Occupational Hazard
August 06, 2007

'Take off your veil!" the Somali soldier shouted at the woman in the mostly empty street. Steadying his assault rifle with his right hand, he ripped away the woman's black niqab with his left. "Why are you coming so close to us? You have explosives?" He leveled the muzzle of his gun against the bridge of her nose. Her mouth, suddenly embarrassed and exposed, broke into a jester's forced grin. "I just want a juice," she pleaded. Except for a handful of armed soldiers, the only other person on the deserted street was a man selling mango juice from behind a table.

'shalom Achshav'
June 20, 2007

A story about the five year old son of a good friend. The son attends a Jewish day school so, in addition to puzzling out English words, he is puzzling out Hebrew words. My friend and his wife have a "Peace Now" poster in their house, emblazoned with the same phrase in Hebrew: Shalom Achshav. The child read, with only a bit of difficulty, the words, Shalom Achshav. "Daddy, I know what that means. It means 'Good-bye now'." Shalom means peace, hello, good-bye. But the child did get today's meaning perfectly: Peace Now, Good-bye now. Sorry for the inconvenience.

The College Cash Problem
June 08, 2007

Like healthcare, the cost of college tuition in America has been spiraling out of control in the past decade. And the current college loan scandal only makes that more evident. (My alma mater, Columbia -- which just happens to be at the center of said scandal -- costs around $45,000 for tuition and board; that's about $10,000 more than when I matriculated in 2000). It's terrible, first of all, to prey on financially uninformed young people. But even at good rates, the prospect of taking out tens, even hundreds of thousands in loans, particularly for undergraduate education, is terrifying.

Gaza Safer Under Occupation
June 06, 2007

The Palestinians are desperate. That's old news. Yes, of course, the occupation makes them desperate. But, hey, the occupation of Gaza was liquidated almost two years ago. Not a single Israeli soldier is in Gaza, except for the one captured last summer from over the Israeli border. According to an article by the very savvy Isabel Kershner in todays Times, even Mahmoud Abbas has averred that "the brink of civil war ...

Jews Are Gluttons For Punishment
June 05, 2007

The Jerusalem Post reports this morning that a bus carrying Israeli demonstrators from a Peace Now rally in Hebron against the occupation was pelted with rocks and stones. Where is the Palestinian sense of hospitality to friends?

Lower Education
May 30, 2007

I am not a big fan of those surveys ranking restaurants, doctors, lawyers, hairdressers, beers, and ice creams. I don't think much more of the surveys ranking universities and research institutions either. But when the faculties of three British universities initiate a boycott of all of the universities of one whole nation--in this case, you guessed it, of Israel-- I begin to think: What are those universities, anyway?

The Gift That Keeps On Giving
May 20, 2007

According to the Los Angeles Times, the CIA made a major push last year to put agents into Pakistan and try to smoke out Osama bin Laden. They never found him, but they did find something even more disturbing: U.S.

Koch On The War
May 15, 2007

Ed Koch has written a commentary on the state of the war and the state of the Democrats. He says what he means. It's not exactly how I read the situation. But he may be right...about everything here. May 14, 2007 Sadly, the war in Iraq appears to be lost.

In Today's Web Magazine
May 03, 2007

Martin Peretz praises the vision and analysis of Fouad Ajami; read recent pieces by Ajami here (a review for TNR of Ali Allawi's book on the occupation) and here (an essay for The Wall Street Journal on Iraq); David Fontana argues that Hamdan v. Rumsfeld has been a major disappointment for liberals; David A. Bell handicaps Nicolas Sarkozy and Ségolène Royal for Sunday's election in France; and Peter Beinart and Jonah Goldberg ask if the GOP has inked a deal with the devil on immigration. --Adam B. Kushner

I Am Dying, Egypt
May 02, 2007

by Robert Brustein A recent report isued by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni documents what we already know: Shakespeare is no longer valued in our educational system. Of course, the beleaguered bard has never had a very strong foothold in secondary schools where many English teachers, if they teach Shakespeare at all, introduce him to students through rote memorization of a few soliloquies--hardly a recipe for lifelong devotion to blank verse.