Notes from Around the Web: Gaza Edition

If you aren’t already following Jeffrey Goldberg on current events in Israel and Gaza, just go over and start. Really. Just do it. He earned my admiration with his book, and he’s sustaining it now. So just go read him. Did I say you should go read him?
Tired of the cries of how “disproportionately” Israel is responding? So am I. And so is Jonathan Mark.
We’d certainly be horrified if Hamas’s (or Hezbollah’s, or–substitute a relevant Islamist group of your choice’s) actions provoked attacks on Arabs/Muslims elsewhere. So why isn’t there more outrage about the violence against and victimization of Jews worldwide who have become targets of aggressors’ anger toward Israel? Like the Jewish girl who “was beaten in a northern Paris suburb by schoolmates who claimed revenge for Israel’s offensive in Gaza”? Or these incidents? I could post more, surely, but maybe that’s enough to get the point across.
Think there’s a corresponding prayer like this for the children of Israel appearing in the Palestinian/Arab press? Somehow, I doubt it. This is certainly one case where I’d love to be proven wrong.

Irène Némirvosky and the Jewish Question

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend last week’s panel discussion at the Museum of Jewish Heritage on “Irène Némirovsky and the Jewish Question.” On the bright side, though, the Museum has made podcast segments available on its Web site, and I’ve had some time this weekend to listen. Well worth my time, and, if you’re interested in Némirvosky and her work, quite likely worth yours, too.


Like many of you, I’ve been spending a lot of time following the horrible news from Mumbai.

Sometimes when these awful incidents occur, it almost begins to seem that all the accounts from witnesses and survivors are blending together. But when a CNN broadcaster interviewed Jonathan Ehrlich earlier today, something was different.

From the safety of Vancouver, Ehrlich told CNN about his frightening experience in Mumbai, where he was staying at the Oberoi hotel.

Ehrlich said he feels even more blessed now than he did before–he’s got a good life, and he’s always recognized that, and now he feels even luckier. Among his thoughts, when talking about how fortunate he is to have escaped from the terrorists in his hotel: “First of all, I’m Jewish, and if they knew I was Jewish, I’d be dead….”

Which led the interviewer to bring up the targeting of the Chabad House and ask Ehrlich how it feels to be part of a group of people “that was purposely targeted.”

“The sad truth of it is is that Jews are a target everywhere because of who they are,” Ehrlich said. But, he added that “We’re tough, we can take it,” and we will go on.

Oseh shalom bimromav, Hu ya’ase shalom aleinu v’al kol Yisrael, v’imru amein. (May the source of peace send peace to all who mourn, and comfort to all who are bereaved. And let us say, Amen.)

Woman of Letters and Other Goings-on at the Museum of Jewish Heritage

In the current (November) issue of The Writer magazine, I’ve contributed a short news item on Woman of Letters: Irène Némirovsky and Suite Française, an exhibition at New York’s Museum of Jewish Heritage-A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. Woman of Letters runs into March 2009, but if you can’t get to the Museum to see it, you can still check it out online.

Plenty of events are being planned in conjunction with this exhibition, among them a discussion of “Jews in Vichy France” (featuring scholars Robert Paxton and Michael Marrus) and another session on “Irène Némirovsky and the Jewish Question,” with my own former professor, Susan Suleiman, and The New Republic‘s Ruth Franklin. Check out these sessions, and other events planned for this fall at the Museum, right here.

(I won’t be blogging on Yom Kippur. See you back here in a few days.)

From My Bookshelf: The Temple Bombing, by Melissa Fay Greene

Last year I spent a few days in Atlanta, and at one point I passed the beautiful Temple on Peachtree Street. I hadn’t yet read Melissa Fay Greene’s 1996 book, The Temple Bombing, but I’d heard about it (it was a National Book Award Finalist), and I knew the basic story it told: the Temple, Atlanta’s oldest synagogue, was bombed in 1958. Thankfully, no one had been hurt.

Now I’m reading Greene’s book, and while I haven’t yet finished it, I’m very glad that I’ve finally gotten to it. The book not only chronicles the bombing, but offers a rich history of Atlanta Jewry; a detailed portrait of Rabbi Jacob Rothschild, the Temple’s leader in 1958; and a reminder of just how difficult the struggles for integration and civil rights in the South really were.

At about 500 pages (with footnotes), it’s a challenging read. But very much worth the effort.


I’ve often been chagrined by the ample discourse on the supposed suppression of anti-Israel discourse. It’s amazing how much press time–and how many book sales–critics of Israel can get while they’re complaining about how they aren’t allowed to speak or publish or express themselves. It’s infuriating.

So, as David Harris notes, it is indeed worth watching and thinking about what happens when the shoe is on the other foot. Somehow, I suspect certain voices otherwise prone to crying “censorship!” will be conspicuously silent. And anyone who speaks up in favor of disseminating a pro-Israel message will be accused of being a “rightist,” a “neocon,” or some other pejorative sobriquet.