The journalist Christopher Hitchens has abandoned his role as a leading activist-scribe-provocateur of the radical Left, but here and there he shows that he has held fast to his radical aversion to Zionism. In a column last year on the 60th anniversary of the Jewish state, he confided that it is only the “degeneration of Palestinian Arab nationalism into the theocratic and thanatocratic hell of Hamas and Islamic Jihad” that “forces non-Zionists like me to ask whether, in spite of everything, Israel should be defended as if it were a part of the democratic West.” (The Israelis, as he sees it, have not “returned a completely convincing answer.”)

Now, in a preemptive review in the December Atlantic of Michael Scammell’s forthcoming biography of the novelist, essayist, and polemicist Arthur Koestler (1905-1983), Hitchens butchers the record by projecting his own Israel-related hostilities onto his subject.

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