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17 August 1989
Dutch Primacy in World Trade, 1585-1740 
by Jonathan Israel.
Oxford, 462 pp., £45, June 1989, 0 19 822729 9
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... Jonathan Israel seeks, as few before him have done, to explain the phenomenal rise and then fall of the Dutch commercial hegemony by viewing it against a global background. His theme is its centrality ‘for over a century in the making of the Early Modern world’. His big book comes close to being a history of Europe, even of the whole world, or at least of commercial relations everywhere and the bearing of these on political relations ...

Spinoza got it

Margaret Jacob: Radical Enlightenment

8 November 2012
A Revolution of the Mind: Radical Enlightenment and the Intellectual Origins of Modern Democracy 
by Jonathan Israel.
Princeton, 276 pp., £13.95, September 2011, 978 0 691 15260 8
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... Once primarily interested in economic history, Jonathan Israel has more recently turned his attention to the intellectual roots of Western modernity in the 18th-century Enlightenment. In the 1980s, critics on the left would have told him not to bother. During that decade the Enlightenment became a prime target in the American culture wars ...

The Brothers Koerbagh

Jonathan Rée: The Enlightenment

14 January 2002
Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity 1650-1750 
by Jonathan Israel.
Oxford, 810 pp., £30, February 2001, 0 19 820608 9
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... with scant acknowledgment to her; and if they have all added a few extra pebbles to the cairn, Jonathan Israel now comes along with a massive concrete block. Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity 1650-1750 comprises half a million words of evidence for a systematic underground movement of progressive thought that formed itself ...
6 April 1995
Hans Memling: The Complete Works 
by Dirk de Vos.
Thames and Hudson, 431 pp., £95, October 1994, 0 500 23698 4
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... though curiously, in this view, without art. Writing about De Vos in the TLS, the historian Jonathan Israel argued that, far from being unconnected with the real world, Memling provided the art appropriate to give quasi-legitimacy to new men: his patrons were ambitious arrivistes in the employ of the ducal court. Memling, in ...

Horrible Heresies

Jonathan Rée: Spinoza’s Big Idea

16 March 2017
The Collected Works of Spinoza Vol. II 
edited and translated by Edwin Curley.
Princeton, 769 pp., £40.95, June 2016, 978 0 691 16763 3
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... and he was soon launched on a posthumous career as the figurehead of the atheistic movements that Jonathan Israel likes to call the ‘radical enlightenment’. Subversive Spinozism was still being championed in plebeian London as late as the 1830s, when – as G.H. Lewes would recall – a poverty-stricken German Jewish watchmaker called Cohn (‘a man ...

The Lobby Falters

John Mearsheimer: Charles Freeman speaks out

26 March 2009
... 30-year career as a diplomat and Defense Department official, but he has publicly criticised Israeli policy and America’s special relationship with Israel, saying, for example, in a speech in 2005, that ‘as long as the United States continues unconditionally to provide the subsidies and political protection that ...
21 February 1980
The Palestinians 
by Jonathan Dimbleby.
Quartet, 256 pp., £12.50, September 1980, 0 7043 2205 6
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The Rabin Memoirs 
by Yitzhak Rabin.
Weidenfeld, 272 pp., £10, November 1980, 0 297 77546 4
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... no further explanation than the outbreak or rumour of fighting. It has been an important part of Israeli belief, supported by scarcely anything in the way of hard evidence, that the Arab states instructed the Palestinian Arab civilians to get out of the way so as to provide free-fire zones for the Arab armies. The Arabs, as ...

Travels in Israel

Gabriel Piterberg: ‘Are you not from this country?’

21 September 2006
... On the road to Qiryat Shemona in northern Israel, on Sunday, 13 August, just before the ceasefire is declared, my mobile phone buzzes incessantly: my mother would just like to know if I think that either Jews or Arabs are worth dying for. Woody Allen’s line about being brought up by a castrating Zionist mother comes to mind ...

