A Letter to the New York Times Book Review

More than two weeks have passed since I sent this letter to the NYTBR. I’ve received no indication that they plan to publish it (and they’ve already published other material responding to work that appeared the same week). I worked hard to craft a message that stayed (nearly) within their stated word-count preference. At this point, I’m simply posting the letter here.


Like Eugene Yelchin, I am inspired when publishers find “effective ways to address [the subject of war] without diminishing its gravity.” I wish that Yelchin’s “War Babies” (Nov. 13) had itself displayed similar soundness when addressing what the article calls “Israel’s invasion of Gaza in 2014.”

For me, recalling that conflict between Israel and Hamas-controlled Gaza evokes many anguished memories. As I read Yelchin’s piece, my mind recalled the image of 4-year-old Daniel Tregerman, an Israeli child who died, as The New York Times reported at the time, when “deadly shrapnel from the Palestinian mortar rounds” that rained down on so many southern Israelis killed him in his family’s home. No article should reduce that terrible “50-day war in Gaza” (again as, the Times itself described it) to a one-sided Israeli “invasion.” (Again, the Times itself noted in real time that “Israel began a ground invasion after 10 days of aerial bombardment failed to stop Palestinian militants from showering Israeli cities with rockets.”)

In fact, what happened that summer was fueled by multiple factors. Central among these: Hamas’s murderous activities, with the Palestinian leadership in Gaza holding significant responsibility for the trauma experienced by so many of its children and adults—and Israel’s.

Erika Dreifus
New York City

7 thoughts on “A Letter to the New York Times Book Review

  1. X. P. Callahan says:

    Well said, Erika. Thank you. And why am I not surprised that the Times has not published your letter and shows no signs of doing so?

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      Thank you.

  2. Saul Golubcow says:


    Thank you for speaking for us, regardless of your letter’s being published. We;;-written and well said.

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      Thank you.

  3. Phillip Saperia says:

    Thank you for your essay highlighting the nuance of truth. I am sorry the NYT failed to publish.

  4. Well done. Thank you for sending it regardless of the (so-far) silent response. Perhaps posting it online will move the NYTBR to publish it.

  5. Janice Alper says:

    Thank you for sharing your letter. We often see funeral processions in Gaza, but not in Israel. There are casualties on both sides, and proportionately they are the same…each life is precious.

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