Hussein

I never met Roger Fisher, who died last month, nor read his much-acclaimed book on negotiations, Getting To Yes. But I gather he was something of a legend around Harvard and in academic circles in the field of negotiating theory. His death prompted a number of warm pieces about academic negotiations studies, highlighting his role as something of an entrepreneur who devoted his life to searching out conflicts to be resolved and yeses to be gotten.

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I.  It is not the business of Israel, although it seems to be the business of the politicians of Israel, to hector and harass President Obama about the release of Jonathan Pollard, who served as a certified espionage agent of the Jewish state in and against its one truly reliable ally, the United States of America. Maybe Pollard’s sentence was a bit harsher than it should have been. But I don’t even concede that. In any case, there are probably hundreds of thousands of convicts now in jail who can argue that their prison sentence was not equable or even just in the first place.

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In the Jewish struggle around Zionism there were at least three strands in opposition so fierce that it was evident that the very meaning of “the people Israel” was at stake. The first of these was a vast religious cohort, at once immensely learned or purported to have such learning and having, as well, the authority of the sages. Or the ages. While ongoing study and “trust in the Lord” constituted their program, they practiced a politics that was fundamentally anti-political. God was both their instrument and their end.

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Housing Bust

You do not need insider information to know that Hillary Clinton threw a hissy fit at Bibi Netanyahu last Friday morning. And you don’t need that kind of information to know that she was sent out to do this little job by her boss.

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I’ve written myself about the Obama administration’s more-than-flatfooted policies on Syria (here, here, and here) and Iran (here, here, and here). So I am particularly gratified when I find myself in alignment with Barry Rubin, a truly brainy scholar with a slight polemical touch. His latest analysis is below. Syria is a galling instance of the president’s obsessions ... and for several reasons. A weak country, both economically and militarily, its only possible political sway is to exacerbate the hatreds of its neighbors towards Israel.

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Derisionist History

Israel and Palestine: Reappraisals, Revisions, Refutations By Avi Shlaim (Verso, 392 pp., $34.95) Avi Shlaim burst upon the scene of Middle Eastern history in 1988, with the publication of Collusion Across the Jordan: King Abdullah, the Zionist Movement, and the Partition of Palestine. Before that, as a young lecturer at Reading University in England, he had produced two books, British Foreign Secretaries Since 1945 (1977) and The United States and the Berlin Blockade, 1948–1949 (1983), and several revealing essays on modern Middle Eastern historical issues in academic journals.

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I'd heard this about Queen Noor about two weeks ago from "very reliable" sources. But it is not my business to leak secrets. Still, now that it is out, I do have some comments. First, Michael Kinsley wrote an article for TNR about Noor, the Princeton graduate who was the daughter of the CEO of Pan American Airlines (now dead, I don't mean her father because I don't know but PAA which is long dead) and married the very eligible King Hussein, which made her a real queen. I don't have a feel for the how the family (the mishpocheh) felt about her.

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Kim Murphy is a London correspondent for the Los Angeles Times. London, England One night last June, 400 A-list guests and several packs of wolvesdescended upon Althorp, the ancestral home of the late PrincessDiana. The guests--who included Orlando Bloom, Elle MacPherson, andSalman Rushdie--had been invited to attend a fund-raiser for theRaisa Gorbachev Foundation, which helps childhood cancer victims inRussia.

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