American Jews fighting for Israel – a different perspective

I have made a number of posts about the history of diaspora Jews serving in the armies of their countries.  In my posts about diaspora Jews who fought for Israel in 1948, I have focused on how these volunteers’ contribution to Israel’s victory in its war of independence were long neglected in Israel.  I haven’t paid enough attention, however, to the mixed reception that these brave individuals received from their home communities.  A piece in Tablet from over a year ago illustrates this problem with great sensitivity:


Comparing occupations? Comparing boycotts?

Peter Beinart has written a very smart analysis of what’s wrong with the AAS boycott:

And an interesting critique of the EU’s anti-settlement policy by comparing it with EU policies towards Northern Cyprus and the Western Sahara

I’m not convinced because there are distinctive aspects of the Israeli occupation that do account for the EU’s approach.  Still, comparison is always helpful, even if it highlights difference more than similarity.


A powerful novel about the 1948 war….

Yoram Kaniuk’s last novel, 1948, was published last year in English translation.  It is available only in e-format, which is a mixed blessing, as it’s the kind of novel whose earlier bits a reader might want to revisit when reading the later chapters, and that sort of flipping back and forth is much harder with an e-book than a printed volume.  1948 is haunting, tragic, and deeply disturbing: a memoir that blends fact and fiction, memory and fantasy, gritty narratives of battle and hints of magical realism.  On one level the book is an old man’s recollections of his younger self’s perceptions and experiences of the war.  On another it offers a microcosm of the infant state of Israel:  relations between immigrants and sabras, the trauma endured by Holocaust survivors, and the reckless courage of Israeli youth who risked, and often lost, their lives in the struggle for Israel’s creation.