At the Non-Proliferation Treaty meeting beginning today in New York, Iran will try to shift the discussion to Israel’s nuclear weapons by proposing that the Middle East become nuclear-free. As historian Jeffrey Herf wrote at TNR Online last October, this is similar to a ploy the Soviets used in the 1980s: Our negotiations with Iran are not off to a good start. After the initial meeting in Geneva on October 1--with Iran on one side and Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China, and the United States on the other--Iranian representatives said they had agreed to send processed uranium to Russia.
Toughened by their frontier ethos, steeled by serial wars, Israelis are not prone to flattery. Most, in fact, eschew using the closest equivalent to the Hebrew word for flattery--chanupa--in favor of the derisive Yiddish-derivative, firgun. An Israeli joke holds that the word, slashed by a red diagonal line, graces the exit from Ben-Gurion Airport, together with the warning, "You are now entering a Firgun Free Zone." Not surprisingly, then, several Israeli commentators reacted unflatteringly to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recent speech to the U.N. General Assembly.
I hope that I'm not being too haughty. But these articles are provocative, trenchant and convincing. They will give some of you heartburn. 1.
The Israeli reactions to the Goldstone report on the Gaza war of January 2009 have focused, understandably, on its outrageous omissions and distortions and one-sided judgments, as well as on the moral corruption of the report's sponsor, the UN's Human Rights Commission.
You may recall (or you may not) that on September 12 I posted a recounting the tale of Fonda's appeal to the city and to the world that the Toronto Film Festival be boycotted because the program included a fest for the Tel Aviv movie industry and its artistic achievements. This sector of Israeli culture has over the last ten years produced an unusual number of very unusual productions. Ask anybody in the quality side of the business and he will tell you that Tel Aviv is now one of the great centers of film art (as Tel Aviv is also to dance). Sorry, this is not my ethnic chauvinism. It is t
Jewish history in the 20th century is full of might-have-beens, most of them too sorrowful to bear thinking about. The brief cultural moment that Kenneth B. Moss resurrects in Jewish Renaissance in the Russian Revolution (Harvard University Press) is one of the least known and most fascinating of those aborted futures: a two-year period when writers, artists, and activists in Russia and Ukraine believed they were midwiving the birth of a new Jewish culture.
There was a time--stretching back several decades and ending not so long ago--when UNESCO busied itself with condemning Israel for this and condemning Israel for that. As it happens, the first piece (an unsigned editorial note) I wrote for TNR after coming to the magazine was titled "UNESCO and Israel." It appeared in the issue of December 14, 1974. UNESCO had specifically excluded Israel from the organization's official European orbit which meant it had no orbit at all in which to integrate itself. The Arabs were certainly not going to admit the Jewish state into their sphere. The resolu
The Camp David Accords were signed 31 years ago this mid-month. The actual Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty was sealed 30 years ago this coming March. This was negotiated between Menahem Begin and Anwar Sadat. (The immediate reward for Cairo was annual emoluments of $3 billion, just about what Israel has received for military aid.) No soldiers have taken up arms against each other ever since. No airplanes have flown hostilely over each other's air space, no tanks, no missiles, no nothing. Nonetheless, the normalization of relations that many people anticipated would emerge between the two nati
There were more than 100 others wounded in the 2008 Palestinian rocket attack on the doctor's clinic. She herself has had eight surgeries on her face. Goldstone doesn't give a damn. There were more that 100. (Pictured: Rocket attack victim, Dr. Mirela Siderer, testifying before UN.) From UN Watch: "Why Didn't You Tell Me U.N. Council Declared Israel Guilty From the Start? Why Did You Humiliate Me?" Geneva, September 29, 2009 - The U.N.
With apologies to Winston Churchill, President Obama may not have presided over the beginning of the end of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict last week in New York, but he seems finally to have marked the end of an embarrassing beginning to his Middle East diplomacy. The president and his senior advisors came to office nine months ago eager to say and do what George W. Bush didn’t.