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Archive for the ‘Israel’ Category

AFP reports on the latest Hezbollah activity this month after a violent conflict on the Lebanon-Israeli border:

Hezbollah is ready to strike the heart of Israel in the event of new aggression on Lebanon, the party’s deputy chief said on Wednesday, a day after deadly clashes between Lebanese and Israeli troops.

“Israel must understand that any aggression on Lebanon, no matter how small, gives us the complete right to retaliate when and how we find appropriate and in line with Lebanon’s political interests,” Sheikh Naim Qassem told AFP in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.

“Hezbollah chooses when to be patient and when to retaliate,” he added.

The full article is available here.

Today Ha’aretz reports:

Lebanon will decline any military assistance from the United States that is conditioned on its agreeing not to use those weapons against Israel, Defense Minister Elias Murr said yesterday.

Murr was responding to a decision by the U.S. Congress earlier this week to suspend $100 million in aid over concerns that the equipment would be used against Israel or would fall into the hands of Hezbollah, for use against the Lebanese army.

Nicholas Noe’s book Voice of Hezbollah: The Statements of Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, is the Voice of Hezbollah Cover Imagefirst English translation of the leader of Lebanon’s “Party of God” and is critical to the understanding of the man and the movement. Noe brings together for the first time Nasrallah’s speeches and interviews: the intricate, deeply populist arguments and promises that he has made from the mid-1980s to the present day. It is available now in paperback.

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Acclaimed Israeli journalist and author of The Punishment of Gaza, Gideon Levy, will be in conversation with Jeremy Bowen at The Frontline Club, London, on Wednesday 25th August 2010.

On route to Edinburgh Literary Festival Gideon Levy will be joining us at the Frontline Club Levy The Punishment of Gaza Cover Imagein conversation with BBC’s Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen. He will be discussing recent developments in the Middle East and his book The Punishment of Gaza. In which he documents Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from Gaza and charts the events leading up to the assault of 2009.

More information here. Book tickets here or call 020 7479 8940.

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Gabriel Josipovici, who’s excellent new book What Ever Happened to Modernism? has caused headlines in the Guardian and the Evening Standard (and now the Christian Science Monitor), wrote on his relationship to Israel in the essay ‘Cousins’ for the Independent Jewish Voices’ book A Time to Speak Out:

For good or ill we are the products of our past. On a recent visit to Israel I spent a week with a distinguished novelist touching seventy who was also a Holocaust survivor. ‘They penned us into ghettos in Europe and then exterminated us’, he told me, ‘and now they are planning to do the same in the Middle East’. I asked him who ‘they’ were. ‘The forty million Arabs’, he said. The second week of my stay I spent with Israeli-born friends in Tel Aviv, a couple in their forties. ‘The disastrous policies our governments have pursued for so many years’, they said to me, ‘have set back the possibility of our children and grandchildren ever growing up in peace. Maybe our greatgrandchildren will, but we won’t be there to see it.’

You can read the whole essay here.

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Gideon Levy, author of The Punishment of Gaza, in Haaretz on freeing Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Gilad Shalit:

A large-scale prisoner release, as an Israeli initiative and not another capitulation, not petty bargaining but a real gesture, full of good intensions, is the surest way to get a new wind blowing. It’s also, of course, the surest way to get Gilad Shalit released. Don’t lift the blockade because of a Turkish ship, but open the prison gates thanks to a wise and courageous Israeli leader. Does it sound like an unbelievable hallucination? Yes it does, and more’s the pity.

Read the full article here.

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Nick Lezard’s choice in the Guardian this week is Gideon Levy’s The Punishment of Gaza:

For nearly three decades he has been writing for the Israeli daily Haaretz, chronicling, in the face of outraged opposition, the depredations suffered by those targeted by the IDF. His particular interest is Gaza, and even though he has been banned from there since November 2006, he continues to plug away at the subject. “I am asking all Israelis to be outraged – or at least to understand what is being perpetrated in their name, so that they may never have the right to claim: we did not know.”

