Rich Cohen’s new book, Israel Is Real, which Adam Kirsch panned on Tablet Magazine but Tony Horwitz more or less praised in the New York Times Book Review is getting renewed attention on Paper Cuts, the Times book blog. After noting that the paper ran corrections to Horwitz’s review (Horwitz misidentified the region from which hailed a 12th-century false messiah; Cohen misstated Ehud Barak’s father’s name and city of origin; and both men offered an incorrect history of the Exodus refugee ship), the blog reprints irate letters from readers. They point out additional inaccuracies in the book, for instance stating that Rabbi Abraham Kook was a spiritual leader for West Bank settlers when in fact his son is the one who gets that dubious credit, plus they castigate Horwitz and the Times for glibness. Writes one uncharacteristically succinct reader: “Tony Horwitz is the perfect reviewer for a book on Jewish history by Rich Cohen…. Unfortunately, this was not the April Fool’s issue of the Book Review. What’s next, a review article on recent works of Soviet history by Sacha Baron Cohen?”
There’s a thought.