David Shulman is the Renee Lang Professor of Humanistic Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and an activist in Ta’ayush, Arab-Jewish Partnership. He was awarded the Israel Prize for Religious Studies in February. (April 2016)

IN THE REVIEW

Israel: The Broken Silence

Popular Protest in Palestine: The Uncertain Future of Unarmed Resistance

by Marwan Darweish and Andrew Rigby

Return: A Palestinian Memoir

by Ghada Karmi
Israeli human rights activists and what is left of the Israeli peace groups, including joint Israeli-Palestinian peace organizations, are under attack. In a sense, this is nothing very new. But open attacks on the Israeli left have now assumed a far more sinister and ruthless character; some of them are being played out in the interrogation rooms of Israeli prisons. Clearly, there is an ongoing coordinated campaign involving the government, members of the Knesset, the police, various semiautonomous right-wing groups, and the public media. Politically driven harassment, including violent and illegal arrest, interrogation, denial of legal support, virulent incitement, smear campaigns, even death threats issued by proxy—all this has become part of the repertoire of the far right, which dominates the present government and sets the tone for its policies.

At the Heart of Hinduism

Roberto Calasso in his house in Milan with a sculpture of an Indian snake, 1989

Ardor

by Roberto Calasso, translated from the Italian by Richard Dixon
Every year, on a certain Tuesday in October, worshipers of the Golden Goddess, Paidi Talli, gather in a grove of trees somewhere outside the small town of Vizianagaram in southern India. Which grove is chosen depends on the goddess, who will have appeared to her main priest in a dream …

Gaza: The Murderous Melodrama

A smuggling tunnel in Rafah, Gaza Strip, 2012; photograph by Paolo Pellegrin

Gaza: A History

by Jean-Pierre Filiu, translated from the French by John King

Palestine Speaks: Narratives of Life Under Occupation

compiled and edited by Cate Malek and Mateo Hoke
Clearly, this was the summer of Israeli discontent. For weeks the most common word on the TV and radio news and talk shows, with their familiar line-up of dusted-off former generals, was “deterrence.” More specifically, the question was how to restore or reinvent this somewhat nebulous, almost metaphysical objective.

NYR DAILY

Jerusalem: Why Should Things Not Get Worse?

Palestinian demonstrators attempting to break the barrier separating parts of East Jerusalem and the West Bank from Israel, Jerusalem, October 28, 2015

Fear, also hate, makes for a light finger on the trigger, especially in an atmosphere of rabid nationalism that is deliberately fanned by government spokesmen and the prime minister himself. Army intelligence predicts the current violence will get worse; already, Hamas is said to have directed its forces on the West Bank to carry out suicide bombings. And why should things not get worse?

Gaza: Killing Gets Easier

Rescuers looking for survivors and bodies at the Qassam Mosque in the Neuseirat refugee camp, Gaza Strip, August 9, 2014

In early May, Breaking the Silence, the organization of Israeli ex-soldiers, published a report on the Israeli army’s campaign in Gaza last summer. It revealed that the large number of civilian casualties on the Palestinian side was a consequence, among other things, of military tactics and orders explicitly adopted by the IDF.

Israel: The Stark Truth

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claiming victory in Israel's general election, Tel Aviv, March 18, 2015

The Israeli electorate has given a clear mandate. There will be more antidemocratic legislation, more attempts to undermine the courts, more rampant racism, more thugs in high office, more acts of cruelty inflicted on innocents, more paranoid indoctrination in the schools, more hate propaganda, more wanton destruction of Bedouin villages, more war-mongering, and quite possibly more needless war.

Inside the Hidden Temple

View of the Tabo monastery from the east, June 21, 2006

Peter van Ham, an authority on early Indo-Tibetan art, has given us a splendid photographic record of the mid-eleventh century masterpieces of the Tabo monastery—the most intact of all early medieval Buddhist artistic sites in the Western Himalaya.