Near & Middle East

If you weren’t careful, you might have gotten whiplash from the sharp turns and flip-flops by Benjamin Netanyahu this week. Beginning with the puzzling decision to call for new elections, then backtracking on that and forming a government of national unity with the Kadima party and its new leader Shaul Mofaz, the Israeli political landscape has begun a process of change whose final shape is not yet certain. (More…)

With just one statement, Mahmoud Abbas demonstrated how far removed he is from the realities on the ground that his meagre “authority” administrates. “You (Benjamin Netanyahu) must also choose between settlements and peace, for those who want peace do not think of settlements,” he said. (More…)

It’s a refrain that has been heard for many years. It usually comes from supporters of draconian Israeli policies, a cynical question which lays blame for the occupation at the feet of Palestinians.The irony of the question lies in an ignorant view of who Nelson Mandela is, and how he became the face of post-apartheid South Africa. (More…)

Jews, rejoice! It’s a miracle! Israel has been saved once again from the menace of those who rise up in every generation to annihilate us! Over 1,000 activists were planning to fly to Israel and protest the occupation. Imagine the terror that would have wrought! Luckily, Benjamin Netanyahu saved us from another Holocaust! (More…)

It’s been two weeks since the ninth anniversary of the Iraq War’s launch. Watching European news, serious reflection on a conflict that officially ended only months ago seems in short supply. This, even as the fragile, ostensibly liberated nation invaded in 2003, continues to be riven by sectarian tensions that Western meddling remains responsible for. (More…)

Last week, the Park Slope Food Cooperative in Brooklyn, New York had scheduled a vote on whether or not to hold a co-op wide referendum on boycotting all Israeli products, to protest Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians. The event drew so much attention, it had to be moved to a larger, 3,000-seat venue. (More…)

J Street’s third annual conference featured a very wide range of speakers over three days, some inspiring, some evoking despair. Perhaps ironically, the best aspect for me was one that raised hope not so much for change in the United States, where J Street does its work, but in Israel. (More…)

One of my favorite bloggers, Emily Hauser, has a really good post about why the settlements remain an important issue. I say these nice things so that Emily won’t get mad at me when I disagree with her. Why? Because it is no longer accurate to just say that “the settlements are the problem.” The issue is that the settlements have succeeded in destroying a viable Palestine in the West Bank. (More…)

Renewed violence between Gaza and Israel has brought the Palestinian issue back from the shadows. It’s tragic that it takes the deaths of some 26 Palestinians to do that. There is another effect, however, that the current round of fighting might have: emboldening Israel to go to war with Iran. (More…)

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…)

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…)

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…)