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Israel and the Gulf

Avi Shlaim, 24 January 1991

... Two major security challenges confronted the Israeli government headed by Yitzhak Shamir in the second half of 1990: the Palestinian uprising, now in its third year, against Israeli rule in the occupied territories, and the crisis triggered by Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait on 2 August last year. To begin with, the Gulf crisis overshadowed the intifada, but within a short time it also contributed to a serious escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, pushing it to the brink of an inter-communal war ...

The Fighting Family

Avi Shlaim, 9 May 1996

Israel, Likud and the Zionist Dream: Power, Politics and Ideology from Begin to Netanyahu 
by Colin Shindler.
Tauris, 324 pp., £25, August 1995, 1 85043 969 9
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Summing Up: An Autobiography 
by Yitzhak Shamir.
Weidenfeld, 276 pp., £19.99, April 1994, 0 297 81337 4
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Broken Covenant: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis between the US and Israel 
by Moshe Arens.
Simon and Schuster, 320 pp., $25, February 1995, 0 671 86964 7
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A Zionist Stand 
by Ze’ev Begin.
Cass, 173 pp., £15, January 1993, 0 7146 4089 1
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Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat Domestic and International Terrorism 
by Benjamin Netanyahu.
Farrar, Straus, 152 pp., $17, October 1995, 0 374 15492 9
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... friend.’ Stern’s successors, a triumvirate consisting of Israel Eldad, Natan Yellin-Mor and Yitzhak Shamir, kept up the terrorist attacks and political assassinations in their campaign to drive the British out of Palestine. But after the end of the Second World War they turned to the Soviet Union in their search for allies against Britain. Both ...
Intifada. The Palestinian Uprising: Israel’s Third Front 
by Ze’ev Schiff and Ehud Ya’ari.
Simon and Schuster, 352 pp., £14.95, May 1990, 0 671 67530 3
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Winner takes all: A Season in Israel 
by Stephen Brook.
Hamish Hamilton, 363 pp., £16.99, June 1990, 0 241 12635 5
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... did from Namibia after it failed to win the war in southern Angola – is open to doubt. Nor does Yitzhak Shamir seem inclined to take the sort of bold political initiatives which have left F.W. de Klerk’s supporters and opponents gasping for breath. Israelis generally hate to be compared to white South Africans (although a few are white South ...

A Little Holiday

Geoffrey Wheatcroft: Ben Hecht’s Cause, 23 September 2021

A Child of the Century 
by Ben Hecht.
Yale, 654 pp., £16, April 2020, 978 0 300 25179 1
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Ben Hecht: Fighting Words, Moving Pictures 
by Adina Hoffman.
Yale, 245 pp., £10.99, April 2020, 978 0 300 25181 4
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... raided military bases and attacked trains, in a campaign modelled on the IRA’s in 1919-21 (Yitzhak Shamir, the Sternist leader who ordered Moyne’s assassination, used the code name ‘Michael’, in homage to Michael Collins). In May 1947, Hecht placed an advertisement in two New York newspapers, apostrophising the Irgun:My brave friends … The ...

Sleepless Afternoons

Avi Shlaim, 25 February 1993

The Passionate Attachment: America’s Involvement with Israel 
by George Ball and Douglas Ball.
Norton, 382 pp., £17.95, January 1993, 0 393 02933 6
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... and coherence needed to sign the final document.’ No less revealing is Kissinger’s comment on Yitzhak Rabin, the present prime minister who had served as Ambassador to Washington in the early Seventies: ‘Yitzhak had many extraordinary qualities, but the gift of human relations was not one of them. If he had been ...

Once a Syrian, always a Syrian

Maria Margaronis: Joseph O’Neill, 8 March 2001

Blood-Dark Track: A Family History 
by Joseph O'Neill.
Granta, 338 pp., £16.99, February 2001, 1 86207 288 4
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... the 171 bus blown up at the Aldwych by an IRA bomb fresh in his mind; questions hotel doormen and Yitzhak Shamir; boards the Taurus Express at 4 a.m. to visit Dakak’s birthplace at Iskenderun. The drifts of detail and description can seem overwhelming. O’Neill is searching not just for the facts but for a visceral understanding of the worlds in which ...

