“For two thousand years,” wrote Harold Rosenberg, “the main energies of Jewish communities have gone into the mass production of intellectuals.” For Rosenberg, the art critic who belonged to the receding constellation of writers known as the New York Intellectuals, such a claim was something between a boast and a self-justification. The New York Intellectuals were mainly second-generation Americans, whose self-sacrificing immigrant parents won them the opportunities America offered to newcomers, including Jews.
The pun in the title of Israel Is Real, the new book by Rich Cohen, is silly but not meaningless. The problem of reality, and how to distinguish it from fantasy, fear, and hope, has been with the Zionist project since the very beginning.
Ornamentalism by David Cannadine Oxford University Press, 240 pp., $25) When Hitler wished to relax after a hard day at the office, he liked to watch films in his private screening room. Nazi propaganda movies were not his favorite entertainment; they felt too much like work. Hitler liked swashbuckling Hollywood films, and one picture in particular: Lives of a Bengal Lancer, starring Gary Cooper and C.
This week’s TNR cover story by James Mann deals with the vexing problem that China poses to the community of nations—and to the young Obama administration. Mann observes that, even as China has opened up economically, it has pursued an aggressive foreign policy. Writing in TNR thirteen years ago, Peter Beinart anticipated this situation.
He's been called Bill Clinton's smarter younger brother. The best Tory tacticians are terrified of him. At lunch-tables round Westminster, the prime minister's allies whisper about the looming electoral slaughter. As business leaders defect and opinion polls give Labour a stratospheric lead, there is now a fixed assumption in Britain that the next prime minister will be Tony Blair. A young-looking 43, he is a slim but strongly built man whose fast smile and self-deprecating patter convey the impression of relentless, perpetual movement.
By all measures, Gordon Brown’s Labour Party is going to be trounced at the British polls next month by either the Tories or the newly ascendant Liberal Democrats (or both). With Brown’s popularity lagging, it’s easy to forget that the Labour Party once represented an exciting modern progressive party—particularly back when Tony Blair was on his way to becoming prime minister, and he and Brown were heralded as the party's future.