The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMENT -

Con­grat­u­la­tions to Nor­man Lebrecht for writ­ing the only neg­a­tive pub­lished re­view ( JC, Oct 23) of my book, Chil­dren of the Stone, to date. I nor­mally don’t re­spond to re­views but, given his one-sid­ed­ness and in­ac­cu­ra­cies, I feel com­pelled to cor­rect the record.

In his re­view, Mr Lebrecht falsely claims that it is hard from my nar­ra­tive to de­ci­pher the sources of vi­o­lence against Ramzi Abu­red­wan’s fam­ily, when it is im­mensely clear in the nar­ra­tive. Nor, as he claims, was it nec­es­sary to search the book’s notes to find a dis­cus­sion on Pales­tinian-onPales­tinian vi­o­lence dur­ing the first in­tifada, as it is clearly men­tioned on pages 48 and 67 of the book.

Mr Lebrecht writes of my al­leged “in­abil­ity to ask a crit­i­cal ques­tion.” In fact the book is re­plete with such ques­tions, in­clud­ing of Ramzi him­self and, more im­por­tantly, of the re­al­ity of a mil­i­tary oc­cu­pa­tion in which Ramzi’s mu­sic stu­dents — chil­dren — are forced to live un­der ev­ery day.

Per­haps th­ese are ques­tions that make Mr Lebrecht un­com­fort­able; what­ever the rea­son, he fails to men­tion that re­al­ity, which cour­ses through my nar­ra­tive, in his re­view. It is ap­par­ent he has never set foot in the West Bank, nor ever spo­ken with a Pales­tinian about the ex­pe­ri­ence of a mil­i­tary oc­cu­pa­tion that is now nearly half-a-cen­tury old. I would have ex­pected a more se­ri­ous en­gage­ment with this is­sue from your pages. Sandy Tolan, As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor USC, Los An­ge­les, USA.

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