Jonathan Freedland is an award-winning journalist, author and broadcaster. He writes a weekly column for The Guardian and is the presenter of BBC Radio 4’s contemporary history series The Long View as well as the co-host (with the Israeli journalist Yonit Levi) of Unholy, a weekly podcast. He has written twelve books, the latest of which is The Escape Artist: the Man Who Broke Out of Auschwitz to Warn the World.
Elvis in Jerusalem: Tom Segev
In this session, Tom Segev discussed his book of the same name with Jonathan Freedland. Segev argues that the sweeping americanisation of Israel, rued by many, has in fact had an extraordinary beneficial influence, bringing not only McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts but also the virtues of pragmatism, tolerance and individualism. Jumping full square into the ideological battle about the future of Zionism, he welcomes as a harbinger of compromise and openness the diffusion of national identity an...
Jacob’s Gift: To be a Jew: Jonathan Freedland
Jacob’s Gift is Jonathan Freedland’s family memoir, about Jewishness, identity and belonging. An inquiry into the inheritance he is giving to his young son, it is told through the story of three members of his family, stretching across the generations and ranging from Czarist Russia to London’s East End and British-ruled Palestine.
In this session, Jonathan Freedland gave a sneak preview of his then forthcoming book and in conversation with...
How does family history spur someone to literature? And what happens when that history coincides with some of the 20th century’s most dramatic and painful events?
David Baddiel’s latest novel, The Secret Purposes, is based on the life of his German refugee grandfather. In Jacob’s Gift, Jonathan Freedland explores the identity he is passing on to his young son. Anne Karpf’s memoir, The War After, looks at the ways her life has been affected by her s...
The People on the Street: Linda Grant
Linda Grant presented Israel as you have never seen it before.
From the bohemian world of the Tel Aviv intellectual scene to the seedy underbelly of mob bosses; encountering teenage soldiers, Iraqi shopkeepers and Russian scientists along the way. The People on the Street, the culmination of years of journalism, essay writing and countless interviews, is the very personal account of Linda Grant’s relationship with the country. Beginning from one block of a Tel Avi...
Saturday Night Double Bill
SESSION ONE : Suspense
Jonathan Freedland presented Sam Bourne, the author of an exciting thriller set in the New York Jewish community.
Moderated by award-winning journalist, writer and broadcaster Jay Rayner.
SESSION TWO : Don’t Tell Me Miracles Can’t Happen!
“I have seen the end of Apartheid and witnessed modern Israel rising from the ashes of the ...
The Best of Times, The Worst of Times: A Tour of the Jewish Horizon
Antisemitic attacks are on the rise, the Iranian president calls for the eradication of Israel and the war in Lebanon split the diaspora. But Jewish culture everywhere is experiencing a vibrant resurgence and a two state solution seems inevitable. So what exactly is looming on the horizon?
Round Table Discussion: Israel at 60, coming of age
A lively debate which went beyond the current issues and will looked at some of the really major questions that can only be approached with a sense of perspective: antisemitism and islamophobia, paralleled by hatred of Israel and fear of the Arab world; the multiplication of diasporas as a result of globalization; the growth of fundamentalism and ultra-orthodoxy; powerlessness and empowerment.
Murder They Write
Jonathan Freedland, alias Sam Bourne, tackles the Middle East conflict in his second gripping thriller, The Last Testament. With the Bethlehem Murders, Matt Rees has set off on a series of mysteries set in the West Bank with school teacher turned detective Omar Yussef as their central character.
The two journalists explained what prompted them to start writing thrillers and discussed the Middle East, politics and fiction.
Amos Oz has often said he writes with two pens: one for his novels, the other to expose injustices and promote peace.
Jonathan Freedland spoke to the peace activist, the man who believes it is a writer’s duty to confront iniquities no matter how uncomfortable they prove to be.
Simon Wiesenthal: The Life and Legends
In his research for his biography of Simon Weisenthal, Tom Segev had access to previously unseen and recently declassified papers, rendering this the first fully documented biography of the world-renowned Nazi-hunter. Segev uncovers and places into context, Wiesenthal’s relationship with Mossad, his real involvement in Eichmann’s arrest, the unlikely friendships he formed with Kurt Waldheim and Albert Speer and the nature of his rivalry with Elie Wiesel.
JC Evening: Last Word
The Finkler Question is the ‘first unashamedly comic novel’ to win the prestigious Booker Prize and flagrantly Jewish to boot. Howard Jacobson and Jonathan Freedland – two restlessly questing souls – wrestled “finklerisms” in intellectual combat: Does Jewishness provide a “way in” to the deep and meaningful questions of life? Is life invariably melancholy? Are friends inevitably disloyal? Can love endure? These two mighty Mega-Wits contemplated life’s tragicomic dimensions a...
A New Voice for Israel
The leader of America’s pro-Israel, pro-peace lobby explained to Jonathan Freedland why he felt the need to fund J-Street. He comes from a family who were pioneers in Israel, founders of Tel Aviv and fighters for the country’s independence. He told us why he thinks it is urgent to secure Israel’s future through peace and urges all Jews to support a broad and varied discussion about Israel, rooted in the values and principles of the Jewish people.
