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Gabriele Annan

7 May 1981
When memory comes 
by Saul Friedländer, translated by Helen Lane.
Faber, 185 pp., £5.50, February 1981, 0 374 28898 4
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... a cheesemaker, but could get no work. The mother trained as a beautician and sometimes got a little. It might be depilating ladies’ legs, but more often it was scrubbing their floors. Pavel – now Paul – was put in a Jewish children’s home, where his mother visited him on Sundays. From his point of view, the fall of France improved matters, because his parents carried him off to a small spa ...
22 October 1992
Nuclear Ambiguity: The Vanunu Affair 
by Yoel Cohen.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 297 pp., £10.99, July 1992, 1 85619 150 8
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... last that long. Already there are signs that the remarkable coherence and determination which he showed during the first years of his ordeal are on the wane. If he does go mad, the authorities in Israel will be delighted. They have always presented Vanunu to the world as a misfit, a wayward semi-loon who, in the interests of his country, is best kept locked up. Vanunu’s loyalty to his country ...

The Israel​ Lobby

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt: The Israel​ Lobby

23 March 2006
... For the past several decades, and especially since the 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 ...


Ian Gilmour

23 October 1986
Britain’s Civil Wars: Counter-Insurgency in the 20th Century 
by Charles Townshend.
Faber, 220 pp., £14.95, June 1986, 0 571 13802 0
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Terrorism and the Liberal State 
by Paul​ Wilkinson.
Macmillan, 322 pp., £25, May 1986, 0 333 39490 9
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Terrorism: How the West can win 
edited by Benjamin Netanyahu.
Weidenfeld, 254 pp., £14.95, August 1986, 0 297 79025 0
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Political Murder: From Tyrannicide to Terrorism 
by Franklin Ford.
Harvard, 440 pp., £24.95, November 1985, 0 674 68635 7
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The Financing of Terror 
by James Adams.
New English Library, 294 pp., £12.95, July 1986, 0 450 06086 1
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They dare to speak out: People and institutions confront Israel’s lobby 
by Paul​ Findley.
Lawrence Hill (Connecticut), 362 pp., $16.95, May 1985, 0 88208 179 9
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... anti-terrorism the fashionable crusade, and few stop to consider the wisdom of the course the US is pursuing. In this country sensible discussion of terrorism is still possible. Charles Townshend, Paul Wilkinson and James Adams are immune to the hysteria that has afflicted Reagan’s America. Performing a miracle of compression, Mr Townshend tells the story of British ‘counter-insurgency’ in ...
4 August 1988
A History of the Jews 
by Paul​ Johnson.
Weidenfeld, 643 pp., £8.95, April 1988, 0 297 79366 7
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The Burning Bush: Anti-Semitism and World History 
by Barnet Litvinoff.
Collins, 493 pp., £17.50, April 1988, 0 00 217433 2
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Living with Anti-Semitism: Modern Jewish Responses 
edited by Jehuda Reinharz.
Brandeis/University Press of New England, 498 pp., £32.75, August 1987, 9780874513882
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... or not this picture of the Jewish origins of a taste for eschatological history is exactly right, it is certainly the picture that dominates most attempts to write a general history of the Jews. Paul Johnson, already the author of a History of Christianity and a History of the English People, starts his third excursus into universal history with some self-interrogation. ‘Why have I written a ...

A Tentative Idea for a Lamp

Tim Radford: Thomas Edison

18 March 1999
Edison: A Life of Invention 
by Paul Israel.
Wiley, 552 pp., £19.50, November 1998, 0 471 52942 7
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... electricity, acoustics, cement housing, artificial pearls, the forerunner of the mimeograph and a way of getting electricity from coal. He also left five million pages of papers and records. PaulIsrael’s dense and sometimes exasperating book is a fine example of the ‘many worlds’ theory of biography: Edison was incontestably one of the great Victorians. The Victorian label, however, gets ...

