Middle East

Pyramid Schemes
May 30, 2010

On the surface, it seems as if tomorrow's Egyptian elections will be a dreary formality. Although the official campaigning period for the Shura Council, Egypt’s upper house of parliament, has been going for two weeks, the streets of Cairo are noticeably silent. The only overt evidence of political gamesmanship is the paraphernalia of the ruling party’s candidates plastered in the city’s central squares. Campaigns here tend to be lackluster because they don't usually matter.

Winograd School
May 28, 2010

Last week I suggested that I became interested in writing about the Middle East because the left's embrace, or semi-embrace, of the Walt-Mearsheimer argument was changing the American political discourse in disconcerting ways. Here's a recent example. A few days ago, Democratic Congressional candidate Marcy Winograd attacked Reps.

Four Columns Wide At The Boston Globe
May 25, 2010

The Globe often uses its news columns to reinforce its editorial page. As you know, the slowly expiring daily is hostile to Israel—very hostile. And its hostility is sustained by its simplicity, which is even more simple than that of its papa paper, The New York Times. All Israel has to do is vacate the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and the lion will lie down with the lamb. Or the lamb with the lion.

A Reply To Peter Beinart
May 17, 2010

Not long ago, I ran into an AIPAC staffer at a social gathering. We debated the Middle East for a bit, and continued the discussion over lunch. I told him that I thought the political estrangement of liberalism and support for Israel posed a long-term existential threat, and that his organization was contributing to the problem. We agreed to disagree. Former TNR editor Peter Beinart has a sharp, attention-grabbing essay in The New York Review of Books making this case not just against AIPAC but most of the mainstream American Jewish organizations. Indeed, he goes much further.

Bad Faith
May 12, 2010

One of the frustrating things about debating the Middle East is that most of the people to my left find it difficult to fathom, or sometimes inconvenient to acknowledge, the existence of actual liberals who have somewhat hawkish views on Israel. So anybody whose view on the Middle East is to the right of Naomi Klein must be a reflexive supporter of Israel and probably a "Likudnik," and could not possibly have any other foreign policy principles that dovetail with their views on Israel. Last week I wrote about a report bringing to light Richard Goldstone's Apartheid-era history.

Forget About “The New Middle East.” Israel Belongs To The First World, And Its Neighbors To The Third.
May 11, 2010

Everybody actually knows that. “The new Middle East” is a psychedelic fantasy of the perennially intoxicated peace processors. The dream will go on forever. And maybe it will be punctuated positively a tiny bit by practical arrangements on the ground.

Why Can't Jews Be More Like Noam Chomsky?
May 03, 2010

John Mearsheimer gave a speech last week at the Palestine Center outlining his latest thinking on the Middle East. Mearsheimer explained that a two-state solution has become impossible, and laid the blame for this state of affairs upon Israel.

I Confess: I Am A Member Of Opus Judaei
April 30, 2010

John J. Mearsheimer, who is co-author (with Stephen Walt) of The Israel Lobby, a who’s who they’d rather have called The Jewish Lobby, has finally come clean and done a morphology of American Jewry, splitting it into two schools each personified by perhaps a dozen individual Jews. The first he calls “righteous Jews.” This list includes Noam Chomsky, Richard Falk, Norman Finkelstein, Tony Judt, a certified nutcase named Philip Weiss, and other more-or-less unknowns—Naomi Klein, for example.

Another Victory For The Obama Administration: “Hezbollah Has So Many Rockets That They Are At A Point Where They Have More Missiles Than Most Governments In The World”
April 27, 2010

This is Defense Secretary Robert Gates talking, and he is telling the stark truth to Ehud Barak, Israel’s minister of defense, who presumably already knows.  Of course, it did not start with the Obama administration at all. It was one of the sterling achievements of the Bush custodianship of foreign affairs in which Condi Rice hustled, along with Tzipi Livni, to close down the 2006 Lebanon war. Security Council Resolution 1701 was the instrument, and it had a history in the United Nations going back at least to1978.

Who Will Watch The Watchers?
April 27, 2010

Ben Birnbaum has a long, very carefully reported, and highly convincing article in TNR about Human Rights Watch and Israel. Last fall, the founder of Human Rights Watch resigned from the organization and charged it with anti-Israel bias. Birnbaum's article is not a fulsome denunciation of HRW. It's a very balanced piece of narrative journalism that gives HRW its due, while still establishing two points beyond a doubt: First, the group has attracted people to its Middle East division who tend to be highly unsympathetic to Israel.

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