Miriam Scharf

Destination Unknown

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

This film is made up of the testimonies of 12 survivors. Each one is told in their old age, sometimes alongside pictures of them in their youths. For example, Roman Ferber recognises himself in footage of Auschwitz, a small boy in striped uniform looking through barbed wire. Others manage to recover photographs of their families.

These photos both haunt and, in a sense, orient them in their post-war lives. This is a film about the Holocaust, and about survival — how to live with such memories.

Antisemitism and the left in Britain today (2)

Issue section: 
Author: 

John Rose’s article may serve to begin a discussion but certainly was not a “clear perspective” as claimed by SR. John argues “the need to campaign for national dialogue between Palestinians and Israeli Jews”. That would be nice. But in what world have the Palestinians got the power to make Israeli Jews listen? The Netanyahu government may step back from the proposal to extend Israeli law to Ma’ale Adumin, the massive illegal settlement which cuts the West Bank in two.

Democratic Transition in the Middle East

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Edited by Larbi Sadiki, Heiko Wimmen and Layla Al-Zubaidi

This selection of essays is fascinating for its timing. All focus on the potential for change in specific countries of the Arab Middle East (AME) and were written before the explosion of the Arab Spring transformed politics in the region. They are valuable sources to understand the political, economic and social dynamics at work, and have a common motivation in describing the "spaces" which were opening up to new kinds of activism which, in hindsight, we can see contributed to the Arab Spring.

In Your Eyes a Sandstorm

Issue section: 
Author: 

Arthur Neslen

This collection of over 50 interviews is a rich source for understanding the complexity of Palestinian experience. They range from poverty-stricken families in Lebanon's camps and West Bank villages to comedians and journalists making a successful living in Israel, from drug dealers and tunnel diggers to Fatah officials and Hamas ministers.

The Political Economy of Israel's Occupation

Issue section: 
Author: 

Shir Hever, Pluto, £17.99

This book was clearly written for the Israeli market but Shir Hever is definitely on the Israeli left as he aims to show how economic changes have shaped the terms of the occupation. The chapters showing how Israel benefits from international aid to the occupied Palestinian territories and concerns over the effects of privatisation in Israel throw up some interesting facts.

The Invention of the Jewish People

Issue section: 
Author: 

Shlomo Sand, Verso; £13.99

The link between the Jewish people and their ancestral land is central to Zionism. The narrative of exile, dispersion and return is the justification for the founding of Israel and the "right of return" for Jews around the world. By showing that the vast majority of Jews have no common ancestry, never suffered exile and that there was no dispersion, Sand challenges the very foundation of the Jewish state.

A Country of Words

Issue section: 
Author: 

Abdel Bari Atwan, Saqi, £20

This autobiography by the editor of the London-based al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper begins with his childhood in a refugee camp in Gaza. It is interspersed with details of Israeli military aggression, from the massacres of the 1947-48 Nakba and Kafr Kasim in 1956 to the present settler terror-forces that have shaped his life as they do the lives of all Palestinians.

The Seventh Well

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Fred Wander, Granta, £12.99

This a powerful and harrowing collection of memories from Fred Wander's life spent in 20 different Nazi camps in France, Poland and Germany from 1942 to 1945. But the author's constant avowal of the humanity of those whose stories he tells sustains the reader.

Twin track

Issue section: 
Author: 

Chris Harman's article on Palestine (Feature, Socialist Review July/August 2007) stresses the importance of focusing the boycott debate on the barbaric behaviour of the US, Britain and Israel.

It points to recent changes in the tenor of the debate due to the Intifadas, the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, and the increased understanding of Middle Eastern issues as a result of the opposition to the war and occupation of Iraq. I would add the apartheid wall, the democratic election of Hamas, and the increasing difficulty the Zionists have in equating criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism as many Jewish voices speak out.

Subscribe to RSS - Miriam Scharf