Archive for the ‘Book Launch’ category

Two reviews of Dr. David Landy’s ‘Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights’

January 25, 2012

Below are two, essentially identical, reviews of Dr. David Landy’s Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights: Diaspora Jewish Opposition to Israel, for LookLeft magazine and SIPTU’s Liberty newspaper.

Identity Crisis? Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights. Diaspora Jewish Opposition to Israel by David Landy (Zed, 2011)
LookLeft #8, October 2011

Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights is a ground-breaking investigation into the relatively recent phenomenon of organised international Jewish criticism of the Israeli state. From the outset Landy, an Irish-Jewish academic in Trinity, opposes the much touted rightwing view that those involved in this field are either “self-hating Jews” or suffering from “identity crises”. He instead asserts that such groups, in their various different forms, exist because those involved are universalist in outlook and feel that, as Jews, they can play a role in ending Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people.

While not uncritical of these groups, Landy points out that they have played a very important role in making both Jewish and non-Jewish criticism of Israel more “acceptable” in the mainstream than previously. This is especially true for Western Europe, where the shadow of the Nazi holocaust still looms large – no longer do people have the same fear of being painted as “self-haters” or “anti-Semitic” by Israel’s supporters. However, their positive role in wider society aside, outside of providing a relatively safe avenue for Israel-critical Jews to “come out”, these groups have thus far failed to make a serious impact within the Jewish diaspora. Landy also outlines some of the problems with the worldviews of some of these groups, a major one being that Palestinians can be essentially eliminated from their discourse, treating what is a national liberation issue instead as a “Jewish issue” that will only be solved by Jews.

In conclusion, Landy points out that although his is the first such study of this emerging movement, it is not the “definitive” account. These groups have grown and developed over the past decade – some even moving into the “boycott and solidarity” camp – and will continue to evolve in the future. Despite the sometimes slightly alienating academic jargon, for anyone interested in the Palestinian solidarity movement and/or the long history of progressive and critical Jewish thought, this book is highly recommended.

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Palestine’s Jewish Lobby: Book about Jewish opposition to Israel launched in Dublin
Liberty, November 2011

Prof. David Landy

The long-standing concern for Palestine in Ireland was evident in the capacity crowd which attended the launch of Professor David Landy’s Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights: Diaspora Opposition to Israel (Zed, 2011) in Dublin’s New Theatre on the 1st November.

The book is a groundbreaking examination of the relatively recent phenomenon of organised international Jewish criticism of Israel. Landy, an Irish-Jewish lecturer in Trinity College, opposes the right-wing view that those involved in this field are either “self-hating Jews” or suffering from “identity crises”. His view is that such groups exist because those involved are universalist in outlook and feel that, as Jews, they can play a role in ending Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people.

While not uncritical of these groups, Landy points out that they have played an extremely important role in making both Jewish and non-Jewish criticism of Israel more “acceptable” in mainstream discourse – no longer do Israel’s critics harbour the same fear of being painted as “self-haters” or “anti-Semitic” by that state’s supporters. However, notwithstanding this positive role in wider society, outside of providing a relatively safe avenue for Israel-critical Jews to “come out”, these groups have so far failed to make a serious impact within the Jewish diaspora itself.

The book outlines the problems often associated with the world views of some of these groups. Often Palestinians can be essentially eliminated from their discourse, treating what is a national liberation issue instead as a “Jewish issue”. As Trinity Professor Ronit Lentin, herself an Israeli, said at the launch; “The book does not shirk from the difficult question as to whether movement members’
activism is about constructing a ‘better’ Jewish identity or about genuine solidarity.”

Wrapping up the event Professors Landy and Lentin said that although this is the first such study of this emerging movement it could not be considered “definitive” as these groups have developed significantly over the past decade, and that “the thing about social movements is they are always moving”.

A recording of the launch – which was a collaboration between Zed Books, the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Trinity College Department of Sociology and Poster Fish Promotionscan be heard online here (Note: I also spoke at the launch)

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Audio: Launch of David Landy’s ‘Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights’

November 2, 2011

The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign has posted the audio I recorded of the launch of Dr. David Landy’s new book, Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights: Diaspora Opposition to Israel earlier this week. Along with my good friend David, Prof. Ronit Lentin from the TCD Sociology department and myself also spoke, and the meeting was chaired by Raymond Deane from the IPSC.I also reviewed the book for the current issue of LookLeft magazine.

Copied from the IPSC website:

Audio: Launch of David Landy’s ‘Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights’

Tuesday 1st November saw the launch of Professor David Landy’s Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights: Diaspora Opposition to Israel (Zed, 2011) at a standing room only event in Dublin’s New Theatre. The book is an outstanding, ground-breaking examination of the relatively recent phenomenon of organised international Jewish criticism of Israel. More information on the book can read here.

To download and listen to the audio recording, please click here (MP3 format, right click and ‘save target/link as’).

Speakers: Dr. David Landy (author and TCD academic), Dr. Ronit Lentin (author and TCD academic) and Kevin Squires (IPSC National Coordinator). Chair: Raymond Deane

The book was launched in conjunction with Zed Books, the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Department of Sociology in TCD and Poster Fish Promotions. Audio provided by Citizen Partridge.

Video: Gideon Levy – Launch of ‘The Punishment of Gaza’ (March 2011)

August 17, 2011

The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign has posted the video I shot of Gideon Levy’s book launch in Dublin this March. Copied from the IPSC website:

Video: Gideon Levy in Dublin (March 2011)

World renowned award-winning dissident Israeli journalist Gideon Levy spoke in Dublin’s Trinity College on Wednesday March 9th as part of Israeli Apartheid Week 2011 in an event organised by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Levy, an acclaimed critic of Israel’s brutal policies towards the Palestinian people via his column in the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz, was launching his book The Punishment of Gaza.


(Recorded by Kevin Squires – CitizenPartridge Blog
Edited by Greg Manahan – iDirect Productions)

Levy – who has written for Haaretz since 1982 – for has been the subject of much criticism in mainstream Israeli society for his views, including having one senior Israeli official call for the secret police to monitor him. Conversely, his writings has been much praised by those who support Palestinian human rights; he has been called “brave”, “heroic”, “passionate”, “eloquent”, a “rare voice of courage” and a “searing critic of Israeli brutality”.

The Punishment of Gaza (Verso 2010), his second book, covers the period from 2005 – the year of the Israeli “withdrawal” – through to 2009 and the aftermath of the attack on Gaza that left over 1,400 people dead. Levy shows how the ground was prepared for this assault and documents its continuing effects. The book tracks the development of Israel policy, which has abandoned the pretence of diplomacy in favour of raw military power, the ultimate aim of which is to deny Palestinians any chance of forming their own independent state.

Punished by Israel and the Quartet of international powers for the democratic election of Hamas, Gaza has been transformed into the world’s largest open-air prison. From Gazan families struggling to cope with the random violence of Israel’s blockade and its “targeted” assassinations, to the machinations of legal experts and the continued connivance of the international community, every aspect of this ongoing tragedy is eloquently recorded and forensically analyzed. Levy’s powerful journalism shows how the brutality at the heart of Israel’s occupation of Palestine has found its most complete expression to date in the collective punishment of Gaza’s residents.

This event was organised by the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) in conjunction with the TCD MPhil in Race, Ethnicity & Conflict. It was one of a series of events that took place around Ireland during international Israeli Apartheid Week 2011 (6 – 12 March). For more information on the other events which took place in Ireland please see: http://www.ipsc.ie/archives/iaw2011/