The novel by Jonathan Freedland – written under the pseudonym Sam Bourne – Pantheon, is set in the Oxford and Yale of 1940. It follows an Oxford academic deemed unfit to serve in the war against Germany and his desperate search to find his missing wife and child. The story turns, however, on what could be called the dirty little secret of the Anglo-American intellectual elite – the attraction of some of the greatest minds of the 20th century, from Bertrand Russell to George Bernard ...
A.B. Yehoshua, The Retrospective
One of the world’s most esteemed writers, A.B. Yehoshua, author of Mr. Mani and Friendly Fire, amongst others, returned to the festival to discuss his latest novel, The Retrospective. This beautiful and meditative novel centres on an Israeli filmmaker who travels to Spain for a retrospective of his work. Whilst there, he sees a painting which triggers a memory and drives him to explore the relationship between life and art, an artist and his muses.
Sponsored by Dr Naim Dangoor CBE an...
JDOV: Jewish Dreams, Observations, Visions
Ever wondered what it would be like if you crossed Jewish Book Week with TED, the popular conference which asks inspiring speakers to give “the talk of their life”? Here’s your chance to find out. Launched at the annual UK Limmud Conference, JDOV talks are now happening around the world and can be viewed at www.jhub.org.uk/jdov
Four speakers gave their all at Jewish Book Week, journalist and writer Jonathan Freedland, actor Tracy Ann Oberman, photographer Judah Passow and...
Ari Shavit My Promised Land
A groundbreaking and authoritative examination of Israel by one of the most influential columnists writing about the Middle East today. Facing unprecedented internal and external pressures, Israel today is at a moment of existential crisis.
My Promised Land, the first ever winner of the Natan Book Award in the United States, tells the story of Israel as it has never been told before, and asks difficult but important questions: Why did Israel come to be? How did it come to be? And can I...
Jonathan Sperber and Jonathan Freedland reconsider Marx
Jonathan Sperber’s Karl Marx: A Nineteenth Century Life: Karl Marx has been hailed as “a brilliant embedding of Marx in his times.” Marx is portrayed as a man looking over his shoulder at the philosophes of the French Revolution, while stoking the radical political flames of mid-19th century Europe. For Jonathan Freedland, who is conducting the interview, Sperber has succeeded in “recreating a man who leaps off the p...
Peter Beinart and Jonathan Freedland on Israel and the Diaspora
Voices have the power to sway public opinion and perhaps even determine policies. Peter Beinart, who writes for The Atlantic and Haaretz, and The Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland consider how the Jewish Diaspora voice might exert a more meaningful influence on the strategies of Israel’s decision-makers.
The 3rd Woman
The 3rd Woman is a high-concept thriller set in a world in which the USA bows to the People’s Republic of China, corruption is rife and the government dictates what the ‘truth’ is. Jonathan Freedland explores the genesis of his fiction about an individual’s quest for justice with broadcaster and journalist Mark Lawson, whose own recent novel is The Deaths.
The Big Debate
The Big Debate addressed the critical issues and challenges confronting Jews today.
Etgar Keret and Yotam Ottolenghi in conversation with Jonathan Freedland
In a unique conversation between these three exceptional contemporaries, you can anticipate being moved, gladdened, transported and made wiser by their exchange of stories, observations and reflections. Their discussion will revolve around their life-changing memories and experiences, taking in fathers, sisters, sons, latest projects, choices taken, places visited, roads as yet untrodden, and maybe, even, favourit...
Derived from his personal experiences at the BBC, Mark Lawson’s new novel is a page-turning satire on the aftershocks of damning allegations. Penetrating, savage and often very funny, The Allegations portrays two academics who confront disgrace and disintegration arising from the accusations of colleagues, students and ex-lovers.
Mark Lawson captures a contemporary culture in which allegations are easily made and reputations casually destroyed. He is in conversation with journalist J...
Daniel Finkelstein and Jonathan Freedland in conversation
Sponsored by the Kennedy Leigh Charitable Trust
Finkelstein and Freedland are two of the UK’s most brilliant social and political commentators: questing, clear-headed, frequently impassioned. They have analysed and dissected every major event and pressing issue of recent times, and here they engage in an expansive conversation about their political ideals and the state of the world.
Trump ‘On Trial’
Freedland, Jacobson and Schama take on Donald Trump, at least figuratively, as they compete for bandwidth to expose the latest exploits of the Western World’s most powerful and contentious leader. The inspiration for a satire by Jacobson, a thriller by Freedland and steaming articles by Schama et al, Trump is the object of obsessive interest to everyone.
Enemies and Neighbours: Arabs and Jews In Palastine and Israel, 1917-2017
Ian Black draws on four decades of experience as a Middle East correspondent steeped in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to present a gripping narrative of 100 years of the history of the region, originating in Lord Balfour’s oblique 67-word promise of a homeland for the Jewish people, through to the challenges of today.
