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Isi Leibler of the Jerusalem Post has reported that the Israeli Embassy in London has been promoting next week’s public conversation between Gideon Levy, author of The Punishment of Gaza, and C4 news presenter Jon Snow at the Amnesty International Human Rights Action Centre. More info about the event here.

Over the years I have encountered many cases of incompetence and blunders on the part of those responsible for promoting the case for Israel on a global level, but nothing quite as bizarre as what I experienced a few days ago.

A number of British Jews wrote to me complaining bitterly that the Israeli London Embassy was promoting a tour by Haaretz journalist Gidon Levy…

…My initial instinct was that the e-mail was a hoax and I urged my informant to obtain further clarification from the embassy.

I was then informed that Brodsky had indeed released the communication, justifying it on the grounds that it was being directed “to a small group of Jewish activists in order to inform them about an anti-Israeli event taking place in London.”

Read the full article here.

Levy has a number of other speaking dates in the next fortnight:

TODAY – Wednesday 18 August, Edinburgh, St Georges West, Shandwick Pl, 7.30pm (Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign open meeting). More info here.

VENUE CHANGE – Thursday 19 August, Manchester, Friends Meeting House, 7.00pm (Manchester Palestine Solidarity Campaign open meeting). More info here.

Tuesday 24 August 2010, London, Amnesty International Human Rights Action Centre, 17-25 New Inn Yard, 8.15pm (in conversation with Jon Snow). More info here.

Wednesday 25 August, London, Frontline Club, 7.00pm (in conversation with Jeremy Bowen). More info here.

Both the London events are filling up quickly so book now!

Acclaimed Israeli journalist Gideon Levy will be speaking about his new book, The Punishment of Gaza (published by Verso in July 2010) at a number of locations in the next fortnight.

Described by Le Monde as a “thorn in Israel’s flank,” Gideon Levy has reported from the West Bank and Gaza for the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz since 1982.

Dates, times and locations:

Wednesday 18 August, Edinburgh, festival appearance with Gilbert Achcar, Pepper Theatre,  12.30pm. More info and tickets here.

Wednesday 18 August, Edinburgh, St Georges West, Shandwick Pl, 7.30pm (Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign open meeting). More info here.

VENUE CHANGE – Thursday 19 August, Manchester, Friends Meeting House, 7.00pm (Manchester Palestine Solidarity Campaign open meeting). More info here.

Tuesday 24 August 2010, London, Amnest International Human Rights Action Centre, 17-25 New Inn Yard, 8.15pm (in conversation with Jon Snow). More info here.

Wednesday 25 August, London, Frontline Club, 7.00pm (in conversation with Jeremy Bowen). More info here.

Both the London events are filling up quickly so book now!

Andrew Sullivan writes about Angelo Quattrocchi’s The Pope is Not Gay! and Colm Toíbín’s LRB review of the book in his Atlantic magazine blog The Daily Dish:

The psychological profile that Quattrocchi paints is a powerful one…I would like to return to the world where this kind of speculation was disgraceful, unnecessary and blasphemous. But when this Pope has already enabled the rape of children, has covered up the crimes of many priests, when he has responded by blaming gay men for the moral failings of his own church, when he has publicly demanded that gay Catholics remain in the closet, i.e. lie about themselves as a sacred duty…then such deference becomes much more difficult.

Read the full article here.

Quattrocchi’s book launches on the 14th September at the Southbank Centre, from 6:30-9:00pm as a part of September’s Polari, London’s “peerless gay literary salon”.

Join the Facebook group for the event here.

See the Protest the Pope website for more events in protest of the Pope’s four-day state visit from 16-19 September.

Congratulations to Rob Young, whose latest book, Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain’s Visionary Music, has been getting excellent reviews of late (see here, here and here).

Fans of Young’s work, as well as of The Wire magazine more generally, will be interested in The Wire Primers: A Guide to Modern Music, which surveys the musical universe of several artists, groups and genres by way of contextualizing introductions and thumbnail guides to the most essential recordings.

Owen Hatherley, author of the forthcoming A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain, an urban travelogue, writes about his experiences as a benefit claimant in the Guardian:

Aside from the even more helpless asylum seeker, nobody is so consistently pilloried as the benefit claimant – invariably some tracksuited miscreant, a sofa-bound chav. This week David Cameron perpetuated the stereotype by calling in the credit agencies as bounty hunters to crack down on “welfare cheats”. Entirely dependent on the largesse of the taxpayer, subjected to every manner of means test, experimental course and vacuous reform – but without unions or other instruments of self-defence – they’re the easiest of easy targets.

Read the full article here.

According to the Pink Paper, Hutton Gibson, father of actor Mel Gibson, has recently told U.S.-based radio network Liberty News that he believes the Pope is gay.

For an alternative take on the subject of the Pontiff’s sexuality, see Angelo Quattrocchi’s The Pope is Not Gay!, which launches on the 14th September at the Southbank Centre, from 6:30-9:00pm as a part of September’s Polari, London’s “peerless gay literary salon”.

Join the Facebook group for the event here.

See the Protest the Pope website for more events in protest of the Pope’s four-day state visit from 16-19 September.

As part of VPRO International’s Backlight series, broadcast in March this year, Žižek discusses many of the themes from his new book:

Zizek Living in the End Times Cover Image

Slavoj Žižek’s new book Living in the End Times is available now in hardback.

With thanks to Jonathan Waring, who writes about this video on his website: http://www.jonathanwaring.net