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Nasser’s Peace

Egypt’s crushing defeat at the hands of Israel in the Six Day War created a crisis of confidence in the Egyptian government. Bouncing back from the depths of despair, President Gamal Abdul Nasser reacted to Israel’s victory by political and military means. In Nasser’s Peace: Egypt’s Response to the 1967 War With Israel (Transaction Publishers), […]

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The Vel D’Hiv Raid

Seventy five years ago this month, the collaborationist Vichy regime in France committed its worst single crime. On July 16-17, 1942, French police in Paris rounded up 13,152 stateless Jews — men, women and children — and consigned them to purgatory. Some were taken to a detention camp in Drancy, near Paris. The rest were […]

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The Ba’athification Of Iraq

Iraq’s dictatorial strongman, Saddam Hussein, ruled his country with an iron hand, tolerating no dissension. Barring a coup or fatal illness, he could have governed Iraq indefinitely had he kept his nose to the grindstone. But being guided by hubris and wildly false assumptions, he made the major mistake of invading neighboring Kuwait on August […]

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The Invisible Jewish Budapest

Assimilated Hungarian Jews were in the forefront of shaping the popular┬áculture of late 19th and early 20th century Budapest, one of the capitals of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and one of the major cities in Europe today. Its edgy nightlife and innovative entertainment industry, encompassing coffee houses, clubs, music halls and theatres, were largely the creation […]

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The Rise And Fall Of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood

The Muslim Brotherhood, the most organized and cohesive political force in Egypt following the collapse of Hosni Mubarak’s authoritarian government in 2011, ruled the country from 2012 to 2013. During this interim period, Mohammed Morsi was at Egypt’s helm as its first democratically elected president. Morsi squandered the opportunity the electorate had handed him, catalyzing […]

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Bringing Zion Home

It probably will come as no surprise that American Jews formed a binding relationship with Israel through culture and food rather than through politics. During the first two decades of Israel’s existence, they bonded with the new state by reading books about it, buying Israeli crafts, paintings and apparel, attending concerts by Israeli musicians and […]

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Holocaust Landscapes

The Holocaust was not a single, monolithic event but rather a series of events that unfolded in different places at different times, a theme British scholar Tim Cole deftly pursues in Holocaust Landscapes, published by Bloomsbury. Cole, a social historian at Bristol University who’s written several books about the Holocaust, explores it from various vantage […]

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King Solomon’s Table

Joan Nathan, the renowned cookbook author, has travelled to some 15 countries on five continents in search of material. Her newest book, King Solomon’s Table: A Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World, published by Alfred A. Knopf, is an impressive showcase of her knowledge and expertise. She begins her journey in Kochi, […]

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Romania, Romania

I understand Robert D. Kaplan’s fascination with Romania. A Balkan nation which experienced the extremes of both fascism and communism within one generation, Romania was forged on the anvils of the Byzantine, Ottoman, Habsburg and Russian empires. Today, it has reverted back to what it was hundreds of years ago — a frontier state of […]

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East Germany’s Undeclared War Against Israel

Before the advent of German reunification in 1990, two sovereign states, West Germany and East Germany, faced each other as bitter, implacable rivals. West Germany, a democracy formed in 1949, was aligned with the United States and the West. East Germany, a communist state which emerged in the same year, was a member of the […]