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Constantly Dangled, Endlessly Receding

Ghada Karmi: Palestinian Rights, 5 December 2019

... respect for human rights.‘I am guided by several principles when it comes to the West Bank,’ Benjamin Netanyahu said at an event this summer to celebrate forty years of the Samaria Regional Council, which governs the settlements. ‘The first: this is our homeland. The second: we will continue to build and develop it. Third: not one resident or ...

Blackberry Apocalypse

Nicholas Guyatt: Evangelical Disarray, 15 November 2007

American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America 
by Chris Hedges.
Cape, 254 pp., £12.99, February 2007, 978 0 224 07820 7
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... audience to support Israel unconditionally, secures exclusive interviews with neocon favourite Benjamin Netanyahu and urges the US government to launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran. John Hagee has created a huge lobbying organisation to take the support-Israel/ bomb-Iran message directly to Congress and has told his followers that a US strike on ...

I Could Fix That

David Runciman: Clinton, 17 December 2009

The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History in the White House 
by Taylor Branch.
Simon and Schuster, 707 pp., £20, October 2009, 978 1 84737 140 9
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... numbers. Apparently Shimon Peres had done well in the only debate scheduled with his challenger, Benjamin Netanyahu … He had gained one point overall in the post-debate polls, building his nationwide lead to 3 per cent. The president looked resigned when he hung up. Three points were not enough, he said. Israeli elections always closed in the last few ...

Israel’s Putinisation

Adam Shatz: Israel’s Putinisation, 18 February 2016

... turn that they are not welcome, from the police killing of 13 demonstrators in October 2000, to Benjamin Netanyahu’s election day warning last May: ‘Arab voters are coming out in droves to the polls. Left-wing organisations are busing them out.’ The spectre of ‘Arab voters’ was hardly new: the Israeli right has never looked fondly on Arabs ...

Divide and divide and divide and rule

Yonatan Mendel: The Arab-Israeli Conflict, 6 October 2016

1929: Year Zero of the Arab-Israeli Conflict 
by Hillel Cohen, translated by Haim Watzman.
Brandeis, 312 pp., £20, November 2015, 978 1 61168 811 5
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... world through the prism of security. Ehud Barak used to call Israel a ‘villa in the jungle’. Benjamin Netanyahu has said: ‘We need to secure our villa, the State of Israel, with fences and barriers from all sides, to protect it from the wild beasts that surround us.’ Military service is compulsory, and generally regarded as the highest ...

Wrecking Ball

Adam Shatz: Trump’s Racism, 7 September 2017

... who endorse violence are equivalent to groups that demonstrate in peaceful and lawful ways’. Benjamin Netanyahu, too, has been conspicuously silent, but his communications minister, the Israeli Druze politician Ayoub Kara, helpfully explained that because Trump is ‘the best US leader Israel has ever had’, ‘we need to put the declarations about ...

Is Syria next?

Charles Glass, 24 July 2003

... containing and even rolling back Syria,’ a Study Group on a New Israeli Strategy advised Benjamin Netanyahu when he assumed office in 1996. This group’s paper, ‘A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm’, suggested that efforts should ‘focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq – an important Israeli strategic ...

We Are Conquerors

Adam Shatz: Ben-Gurion’s Obsession, 24 October 2019

A State at Any Cost: The Life of David Ben-Gurion 
by Tom Segev.
Head of Zeus, 804 pp., £30, August 2019, 978 1 78954 462 6
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... of American capitalism who luxuriates in the company of billionaires (and in their gifts), Benjamin Netanyahu seems to present the starkest possible contrast to the country’s socialist founder. But as Segev shows, Ben-Gurion’s differences with the right were more a matter of tactics than principle. Like ...

Trump’s America, Netanyahu’s Israel

Adam Shatz: Actually Existing Zionism, 9 May 2019

... Israel’s​ legislative elections on 9 April were a tribute to Binyamin Netanyahu’s transformation of the political landscape. At no point were they discussed in terms of which candidates might be persuaded by (non-existent) American pressure, or the ‘international community’, to end the occupation. This time the question was which party leader could be trusted by Israeli Jews – Palestinian citizens of Israel are now officially second-class – to manage the occupation, and to expedite the various tasks the Jewish state has mastered: killing Gazans, bulldozing homes, combating the scourge of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement (BDS), and conflating anti-Zionism with antisemitism ...


Edward Said, 7 May 1987

The Jaguar Smile: A Nicaraguan Journey 
by Salman Rushdie.
Picador, 171 pp., £2.95, January 1987, 0 330 29990 5
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Turning the Tide: US Intervention in Central America and the Struggle for Peace 
by Noam Chomsky.
Pluto, 298 pp., £5.95, September 1986, 0 7453 0184 3
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... empire of evil’, which has been shown to be closely allied with international terrorism. As Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli UN Ambassador, and now a major American public figure, has put it, terrorism emanates from Islam and the PLO, on the one hand, and from Moscow and the KGB, on the other. With memories of the Monroe Doctrine stirring its ...

What are we allowed to say?

David Bromwich, 22 September 2016

... it was possible on 11 January 2015 for François Hollande, Angela Merkel, David Cameron, Benjamin Netanyahu and three dozen world leaders to assemble shoulder to shoulder at the place de la République, to march twenty abreast with arms interlinked and to chant with the crowd of a million: ‘Je suis Charlie.’A sequel in a lower strain ...

Grab more hills, expand the territory

Henry Siegman: The History of the Settlements, 10 April 2008

The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-77 
by Gershom Gorenberg.
Holt, 454 pp., £16.99, March 2007, 978 0 8050 8241 8
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Lords of the Land: The War over Israel’s Settlements in the Occupied Territories, 1967-2007 
by Idith Zertal and Akiva Eldar.
Nation, 531 pp., $29.95, October 2007, 978 1 56858 370 9
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... youth’, young people who responded to Sharon in October 1998 when, as foreign minister in Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, he called on settlers to ‘grab’ hilltops in the parts of the West Bank from which he and Netanyahu had agreed to withdraw, as stipulated by the Oslo Accords. ‘Grab more ...


Adam Shatz, 16 April 2020

... immediately. The next day a makeshift fence surrounded it. ‘Baudelaire loved solitude,’ Walter Benjamin wrote, ‘but he wanted it in a crowd.’ Today any area that might attract a crowd has shut down and Governor Cuomo frowns on walks. You can still find ‘crowds’, but they’re made up of people you already know but can’t risk seeing ‘in real ...

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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... much of contradiction as of tautology. (And perhaps of want of originality: Berlin’s favourite, Benjamin Constant, proposed a distinction between the ‘liberty of the ancients’ and the ‘liberty of the moderns’; T.H. Green spoke of liberty in the ‘positive’ and ‘negative’, and the same antithesis is strongly present in Hayek’s Road to ...

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