‘We’ know who ‘we’ are

Edward Said: Palestine, Iraq and ‘Us’

17 October 2002
... and Lebanese, most of them civilians, had been killed. The civil war between right-wing Christian militias and left-wing Muslim and Arab nationalist groups had already lasted seven years. Although Israel sent its Army into Lebanon only once before 1982, it had early been sought as an ally by the Christian militias, who co-operated with Sharon’s forces during the siege. Sharon’s main ally was ...

Silent Partner

Yitzhak Laor: Israel’s War

8 May 2003
... civilians were shown being kicked by soldiers, although of course they were treated this way long before suicide bombing became a tactical problem. Then there were images of terrorist attacks inside Israel along with what seemed to be footage from Iraq of a putative uprising. A British security expert was interviewed, and told us what we already knew: that every Iraqi citizen would, from now on, be ...

Short Cuts

John Sturrock: Iraq’s Invisible Weapons

19 June 2003
... such as our own which their owners had no means of reaching. What has tended to go unsaid is that if these weapons did exist, they posed, most obviously, a threat exclusively to the not so distant Israel, in whose interests it certainly was to see Iraq invaded. As Yitzak Laor has written in this paper, for Israeli hawks, the Iraq war came in very handy, since it neutered a serious enemy by proxy ...
17 August 1989
by Paul​ Johnson.
Weidenfeld, 385 pp., £14.95, October 1988, 0 297 79395 0
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CounterBlasts No 1: God, Man and Mrs Thatcher 
by Jonathan Raban.
Chatto, 72 pp., £2.99, June 1989, 0 7011 3470 4
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... are intellectuals who have wished to change the world, and a very few who have managed to do so: but some intellectuals have been thought to have difficulty in changing their socks. Bertrand Russell, Paul Johnson reports, was unable to make himself a cup of tea. The term came to currency with the classifications employed in the Marxist system, and has been used to deplore the scarcity in this country ...

Mishal’s Luck

Adam Shatz: The Plot against Hamas

14 May 2009
Kill Khalid: The Failed Mossad Assassination of Khalid Mishal and the Rise of Hamas 
by Paul​ McGeough.
Quartet, 477 pp., £25, May 2009, 978 0 7043 7157 6
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... The peace process might be undermined, but that would be just as well: Netanyahu shared Hamas’s hostility to Oslo, and had compared trading land for peace to appeasement with Hitler. Mishal, Paul McGeough writes in Kill Khalid, his gripping account of the plot, was selected from a list of targets by Netanyahu not only because he was suspected of orchestrating the suicide bomb campaign, but ...

The Academy of Lagado

Edward Said: The US Administration’s misguided war

17 April 2003
... not a single journalist of the overpaid legions who swarm around the Pentagon, State Department and White House has ever bothered to investigate it. Iraq might once have been a potential challenge to Israel. It was the one Arab country with the human and natural resources, as well as the infrastructure, to take on Israel’s arrogant brutality. That is why Begin bombed Iraq pre-emptively in 1981 ...


Edward Said: An encounter with J-P Sartre

1 June 2000
... Once the most celebrated intellectual, Jean-Paul Sartre had, until quite recently, almost faded from view. He was already being attacked for his ‘blindness’ about the Soviet gulags shortly after his death in 1980, and even his humanist ...


Edward Said: Reflections on the Hebron Massacre

7 April 1994
... deranged extremist’ or ‘mainstream Zionism’. Much of what Zionism has been long telling its supporters is that Zionism and Judaism are one and the same; both speak of Palestine as the land of Israel; and both regard Arabs on ‘the land of Israel’ as aliens and barely tolerable intruders. Above all, Zionism sees itself as redeeming the land whose natives have called it ‘Palestine’ for a ...
8 February 1996
The Pillars of Hercules: A Grand Tour of the Mediterranean 
by Paul​ Theroux.
Hamish Hamilton, 523 pp., £17.50, November 1995, 0 241 13504 4
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... Are you making a trip here to write a book?’ inquires the manager as Paul Theroux books into a hotel in Corsica, 136 pages into his latest travel narrative. ‘I don’t know,’ replies the author. ‘It was the truth,’ he adds as an aside. ‘It was too early in my ...

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