Near & Middle East
Israel and Philosophy, Part II

Israel and Philosophy, Part II

“So we’re not ‘against’ these people, and ‘for’ these other people. What are we really ‘for’? A more just political formation, one that would allow for equality at the level of citizenship,” Judith Butler concludes the second part of her conversation with Mark LeVine. “Religion may be extremely important, but I don’t think it should be a prerequisite for citizenship, and certainly not there.” More»

Hijacking the Arab Spring

Hijacking the Arab Spring

You’ve heard it before. Supporters of the Arab Spring always say that Islamists “hijacked the revolution.” The statement gets repeatedly invoked in reference to the crises in Libya and Syria, where the revolts ended up fostering the rise of extremist groups, who dominate the resistance, today. More»

Israel and Philosophy

Israel and Philosophy

Over the course of the past two decades, Judith Butler has become one of the world’s most important intellectual figures, inspiring controversy, not with the flamboyant generalizations of European counterparts like Slavoj Zizek and Alain Badiou, but with patient rhetorical analyses of both philosophical classics and contemporary political discourse. More»

War on Terror 2.0

War on Terror 2.0

Last Sunday I walked past the Tower of London with friends from abroad. What we saw there compelled (rather than inspired) a lap of the place out of us. Half of the old grassed over moat was filled with ceramic red poppies. Their green stalks being driven into the ground by flocks of volunteers, including army cadets and children. More»

Jihadist Civil War

Jihadist Civil War

When Navy SEALs killed Osama Bin Laden in his Abbotobad compound, they also seized a number of important documents. Among them were communications between senior members of al-Qaida, discussing everything from press releases to financial affairs. Some (not all) of these files were declassified, and seventeen were included in a study by the Combating Terrorism Centre at West Point. More»

Gaza and the Holocaust Mentality

Gaza and the Holocaust Mentality

This month, as Germany accepted the mantle of World Cup Champions in football, my home town of Berlin was awash in both World Cup merriment and a sea of contradictions. On the news, pictures of the victorious German team ran alongside headlines about bombings in Gaza, creating an awkward clash of emotion, forcing me to wonder if anyone else was connecting the dots. More»

Judean Death Cult

Judean Death Cult

As I read the article, I started shaking. Tears streamed down my face. It was about an old man in Beit Hanoun, Gaza. On Friday night, eight members of his family, including his sons, daughters and grandchildren, had finished their Iftar meal and sat down to watch a popular television show. A few minutes into it, an artillery shell ripped through their home, killing them all, including children aged six, two, and one. More»

Always in the Way

Always in the Way

As the death toll mounts in Gaza and images of the carnage spill onto our computer screens, anti-war Jews are bombarded with accusations of betrayal, acquiescing to global anti-Semitism and blaming oneself. It’s not the first time violence between Israel and the Palestinians has pitted Jew against Jew. But Operation Protective Edge shows how blind devotion to Israel, for many, trumps all other Jewish concerns.  More»

The Way You Jihad Me

The Way You Jihad Me

The Islamic State of Iraq and Levant triggers a lot of Pakistani anxieties. The group’s activities in northern Iraq crystallize many fears about jihad and revolutionary Islamism. For many Pakistanis, especially if they are liberal elites, ISIS is being seen as the worst-case conclusion to the Taliban-led insurgency. More»

United Arab Babylons

United Arab Babylons

I have wistful memories of the United Arab Emirates. I spent much of my childhood gazing over the sand dunes, and playing knockoff Super Nintendo games that couldn’t save properly. I felt safe and fulfilled in the paradisaical oasis. More»

Iraq Invades the West

Iraq Invades the West

The first news I received about the events now snappily referred to as the #ISIScrisis was that 500,000 thousand Iraqis were fleeing to somewhere, from somewhere, because of something. Such is the degree to which upheavals in the Middle East have become white noise. More»

The Appeal of Russia

The Appeal of Russia

On March 27th 2014, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu abstained from the vote at the UN General Assembly on a resolution on Crimea. It was de facto support for Russian aggression. The significance of this event may not have hit the mainstream just yet, but it may soon outpace it in its own trajectory. More»