“In an apparent softening of party tone, Corbyn’s warm-up man, the journalist Owen Jones, recently reprimanded the Left for its ingrained anti-Semitism. Welcome words, but they will remain only words so long as the Corbynite Left – and indeed the not-so Corbynite Left – refuses to acknowledge the degree to which anti-Semitism is snarled up in the before and after of Israelophobia. The Stop The War Coalition is a sort of home to Jew-haters because its hate music about Israel is so catchy. It simplifies a complex and heartbreaking conflict, it elides causes and effects, it perpetuates a fable that flatters one side and demonises another, it ignores all instances of intransigence and cruelty but one, inflaming hatred and enabling the very racism it declares itself opposed to.
Let’s forget whether or not anti-Semitism is the root of this. It is sufficient that it is the consequence. Face that, Corbyn, or the offence you take at any imputation of prejudice is the hollow hypocrite’s offence, and your protestations of loving peace and justice, no matter who believes them, are as ash.”
Read the full text of author Howard Jacobson’s “Corbyn may say he’s not anti-Semitic, but associating with the people he does is its own crime” on The Independent‘s website.
A note: I’m sorry that the final “Words of the Week” entry for 5775 is not exactly upbeat. But as a writer, I found that Jacobson’s piece took on greater urgency for me because just as I discovered it I also ran across news of a “Poets for Corbyn” project. And then, this morning, came the news from Britain that Corbyn has been elected Labour Party leader.
I am nearly fifty years old, and for American Jews of my generation, my grandpa’s story is both an ordinary one—for it was mirrored in the experiences of grandparents of many of American Jews who grew up in the safety of ’60s and ’70s America—and an extraordinary one, because it described a lost world that took on mythic proportions in my imagination, of a life filled with danger and split-second decisions that could mean living or dying.
When William Daroff speaks, I listen. Thus, last week’s vacation reading included Einat Wilf‘s new e-book, Winning the War of Words: Essays on Zionism and Israel (edited by Daniel Rubinstein).
Prior to downloading and reading the e-book, I was not familiar with Wilf’s work (or, at least, did not clearly recall her byline). Formerly a member of the Israeli Knesset, she is a self-described “Roving Ambassador for Israel and Zionism, telling our story to a variety of audiences.” Judging by the essays in this collection, that’s good news for Israel and Zionism–and by extension, for all of us.
Since the book essentially compiles a number of Wilf’s published writings, I can point you directly to some of the essays that impressed me as especially cogent, insightful, and relevant to discussions and debates I’ve seen play out elsewhere. Continue reading ›
Erika Dreifus is the author of Quiet Americans: Stories (Last Light Studio), which is an ALA Sophie Brody Medal Honor Title for outstanding Jewish literature. Quiet Americans was also named a Notable Book (The Jewish Journal) and a Top Small-Press Book (Shelf Unbound). Erika is a contributing editor for Fiction Writers Review and an advisory board member for J Journal: New Writing on Justice, and she wrote the section on “Choosing a Low-Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing” for the second edition of Tom Kealey’s Creative Writing MFA Handbook (Continuum, 2008). Erika is also the editor/publisher of The Practicing Writer, a free (and popular) e-newsletter featuring advice, opportunities, and resources on the craft and business of writing for fictionists, poets, and writers of creative nonfiction.
A high-ranking Nazi’s wife and a Jewish doctor in prewar Berlin. A Jewish immigrant soldier and the German POWs he is assigned to supervise. A refugee returning to Europe for the first time just as terrorists massacre Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. A son of survivors and the family secrets modern technology may reveal. These are some of the characters and conflicts that emerge in Quiet Americans, in stories that reframe familiar questions about what is right and wrong, remembered and repressed, resolved and unending. Portions of the proceeds from sales of Quiet Americans are being donated to The Blue Card. Quiet Americans has been named a 2012 Sophie Brody Medal Honor Title (American Library Association) and recognized as a “Notable Book” (The Jewish Journal) and “Top Book” (Shelf Unbound).
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