“There’s no reason to spoil The Narrative, the great story of a benighted Israel governed by hard and bad men and growing increasingly intransigent and soulless and mean—as evidenced by their opposition to Obama’s attempts to reach a mutually-beneficial nuclear deal with Iran. When it comes to Israel, it’s the only story the Times knows how to tell, even when the facts get in the way. For that, we’ll always have The Correction.”
–Liel Leibovitz, “The Correction” (Tablet)
“We have a decade.”
Usually, I use these “words of the week” posts to point you to something I’ve found especially resonant or urgent in the press regarding Israel or another aspect of Jewish life. Almost always, I point you to something that you can read for yourself online.
But this week, I’m doing something different. And here’s why. Continue reading ›
“When it finally happened, and someone I knew compared Israelis to fascists, I looked at her post for an hour before I gathered the courage — after four decades of keeping quiet — to speak up. Virtually, at least.”
–Margarita Gokun Silver, “From Russia With Anti-Semitism” (OZY)
“Regrettably, instead of giving voice to the aspirations of both Palestinians and Israelis, this text addresses the concerns of only one side. It is deeply imbalanced and contains many elements that are not conducive to negotiations between the parties, including unconstructive deadlines that take no account of Israel’s legitimate security concerns. In addition, this resolution was put to a vote without a discussion or due consideration among Council members, which is highly unusual, especially considering the gravity of the matter at hand. We must proceed responsibly, not take actions that would risk a downward spiral.”
–Ambassador Samantha Power, “Explanation of Vote at the Security Council Session on the Situation in the Middle East, Including the Palestinian Question”
“[The American Historical Association] would instead be correctly seen as an organization that places political opinions ahead of assiduous scholarship. It would send a chill especially to young scholars whose careers could be ended or damaged if they were to take a different view of these events.”
–Jeffrey Herf, quoted in “US Academic Org Ushers in New Year with Anti-Israel Vote” (The Times of Israel)
“[N]ot only does the committee stop short of calling for Salaita’s restoration, it also cites ‘legitimate concerns’ about whether Salaita’s anti-Israel expressions on social media make him ill-equipped to stand before a classroom.”
–Liel Leibovitz. “U. of Illinois: Donors Didn’t Derail Salaita Hiring” (Tablet)
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 ›