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Words of the Week, III

Again, current events compel me to share with you another batch of essential reading. (And if you’ve missed them, you might also wish to check the first two installments I shared this week.)

From Jeffrey Goldberg:
“Israel, then, is faced with three enormous and difficult tasks. It must do a much better job of minimizing Palestinian casualties as it fights Hamas, because this is a moral necessity and a strategic imperative. It must also do something it hasn’t done well at all, which is to create an alternate reality on the West Bank, one that shows Palestinians a different and brighter sort of future than the one promised by Hamas. And — and this is its main task at the moment — it must ensure that its citizens aren’t kidnapped and murdered by a group that seeks not an equitable two-state solution but the annihilation of their country.” Continue reading ›

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Pre-Shabbat Jewish Literary Links

Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen


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

  • One of many sad consequences of current events: Israeli Arab writer Sayed Kashua is emigrating. I wish him all the best, and I will renew my efforts to read his books.
  • More TBR ideas in the “Summer Bookfest” issue of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute’s 614.
  • ICYMI here on My Machberet: two posts featuring “Words of the Week” and fiction suggestions for the current moment from D.G. Myers (and others).
  • So much content worth your time in the new issue of Lilith, including “Lot’s Wife,” a retelling of the biblical story, by Michal Lemberger; a stunning account of terror in Jerusalem, by Natasha Basin Levina (translated by Sonia Melnikova-Raich); and superb reviews of two books that I, too, have found remarkable: Marina Blitshteyn on Orly Castel-Bloom’s Textile (trans. Dalya Bilu) and Liana Finck on Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?.
  • An extraordinary essay by Claire Hajaj, daughter of a Jewish mother and a Palestinian father. (h/t @alexnazaryan)
  • Shabbat shalom.

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    Words of the Week, II

    There is so much important writing appearing this difficult week that I must provide a follow-up to Monday’s post.

    From Liel Leibovitz:
    “Anyone with a genuine commitment to human rights—not to mention sympathy for the Palestinian cause—should join Israel in its efforts to rid the world of such sheer evil and topple Hamas. To leave Hamas in power is not a moderate solution to anything. It is to become complicit in the agenda and the actions of a terrorist organization in inflicting terrible and continuing pain not only on its neighbors but also on its own people.” (“Some Concrete Facts About Hamas,” Tablet)

    From Rabbi Daniel M. Cohen:
    “At the same time, while there are indeed, ‘many strong opinions,’ not all opinions are equally valid. And while I know it is not politically correct to say so, some opinions are simply wrong.” (“Sorry, Jon Stewart, There Are Opinions, and There Are Facts,” New Jersey Jewish News) Continue reading ›

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    Fiction for, If Not of, Our Times

    I have such respect for D.G. Myers. I’m so grateful that he launched this topic on Twitter today. And I’m going to share with you his subsequent tweets for your reference and edification (and for mine). Continue reading ›

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    Words of the Week

    Just a few of the memorable–and important–lines that I’ve discovered over the past few days:

    From David Horovitz:
    “Just three days ago, my colleague Mitch Ginsburg wrote the following: ‘Haim Yellin, the head of the Eshkol Regional Council, told The Times of Israel, standing outside a tunnel discovered several months ago, that many residents in the region are so scarred by the prospect of a tunnel attack that they hear the phantom scratching of shovels when they close their eyes at night.’ Well, now we know that it was not the ‘phantom scratching of shovels’ they were hearing. It was the scratching of shovels.” (“Hushed, Determined Israel in a War ‘for Our Home,” The Times of Israel)

    From Michael Oren:
    “Unwittingly or not, the international media is complicit in Hamas’s plan. While some may think they help the Palestinians by highlighting their plight, in reality, the journalists only worsen it. They effectively absolve Hamas of culpability for using Gaza’s population as a human shield, of stealing its aid money to buy munitions and dig fortified tunnels with the sole purpose of killing Israelis, and of contributing nothing to Gaza’s welfare.” (“Hamas Media Strategy Relies on Death of Civilians,” CNN.com)

    From Thane Rosenbaum:
    “Surely there are civilians who have been killed in this conflict who have taken every step to distance themselves from this fast-moving war zone, and children whose parents are not card-carrying Hamas loyalists. These are the true innocents of Gaza. It is they for whom our sympathy should be reserved. The impossibility of identifying them, and saving them, is Israel’s deepest moral dilemma.” (“About Those ‘Innocent’ Palestinian Civilians,” The Wall Street Journal.)

    From Fania Oz-Salzberger, the daughter of famed Israeli author Amos Oz:

    And from Rabbi Eric Yoffie:
    “The issue was never ‘proportionality’; it is the suffering and dying of too many Arabs and Jews. And while there is much that is complicated about the Middle East, ending the violence in Gaza is not complicated. Hamas needs to halt the missile attacks and provide credible assurances to Israel and the world that they will not be resumed. If the rockets stop, quiet can come tomorrow. And tomorrow is not soon enough.” (“The Bizarre Moral Criticism Against Israel,” Time.com)

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