“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.
Every Friday My Machberet presents an array of Jewish-interest links, primarily of the literary variety.
The latest issue of Jewish Woman magazine features an interview with my wonderful colleague, Fig Tree Books Editor-in-Chief Michelle Caplan.
Two great resources for learning more about Israeli literature: Beth Kissileff’s article on Israeli expat writers to watch (JTA) and a mini-collection of Israeli short stories. (via CultureBuzz Israel)
Speaking of literature based in Israel: The Ilanot Review at Bar-Ilan University has issued a new call for submissions on the theme of “constraint.” (NB: nonpaying publication).
The PJ Library in Los Angeles is looking for five part-time “Community Connectors.”
And, ICYMI, read Oliver Sacks’s final piece for The New Yorker—on gefilte fish.
Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen
This is the last pre-Shabbat post of 5775–so let me wish you all a Shabbat Shalom AND a Shanah Tovah!
For the past three years, I’ve found it useful (and kind of fun) to look back on “my year in Jewish books.” So, borrowing some of the same introductory wording, I’m going to attempt to do something similar for 2014.
Reviewing my reading for 2014 (thank you, Goodreads!), I can see that I do not and would not ever limit my reading to “Jewish books” exclusively; it seems that this list comprises about half of the titles I read this year in toto. (By the way, in case you haven’t heard me say this before, I define “Jewish books” in the simplest terms as books with substantive Jewish content. In my view, non-Jewish authors can write “Jewish books.” And Jewish authors can write books that don’t strike me as overtly Jewish.)
But this year, as usual, I did read quite a few books that fall within the “Jewish book” category. And, as an advocate for Jewish literature, I’m proud of that.
Below, you will find these books presented in the order in which I read them (most recent first, this year). Please note that, where appropriate, I have included links to reviews, essays, and newsy items I have written; interviews I have conducted; “Sunday Sentence” citations; and the odd blog post. I have also disclosed how I obtained each book: P (purchase), R (complimentary review copy), L (library). This year, I’m adding a category: FTB, for books I’ve read in manuscript prior to their release from Fig Tree Books in my job as FTB media editor. Continue reading ›