Near & Middle East
Ahmadinejad on Purim

Ahmadinejad on Purim

Today is the Jewish holiday of Purim, a holiday I have a complex relationship with. The gift of the Purim reading, the Book of Esther, that Israeli prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made to US President Barack Obama threw that complexity into sharp relief. More»

Beating the Bullies

Beating the Bullies

On February 27th, a US judge judge threw out a lawsuit against a food co-op that had decided to boycott Israeli goods. The cooperative is in Olympia, Washington, the hometown of Palestine solidarity activist Rachel Corrie, who was killed by an Israeli bulldozer in 2003. More»

Reverse Exodus Narrative

Reverse Exodus Narrative

I was one of thousands protesting all over Cairo last week, and of dozens who spent their weekends in Tahrir Square during the first anniversary of Hosni Mubarak’s February 2011 resignation. The euphoria has faded, and much of the Arab Spring’s optimism has turned to cynicism. However, this is why I believed that February 2012 was the best time to finally travel there. More»

Warning From the Holding Company

Warning From the Holding Company

Martin Dempsey is not a popular man in the halls of the Israeli Prime Minister’s office these days. The Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff incurred the wrath of Benjamin Netanyahu by pointing out the obvious: an Israeli attack on Iran would have dire consequences. More»

Updating Anti-Semitism

Updating Anti-Semitism

When I first saw Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, I left the theater with a powerful feeling. When my companion, Shelly, asked how I liked the film, I told her I enjoyed it a great deal, but that I wished it had never been made. More»

Netanyahu's New Friends

Netanyahu’s New Friends

A few days ago, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas head Khaled Mesha’al announced an agreement for a unified Palestinian government, whose task would be to facilitate general elections, and begin the rebuilding of Gaza. The deal puts unity between the two main Palestinian factions back on track, much to the chagrin of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. More»

Israel's Troubled Conscience

Israel’s Troubled Conscience

A study conducted by the Hebrew University shows that most Israelis are aware that many of the Palestinians made refugees in Israel’s 1948 War of Independence were in fact expelled. Akiva Eldar thinks this is a landmark finding. I have to disagree. More»

Bibi Wants War

Bibi Wants War

For ten years now, I’ve been answering questions about the potential for war with Iran. During this decade, I have repeatedly decried the neoconservative push to war with Iran, but maintained that war wasn’t going to happen. Since 2001, events in the region have borne me out. Even today, if forced to give a simple yes or no prediction, I’d rule war out. However, the danger of it has never been closer, or more real. More»

The Oslo Syndrome

The Oslo Syndrome

Last week, Israelis and Palestinians met in Amman to restart peace talks. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t notice. The event produced nothing. Efforts are continuing, but there is little chance of anything coming of them. It’s merely a show of “getting to the damn table.” In an article in The Forward, Yossi Alpher tries to explain why just “getting to the damn table” isn’t a worthy goal. More»

Otherwise Known as Syria

Otherwise Known as Syria

Last December, middle-of-the-road American news periodical The Atlantic published 2011: The Year in Photos. The overview included a picture of Palestinian protesters climbing the fence that separates the “Israel-Syria border… near Majdal Shams.” The caption stated that Majdal Shams is located in “northern Israel.” More»

The Withering Away of the State(s)

The Withering Away of the State(s)

The two-state solution is a victim of political murder. We may not all agree on who the perpetrator is. But the fact that the peace process is now a relic of history is increasingly impossible to deny. More»

Oren Plays the Race Card

Oren Plays the Race Card

Last week, Thomas Friedman wrote a column criticizing Republican presidential candidates for pandering to Israel and ignoring what was in the best interests of both Israel and the United States. He also spared more than a few words to express his concern over the fact that more and more US Jews are drifting away from Israel. More»