Middle East

San Francisco Dispatch: West Bank
June 24, 2002

Isaac Goldstein enrolled at San Francisco State University (SFSU) in part to get away from the anti-Semitism he experienced in the small Northern California town of St. Helena. "I got called a dirty Jew all the time and harassed," says Goldstein, who was one of only three Jews in his high school class of about 120 students. "I thought San Francisco was a liberal, open-minded city and people would accept all kinds of thought." It hasn't quite turned out that way.

Odd Job
June 24, 2002

In its first week of hearings, the joint House-Senate Intelligence Committee investigating September 11 chose not to call CIA Director George Tenet to testify. Which is a good thing, since Tenet wasn't in the country. As the committee began its inquiry into the greatest intelligence failure in modern American history, the man responsible for making sure it doesn't happen again was doing his other job.

Flacks Americana
May 20, 2002

  It's five miles from Northern Virginia, where the Pentagon sets military targets, and a mile and a half from Foggy Bottom, where the State Department cobbles together coalitions. To look at it, you'd never guess that the ten-story glass-and-steel building at the intersection of Connecticut Avenue and T Street, nestled amid the town houses and cafes of Dupont Circle, serves as one of the headquarters for the U.S. propaganda war against terrorism. If it doesn't look like a government office building, that's because it's not. Rather, it houses a public relations firm called The Rendon Group.

Jerusalem Dispatch: Normalcy
December 17, 2001

Terrorism is the ultimate anti-Zionist weapon. It subverts Israel's promise of normalcy for the Jews. One reason Israelis have learned to live with the recurring image of parents burying their soldier sons is that the death of young people in uniform isn't a violation of what humanity considers normal.

Fevered Pitch
November 12, 2001

ON THE AFTERNOON of September 26, George W. Bush gathered 15 prominent Muslim- and Arab-Americans at the White House. With cameras rolling, the president proclaimed that “the teachings of Islam are teachings of peace and good.” It was a critically important moment, a statement to the world that America’s Muslim leaders unambiguously reject the terror committed in Islam’s name. Unfortunately, many of the leaders present hadn’t unambiguously rejected it. To the president’s left sat Dr.

Girl Power
October 08, 2001

Among the popular explanations for September 11's cunning, devastating attacks on the United States is American support for Israel. The argument runs like this: If the United States had not aided and abetted the Muslim world's primary enemy, we would not have become Islam's enemy ourselves, and therefore would not have been a target for reprisals. That argument, however, is a dodge.

Smoke Signals
September 24, 2001

Hiding out somewhere in Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden must be a happy man. U.S. officials have identified him as the principal suspect in the disasters visited upon the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. And there are several reasons why. First, the operation required recruits sufficiently well-motivated that they were prepared to commit suicide. Bin Laden's group, Al Qaeda ("the base"), employed suicide bombers in the 1998 attacks against two U.S. embassies in Africa and in the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen eleven months ago.

Unfriendly Fire
July 23, 2001

In 1967, at the height of the Six Day War, Israeli jets strafed and firebombed a seemingly hostile ship near the Sinai coast. Israeli torpedo boats quickly converged to finish the job, then abruptly ceased fire and offered assistance to the battered crew. Israel had attacked the USS Liberty. In all, 34 Americans died, and 171 were injured. Israeli leaders apologized promptly and profusely, explaining that they had mistaken the Liberty for an enemy vessel--an explanation that subsequent investigations in both the United States and Israel upheld.

Tablets to Books
May 14, 2001

Libraries in the Ancient World By Lionel Casson  (Yale University Press, 177 pp., $22.95) One of the inscribed clay tablets in the library of Ashurbanipal, who was the king of Assyria from 668 B.C.

Notebook
January 15, 2001

SCARLET LETTER: John Ashcroft's two-page letter to Attorney General Janet Reno, apparently unreported by any major news outlet, rang with a sense of urgency. "This year," he wrote, "several disquieting events have raised serious questions about the integrity of the elections." The electoral irregularities were striking enough, he argued, to merit investigation by the Justice Department. "I would appreciate your immediate attention to this problem, using the resources of your Department, to ensure the integrity of [the] election process," he pleaded.

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