Read the full article here.

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Ian Pindar reviewed the paperback edition of Shlomo Sand’s The Invention of the Jewish People for The Guardian on Saturday. Full review below (not yet available online):

The idea of the Jews as a single people or race is a myth, a fi ction based on Old Testament “mythistory”, argues Shlomo Sand, a Jewish historian based at the University of Tel Aviv. It is also one of the founding assumptions of the state of Israel, and throughout this polemical, revisionist history Sand has Zionist ideology in his sights. (He is not anti-Israel, but he is “post-Zionist”.) In essence, his book undermines the moral right of the state of Israel to define itself as exclusively Jewish and how you respond to it will very much depend on your political views. Sand admits none of his findings is new and there are no revelations, but what he offers is a radical dismantling of a national myth. He can find no evidence of any Jewish exile, and without exile there can be no right to return. However, even if it is founded on a myth, the state of Israel exists. Sand wants it to abandon ethnic nationalism and to modernise and democratise, and as this controversial book was a bestseller in Israel, perhaps there is hope that some Israelis want this too.

For more information about The Invention of the Jewish People, visit the book’s website here.

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Boyd Tonkin in today’s Independent on Jose Saramago’s The Notebook:

In his last years, Saramago took to blogging. The results, a year of cultural, personal and political reflections expertly translated by Daniel Hahn and Amanda Hopkinson, can be found in The Notebook (Verso, £12.99). Grumpy-old-guru snorts about world events combine, in readably provocative style, with offbeat riffs on his life and writing, on ideas and histories. For the most part, this is a bittersweet delight. Then, on 12 January 2009, this fervent opponent of Israeli policy – and friend of Palestine – lets off steam at the military assault on Gaza. He writes that “the Israeli army, which the philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz accused in 1982 of having a Judeo-Nazi mentality… is faithfully following the genocidal doctrine of the people who tortured, gassed and burned their ancestors. It is even fair to say that in some respects the disciples have surpassed their masters.”

Read the full article here.

And here is the final extract from the book.

June 25: Formation (1)

I am not unaware of the fact that the main duty of education in general, and especially education at the university, is what we call formation. The university prepares the student for life, transmitting the knowledge necessary for the effective exercise of a chosen profession within the range of the demands placed on it by a given society, a profession that might once have been a vocational calling, but which increasingly frequently now is based on scientific and technological advances, along with pressing business interests. In either case, the university will always have reason to think it has fulfilled its obligations by delivering up to society young people ready to receive and integrate into their body of knowledge the lessons that yet remain to be learned, meaning those that experience (the mother of all things human) will teach them. Nowadays a university, as is its duty, forms you, and if this so-called formation continues to do the rest, the inevitable question arises: “Where is the problem?” The problem is that I have limited myself to discussing the formation necessary to professional development, leaving aside that other formation, the formation of the individual, the person, the citizen—that earthly trinity, all three in a single body. It is now time to touch on this delicate subject. Any action that is performed presupposes, obviously, an object and an objective. The object—or perhaps we should here say subject—is the person who is the object of that formation, and the objective lies in the nature and aims of that formation. A literary formation, for example, gives rise to doubts only as to the teaching methods employed and the greater or lesser receptiveness of the student. The question, however, changes radically when we start discussing the formation of individuals, always given that we want to inspire that person whom we have designated as our ‘‘object,’’ and not restrict ourselves to merely supplying the materials appropriate to this particular discipline or that particular course. This then involves us in including the whole complex of ethical values and theoretical or practical relationships indispensible to any professional activity. However, forming individuals is not, of itself, a soporific. An education that propounded notions of racial or biological superiority would be the perversion of this intrinsic concept of value, replacing the positive with a negative, replacing ideas promoting respect for humanity with intolerance and xenophobia. Both ancient and recent human history is not short on examples of this. Let us continue.

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