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On Trying to Be Portugal

Geoffrey Wheatcroft: Zionist Terrorism, 6 August 2009

‘A Senseless, Squalid War’: Voices from Palestine 1945-48 
by Norman Rose.
Bodley Head, 278 pp., £20, March 2009, 978 0 224 07938 9
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Major Farran’s Hat: Murder, Scandal and Britain’s War against Jewish Terrorism 1945-48 
by David Cesarani.
Heinemann, 290 pp., £20, March 2009, 978 0 434 01844 4
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... movements did not claim Irish inspiration. As it happens, there is one interesting exception. When Yitzhak Shamir was an underground leader of the Stern gang he took the nom de guerre Michael in homage to Michael Collins, and the Irgun’s campaign of 1946-48 was consciously inspired by the IRA’s activities in 1919-21. There are other telling ...

The Two-State Solution: An Autopsy

Henry Siegman: An Autopsy, 24 May 2018

... statehood, whereas when my country elects former terrorists as prime ministers (Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir) it proves we are the greatest democracy in the Middle East. When my terrorists are killed or imprisoned, a grateful people take care of their families. When my neighbours do the same, it proves they reward terrorism, and must be denied ...

Peace for Galilee

David Twersky, 21 April 1983

The Longest War 
by Jacobo Timerman.
Chatto, 160 pp., £7.95, December 1982, 0 7011 3910 2
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... who went to the Communications Minister Mordechai Zippori. Zippori phoned the Foreign Minister, Yitzhak Shamir. What Zippori said to Shamir is a question of some interest, as the two Ministers rendered very different accounts of the talk in their respective testimonies to the Kahan Commission – which believed ...

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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... as defence minister, after Sharon was forced to step down over the Sabra and Shatila massacre. But Yitzhak Shamir, the new prime minister, saw Netanyahu as ‘shallow, vain, self-destructive and prone to pressure’. As he put it, ‘the sea is the same sea and Netanyahu is the same Netanyahu.’ The ‘princes’ of Likud may have had little time for ...

Overtaken by Events

Avi Shlaim, 30 November 1995

Intimate Enemies: Jews and Arabs in a Shared Land 
by Meron Benvenisti.
California, 260 pp., £20, September 1995, 0 520 08567 1
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... Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated earlier this month by a right-wing extremist claiming to act in the name of God, inflicted more punishment and pain on the Palestinians than any other Israeli leader. As Chief of Staff in 1967, he presided over Israel’s spectacular military victory and the capture of the West Bank ...

The Habit of War

Jeremy Harding: Eritrea, 20 July 2006

I Didn’t Do It for You: How the World Used and Abused a Small African Nation 
by Michela Wrong.
Harper Perennial, 432 pp., £8.99, January 2005, 0 00 715095 4
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Unfinished Business: Ethiopia and Eritrea at War 
edited by Dominique Jacquin-Berdal and Martin Plaut.
Red Sea, 320 pp., $29.95, April 2005, 1 56902 217 8
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Battling Terrorism in the Horn of Africa 
edited by Robert Rotberg.
Brookings, 210 pp., £11.99, December 2005, 0 8157 7571 7
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... to find the man who served as deputy police commissioner in Asmara at the time: he recalls fishing Yitzhak Shamir ‘from the tank of a water container in which he had been hiding, hoping to pass through police checkpoints unnoticed’. For Wrong, the absence of British-Eritrean mixed-race offspring confirms the ‘pinched, parsimonious quality’ of ...

Protocols of Machismo

Corey Robin: In the Name of National Security, 19 May 2005

Arguing about War 
by Michael Walzer.
Yale, 208 pp., £16.99, July 2004, 0 300 10365 4
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Chain of Command 
by Seymour Hersh.
Penguin, 394 pp., £17.99, September 2004, 0 7139 9845 8
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Torture: A Collection 
edited by Sanford Levinson.
Oxford, 319 pp., £18.50, November 2004, 0 19 517289 2
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... anomie, meaninglessness – war is modernity’s great answer to itself. ‘War is inescapable,’ Yitzhak Shamir declared, not because it ensures security but because ‘without this, the life of the individual has no purpose.’ Though this sensibility seeps across the political spectrum, it is essentially an ideal of the Counter-Enlightenment, which ...

Along the Divide

Nathan Thrall: Israel’s Allies, 5 November 2015

Periphery: Israel’s Search for Middle East Allies 
by Yossi Alpher.
Rowman and Littlefield, 196 pp., £23.95, January 2015, 978 1 4422 3101 6
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... peace with Israel, but was denounced by the Israeli government as something close to the opposite. Yitzhak Shamir, then foreign minister, called it ‘a renewed declaration of war on Israel’: the plan’s proposal for a Palestinian state, the foreign ministry’s official announcement concluded, ‘constitutes a danger to Israel’s existence’. During ...

Short Cuts

Yonatan Mendel: Uri Avnery, 13 September 2018

... of He Walked through the Fields, a classic novel in Zionist thought, written in 1947 by Moshe Shamir and later a play and a movie, is an Uri: a kibbutznik who serves in the Palmach and falls in love with an emigrant from Poland after the Holocaust. Earlier, in 1927, Rachel Bluwstein Sela, a Zionist pioneer who emigrated from Russia to Palestine during the ...

Cleanser to Cleansed

Gabriel Piterberg: S. Yizhar, 26 February 2009

‘Midnight Convoy’ and Other Stories 
by S. Yizhar, translated by Misha Louvish et al.
Toby, 283 pp., £9.99, May 2007, 978 1 59264 183 3
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Khirbet Khizeh 
by S. Yizhar, translated by Nicholas de Lange and Yaacob Dweck.
Ibis, 131 pp., $16.95, April 2008, 978 965 90125 9 6
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Preliminaries 
by S. Yizhar, translated by Nicholas de Lange.
Toby, 305 pp., £14.95, May 2007, 978 1 59264 190 1
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... torn and nobody looks at the paper.’ And yet, with the possible exception of two novels by Moshe Shamir, no work of literature has done as much as Yizhar’s Days of Ziklag (1958) to mythologise the ’48 generation as the young heroes who delivered a state to the Jewish people. The carefully researched novel is set during a ferocious see-saw battle that ...

The Israel Lobby

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt: The Israel Lobby, 23 March 2006

... leaders to disengage from the Gaza Strip and consider other territorial compromises, but not even Yitzhak Rabin was willing to offer the Palestinians a viable state. Ehud Barak’s purportedly generous offer at Camp David would have given them only a disarmed set of Bantustans under de facto Israeli control. The tragic history of the Jewish people does not ...

Moderation or Death

Christopher Hitchens: Isaiah Berlin, 26 November 1998

Isaiah Berlin: A Life 
by Michael Ignatieff.
Chatto, 386 pp., £20, October 1998, 0 7011 6325 9
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The Guest from the Future: Anna Akhmatova and Isaiah Berlin 
by György Dalos.
Murray, 250 pp., £17.95, September 2002, 0 7195 5476 4
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... fight and fight, and if blood has to be shed ...Stern, and his distinctly less aesthetic deputy Yitzhak Shamir, went on to offer military and political collaboration to Hitler in the battle to expel the British and to make a manly, even skull-breaking nation out of the Jews. And Berlin, normally so eager to please, was later to refuse to shake Menachem ...

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