Building the Occupation — Since 1963

by Marty Roth Discussed in this essay: The Biggest Prison on Earth: A History of the Occupied Territories, by Ilan Pappe. Oneworld, 2017, 304 pages.   ILAN PAPPE’S new book is a history of Israel’s steady absorption and/or constriction of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip after the 1967 war with Jordan, Egypt and Syria. Pappe’s work […]

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AVROM: Canada’s Political Cartoonist

by Marty Roth   AVROM YANOVSKY (1911-1979) was a Canadian political cartoonist whose work appeared in a series of leftwing newspapers and magazines from the 1930s on. His cartoons were signed “Avrom,” his comic strips (fewer in number) “Armand.” His strips of the post-war 1940s included “Hugh Dunnit,” about a private detective; “Shasha and Masha,” featuring two […]

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We Are All Jews, But Where’s the Party?

by Marty Roth Discussed in this essay: Feeling Jewish (a Book for Just About Anyone) by Deborah Baum. Yale University Press, 2017, 296 pages.   “Modernization . . . is about everyone becoming Jewish [and no one] is better at being Jewish than the Jews themselves.” —Yuri Slezkine, The Jewish Century DEVORAH BAUM’S Feeling Jewish is a subtle […]

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Roy Nathanson and Radical Jewish Culture

by Marty Roth   There is a life of tradition that is not just about conservative preservation, about the constant continuation of the spiritual and cultural goods of a community. There is also something like a treasure hunt in the tradition that establishes a living relationship with tradition and that is committed to much of […]

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Heinrich Heine and His Cousin, Karl Marx

by Marty Roth I have since then learned to value them [Jews] better, and, if every kind of pride of birth were not a foolish contradiction in a champion of revolution and democratic principles, the writer of these pages might be proud that his ancestors belonged to the noble House of Israel, that he is […]

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Oy, Rumania, Rumania

by Marty Roth Discussed in this essay: For Two Thousand Years, by Mihail Sebastian. Published in 1934, now translated by Philip Ó Ceallaigh into English, 2017, Other Press, 256 pages.   ARTHUR MILLER said that the Romanian Jewish writer Mihail Sebastian (1907-1945) wrote like Chekhov; Philip Roth that Sebastian’s Journal 1935-1944 deserves to be on the same shelf as The […]

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Rushdie’s Jibberjabbering Epic

by Marty Roth   Discussed in this essay: The Golden House. by Salman Rushdie. Alfred A. Knopf, 2017, 389 pages.   WHAT IS THIS NOVEL about? What isn’t this novel — this cross between Wikipedia and Vogue —about? A patriarch, a family, a far-off country, immigration, America; globalization, gender, identity, celebrity; good and evil, truth and lies; the weight […]

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Clancy Sigal’s 20th-Century Road Trip

by Marty Roth   “He was a romantic man, Clancy. The Left was then romantic, heroic, monitored by the ghosts of heroes and heroines.” —Doris Lessing THE ROLLER COASTER that was Clancy Sigal’s life and career has shut down, the lights turned off. What is still worth savoring? Although he was celebrated as a legendary figure […]

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