The Israel Lobby

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt: The Israel Lobby

23 March 2006
... Six-Day War in 1967, the centrepiece of US Middle Eastern policy has been its relationship with Israel. The combination of unwavering support for Israel and the related effort to spread ‘democracy’ throughout the region has inflamed Arab and Islamic opinion and jeopardised not only US security but that of much of the ...
20 January 2011
Newton and the Counterfeiter: The Unknown Detective Career of the World’s Greatest Scientist 
by Thomas Levenson.
Faber, 318 pp., £9.99, August 2010, 978 0 571 22993 2
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... head and our country repeopled with foreigners’. He did not miss a trick in turning himself, as Jonathan Israel once put it, into an object of ‘national detestation’. The only comfort he could offer his subjects was the exhilaration of war. Within a few days of the coronation, the English fleet engaged the French off the coast of Ireland, and at ...

Homage to Braudel

Geoffrey Parker

4 September 1980
Civilisation matérielle, économie et capitalisme, XVe – XVIIIe siécle 
by Fernand Braudel.
Armand Colin, 544 pp.
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... by some new studies’: but the works referred to are not the excellent recent articles of Jonathan Israel, nor even the 1976 book of Gonzalo de Raparaz, but an article of Lewis Hanke published in 1961 and another by Raparaz from 1967. But there are not many areas in which Civilisation Matérielle is out of date. On the contrary, a considerable ...

Enlightenment’s Errand Boy

David A. Bell: The Philosophes and the Republic of Letters

22 May 2003
Calvet’s Web: Enlightenment and the Republic of Letters in 18th-Century France 
by L.W.B. Brockliss.
Oxford, 471 pp., £55, July 2002, 9780199247486
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The Great Nation: France from Louis XV to Napoleon 
by Colin Jones.
Allen Lane, 651 pp., £25, August 2002, 0 7139 9039 2
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... As Diderot himself later acknowledged, ‘we had contemporaries during the age of Louis XIV’ (Jonathan Israel has recently restated this argument in a new form in Radical Enlightenment, focusing on the Netherlands and the circle of Spinoza). Brockliss takes a different tack. He wants to show, first, that the Republic of Letters survived into the late ...

Dual Loyalty

Victor Mallet

5 December 1991
The Samson Option: Israel, America and the Bomb 
by Seymour Hersh.
Faber, 256 pp., £15.99, October 1991, 0 571 16619 9
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Dangerous Liaison: The Inside Story of the US-Israeli Covert Relationship 
by Andrew Cockburn and Leslie Cockburn.
Bodley Head, 423 pp., £17.99, January 1991, 0 370 31405 0
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... prone to exaggeration, had a legitimate grievance about Washington’s automatic bias in favour of Israel since the departure of Eisenhower. The recent Middle East peace conference in Madrid may therefore come to be seen as a watershed. With the Cold War over and the Gulf War won, President George Bush and James Baker, his Secretary of State, have adopted an ...

The sea is the same sea

Adam Shatz: Bibi goes to Washington

30 August 2018
Bibi: The Turbulent Life and Times of Benjamin Netanyahu 
by Anshel Pfeffer.
Hurst, 423 pp., £20, May 2018, 978 1 84904 988 7
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... The problem​ with Israel,’ Tony Judt wrote in the New York Review of Books in 2003, is not – as is sometimes suggested – that it is a European ‘enclave’ in the Arab world; but rather that it arrived too late. It has imported a characteristically late-19th-century separatist project into a world that has moved on, a world of individual rights, open frontiers, and international law ...

Diary

James Francken: British Jews

1 November 2001
... the Theatre Royal in London staged a ‘solidarity rally’ for British Jews. The Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, scolded the press for blaming the events of 11 September on Israel. Would they, he asked, like to live in ‘Gaza under the Palestinian Authority, Afghanistan under the Taliban, Iraq under Saddam Hussein, Iran ...

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