Israel

Awakenings

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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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Love and Capitalism

Caritas in Veritate: On Integral Human Development in Charity and Truth By Pope Benedict XVI (Ignatius Press, 157 pp., $14.95) I. Are we facing an economic crisis? I do not mean the crisis of the credit markets that has wiped trillions off the global balance sheet and plunged the world into recession. I mean a spiritual crisis, of which the crash is but a symptom. According to Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, we are in the midst of a “late capitalist . . .

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Robert Wright responds: The title of my book refers not to biological evolution but to the evolution of the human conception of God. So it's odd that The New Republic chose a biologist, Jerry A. Coyne, to review the book ("Creationism for Liberals," August 12). But it turns out that Coyne's misplaced expertise wasn't the main problem. Of his many serious misrepresentations of my book, most seem rooted in a simple failure to read it--or read it attentively, at least. Here is a small sample of Coyne's errors.

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After much anticipation of this week's meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, early reports indicate that President Obama spent most of his time "sternly urging Israeli and Palestinian leaders to do more to make Mideast peace talks possible." It's an unimpressive message from a president that has been urging the sides "to do more" for quite a while now, to no avail. Israel has refused the "total settlement freeze" that U.S.

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The Stockholm Syndrome

When Zvi Mazel was summoned to the Swedish Foreign Ministry back in January 2004, he knew he was in trouble. As Israel’s top diplomat in Stockholm, the 64-year-old had just done something markedly undiplomatic--not exactly rare for Israeli envoys. No, he hadn’t remarked upon the “yellow skin and slanted eyes” of Asians. No, he hadn’t taken part in a child-pornography ring.

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Listen Up

One remarkable thing about watching the Middle East is how what’s celebrated as brilliant in Europe or America is errant nonsense. Writing such stuff makes people successful and gives them an audience of millions.

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