Tel Aviv Journal: Richard Goldstone Recants a Blood Libel
April 05, 2011
The ancient rabbis declared that, “even though a Jew has sinned”—which in this context means sinned against his own—“he remains Israel.” We can leave it for the Lord Almighty to decide whether Richard Goldstone remains among His chosen. But, whether the judge can worship with members of the congregation, as he was finally permitted to do at his grandson’s bar mitzvah last spring, remains in the hands of those who’d have to pray with him; and, if I were them, I would not allow him. Not for one moment.
April 04, 2011
Two years ago, South African Jewish jurist Richard Goldstone authored an explosive report on behalf of the United Nations accusing Israel of committing war crimes in its counterattack against Hamas in the Gaza strip. Now Goldstone is renouncing his own report: The leader of a United Nations panel that investigated Israel’s invasion of Gaza two years ago has retracted the central and most explosive assertion of its report — that Israel intentionally killed Palestinian civilians there.
Tel Aviv Journal: The Atrocity in Itamar
March 17, 2011
Most of this country is still grieving for the five people in the Fogel family who were murdered late Friday night in the religious settlement of Itamar, near Shechem (or Nablus) where, more or less, Jewish history began. This last assertion is probably thought by many readers—and maybe by you—to be reprobate.
Look Who’s Talking
March 03, 2011
The current wave of democratic uprisings in the Middle East is a welcome development. But it will almost certainly empower long-suppressed political parties inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood. That movement—whose slogan reads, in part, “Koran is our law; Jihad is our way”—presents several urgent challenges for American policymakers: How can political parties that seek Islamic law through holy struggle be cajoled and pressured to respect the rules of democratic politics? Is political Islam even compatible with open, civil societies?
Time for a Reset
February 05, 2011
President Obama is in a tight spot. The 2010 elections have sharply contracted his ability to achieve legislative victories, while his room to maneuver on other issues will be limited by the intrusive investigations which are almost certainly coming his way. Progress will be harder to attain than ever.
“With Our Eyes Wide Open”
February 04, 2011
There are two ways to think about the impact upon Israel of the collapse, fast or slow, but inexorable, of the Mubarak regime in Egypt. The first is to be concerned for Israel. The second is to be concerned about Israel. Until the peace treaty with Egypt was concluded in 1979, it was said about Israel, and rightly, that it was surrounded by “confrontation states.” The accord with Egypt, followed by the accord with Jordan, destroyed the monolithic character of the security threat to Israel.
A Separate Peace
October 28, 2010
It is more than likely that the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) will reach a dead end. If not on the issue of settlements then on other matters. It’s not in the details, it’s in the big picture: Benjamin Netanyahu will not go as far as his predecessor, Ehud Olmert, and the Palestinians have already rejected Olmert’s generous deal. So it is probably a good idea to start thinking about Plan B. To do this, we Israelis must first set our priorities straight: The more urgent goal is not peace; it is partition.
September 20, 2010
The most durable myth in the Middle East is: "It's Palestine, stupid." It lies at the heart of Barack Obama's Middle East diplomacy, which is why the president has been pummeling the Israelis and pushing the Palestinians to resume talks. According to this myth, the most urgent problem is not the Iranian bomb or Syrian ambitions. It is not Egypt, once an anchor of stability and now slipping into precarious irrelevance. It is not Iraq, which is tottering between occupation and anarchy. It is not Al Qaeda in Yemen, the return of the Taliban, or the ticking time bomb that is Pakistan.
Egypt's Regime Will Change
September 04, 2010
Sometimes, it seems like the United States is more interested in giving aid to Egypt than Egypt is to receive it. This year, for example, Egypt objected to a $250 million civilian aid package if USAID funded unregistered NGOs. Many human rights groups in the country have trouble receiving official sanction from the Egyptian government and thus require outside support to be effective. So, instead of standing firm, the Obama administration agreed to cut their USAID support, departing from U.S.
If You Build It...
September 02, 2010
Dear Imam Feisal, Ramadan Kareem. I pray that you are bearing up under the strain of recent months. I write as a well-wisher and friend. Though we met only briefly, our encounter turned out to be at a fateful moment, and, for me at least, was of lasting significance. We met, you will recall, on September 5, 2001, at a symposium on a book I was about to publish recounting my journey into Islam and Christianity in the Holy Land. (The book was actually released six days later, on September 11.) You appeared on the panel offering a Muslim response to my journey.