Israel

Damascus rising.; Syriana
December 11, 2006

Yes, I admit it. This is a theme I've been harping on for almost aquarter of a century: Syria sees Lebanon as an illegitimate break away from a great empire ruled from and by Damascus. Parts ofIraq and Turkey, and Cyprus in its entirety, are also duchies in this imagined imperium. And, of course, Israel. In the struggle against the Jewish restoration, many Arabs of Palestine called themselves southern Syrians. That provided a rationale for Damascusto fight in every Arab war against the Jews. Lebanon itself is a contrivance of the French, hewn from thedisintegrated Ottoman Empire.

Gay Marriage In Israel
November 24, 2006

Civil marriage is not permitted in Israel. Historically--that is, when the state was founded in 1947-1948--this was less a concession to the rabbis than to the Muslims and especially to the Christians of Palestine, who were fiercely represented by the Catholic countries in the U.N. General Assembly. The representatives of these governments extracted many concessions from the Zionists in exchange for support of the Partition Plan. Among these was that matters of personal status were to be left to the official religious communions.

'the Guardian' And Israel
November 08, 2006

On its front page yesterday, November 7, The Guardian trumpeted a speech it was reprinting by David Grossman, the well-known (I think more than a little precious, but no matter) Israeli novelist. Grossman gave the address at a huge memorial meeting for Yitzhak Rabin in Tel Aviv on the fifth anniversary of the prime minister's assassination. "What has happened to my beloved Israel?" cries out the headline, placed directly under the Zionist banner, two blue stripes and a Star of David on a white field.

The Shahid
October 23, 2006

  'I am now in a catastrophic personal situation. Several death threats have been sent to me. … On the websites condemning me there is a map showing how to get to my house to kill me, they have my photo, the places where I work, the telephone numbers, and the death warrant. … There is no safe place for me, I have to beg two nights here, two nights there. … I must cancel all scheduled events. The authorities urge me to keep moving." In the wake of an outrageous attempt to punish him for the views that he fearlessly writes and speaks, these desperate words were written last week by Tony Judt.

Fast Food For Thought
September 26, 2006

For a bit of comic relief from the nightmare that is Iran, here, through MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute), is a Tehran TV news channel's report about Coca Cola, McDonald's, other evildoers, Zionist capitalism, and Israel. Watch it or read it. This is not a spoof. It's for real.

Beirut Dispatch
August 07, 2006

In the early hours of September 13, 1997, the Israeli army killed one 45- year-old woman, two Hezbollah fighters, and six Lebanese soldiers in the mountains of southern Lebanon. Later that day, Hezbollah officials viewed video footage of the bodies and confirmed that one of the slain was a precious kill indeed: 18-year-old Hadi Nasrallah, son of Hezbollah's leader, Secretary-General Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah. That evening, Nasrallah was scheduled to give a speech in Haret Hreik, the southern Beirut suburb where Hezbollah's offices are located.

War Fair
July 31, 2006

Israel is now at war with an enemy whose hostility is extreme, explicit, unrestrained, and driven by an ideology of religious hatred. But this is an enemy that does not field an army; that has no institutional structure and no visible chain of command; that does not recognize the legal and moral principle of noncombatant immunity; and that does not, indeed, acknowledge any rules of engagement. How do you--how does anyone--fight an enemy like that? I cannot deal with the strategy and tactics of such a fight.

America's Proxy War.
July 31, 2006

"When the elephants fight, the grass suffers." Or so went a variation of the Third World lament during the cold war. The lament clearly applies today in Lebanon. But it also applies in Washington, where the administration views the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah as a classic case of great-power brinkmanship--in this case, pitting the United States against Iran. The paradigm that the Bush team has drawn on in its response to the Lebanon crisis isn't the war on terrorism.

Roll Back
July 31, 2006

If you buy this reading of events, you must accept a certain irony. It is fashionable in some quarters to say that U.S. identification with Israel produces hostility against us in the Islamic world. But, in actuality, Israel may be paying a price for the U.S.-led effort to pressure Iran to give up its nuclear aspirations. Those who view the Israeli offensive in Lebanon as counterproductive to U.S. foreign policy miss an emerging reality: Iran is waging a struggle to achieve regional dominance that threatens the United States and all its friends in the Middle East.

Cairo Dispatch
May 08, 2006

In early February, as Egyptian markets were emptying shelves of Danish butter cookies and Lebanese and Syrian crowds were burning embassies, Arab satellite TV stations began playing a song called "We're Out of Patience." In Cairo, the song blasted out of stores, taxis, and gas stations, ordering the Danish illustrators and publishers of the Mohammed cartoons to go to hell, where "fire will be everywhere, burning your faces." Preceding the eternal damnation line was a friendly reminder in the form of a lyric: "Islam is a religion of love, not injustice and terrorism." The singer of "We're Out o

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