The Palestinian territories are descending into chaos, but many in Washington seem unconcerned. The Palestinians in the West Bank have too much to lose from a new uprising, some are arguing, given the recent moderate improvements in their daily lives. Others assert that the Palestinian Authority Security Forces, trained under American supervision, will prevent the Palestinians from making the mistakes of 1987 and 2000. Yet the dynamics of Palestinian politics indicate that a third intifada is likely to erupt in the near future.
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.
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.
In 1949, a year after the state of Israel was created, its Chief Rabbi visited President Harry Truman in Washington. Isaac Halevi Herzog told Truman that his role in helping the Jewish state achieve its independence was not just a matter of politics and diplomacy; it was a divine mission.
I believe in "the two-state solution" even though I don't really believe that the Palestinians constitute much of a nation. I also think that this is the reason why the Arabs of Palestine, historically and now, have never been able to muster the inner resources to grasp the spiritual strength (as well as the materially transformational qualities) of Zionism that made it all but impossible to beat. Whatever Obama is trying to coax out of the Israelis will not alter the Palestinian realities. Still, the Jordanians aren't much of a nation either.
The phrase, "a government in Tel Aviv," does not come from an article written in 1948 during which the provisional government of Israel had, in fact, headquartered itself in the city then only 40 years old. Not at all.
The past few years haven't been kind to foreign policy idealism--the belief that when authoritarian states mistreat their own people, it is a matter of concern for all of us. We idealists can largely blame ourselves for this. The biggest reason idealism fell out of favor was Iraq--a disastrous war that many of us foolishly supported in the naive belief that substituting liberalism for totalitarianism in the heart of the Middle East would be a relatively simple thing. We made mistakes beyond Iraq, too.
Memoirs By Hans Jonas Edited by Christian Wiese Translated by Krishna Winston (Brandeis University Press, 320 pp., $35) The Life and Thought of Hans Jonas: Jewish Dimensions By Christian Wiese (Brandeis University Press, 292 pp., $50) I. Hans Jonas was a philosopher, not a prophet, but his teachings speak as powerfully to our age of global warming, global markets, and Manichaean geopolitics as they did to the century of world wars in which he developed them.
I spent last May with a group of writers touring Arab universities, meeting with students in Syria, Jordan, and Palestine. Whenever we were able to speak informally, politics--specifically, American politics--came up again and again. At times, the anxiety among the students we met was overwhelming. They wanted to know why we had gone to Iraq, why we had reelected Bush, why we had squandered our opportunity to lead. Which brings me to this year's presidential contest. I've never voted with much enthusiasm, and, certainly, this year feels different.