Near & Middle East
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»

The Fictitious Zionist

The Fictitious Zionist

In Monty Python and the Holy Grail, a woman is accused of being a witch. When the knight presiding over the proceedings asks how the people know she is a witch, a man in the crowd responds “She turned me into a newt.” When the knight seems unconvinced, the man says, sheepishly, “I got better.” Here in Washington, DC, our Newt just keeps getting worse. More»

Taking Israel to Task

Taking Israel to Task

With the 2012 Presidential campaign already underway, conventional wisdom dictates that Barack Obama will steer clear of any controversy regarding Israel. Well, he certainly surprised us all this week. Obama himself has remained largely aloof from the Middle East. But key members of his administration have churned up a surprising amount of controversy. More»

Home and Garden

Home and Garden

This week, Iceland became the first European country to recognize the State of Palestine. The declaration had a curious clause: “Iceland recalls also the right of Palestinian refugees to return to former homes in accordance with numerous UN resolutions.” More»