Friday, December 30, 2011

Fighting UK Anti-Israel Bias, One Professor at a Time

When  Israeli Smadar Bakovic, a post-graduate student at Warwick University, was assigned Professor Nicola Pratt as her master’s supervisor, Smadar immediately asked for a replacement. Pratt, a known anti-Israel campaigner who has repeatedly called for Britain to implement a program of boycotts and sanctions against Israel, couldn’t be impartial on a study of Israeli Arabs, Smadar claimed. The university refused to make a change and Smadar was given only a passing mark.

Smadar’s paper dealt with the identity of Israeli Arabs after the second intifada. In her feedback, Pratt said that Smadar had a tendency to “adopt Israeli/Zionist narratives as though they were uncontested facts.”

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Self Publishing in the Days of The Virtual Kibbutz

As I work towards the completion of my novel, I have begun considering how to get it published. The world of publishing is evolving. More and more authors are deciding to self publish and self promote their books. While that will work for some, others continue to search for literary agents and traditional publishers with hopes that their book will be one of the few that make it onto bookstore shelves.

At this stage I plan to go the traditional route with my manuscript, as I don’t have the time or resources to self promote my work. It’s funny to think that I’ve already traveled the self publishing road, but that is indeed how my collection of short stories, The Virtual Kibbutz, was published in 2003.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Street Without A Name, a Review

In my fiction writing, I am trying to give a faithful portrayal of Bulgaria. Having lived in Sofia for two years and after extensive travels across the width and breadth of the Balkan country, I feel confident that I will be able to express some of my appreciation for my temporary home in my writing. However I wonder if I will ever be able to fully describe Bulgaria as it really is.

Describing Bulgaria is not a problem for Kapka Kassabova, who was born and raised in Sofia but now lives in Scotland. Her 2008 book, Street Without A Name, is part memoir, part travel documentary. As listed on her website, the book is a “coming of age story at the end of Communism, and an unsentimental journey across post-communist Bulgaria.”

Monday, December 12, 2011

Naomi Ragen and Edgar Allan Poe

The Jerusalem District Court this week ruled that author Naomi Ragen plagiarized the work of writer Sarah Shapiro. The court found that Ragen, in her 1992 novel Sotah, uplifted sections from Shapiro’s Growing With My Children: A Jewish Mother’s Diary, published in 1990. The case had many similarities to recent charges of plagiarism against the author of a novel about Edgar Allan Poe’s child bride.

According to media reports, the Jerusalem court determined that Ragen’s actions constituted a premeditated act. Ragen, the court noted, as reported in Haaretz, “testified that work written by the plaintiff served as 'raw materials' for her, and that her method of writing is based on drawing from a 'well' and 'imagination' in ways that include the works of others, including those rendered by the plaintiff."

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

High Court Divorces Itself from Civil Marriage in Israel‏

According to Israel's "Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty" passed by the Knesset in 1992, "All persons have the right to privacy and to intimacy." I would have assumed that this law also grants Israeli citizens the freedom to marry whom they choose. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Leaving aside the question of who should have the authority to perform Jewish wedding ceremonies in the State of Israel, which is a problem in itself, does the law of the land allow "religion-less" Israelis to marry?