Theodor Herzl and the Foundation of the Jewish State

Shlomo Avineri Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2013. pp.274 In his autobiography, Chaim Weizmann commented that Theodor Herzl was ‘not of the people’ despite being an inspiring leader and brilliant organiser. The author of this interesting book, the eminent Israeli academic and public intellectual, Shlomo Avineri, has not written a conventional biography of Herzl. Instead he has … Read more

Israel, the European Left and the Complexity of the Middle East

Résumé The reaction by the Left in Britain and France to the Arab Spring was one of both joy and opportunity in 2011, but had descended into a muffled and confused embarrassment by 2014. Yet this tentative alliance with Islamism mirrors past ideological mishaps such as a belief in Stalinism or the initial acceptance that … Read more

The Birth of the Zion Mule Corps

One hundred years ago today, Turkey entered World War I on the side of the Kaiser’s Germany. Within days, Russia, France and Britain all declared war on ‘the sick man of Europe’. This event was probably far more important for Jewish national interests than the outbreak of hostilities between Britain and Germany in August 1914. … Read more

Cursed Victory

So near and yet… (left to right) Arafat, Hussein, Clinton and Netanyahu By Ahron Bregman Allen Lane, £25 Ahron Bregman’s new book is an intelligent, critical account of contemporary Israeli history after the 1967 Six-Day War. The conquered territories, occupied and then colonised, became an ideological albatross that has hung around Israel’s neck ever since. … Read more

Jabotinsky: A Life

Surrounded and confounded – Vladimir Jabotinsky (centre) shortly before his death in 1940 By Hillel Halkin Yale University Press, £18.99 This is a revelatory exploration of Vladimir Jabotinsky, “father of the Israeli right”. He has been projected as a colossus by Menachem Begin and succeeding generations of Likud leaders. The Zionist left, aided and abetted … Read more