Recent Reads: The Liberal Case for Israel, by Jonathan Miller

Disclosure: I’ve been impressed by Jonathan Miller‘s intelligence and leadership for 25 years, since the long-ago Shabbat when, as a pre-freshman, I visited Harvard Hillel for the first time and met him at the Reform minyan service. At the time, Jonathan was a sophomore, but, with the NFTY presidency behind him, he was already chairing the full Hillel community–while also gearing up to run the national “Students for Gore” effort. I’ve expected great things from him ever since, and his new e-book, The Liberal Case for Israel: Debunking Eight Crazy Lies About the Jewish State, meets (if not exceeds) those high expectations.

Moreover, the text provides a clear and documented guide for those of us who want to join in this effort, those of us who are so frequently frustrated and infuriated by those “crazy lies” about Israel that we see so often in the media (and, for those of us in literary and/or academic communities, among our colleagues). You can review all eight of the “crazy lies” if you take up Amazon‘s “Look Inside” offer. For now, I’ll simply cite the first two: “Imperialist” and “Apartheid.” (You can also read about another one, “Pinkwashing,” in an excerpt from the book that appeared on The Huffington Post this week.)

Time prevents me from writing an in-depth review of Jonathan’s e-book, and I hope I’ll be forgiven for not giving The Liberal Case for Israel the detail it deserves. But I’m so eager to let others know about it. I’ve made no secret of my own wish to be able to do pretty much precisely what Jonathan has done here. I am most grateful–though, given what I recall about him, utterly unsurprised–that Jonathan got there first.

Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen
  • It’s always a good week when the quarterly Jewish Book World arrives in the mail. I’ll signal to you the essays from Sami Rohr Prize winner Gal Beckerman, Rohr Choice Award winner Abigail Green, and Rohr finalist Ruth Franklin. (You can download a digital copy here.)
  • Next up: How about an anthology featuring work by women writers from the Middle East? Great idea! Just leave out the Israelis, please. Or else. (Can you imagine the response if it had been an Israeli author who campaigned for the exclusion of Palestinians?)
  • Benjamin Ivry writes about Swedish-Jewish novelist Stephan Mendel-Enk.
  • Job alert: “The Yiddish Book Center seeks a Program Manager to join a dynamic cultural organization and to join its education team. The program manager will oversee an exciting new national education program designed and led by the Book Center. The program targets Jews in their 20s and will offer week-long sessions exploring diverse aspects of modern Jewish culture and creativity.”
  • “As the publishing world waits with baited breath for the opening of Book Expo America this weekend, the Museum of Jewish Heritage is doing its part by bringing together authors from the Museum family to talk books with visitors. Six survivors and one survivor/US Army vet who have written books – or whose story is told in a book – will sit at tables in the lobby and talk about their books and their experiences during the war.” If you’ll be in NYC this Sunday, consider stopping by for this free event.
  • Shabbat shalom!

    Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

    Once again, there’s so much to share this week. Let’s get started.

  • You may recall how much I admired HHhH, the Laurent Binet novel translated by Sam Taylor. Now, I’m thinking that I should try to pick up a copy of the original French edition. Plus: In The New Yorker, James Wood weighs in with a review that’s definitely worth reading (and thinking about).
  • Mazel tov to Israel on the recent honor it received at the International Book Fair of Buenos Aires.
  • “The Philip Roth Society proudly announces a call for papers for Roth@80, a conference event organized, in conjunction with the Newark Preservation & Landmarks Committee, to mark the 80th birthday of Philip Roth. It will take place on March 18-19, 2013, at the Robert Treat Hotel in Newark, NJ.” Proposal deadline is September 1, 2012.
  • On The Whole Megillah, Nancy K. Miller answers questions on the writing process behind her award-winning family memoir, What They Saved: Pieces of a Jewish Past.
  • This week brought us the May Jewish Book Carnival. Thanks to the Jewish Book Council’s blog (The ProsenPeople) for hosting.
  • Sixth & I, “a historic synagogue and center for arts, entertainment, and cultural experiences in downtown DC,” is looking for a Cultural Programming Associate. And the Boston-based Jewish Women’s Archive (JWA) is advertising a paid internship in communications & social media.
  • Shabbat shalom.

    Hamas Shuts Down Palestine Festival of Literature: Where’s the Outrage?

    On Wednesday, Palestinian “security officers” in Gaza broke up the closing event of the Palestine Festival of Literature. It must have been quite a scene. (You have to figure that when the Palestinian Center for Human Rights denounces Hamas–without actually naming Hamas, of course–something not-so-nice really did happen.)

    So, where’s the outrage that one might ordinarily expect, especially from the media/literary folks?

    For that matter–where’s the coverage? (more…)