The Undeclared Goal

The Balfour Declaration: The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict By Jonathan Schneer Published by Random House, (New York 2010), pp. 432 price $30 The Balfour Declaration was the British charter of November 1917 that viewed “with favour” the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine. Of course, David Lloyd George and … Read more

The Prime Ministers: An Intimate Narrative of Israeli Leadership

The Prime Ministers: An Intimate Narrative of Israeli Leadership by Yehuda Avner Published by Toby Press, pp.     price £19.99   This is a work of recollections, reminiscences and vignettes. Yehuda Avner’s life spans the lifetime of the state of Israel – and in one sense, he tells the traditional story from his earliest days in … Read more

The Visionary Zionist who Everyone Misunderstood

Vladimir Jabotinsky Vladimir Jabotinsky was one of the founding fathers of the modern Zionist movement. He was one of the great inspirers of discriminated and impoverished Jewish youth in Eastern Europe in the inter-war years. In a pre-television era, audiences would sit patiently for hours, enthralled and entranced by his rhetoric. A Russian-Jewish intellectual who … Read more

Palestine Betrayed

Israeli recruits gather last month at the graves of fallen soldiers and other victims of war, Mount Herzl cemetery By Efraim Karsh Yale University Press, £20 Palestine Betrayed is a detailed riposte to the version of the Israel-Palestine conflict that places the blame solely at Israel’s doorstep. Efraim Karsh, Professor of Middle East and Mediterranean … Read more

Zionism’s Hated Hero

Theodor Herzl was born, 150 years ago this week, in Hungary, moved to Austria as a teenager, embraced German nationalism at university and found salvation in Zionism during the last decade of his short life. In part he was trying to solve his own Jewish problem of who he really was. A few years before … Read more

Defend the Realm

Defend the Realm By Christopher Andrew | Knopf | 1,056 pages | $40 In October 1909, Commander Mansfield Cumming of the Royal Navy and Captain Vernon Kell of the British Army started work in a small office in London’s Victoria Street which had been rented by a private detective. Thus began Britain’s security service, known … Read more

The Political Right in Israel: Different Faces of Jewish Populism

Right-hand man: Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party appeals to ordinary Israelis’ deep-seated fears By Dani Filc Routledge £75 Why do so many impoverished Israelis vote for the Right? Netanyahu’s policies of privatisation and empowerment of the private sector clearly seem to be against their interests. Yet they shout: “Long live Bibi and Israel”. Dani Filc … Read more

The Mark of an Arrogant Nation

“The mark of an arrogant nation that has overreached itself” sounds more like an irritated imperial satrap of a bygone era than a reasoned Guardian editorial about the Mossad (24 March). Why nation and not government? Everybody? Does this include the Israeli peace camp, as well as those Israelis who held doctored British passports? Since … Read more