The Spine

International Conference in Kabul: Very Important, Ban Ki-Moon and Hillary Clinton Will Be in Attendance.
July 18, 2010

In the British weekend papers which I am reading because I find myself in Spain--the Costa Brava is still a summer outpost of the U.K.--the top story is still Lord Mandelson's tell-most-all book The Third Man, a haunting film title from another war in another time.

Murder In Dubai: The Mossad
July 18, 2010

You may recall the death of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, actually the killing of al-Mabhouh, God rest his soul or, better yet, inshallah. The “victim” was a top man in Hamas whose personal achievements were plenty, mostly the taking of innocent human life. The Israelis had promised themselves to get him, and they did. No Palestinian murderer could be safe as long as the Mossad was permitted to forge passports. So, on the discovery of the corpus delicti and the suspicion that it was the Jews who’d done him in, everybody went bananas about the falsified travel documents.

Barack Obama Vs. Mort Klein. Who The Hell Is Mort Klein?
July 15, 2010

The president doesn’t like Mort Klein. I don’t know whether they’ve ever met. But the Obama folk did convene a meeting for the president with the “Jewish leadership,” which included, as it happens, American Jewish organizations (new on the block and who are financed mostly by Jewish billionaires who care not a fig for the survival of a people they do not think of as their home) believing that Israel is basically responsible for the intensity and duration of the conflict with the Arabs, in general, and the Palestinians, in particular.

Homage to Catalonia. Disregard Your Rulers
July 15, 2010

"Catalans should disregard rulings by Spanish judiciary" is the headline to a letter in the Financial Times. It is signed by Gustau Alegret who wrote from Washington, D.C. I do not know him.

"Hell No" Is No Platform
July 15, 2010

Since Sarah Palin coined this imaginative slogan, it has taken on the function of analysis, inspiration, program for the Republicans and for their outlier allies. But, of course, it is not any of these. Like "yes, we can" in 2008, it is exhortative. As it happens, the Obama chant became a decisive and mortifying flop when the president failed even in his most easy symbolic chore to dislodge the Guantanamo SP prisoners from the big jail house at the southern tip of Cuba when his Democratic congressional allies simply wouldn't have them in their districts.

In The Shadows Of The Sacred Family, Catalonia Rises
July 14, 2010

The first time I saw Antoni Gaudi’s phantasmagoric Church of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona it was unfinished. That was 1965. On another visit, perhaps two decades later, it was still unfinished. And when I returned there on Monday it was not yet completed, although I heard from the conversational buzz around me the years 2012 and 2013. One dour looking pessimist uttered “2017” as the first possible date that the cathedral would really match its dreamer’s vision.

"What You Can't Say About Islamism" Or, For That Matter, About Islam.
July 10, 2010

Paul Berman, who writes regularly and provocatively for us, published on Saturday in the Wall Street Journal another one of his disturbing epistles about Muslims and Fascism, Jews and Liberalism, truth and falsehood that have made him perhaps the most disturbing of contemporary intellectuals. And certainly the most disturbing American intellectual in a circle that includes Bernard-Henri Levy, Pascal Bruckner, Alain Finkielkraut, all French.

Doomed To Succeed: Also A Good Beginning
July 09, 2010

Check out Robert Satloff’s analysis of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s meeting with President Obama: The Obama-Netanyahu Meeting: Assessment and Implications By Robert Satloff July 8, 2010 With smiles, compliments, and a strong dose of hospitality, President Obama did his best to provide a dramatically improved backdrop for U.S.-Israeli relations during Binyamin Netanyahu's July 6 visit to the White House, compared to the climate that greeted the Israeli prime minister upon his strained April visit.

If You Can’t Guarantee That Missiles Will Not Rain In On Israel (From Gaza, The West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon or Syria) You Don’t Have a Peace Agreement
July 08, 2010

Jackson Diehl makes the argument ... once again. Does the president understand this? I’m not sure he does. But I expect that Bibi made the point very clear. Binyamin Netanyahu doesn’t have any illusions about Barack Obama’s regard for him, despite their friendly meeting at the White House on Tuesday. But Netanyahu does apparently believe that if he presents this most cerebral of U.S. presidents with a well-reasoned position, he’ll be listened to. Hence his behavior -- and the relative warming of U.S.-Israeli relations -- in recent weeks. Take Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.

I Didn’t Realize How Really Wacko The Aforementioned Mr. Rosenberg Is…
July 08, 2010

 …until my friend Noah Pollak e-mailed me a note he wrote on April 8 about an appearance of the senior fellow of this and that made at the supposedly honest New America Foundation. Read it all. But all you have to believe are Rosenberg’s own words. Why Are Americans Pro-Israel? They Hate Muslims NOAH POLLAK - 04.08.2010 - 4:04 PM M.J. Rosenberg is a leading light in the “progressive” scene. He was formerly at the Israel Policy Forum and today posts embarrassing rants at the Talking Points Memo blog and is a “Senior Foreign Policy Fellow” at Media Matters.