Near & Middle East

Every so often, I write a column, and have to immediately update it. This was what happened last week, so I decided to revisit its topics: the Protestant churches’ letter to Congress about US military aid to Israel, and the scandal over anti-Semitism in the Free Gaza Movement. I’ll start by admitting I was wrong about Greta Berlin. (More…)

Six years ago, I met with Kenneth Stern, the director of the American Jewish Committee’s program on anti-Semitism. Stern was one of the main figures in the creation of the framework which was called “the new anti-Semitism,” a paradigm which has since blurred the line between anti-Jewish hate and legitimate criticism of Israel. (More…)

It’s been a week of political theater. In the US, Mitt Romney revived hopes for his campaign by trouncing a surprisingly ineffective Barack Obama in the first of three debates. But in Israel, a much more intricate play was being performed. The stars, Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, played at fighting, in order to try to garner political points. The final act doesn’t bode well for Israelis, or the Middle East in general. (More…)

It goes without saying that the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi is a crime that no offense can excuse. Yet those who perpetrated the killings (purportedly jihadists, who planned the killings in advance) probably number in the dozens, and felt plenty justified. (More…)

Barring a surprise turnaround in America’s leadership contest, Barack Obama is going to enter his second term in the Oval Office. Tellingly, his campaign has not focused on foreign policy. Yet, when Obama has discussed it, it has been to trump his record against challenger Mitt Romney. Yet, there have been no hints as to what his foreign policy will look like in a second term. (More…)

The 2012 Presidential election in the United States was supposed to ignore foreign policy. The economic disaster of 2008 is still being felt deeply by millions of Americans. That was supposed to be the arena for incumbent President Barack Obama, and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney. (More…)

“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it,” goes the saying.  Enter Benjamin Netanyahu. It looks like Bibi is making the same mistake today that he made in his first go-round as Israel’s leader. (More…)

For over a decade, I have been saying that there will be no attack on Iran, either by Israel or the United States. Although I maintain that conclusion to this day, I do admit to being 85% certain of it, whereas once I was 95%. Nothing in politics is ever 100% sure, so where once I was as certain as I could be, there is some doubt now. (More…)

Shakespeare would be overwhelmed. When the history of the 21st century is written, the tragedy that befell the Middle East at the start of the Millennium will be judged unprecedented. A conflict that has raged since the births of Zionism and the Palestinian national movement could have been mitigated. Unfortunately, fear and short-sighted leadership undermined that hope. (More…)

On August 3rd,  Israel’s Channel 10 News released poll results that shocked Israelis. Conducted on July 29 and August 2, the results suggested a major loss in public confidence for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing party. Center-left daily Ha’aretz immediately championed this line, contending that it was a sign Israelis had finally become alienated by Bibi’s policies. (More…)

Israel’s “…presence in all of Judea and Samaria — not just in the so-called settlement blocs — is an irreversible fact. Trying to stop settlement expansion is futile, and neglecting this fact in diplomatic talks will not change the reality on the ground; it only makes the negotiations more likely to fail.” (More…)

There are times that being a political commentator frustrates me. Today is an example. In the wake of the bombing attack in Bulgaria, which has thus far claimed the lives of 6 victims and, apparently, the bomber as well, I alternate between feelings of rage and sadness. Yet, cynics like Bibi Netanyahu feel compelled to capitalize on such tragedies in order to advance their war ambitions using the innocent victims of terror. He has no sense of decency, or remorse. (More…)