Peace has never seemed further away for Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. Several dreadful incidents recently have made that point sadly obvious.Continue reading
Review – Breaking History by Jared Kushner
In time-honoured Washington fashion, the memoir of Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law, makes the case that its author was a pivotal, if hidden, force in American politics. Kushner has himself in the background of everything significant that occurred in the four years Trump was in power.Continue reading
For all the pro-forma talk of a two-state solution among diplomats and politicians across the world, it is commonly believed that the Palestinian national cause has lost its impetus. Palestine lies in two divergent parts, separately ruled by parties which hate each other. Because no Palestinian state worth the name could spring quickly into existence, the diplomats and politicians believe, they need give it no heed save the platitudes.Continue reading
Review – My Country: A Syrian Memoir by Kassem Eid
Kassem Eid’s memoir opens with a mournful preface. The author, a Syrian who has faced the full force of his country’s recent history, accepts he cannot escape its suffering. Eid says he has fled across continents, travelling as far as he can. He has lived as hard as he can, yet he cannot forget. He cannot suppress the bitter memories of which he is the custodian. Continue reading
The biggest of the stories swirling about Donald Trump this week concerns, not a tweet (as is ordinary), but a book.
The president is famously unlettered, professing little time for reading; and others attest that Trump has little interest in any printed matter that does not contain his photograph. Continue reading
Review – War in 140 Characters: How Social Media Is Reshaping Conflict in the Twenty-First Century by David Patrikarakos
The commercial internet changed the world. That much is conventional wisdom.
Similarly, its importance in the contemporary scene, largely in the form of social media, which features in what is termed ‘Web 2.0’, is sacrosanct.
It has altered the way billions of people communicate and has changed the nature of that communication. Its influence on politics is accepted to be vast, with some political figures practically defined by their use of one particular website: Twitter. Continue reading
Review – The Other Air Force by Matt Sienkiewicz
America, Matt Sienkiewicz asserts at the beginning of his new book The Other Air Force, ‘is not a subtle nation’. In many ways – religious, political, cultural – the United States is seen as the enemy of nuance; its values are perceived to be bold, brash and often in conflict with those of older societies and older systems, in Europe and the world over. Continue reading
The Left in Britain used to be in favour of secularism and against the politicisation of religion. The lives of Thomas Paine, Bertrand Russell and many others attest to this proud history. They campaigned against and opposed the domination of any one religious group – and they did so even when it was dangerous, both to their careers and even their lives. (The burning down of Joseph Priestley’s laboratory was not an entirely isolated event; and the sentiments expressed were not those of a minority. As Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote in his “Religious Musings”, ‘priests idolatrous / By dark lies maddening the blind multitude / Drove with vain hate’.) Continue reading