World

Jeffrey Herf is one of the pre-eminent intellectual historians of totalitarianism. He is a frequent contributor to The New Republic. See, for example, his last few contributions here, here, and here. You can also find a TNR review of one of his books, Divided Memory: The Nazi Past in the Two Germanys, here. In the current issue of The American Interest, Herf makes a highly convincing argument that radical Islam today is in fact a totalitarian movement with totalitarian ideology and totalitarian methods. No, it is not Nazism or Communism.

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Washington Diarist

On August 4, Haaretz reported that Benjamin Netanyahu called Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod self-hating Jews. A spokesman for the prime minister later denied this, but I have heard from Israeli friends that this conspiratorial explanation is quite popular in the prime minister’s office. I have no reason to believe otherwise. The accusation of ethnic infidelity is an old feature of the political culture of the Likud. The defenders of Greater Israel have values, but the critics of Greater Israel have motives.

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Can anyone, and Eric Holder in particular, "find 12 [random] Americans who would vote to convict an American citizen for threatening the life of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed?" I doubt it. Not even on the Upper West Side. (The question has been posed by Michael Goldfarb on the Weekly Standard web site.) But not even that fact can dispose of the problem. Which suggests that Attorney General Holder, by foraging into what is by contemporary standards ancient history, has put himself outside the matrix of democratic standards.

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That's what Aaron David Miller tells Politico-bound Laura Rozen will come from the peace-process announcement expected from the Obama administration next month. But Miller remains a deep pessimist about the possibility of an actual peace deal.

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Aliyah is the at once mystical and practical "going up" to Zion. Stanley Fischer is one of the very many men and women who have made that journey and are, thus, olim. It was Bibi Netanyahu who, as minister of finance in Ariel Sharon's government, summoned him to the service of the Jewish state and turned around his whole life.

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The New York Post and Reuters both report not exactly that Bernie Madoff has cancer. But that he's told his fellow inmates that he has cancer, pancreatic cancer, at that. Which means that, if the tale is true, he'll be a goner soon, very soon. Unless there's a medical miracle, as sometimes there is even in such terrible afflictions of the pancreas. Now, a federal judge has sentenced Madoff to 150 years in federal prison, a sentence--as is obvious--he cannot possibly serve. So the master Ponzi schemer is now in the hands of the president as top man in the federal penal system.

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This was a matter of American interest. More than that: it was actually an American matter. And the contempt that Great Britain, particularly Scotland, and Libya have shown the United States in it is a fact with which we must conjure, lest this drama in four parts otherwise define, delimit and demean our very position in world affairs. This is a choice that neither Russia nor China ever seem to face. That is, they never stand down (or seem even to contemplate standing down) from what they deem to be core.

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This was a matter of American interest. More than that: it was actually an American matter. And the contempt that Great Britain, particularly Scotland, and Libya have shown the United States in it is a fact with which we must conjure, lest this drama in four parts otherwise define, delimit and demean our very position in world affairs. This is a choice that neither Russia nor China ever seem to face. That is, they never stand down (or seem even to contemplate standing down) from what they deem to be core.

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Unsettled

The Gush Katif Museum in Jerusalem was a fitting venue for U.S. presidential hopeful and Republican leader Mike Huckabee this past Wednesday. The museum is a monument to the Gaza disengagement, which most Israelis see as a failure--and which looms large in their minds as they anticipate demands from Obama for further settlement evictions. Huckabee has come to the Holy Land this week to present Israelis with a completely different vision, spending much of his trip condemning Obama's pressure to halt settlement construction.

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David Feith won his journalistic battle stripes at Columbia University, where the administration of Lee Bollinger has so distorted the notion of academic freedom that it has become a shield for fantasy and fakery. But this shield is not actually defensive. It is an aggressive weapon wielded under pretense of being under attack.   Anyway, from today's international edition of the Wall Street Journal, here's a piece by David about the strange contours and character of the "moderate" wing of Palestinianism. 

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