California Literary Review


Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company Performs Max


February 27th, 2012

Movement gives way to dancers sidling up to partners, though they do not dance with them, except in one chassé sequence, where the partners face one another and take a tentative, almost disinterested measure of the calculated steps.

The Attack on the Liberty: The Untold Story of Israel’s Deadly 1967 Assault on a U.S. Spy Ship by James Scott


July 22nd, 2009

The book reveals for the first time the extent of the outrage and widespread disbelief of many of President Johnson’s senior advisers over Israel’s claim that the attack was an accident. Even LBJ was convinced the attack was no accident and confided his disbelief in Israel’s story to a Newsweek reporter, stating that he believed Israel attacked the ship because it was spying on the war. The book also quotes many senior State Department, Navy, NSA and CIA officials talking of their disbelief in the story.

Engaging, Not Confronting, Russia


September 15th, 2008

The West would exacerbate rather than ease this problem if it brought Georgia into NATO. Nor should we try to bring Ukraine into NATO. Ukraine is now independent and recognized by the world as such, but for most of its history its relationship with Russia has been, to say the least, very close; Kiev was the capital of the first Russian state. One assumes the Europeans will continue to prevent either Georgia or Ukraine from joining NATO; but this has not stopped George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, and John McCain from continuing to push the idea.

Daniel Barenboim at La Scala


December 11th, 2007

Drama number three was the presence on the podium of Daniel Barenboim, the child prodigy born in 1942 in Argentina to Russian parents, who moved with him to Israel when he was ten. This opera performance, which furthermore inaugurates the newly restored theater, was the first by Barenboim as conductor of the orchestra that had performed under the batons of Arturo Toscanini and, more recently, the flamboyant Riccardo Muti. Although Barenboim has performed Wagner many times elsewhere, La Scala audiences have not seen a Wagnerian opera for three decades, and his making this selection can still raise a few eyebrows.

The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt


September 10th, 2007

Mearsheimer and Walt have written an excellent exposition of the Israel Lobby, both in articles and in their most recent book. But they have had to spend a great deal of words and time assuring their readers that they are not anti-Semites, an accusation that has been the main force of the attack on them by the Israel Lobby. There is a well-rehearsed chorus of Israel supporters lying in wait for whoever dares to criticize Israel’s policies, ready to pounce, catlike, and with great force on the unfortunate miscreant. What is interesting is that I have yet to see any of Mearsheimer and Walt’s pro-Israel critics challenge the accuracy of what they have written. Those critics rely on the charge of anti-Semitism, as well as vague, unspecified allegations of inaccuracies in what they have written.

The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East by Robert Fisk


April 24th, 2007

The title of Fisk’s new work is a mocking one, taken from a campaign medal his father won as a British officer in the First World War–which few people, and certainly not Fisk, see now as having been a war for civilization.

Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid by Jimmy Carter


April 24th, 2007

In 1985 I traveled to the United States for a lecture tour. I was then still the co-director of Al Haq the West Bank affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists, a human rights organization which I helped establish six years earlier.

The Other Side of Israel: My Journey Across the Jewish/Arab Divide by Susan Nathan


April 22nd, 2007

My worry was that this might be another leftist book that glibly made analogies between Israel and South Africa. I worried that the story would be more about being a privileged white western woman living with Palestinian others and not enough about the Arab Israeli citizens of this town and their lives.

How Israel Lost: The Four Questions


April 22nd, 2007

There’s an old saying among the Jews that goes something along the lines of: we don’t need others to destroy us, because we’re pretty good destroying ourselves. In other words, the red flags were already up when Richard Ben Cramer a “self-confessed proud Jew and pro-Israel supporter” came along and wrote How Israel Lost – the Four Questions.

Frau Braun and The Tiger of Auschwitz


March 26th, 2007

The principal accused was an Auschwitz commandant, one Wilhelm Boger, whose sobriquet was “The Tiger of Auschwitz.” He was a man who had been arrested after a successful post-war career, having become a rich businessman who’d never been questioned before. At that time he was in his late 60s. Of the many witnesses for the prosecution there was a woman called Frau Braun.

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