Shlomo Sand in conversation with the New Statesman

The Invention of the Jewish People

This coming Monday, 9 November, I'll be chairing an "In conversation with the New Statesman" event at Borders, on the Charing Cross Road in London, with Professor Shlomo Sand, author of The Invention of the Jewish People, and Denis MacShane MP. The discussion begins at 6.30pm and admission is free. I do hope as many readers as possible are able to make it.

Here is what the publisher, Verso, says about Sand's book:

The Israelites were never exiled from the Promised Land -- and therefore have no right to return. And the present-day Palestinian Arabs are the true heirs of the biblical Jews. So finds Professor Shlomo Sand in the book that sent shock waves across Israeli society.

"I could not have gone on living in Israel without writing this book. I don't think books can change the world -- but when the world begins to change, it searches for different books." Shlomo Sand

After nearly two years on Israel's bestseller list, its translation into more than a dozen languages and winning France's coveted Aujourd'hui Award -- given by journalists to the best work of historical or political non-fiction -- The Invention of the Jewish People is finally available in English.

 

Jonathan Derbyshire is Managing Editor of Prospect. He was formerly Culture Editor of the New Statesman.

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Why a Keeping Up with the Kardashians cartoon would make genuinely brilliant TV

The Kardashians are their own greatest satirists.

You’ve seen Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Kourtney and Kim Take Kyoto, and Kylie and Kendall Klarify Kommunications Kontracts, but the latest Kardashian show might take a step away from reality. Yes, Kartoon Kardashians could be on the way. According to TMZ, an animated cartoon is the next Kardashian television property we can expect: the gossip website reports that Kris Jenner saw Harvey Weinstein’s L.A. production company earlier this month for a pitch meeting.

It’s easy to imagine the dramas the animated counterparts of the Kardashians might have: arguments over who gets the last clear plastic salad bowl? Moral dilemmas over whether or not to wear something other than Balenciaga to a high profile fashion event? Outrage over the perceived betrayals committed by their artisanal baker?

If this gives you déjà vu, it might be because of a video that went viral over a year ago made using The Sims: a blisteringly accurate parody of Keeping Up with the Kardashians that sees the three sisters have a melodramatic argument about soda.

It’s hysterical because it clings onto the characteristics of the show: scenes opening with utter banalities, sudden dramatic music coinciding with close-ups of each family member’s expressions, a bizarre number of shots of people who aren’t speaking, present tense confessionals, Kim’s ability to do an emotional 0-60, and Kourtney’s monotonous delivery.

But if the Kardashians, both as a reality TV show and celebrity figures, are ripe for ridicule, no one is more aware of it than the family themselves. They’ve shared teasing memes and posted their own self-referential jokes on their social channels, while Kim’s Kimoji app turned mocking viral pictures into self-depreciating in-jokes for her fans. And the show itself has a level of self-awareness often misinterpreted as earnestness - how else could this moment of pure cinema have made it to screen?

The Kardashians are their own greatest satirists, and they’ve perfected the art of making fun of themselves before anyone else can. So there’s a good chance that this new cartoon won’t be a million miles away from “Soda Drama”. It might even be brilliant.

Anna Leszkiewicz is a pop culture writer at the New Statesman.