“Inventions”: A Long-Lost Story by Isaac Bashevis Singer

In 1965, Isaac Bashevis Singer wrote and published a story, in Yiddish, about the guilty conscience of a Polish-Jewish Communist. The story was translated into English not long after it was written, but the translation has only now appeared in print. (For more on Singer’s translators, see our new essay by Ruth Wisse.)

Since moving to the country, I find myself growing sleepy by ten o’clock at night. I retire at the same time as my parakeets and the chickens in the coop. In bed, I peruse “Phantasms of the Living,” but I must soon turn off the light. A dreamless sleep—or one with dreams I can’t recall—takes hold of me until two in the morning. At two, I wake up completely rested, my head buzzing with plans and possibilities. On the winter night I will describe, it came to me to write about a Communist—in fact, a Communist theoretician—who attends a leftist conference on world peace and sees a ghost. I saw it all clearly: the meeting hall, the portraits of Marx and Engels, the table covered with a green cloth, the Communist, Morris Krakower, a short, stocky man with a head of close-cropped hair and a pair of steely eyes behind thick-lensed pince-nez. The conference takes place in Warsaw in the 30s, the era of Stalinist terror and the Moscow Trials. Morris Krakower disguises his defense of Stalin in the jargon of Marxist theory, but everyone grasps his meaning. In his speech, he proclaims that only the dictatorship of the proletariat can insure peace, and, therefore, no deviation either to the right or to the left can be tolerated. World peace is in the hands of the NKVD.

Read more at New Yorker

More about: American Jewish literature, Arts & Culture, Communism, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Yiddish literature

The Diplomatic Goals of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Visit to the U.S.

Yesterday, the Israeli prime minister arrived in the U.S., and he plans to address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, but it remains uncertain whether he will meet with President Biden. Nonetheless, Amit Yagur urges Benjamin Netanyahu to use the trip for ordinary as well as public diplomacy—“assuming,” Yagur writes, “there is someone to talk to in the politically turbulent U.S.” He argues that the first priority should be discussing how to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons. But there are other issues to tackle as well:

From the American perspective, as long as Hamas is not the official ruler in the Gaza Strip, any solution agreed upon is good. For Israel, however, it is quite clear that if Hamas remains a legitimate power factor, even if it does not head the leadership in Gaza, sooner or later, Gaza will reach the Hizballah model in Lebanon. To clarify, this means that Hamas is the actual ruler of the Strip, and sooner or later, we will see a [return] of its military capabilities as well as its actual control over the population. . . .

The UN aid organization UNRWA . . . served as a platform for Hamas terrorist elements to establish, disguise, and use UN infrastructure for terrorism. This is beside the fact that UNRWA essentially perpetuates the conflict rather than helps resolve it. How do we remove the UN and UNRWA from the “day after” equation? Can the American aid organization USAID step into UNRWA’s shoes, and what assistance can the U.S. provide to Israel in re-freezing donor-country contributions to UNRWA?

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Gaza War 2023, U.S.-Israel relationship