Planet Online

Meic Birtwistle reviews
Losing Israel
by Jasmine Donahaye

Losing Israel

Seren, £12.99

The history of Wales is filled with stories speaking of loss. Loss of language, loss of land, loss of independence, loss of livelihood: it is something that seems at times almost to define the Welsh psyche. Here, then, is a story that will undoubtedly chime with the experiences of the Welsh. But it is, in fact, the tale of another land and of another set entirely of alienations altogether.

Innocence is one element of the loss that the poet Jasmine Donahaye describes in this moving memoir. The foundation myth of her mother’s nation, Israel – a place where she herself has lived on and off – has been taken from her. A deception has been perpetrated on her from her childhood: it seems as if her very nursery rhymes were contaminated. Was this a form of self-delusion or rather a gigantic con-trick, or both? Had the author’s forebears – Jewish socialist settlers fleeing from poverty and persecution in distant lands – transformed themselves into privileged and powerful colonisers?

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