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Posts Tagged ‘Middle East’

Friedman wraps up his book by talking about four dead men and what they must do if peace is to come to the troubled slice of land still fought over by Israelis and Palestinians. Yitzhak Rabin, Yasir Arafat, Hafez Assad, and Jordan’s King Hussein were very much alive a decade ago when Friedman wrote an appendix to this still-riveting work, though the shadow of Rabin’s assasin was almost upon him. This casts an eery veneer over Friedman’s sensible thoughts on shifting power and the need for all partners to ‘buy a ticket’ if peace has any hope of overcoming the region’s deeply etched pessimisms, even if one now needs to shift the burden of choice to the successors of these four men, only three of whom had the good fortune to die in their own beds. (more…)

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The Eastern European emigrants to Palestine at the beginning of the 20th century assured that what would become known as the ‘Second Aliyah’ would bear a Yiddish accent, a socialist ethic, and a hard-nosed disdain for the religious Zionism of some fellow travelers. Meir Shalev provides us an angle on their experience that makes it difficult to reduce their exploits to those of secular saints and impossible not to love them for their deeply human foibles. (more…)

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Just when the Police were winning a Grammy with a song that included the allusive line `just like the old man in that book by Nabakov’, it was a crime to read Lolita in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Azar Nafisi’s spendidly-titled book chronicles one woman’s experience of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s long descent into decadent darkness. (more…)

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The Israeli swagger that became a regional pose following the military victories of 1948 and 1967 quickly became a limp following near defeat at the hands of Egypt and Syria in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Howard Bloom’s appropriately-titled chronicle of that October surprise reads like a novel, complete with an amorous young couple whose honeymoon was rudely interrupted by the outbreak of hostilities and a mysterious double agent called ‘the In-Law’. Yet the events he describes were all too real. (more…)

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The trajectory of this thoughtful book begins in the primeval history of Genesis, continues through texts of both Old and New Testaments, and finishes in the heated context of the contemporary Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the belligerent use that is frequently made of these same biblical sources. Holy Land, Holy City is well suited to the reader who is willing to engage complex argument on her way to a better understanding of the biblical and theological underpinnings of ‘land theology’ and contemporary conflicts over land. R.P. Gordon is the Regius Professor of Hebrew at the University of Cambridge and a highly regarded linguist and biblical interpreter. (more…)

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It is poignantly fitting that the man who directed Schindler’s List should book-end that tale of Jewish pain with Munich, a film that tells another side of this people’s struggle to survive in a period when the Jews have a state and the ability to answer with something more than simple suffering. (more…)

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