Near & Middle East

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…)

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…)

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…)

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…)

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…)

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…)