June 09, 2010
Tel Aviv, Israel — There once was a very successful campaign in Israel for road safety. Its slogan was, “On the road, don’t be right, be smart." The day after the flotilla raid last week, more than one pundit in the Israeli press brought up the slogan. We’re right, they said, but why can’t we also be smart? The raid was by no means smart. Israel blindly stepped into a p.r. campaign orchestrated by Turkey and Hamas, doing enormous damage to its own international image and credibility. But the raid was not an isolated incident.
The TNR EXCHANGE: Trust Fall
April 15, 2010
James Risen, a Washington-based writer, and Yossi Klein Halevi, a Jerusalem-based writer, have been friends since they both crashed the Nazi Party headquarters in Chicago as student reporters 30 years ago. They have been joking and arguing about news and politics ever since, especially when it comes to Israel and the Middle East. This e-mail exchange began in the shadow of the dispute between the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government.
Everything is narrative. And the present “responsible” narrative, we are told, comes from President Obama. It’s too bad he knows very little about the intrinsic history of the dispute or about its present contours, which, after all, he--in his arrogance, vanity, and suave--has done much to make both sides more rigid rather than more amenable to compromise. (Actually it’s at least three sides if you count Hamas-controlled Gaza, which the president blithely ignores ...
A Crisis And An Opportunity
December 28, 2008
CNN International’s coverage of yesterday’s fighting in Gaza concluded at midnight with a rush of images: mangled civilians writhing in the rubble, primitive hospitals overflowing with the wounded, fireballs mushrooming between apartment complexes, the funeral of a Palestinian child.
December 24, 2008
In October, when Tzipi Livni, who had won the race to succeed outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as head of Israel's ruling Kadima Party, announced that she was unable to form a governing coalition, you could almost hear the groans coming from across the Atlantic and from European capitals. The reason? Livni's failure to assemble a government means new elections will take place in February.
Yossi Klein Halevi On The Nine Lives Of Ehud Olmert
July 30, 2008
Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert announced today that he will resign his post after his party elects a new leader in September. We asked TNR contributing editor Yossi Klein Halevi for his take from Jerusalem: Is it really time for eulogies? Is the abyss known as the "Olmert era" closing? Ehud Olmert has been eulogized so often that, even now, after announcing his intention to resign as Israeli prime minister when the Kadima party holds primaries for a new leader in mid-September, some Israelis don't quite believe it.
Olmert Won't Run Again
July 30, 2008
In light of today's news that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will not run in the September primary for the Kadima Party, we thought it might be an appropriate time to call attention to Yossi Klein Halevi's recent piece for TNR.com, "Why Olmert Must Go." An excerpt: "Ehud Olmert must go because he doesn't understand why he must go. Incapable of shame, he has proved himself unworthy to lead a people who are fighting for their lives. For Olmert, there are no moral requirements for leadership.
June 11, 2008
Jerusalem In 2006, after the Lebanon war, Israel's foreign ministry decided that the country had a p.r. problem on its hands. The solution? Let the world know that Israel, far from being a place of war and terror, was in fact a land of sunny beaches and beautiful women: in other words, a country that was fundamentally normal. And, so, Israel retained the p.r.
Why Olmert Must Go
May 29, 2008
Jerusalem--Forget the envelopes stuffed with dollars being passed to Ehud Olmert by American businessman Morris Talansky. Forget the favors Olmert solicited for Talansky's business interests. Forget that 70 percent of the public thinks he's lying when he insists he took nothing for himself and that the cash was intended only for his election campaigns. Forget the half-dozen other inquiries into Olmert's business dealings that have made him the most investigated prime minister in Israel's history.
May 28, 2008
JERUSALEM--At first glance, Ehud Olmert and Bashar al-Assad have nothing in common. The first is a slick, media-savvy politico, while the second is an awkward, anti-charismatic, unloved and unlovable dictator. But Israel's prime minister and Syria's ruler have both concluded that the best way to beat the rap, respectively, on corruption and murder charges is to make peace with one another. That, at least, is the impression of many Israelis, prominent commentators among them, in light of last week's revelation of indirect talks between Syrian and Israeli negotiators in Turkey.