the Holocaust

Ari Shavit : My Promised Land

Ari Shavit’s ‘My Promised Land’ was a very interesting read which inspired a lot of background research, and by the time I finished it I knew a lot more about Palestine, Israel, Zionism and the whole Middle Eastern conflict than I had done when I started. I’d been given this book by my friend H., who told me it had ‘opened his eyes’ about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and led him to his current strongly pro-Israeli position. Having now read it myself, I can’t quite understand why. Interesting though the book was, it did nothing to make me more sympathetic to Israel – quite the reverse, in fact… (more…)


Hannah Arendt

Considered as a cinematographic work of art, Margarethe von Trotta’s film Hannah Arendt is nothing special. It’s a pretty straightforward piece of story-telling, quite well made and very well acted by Barbara Sukowa. Interesting though Hannah Arendt was as a philosopher and as a person, it was still quite an achievement to make such a watchable film from this material: a German Jewish philosopher writes a book about the trial of a Nazi war criminal, thereby making herself very unpopular with the Jews (including lots of her friends) in New York and Israel – the end. The fact that the films succeeds as well as it does says a lot about the exceptional talents of both its director and its leading actress. (more…)