November 28, 2009
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.
Losing the Democracies: Obama's Heart is With the Hooligans
November 24, 2009
At least, that's what many of our old and deeply democratic friends seem to feel. Now, it's hard to accept that the president of the United States would actually make that choice. He probably feels--but how do I really know? I actually don't--that the hooligans and especially the hooligans who produce our oil and the hooligans who buy our products are the folk we need court more than our historic allies. After all, what else can they do but stick with us? Tough darts! Obama's initiatives up to now--with Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Russia, China--have been failures.
Israel, Iran, and "Mowing the Lawn"
November 24, 2009
Given that everyone agrees Israel can't just destroy Iran's nuclear program--what with underground bunkers and secret facilities--people often wonder why Israel would launch air strikes that could have calamitous consequences.
The Arab Soccer Wars: Khartoum, Cairo, Algiers ... As Well As Paris, Lyons, and Marseilles
November 23, 2009
These did not reach the intensity of the 100 hours war in 1969 between Honduras and El Salvador which was also over fought over World Cup soccer matches. After all, in that war, according to John Signoriello, 900 El Salvadoran troops and civilians met their maker and 100 Honduran combat troops plus 2,000 (!) just ordinaries met theirs. TNR's editor, Frank Foer, narrates many other such violent episodes in his book, How Soccer Explains the World, which is itself amazing. But the Arab soccer wars are nothing to laugh about.
The President Who Can't Shut Up
November 22, 2009
No, it's not President Obama. It's President Shimon Peres of Israel. No sooner had the Israeli ministry of defense released a statement--actually a plea for silence!--saying that speculation about the coming quick release of Gilad Shalit "does not help" than Peres announced in Cairo, no less, that the captive soldier was about to be freed.
November 18, 2009
Click here to read Steven A. Cook on why we should expect the Palestinians to launch a third intifada. Israeli officials and experts were initially reacting to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas's promise not to seek re-election in one of three ways: They believed him and didn’t really care; they believed him and worried about the possible vacuum following his disappearance from the political scene; or they didn’t believe him. Last week, the third option seemed to be the most common read in Jerusalem.
The Goldstone Illusion
November 06, 2009
I. In 2000, I was asked by the Israel Defense Forces to join a group of philosophers, lawyers, and generals for the purpose of drafting the army’s ethics code. Since then, I have been deeply involved in the analysis of the moral issues that Israel faces in its war on terrorism. I have spent many hours in discussions with soldiers and officers in order to better grasp the dilemmas that they tackle in the field, and in an attempt to help facilitate the internalization of the code of ethics in war.
November 05, 2009
Yitzchak Newman is in the market for his first house. For now, the young IT project manager lives with his wife and toddler in a rented basement apartment. Space is limited and the family yearns to attain the middle class ideal of owning their own home. But unlike most aspiring home-owners, the Newmans are determined to enter the real estate market in what may be the world’s most politically sensitive strip of land.
A Question for Hillary Mann Leverett
November 02, 2009
Last week, I wrote about a panel at the inaugural convention of the self-described "pro-Israel, pro-peace" organization J Street, in which former Bush NSC staffer Hillary Mann Leverett said the following: Too often, Iran's security concerns are dismissed in the U.S. and in Israel as false or manufactured, reinforcing the stereotype of Iranians as chronically duplicitous and unprepared to keep any commitment they enter into. ... Those stereotypes are simply not supported by the historical record. ...
Dear Rahm: Barack Obama and Yitzhak Rabin, The Link That Will Not Help
November 02, 2009
This coming Wednesday will be the 14th anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin at a Tel Aviv rally for the Oslo peace accords. Like the initial rally itself, the memorial--scheduled for Saturday, October 31, but postponed due to what turned out to be only light rains--was to be a highly charged political event. Except that in 1995, Israel was still stirred by hopes of bringing the decades of war with the Arabs to an end. Yet, at the same time, foreboding grew that these hopes themselves constituted a trap, a mortal trap.