes one of the global left’s most cherished gurus, the Italian philosopher Gianni Vattimo, who states the obvious that, ‘by now, anti-Zionism is synonymous with leftist world politics.’ Even if one is explicitly and actively anti-racist and anti-sexist, opposed to oppression, favours economic equality, fights for workers rights, actively supports the LGBT community, advocates strict gun control, stands for ecological reforms; one will be at best a very suspect, indeed even an unwelcome, member of what constitutes today’s left and being progressive without having decidedly and explicitly anti-Zionist views.”
–Andrei S. Markovits, “Book Review: The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel” (Fathom)

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Pre-Shabbat Jewish Literary Links

Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

Every Friday morning My Machberet presents an assortment of Jewish-interest links, primarily of the literary variety.

  • Not for the first time, I’m pointing you to an extraordinary piece by Kevin Haworth. This time: “On Never Having Read Anne Frank”.
  • From Mosaic magazine: the inimitable Ruth Wisse writes about Nora Gold’s Fields of Exile: “I am grateful for a work of fiction that honestly animates what is all too actual and true.”
  • New award for fiction on Jewish themes: the Amy Levy Prize.
  • On the Well Versed blog: the latest about Granta Israel.
  • And another milestone for Fig Tree Books!
  • Shabbat shalom.

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    Words of the Week

    “That cartoon was irresponsible and has great potential to ultimately do far more damage to Israel and [to the] Jewish people in general than it does to the policies Netanyahu or Likud.”
    –Derek Kwait, “Collapsing Towers: Liveblogging My Quarrel with Haaretz” (New Voices)

    “It is tough to say what is the most stomach-turning aspect of this. Is it that Hamas managed to bully and intimidate foreign journalists en masse for almost two months and get away with it? Is it the fact that this bullying and intimidation successfully prevented the world from receiving an objective picture of what this awful war was really all about? Or is it the fact that the principal correspondent of the New York Times either had no clue about what was happening, or instinctively desired to deny it, or both?”
    –Jeff Robbins, “A Willful Ignorance on Israel” (The Times of Israel) Continue reading ›

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    Pre-Shabbat Jewish Literary Links

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

    Every Friday morning My Machberet presents an assortment of Jewish-interest links, primarily of the literary variety.

  • Part-time job for a PJ Library Coordinator in St. Paul, Minnesota.
  • I’ll admit that I have resisted reading all the terrible details of the sickening Rabbi Freundel story. But I’m glad that I read Matthue Roth’s essay-post on the subject for Hevria.
  • A gorgeous–and haunting–meditation from Richard Chess on the “Good Letters” blog.
  • A review of Meyer Levin’s literary thriller Compulsion–from October 1956.
  • On my weekend listening agenda: the latest “Israel Story” podcast. (It’s book-themed.)
  • Shabbat shalom.

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    Stunning Sentences Drawn from JLit

    Diary-of-the-Fall_06-242x390Every Sunday, I participate in David Abrams’s “Sunday Sentence” project, sharing the best sentence I’ve read during the past week, “out of context and without commentary.” Typically, I post the selected sentence on my Practicing Writing blog and share it on Twitter.

    Now, a lot of my reading falls what within might be called “Jewish literature,” so maybe it isn’t all that surprising that more than just a few of my Sunday Sentences also come from the world of JLit. This week, for instance, I posted a line from Diary of the Fall, a novel by Michel Laub translated by Margaret Jull Costa:

    My grandfather lost a brother in Auschwitz, and another brother in Auschwitz, and a third brother in Auschwitz, and his father and his mother in Auschwitz, and his girlfriend of the time in Auschwitz, and at least one cousin and one aunt in Auschwitz, and who knows how many friends in Auschwitz, how many neighbors, how many work colleagues, how many people he would have been quite close to had he not been the only one to survive and set off on a boat for Brazil and spend the rest of his life without ever mentioning any of their names.

    Other weeks, I’ve shared sentences from work by Stuart Rojstaczer. By Roz Chast. By Gary Shteyngart. And so many more. Take a look. And if you’re on Twitter and just learning about the hashtag here, please join in and share your own #SundaySentence selections in the future.

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