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.
Another Hit Job By The Financial Times
March 02, 2010
Hardly a day goes by that the Financial Times doesn’t do a hit job on Israel. The otherwise sober pink sheet has such an obsession with the Jewish state that I’ve come to wonder what its views were on the rescue of Jewish children into England during the Nazi onslaught on them and on their parents. Tobias Buck is virtually on call full time to twist Israeli reality into his own jaundiced view of Zionism. Last week in the FT, he came to conclusions about Israel’s diplomatic isolation which he himself had trumpeted.
Congressman Bill Delahunt of Massachusetts: Pompous, Pretentious, Ineffective. Going The Way Of Martha Coakley. Or Worse.
March 01, 2010
Republican Scott Brown beat Democrat Martha Coakley by five points in the senatorial contest to succeed Ted Kennedy in Massachusetts. But, in William Delahunt’s congressional district, Brown beat the lady by 20 points. This was not good news for Delahunt, not good news at all. He’s serving his seventh House term in a state delegation that is all Democratic (which, alas, it won’t be come Election Day 2010). The tenth C.D. has been Democratic since Gerry Studds won it in the seventies, and Studds held the seat for nearly a quarter-century.
Response To Andrew Sullivan
February 26, 2010
Andrew Sullivan has a lengthy reply to my post, which categorically stated that he’s not an anti-Semite, but which also took sharp issue with his views on the Middle East. I truly regret that my colleague impugned Andrew’s motives. I like Andrew a great deal, and like him I believe in debating politics –sharply, at times – without impinging on friendships. My basic take is that Andrew was a simplistic supporter of Israel and has become a simplistic critic. In response, he argues that world events have changed his mind.
February 26, 2010
Say what you want about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but “he knows how to work a room.” So claims Flynt Leverett, the contrarian Iran analyst who, with his wife Hillary Mann Leverett, paid a visit to the Iranian president in New York City last fall. During the sit-down at Manhattan’s InterContinental Barclay hotel with a group of invited academics, foreign policy professionals, and other Iranophiles, the Leveretts marveled at Ahmadinejad’s attention to detail as the Iranian took copious notes and strove to pronounce their unfamiliar names correctly. “He addresses every person by name.
“A War Is A War. A War Is Not A Crime, And You Don’t Bring Your Enemies To A Courthouse.”
February 23, 2010
It is so simple. And elegant. What’s more, it is also true. Why are so many liberal Democrats reluctant to concede that there is an intricate international network of ideological gangsters who recognize each other as ikhwan? These brothers do not define themselves by nation. They define themselves by religion, although there are many hundreds of millions of Muslims who are defined out--and define themselves out--of the bloody fraternity of the faithful. Sometimes, they too are stigmatized as enemies, which means they are also targets.
Goldfarb Vs. J Street
February 17, 2010
P.R. flack Michael Goldfarb, writing in the Weekly Standard, has an item entitled "Israel to J Street: We Know You're Not Pro-Israel." The basis for this turns out to be a comment from Danny Ayalon, to wit: "The thing that troubles me is that they don't present themselves as to what they really are. They should not call themselves pro-Israeli." Who is Danny Ayalon? He's the deputy to the disgraceful racist Avigdor Lieberman. Ayalon himself took it upon himself to bizarrely humiliate the Turkish ambassador on Israeli television. In short, he's a total buffoon.
The One Way In Which Israel And Palestine Are Equal
February 14, 2010
Well, actually it's the governments of Israel and Palestine that are equal in this way. And it's in the propensity of high public officials to engage in sexual aggression against women. In fact, Israel wins the prize on this count. Former president Moshe Katzav resigned from office in order to ward off (unsuccessfully, it appears) an eight-count indictment on serious charges. The trial is now in process.
Rinse, Wash, Repeat
February 14, 2010
I don’t think anyone would mistake me for a big fan of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the main (as they put it) “pro-Israel” lobby in Washington. The only organization of that kind that I’ve ever given money to is Americans for Peace Now. And I have defended critics of AIPAC, including Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, the authors of The Israel Lobby, from charges of anti-Semitism. But I think Walt and Mearsheimer have been dead wrong in trying to blame the Israel lobby or the Israeli government for America’s invasion of Iraq.
Yes, We Have To Save Yemen, Too
February 13, 2010
No, I am not deserting the president on this one either. Any country that is under siege by Al Qaeda is likely to have strategic and/or ideological interest to us. But it’s a big stretch to argue that we have a democratic interest in Yemen’s future. It will not be before hell freezes over that we may have such an interest in Yemen. That time is neither now nor tomorrow. And since history in the Arabian Peninsula moves in geological time, let’s stop deluding ourselves about another democratic ally. Our interest in Yemen is strategic.