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Legacy Of Blood

Most Jews in Russia after the 1917 communist revolution were anti-Bolshevik. But within two years of that historic upheaval, which transformed tsarist Russia into the Soviet Union, the majority of Russian Jews had flocked into the Bolshevik camp. At the root of this transformation were the 1,500 pogroms unleashed by the Russian civil war from […]

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Friendly Fire

Ami Ayalon describes himself as “a strange bird” and an “outsider” in his frank and heartfelt memoir, Friendly Fire: How Israel Became Its Own Worst Enemy And The Hope For Its Future (Steerforth Press). Ayalon’s self-portrait is true, yet false. Having held top-level governmental posts in Israel, he is very much of an insider. But […]

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Taking The Fight South

When Howard Ball informed his mother he had accepted a position at Mississippi State University, she was aghast. “Her response was very loud and, for her, terse: You are meshugenah!” he writes in Taking the Fight South: Chronicle of a Jew’s Battle for Civil Rights in Mississippi (University of Notre Dame Press). “She truly believed […]

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Life Of A Klansman

Edward Ball’s great-great-grandfather, Polycarp Constant Lecorgne, was a racist who sought to restore white dominance in Louisiana during and after Reconstruction in the wake of the U.S. Civil War.¬†A Creole from New Orleans whose ancestors hailed from Brittany in western France, Lecorgne was a “hero” of his times because he fought for “whiteness” in the […]

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Canada: No Better Home?

David Koffman asks a pointed question in the introductory essay of his book, No Better Home? Jews, Canada, and the Sense of Belonging (University of Toronto Press): “Has there ever been a better home for the Jews than Canada?” As he observes in this volume of perceptive and erudite essays, which grew out of a […]

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Antisemitism And The Russian Revolution

The 1917 Bolshevik revolution in Russia was a moment of emancipation and liberation for oppressed Russian Jews, a deliverance from the injustices of the previous czarist regime. But within months of seizing power, the Bolshevik leadership was faced by the specter of pogroms in the former Pale of Settlement, a region of western Russia where […]

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Lewis Milestone — A Major Hollywood Director

Lewis Milestone was a major figure in the Hollywood film industry during its golden era from the 1920s to the 1950s. One of its most imaginative and prolific directors, he churned out 38 films over a 37-year period from 1925 to 1962, amassing 28 Academy Award nominations and winning three Oscars. Several of his movies […]

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To Start A War

The architect of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq was President George W. Bush’s deputy secretary of defence, Paul Wolfowitz. This is the considered opinion of Robert Draper, the author of To Start A War: How the Bush Administration Took America Into Iraq, published by Penguin Press. The decision to invade Iraq and depose its […]

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An Army Like No Other

To the author Haim Bresheeth-Zabner, the armed forces of Israel stand at the core of Israeli society. The creation of the Israel Defence Forces, or IDF, was the most important priority facing Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, after he declared statehood on May 14, 1948. Since its formation on May 26 of that fateful […]

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Survival On The Margins

Germany’s invasion of western Poland on September 1, 1939 was matched by the Soviet Union’s conquest of ¬†eastern Poland 16 days later, as per their non-aggression pact to partition the country, signed on the eve of World War II. Germany violated the agreement in June 1941, conquering the rest of Poland en route to invading […]