Right Stuff

Alexander Cockburn, 7 February 1991

An American Life 
by Ronald Reagan.
Hutchinson, 748 pp., £19.99, November 1990, 0 09 174507 1
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... Vietnam. Forty years after he gazed at those photographs of Polish children Reagan would tell Yitzhak Shamir, then foreign minister of Israel, that he had helped liberate Auschwitz in Poland, and had returned to Hollywood with film of the ghastly scenes he had witnessed, and if in later years anyone around the Reagan dinner table controverted the ...

Comparisons with Weimar

David Biale, 16 August 1990

The False Prophet. Rabbi Meir Kahane: From FBI Informant to Knesset Member 
by Robert Friedman.
Faber, 282 pp., £14.99, June 1990, 0 571 14842 5
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... early Seventies when the JDL launched its campaign to free Soviet Jews. Notable among these was Yitzhak Shamir, today Israel’s Prime Minister, but then recently retired from Mossad. Friedman suggests, but does not prove, that through Shamir and other retired operatives, Mossad used the JDL for its own purposes ...

Changing Places

Avi Shlaim, 9 January 1992

... no to negotiation with the PLO, no to a Palestinian state. Their only positive contribution was Yitzhak Shamir’s plan of May 1989 for elections on the West Bank and Gaza leading to limited autonomy. But Shamir only put this idea forward in response to pressure from Washington and he gave it up at the first ...

Tales from the Bunker

Christopher Hitchens, 10 October 1991

... many Israelis, have a central preocupation which takes a moment or two to become apparent. If Mr Shamir succeeds, in his own words, in linking ‘a greater immigration’ to ‘a greater Israel’, then Israel will willy-nilly become a binational state. The territories will be annexed de facto, and the new arrivals from Russia will be the unwitting excuse ...

Rallying Points

Shlomo Avineri, 1 October 1987

Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land 
by David Shipler.
Bloomsbury, 596 pp., £17.95, June 1987, 0 7475 0017 7
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... were massacred by the two right-wing underground organisations connected with Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir. Deir Yassin became a symbol for the Palestinian Arabs, and it is only natural for Shipler to dwell on it: that the main Jewish underground organisation, the Hagannah, and the Jewish Agency were as much shocked as anybody else, that they ...

Israel’s Caesar

Naomi Shepherd, 26 November 1987

Sharon: An Israeli Caesar 
by Uzi Benziman.
Robson, 276 pp., £12.95, September 1987, 9780860514343
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Sands of Sorrow: Israel’s Journey from Independence 
by Milton Viorst.
Tauris, 328 pp., £16.50, September 1987, 1 85043 064 0
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... remains a member of the coalition cabinet, and a potential candidate for the premiership, should Yitzhak Shamir stand down in 1988. According to some analysts, Labour has remained in the coalition with the right-wing Likud – an arrangement which paralyses any political initiative on the Palestinian question – solely in order to block Sharon’s ...

Memories of Eden

Keith Kyle, 13 September 1990

... Israelis. The message reached Ben-Gurion by way of the French and was at first not unwelcome. Now Yitzhak Shamir has given out the word that the Gulf is a long way away and that Israel is not directly concerned. If Israel is on one side, all the Arabs will line up on the other. The Iraqi leader in 1956, Nuri es-Said, was a friend of Britain’s ...

Off the edge

Frank Kermode, 7 November 1991

Musical Elaborations 
by Edward Said.
Chatto, 128 pp., £20, October 1991, 0 7011 3809 2
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... to point out the connection that existed between right-wing Zionism (now represented by Yitzhak Shamir) and ‘officials of the Third Reich’. These are serious matters but they have very little to do with music. It is as if he wanted to remind himself, and us, that there are things that are important beyond all this fiddle. It cannot have ...

Arafat’s Camel

Avi Shlaim, 21 October 1993

... 242 and the principle of swapping land for peace. But this principle was not accepted by Yitzhak Shamir, the Likud leader and Israel’s prime minister. ‘Shamir’, as Avishai Margalit presciently observed, ‘is not a bargainer. Shamir is a two-dimensional man. One ...

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