3 September 2010 5 Comments

The Inquisition, the Jews of Andalus, and Columbus: ‘By Fire By Water’ review

Historical novels vie with crime and romance novels for the titles of most derided and most widely read literature. They’ve had a bad rap ever since the 19th century, when the swashbucklers of Alexandre Dumas looked pretty wooden next to Dickens, and cartoonish in comparison to the depth of Victor Hugo or George Eliot. There […]

2 September 2010 0 Comments

Bielefeld does exist!

On my book tours I often venture to places few others visit. There are book festivals in tiny provincial towns. Readings at bookshops in small rural villages. This week I spoke in a German town that many Germans are convinced doesn’t even exist. Bielefeld (population 330,000) is a town in North Rhine-Westphalia. Or is it? […]

22 November 2009 0 Comments

What’s behind claims about Israel’s organ trade?

By Matt Beynon Rees – GlobalPost JERUSALEM — Donald Bostrom, a freelance Swedish journalist who wrote an article this summer accusing Israeli officials of trading in Palestinian organs, came to Israel late last month to defend his piece at a conference on the media. Neither Bostrom, who needed a bodyguard because of the stir his […]

5 August 2009 0 Comments

Poetry from the ‘driest’ book of the Bible: Yakov Azriel’s Writing Life

A few years ago I was at a literary conference near Tel Aviv. I found an eclectic mix of writers on the panel with me. I’m a crime writer. You wouldn’t expect me to be paired with a writer of poetry who takes his inspiration from the stories of the Bible. But as Yakov Azriel […]

12 July 2009 0 Comments

Rabbis: No pie for Jesus!

Her methods may be kosher, but in Israel baker Pnina Konforti faces a bigger commercial obstacle: She’s a Messianic Jew.By Matt Beynon Rees – GlobalPost GAN YAVNEH, Israel — I always thought that by following kosher laws religious Jews only missed out on certain flavors and debatable delicacies. Turns out that by turning their back […]

14 June 2009 0 Comments

Netanyahu holds his line

Israeli Prime Minister ignores Obama and reiterates same policiesby Matt Beynon Rees on Global Post JERUSALEM — It’s as if Obama never happened. Less than two weeks ago President Barack Obama laid out his plans for the Middle East in a speech in Cairo. He called for a freeze on Israeli settlement construction, among other […]

5 June 2009 0 Comments

Look out, God–Here’s Shalom Auslander’s Writing Life interview

“Fuck,” said God. …That’s a line from one of the short-stories in Shalom Auslander’s “Beware of God.” I live in the Middle East, so I feel like I hear God saying “Fuck!” almost every day. (If He doesn’t, then He’s not reading the newspapers.) “Beware of God” nails faith and the faithful as only a […]