Miriam Scharf

A Country of Words

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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

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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

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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.

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