On Arik Sharon

David Landau: Arik: The Life of Ariel Sharon (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2013), 631 pp. Did Ariel Sharon have a clear-cut ideology? How can all the inconsistencies in his political outlook be reconciled? It can be argued that Sharon belonged to the flexible Ben-Gurion school of perception of current reality. In addition, Sharon was … Read more

On Hilary Benn’s Speech

Hilary Benn’s remarkable speech during the Syria debate in parliament last week did not please everyone. It did however align voting to bomb Daesh installations with past traditions of the Labour party which are rarely mentioned today. Benn spoke about internationalism and evoked the struggle against Franco during the Spanish Civil War – a struggle … Read more

Jeremy Corbyn: Accidental Hero

W. Stephen Gilbert has written an adulatory account of the emergence of the new British Labor party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and the subsequent hope for “a new politics” in the United Kingdom. Corbyn, the eternal party rebel on the far Left, was unexpectedly elected to lead the Labor Party in September because of a new voting system that permitted many non-Labor party members to vote … Read more

Cognitive Dissonance and the Survey Critics

We Jews invented cognitive dissonance. The American Jewish psychologist, Leon Festinger, was the first to coin the phrase and to use it to describe people’s responses to information which conflicts with their own understandings of reality. There’s a perfect illustration of the phenomenon in the flurry of argument, rationalisation and denial that has surfaced in … Read more

The US Campaign for Soviet Jewry

Review of Let My People Go by Pauline Peretz (Trans: Ethan Rundell) Transaction, £54.50 Joseph Stalin’s last years were the “Black Years of Soviet Jewry”. The trial and execution of the Yiddish writers, the Slansky trial of mainly Jewish Communists in Prague, and the infamous Doctors’ Plot in January 1953, all characterised this period. Stalin’s … Read more

The Origin of the Soviet Jewry campaign in the UK

During 2015, several books were published about the various diaspora campaigns for Soviet Jewry, which culminated in the emigration of a million people from the former USSR to Israel during the 1990s. The French academic Pauline Peretz has documented the American campaign while the journalist Sam Lipski and Professor Suzanne Rutland have produced a fine … Read more