• Book Review

    From Genocide to Football Glory

    Guest review by Karl Pfeifer I am not especially interested in football. However “The Story of Béla Guttmann” is not just about a famous football player and manager; it is also a fascinating history book. Guttmann lived in the District of Ujpest close to Budapest. This is where he hid during the Hungarian Holocaust. All around him, Jews were rounded up and deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Guttmann was born in 1899. As a young man in 1920, he moved to Ujvidék/Novisad in Yugoslavia, where he set up a dance school. He was able to escape from the pogroms perpetrated by Horthy’s thugs but in the end he decided to return home…

  • Book Review,  Europe

    The end of Europe?

    Guest review by Karl Pfeifer Yale University Press recently published The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues, and the Coming Dark Age by James Kirchick, a 34-year-old American journalist. It is a remarkably ambitious, provocative and vividly written account of the dark sides of Europe. It contradicts in 252 pages all the optimistic speeches of European political leaders. It should be must reading for all those interested in European politics. Since the dissolution of Yugoslavia, Europe is no longer a continent of peace, and the time of stability, prosperity, cooperation, democracy and social harmony seems to be ending. The author describes a “sequence of violently transformative events ranging from Russia’s invasion…

  • Book Review

    The Norman Geras Reader: A review

    Norman Geras (1943-2013) was a significant political theorist, but was better known to most here as the creator of ‘Normblog’, a compelling blend of politics, culture, cricket and much more – Harry’s Place readers will remember his regular interviews with fellow bloggers and his eclectic ‘Writer’s Choice’ guest spots.  Whenever some contentious political or moral issue was in the news I would always turn to Normblog, eager to find out what his take on the latest controversy would be. There was of course much common ground between Normblog and Harry’s Place (and I discovered them around the same time.) Geras was the principal author of the Euston Manifesto, and a…

  • Book Review,  History,  Hungary

    The Holocaust in Hungary: Seventy Years Later

    Review by Karl Pfeifer One of the reasons for the hate-campaign against Hungary’s Central European University (CEU) and the law against CEU is that this university does not advocate narrow-minded nationalism and that it is contradicting the fabrication of fake history so dear to Prime Minister Victor Orbán. The Holocaust in Hungary: Seventy Years Later provides a scholarly overview of the newest trends in the study of the Holocaust in Hungary. It includes twelve selected papers organized under four thematic groups: –The newest tendencies in the historiography of the Holocaust in Hungary. –The anti-Jewish policies of Hungary during the interwar period. –Recent research on the Holocaust era in Hungary. –National…

  • Book Review,  Hungary

    Hungary: the post-communist mafia state

    Guest post by Karl Pfeifer Because every morning I read the government newspaper Magyar Idök, Hungarian friends asked me if I am a masochist. No, I am no masochist, my blood pressure is very low and without drinking an espresso without pills, my blood pressure becomes normal by reading this Budapest daily. Their scribblers try to convince readers that George Soros is the man responsible for the more than a million migrants who came during the last two years to Europe, and that the Central European University (CEU) is a school for agents. According to recent opinion research, only 22% of Hungarians sampled had not heard of the university and…

  • antisemitism,  Book Review,  The Left

    Review and interview with Dave Rich

    Guest post by by Karl Pfeifer Dave Rich, author of “The Left’s Jewish Problem: Jeremy Corbyn, Israel and Anti-Semitism,” is the deputy director of communications at the Community Security Trust, a group that monitors anti-Semitic incidents and provides protection services. I can only recommend his book, which reveals how people on the British Left have tried to make sense of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, how much of the Left stopped loving Israel, how some leftists moved from Anti-Apartheid to Anti-Zionism, how anti-racists banned Jews. Nowadays leftist anti-Semites do not just deny antisemitism, they accuse Israel’s supporter of dishonesty and intimidation. David Hirsh named this phenomenon the Livingstone-Formulation, after Ken Livingstone wrote…

  • Book Review,  Germany,  Israel

    Review: Undeclared Wars with Israel

    Guest post by Karl Pfeifer What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. There is a thing of which [someone] will say, “See this, it is new.” It has already been for ages, which were before us. [Nevertheless] there is no remembrance of former [generations], neither will the later ones that will be have any remembrance among those that will be afterwards. –Kohelet 1/9-11 Nothing new under the sun, King Solomon said about three thousand years ago. Those who fight for BDS, who make the apartheid analogy with Zionism, who accuse the Zionists…

  • Book Review,  Syria

    Syria’s Holy War

    This is a guest post by James Snell Review – The Syrian Jihad: Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and the Evolution of an Insurgency Jihadism is in many ways the perfect enemy. It insists upon and mandates self-abnegation – even, in some instances, self-destruction; it despises much of what we consider essential for a just and free society; and it is ever planning and ever plotting to wrest many of civilisation’s most enduring accomplishments from our hands. The fact that its credo is often violent in nature is the icing on the cake. Because it is a perfect adversary, one which remains useful for caricaturists and demagogues, understanding this phenomenon is often…

  • Book Review

    Henry Kissinger: The Idealist?

    This is a cross-post by James Snell Review – Kissinger 1923–1968: The Idealist by Niall Ferguson Henry Kissinger remains one of the world’s most controversial statesmen. He is a man who is, as Niall Ferguson states at the beginning of this new biography, covering the first 45 years of his subject’s life, both revered and reviled in equal measure. Kissinger is held up by some as a kind of seer, an intellectual without parallel in recent times; others declare – just as fiercely – that he has exercised an entirely corrosive influence on world affairs, that he is a war criminal – and, perhaps most oddly, that he is an agent…

  • Book Review

    Women and Shari’a Law by Elham Manea

    Elham Manea’s forthcoming monograph, Women and Shari’a Law, offers an eloquent response to those who think Shari’a Councils have a legitimate place within a multicultural society, a response which builds on her own experiences as an activist for the rights of women and minorities both in Europe and in the MENA region.  As she explains in the first chapter: This book is a critique of a paradigm of thinking that has become characteristic of Western academic post-colonial and post-modernist discourse: one that insists on treating people as ‘homogeneous groups’, essentialising their cultures and religions, calling for special laws and treatment for groups within a society, underestimating the human rights consequences…