Amos Oz: A Tribute
Amos Oz, celebrated Israeli author, wrote over 30 novels and short stories, widely translated from the Hebrew, poignant expressions of the human condition. He was an ardent advocate for peace, who wrote passionately on the scourge of extremism. Oz famously said, ‘We can fold all the moral imperatives, the Ten Commandments, and the human virtues, into a single commandment: Thou shalt not inflict pain. That is all. Do not hurt.’
His daughter Fania Oz-Salzberger, joined by his trans...
Amos Oz: A Tribute – Live Relay
Please note this is a live streaming of the event in Hall One.
Amos Oz, celebrated Israeli author, wrote over 30 novels and short stories, widely translated from the Hebrew, poignant expressions of the human condition. He was an ardent advocate for peace, who wrote passionately on the scourge of extremism. Oz famously said, ‘We can fold all the moral imperatives, the Ten Commandments, and the human virtues, into a single commandment: Thou shalt not inflict pain. That is all. Do not h...
Are we Witnessing the Death of Democracy?
Tolerance, equality, democracy, free speech, a free press, separation of church and state, progress: these and other values of the Enlightenment have guided the West for over 300 years. But with trends such as the rise of populism and nationalism in the West, the ascent of China in the East, and the failure of the Arab Spring, many are asking: what if the Enlightenment was just a blip? What if we are simply reverting to ‘norm’ of human history and, if so, what can we do about it? ...
To Kill the Truth
Acclaimed journalist Jonathan Freedland presents a gripping new thriller, the latest from his blockbuster novelist alter ego Sam Bourne. Somebody is murdering the world’s last remaining Holocaust survivors; libraries are burnt to the ground and important digital archives are wiped. Somebody is setting out to erase the past, even to destroy the truth itself. But who? Jonathan discusses the inspiration behind the novel – including his experience covering the David Irving trial – in c...
A State at Any Cost: The Life of David Ben-Gurion
Israeli historian Tom Segev offers a masterful account of the complex figure of David Ben Gurion, founder of the Jewish state. Visionary leader, despot, statesman, small-town politician – Ben Gurion was all of these things. Tom Segev uses previously unreleased archive material to give an original, nuanced account that transcends the myths and legends that have built up around David Ben-Gurion, a leader who sought a state ‘at any cost’.
To Kill a Man – Virtual Event
This event was recorded live using the Zoom webinar facility.
The latest thriller from smash-hit author Sam Bourne, To Kill a Man is packed with “plot twists and insights into political campaigning, the Me Too movement and the darker side of the internet” [The Times].
A woman is brutally assaulted in her own home by an intruder. She defends herself — leaving her attacker dead.
But this is no ordinary woman. She’s Natasha Winthrop,...
Why Do Jews Love The Godfather?
Five decades on, Francis Ford Coppola’s adaption of Mario Puzo’s novel remains at the top of numerous greatest movies ever lists. What is it about this very Italian-American film series that has captured the imaginations of generations of Jewish men in particular? Jonathan Freedland is joined by Vanity Fair contributing editor Rich Cohen, author of Tough Jews and co-creator alongside Martin Scorsese of HBO drama Vinyl, and ...
Levin Professor of History at Yale Timothy Snyder joins us live from the US following the publication of a new graphic edition, with illustrations by Nora Krug, of his New York Times No.1 bestseller On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From The Twentieth Century. The winner of the Hannah Arendt Prize, the Leipzig Book Prize for European Understanding and the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Literature Award discusses his guide to surviving and resisting America’s arc toward a...
Art Spiegelman & Hillary Chute in conversation with Jonathan Freedland
Part of BBC Arena at Jewish Book Week
From Superman to Maus, comic art has both subverted and triumphed over popular culture for almost a century. Our latest online event sees Jonathan Freedland joined by Maus creator Art Spiegelman and Hillary Chute, editor of the National Jewish Book Award winner ...
Israel: A Fragile Democracy?
The opening weeks of this year saw 80,000 Israelis take to the streets of Tel Aviv, protesting the new government’s proposed sweeping changes to the judicial system. Supreme Court president Esther Hayut denounced the move, calling it a “plan to crush the justice system”, with opposition leader Yair Lapid pledging to stand by her side “in the struggle for the soul of the country”. Not everyone agrees, however: a recent Newsweek op-ed sought to brush off the controv...
Jonathan Freedland: The Escape Artist
“Awe inspiring, exciting and poignant, this is a thrilling read, a piece of redemptive storytelling and a work of important Holocaust historical research.” Simon Sebag Montefiore
In April 1944 teenager Rudolf Vrba and fellow inmate Fred Wetzler became two of the first Jews ever to break out of Auschwitz. Shortlisted for both the Baillie Gifford Prize and Waterstones Book of the Year and an instant Sunday Times bestseller, The Escape Artist: The Man Who Brok...
Jonathan Freedland and Anthony Julius in conversation with Hadley Freeman
An insightful hour with three people who’ve reached the top of their fields. Solicitor Anthony Julius and Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland, both deeply rooted in the Jewish community and the authors of acclaimed books, join author and Sunday Times journalist Hadley Freeman for a unique event to discuss their respective careers, how their work has shaped their identities, and how it has been informed by Israel and the challenge of liberal Zion...