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The French Holocaust

The French Holocaust

“No European country has been more interested than France in the nature of memory and history, how it is understood, recorded, perceived, written and transmitted.” So writes Caroline Morehead in her new book, Village of Secrets: Defying the Nazis in Vichy France, and with some justice. More»

Dead Weather

Dead Weather

Few issues strike so close to home as human-driven climate change. Although one form or another of this explanation has been acknowledged by the vast majority of scientists, the general public has proved less ready to accept that this is the case. A recent Pew study revealed that 67% of Americans thought that there was “solid evidence that the Earth is warming,” with only 44% conceding that human beings are causing it. More»

Sex and the Peshmerga

Sex and the Peshmerga

If you’re been paying attention to ISIS coverage, you’ve probably noticed the meme about women who are fighting for the Peshmerga. The topic has gone viral, and has been repeatedly covered by outlets ranging from the The Telegraph and Foreign Policy to the Times of Oman and New York Post. The gender politics are troubling. More»

Right for the Wrong Reason

Right for the Wrong Reason

Few pieces of journalism have aroused the ire than Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem did when it was published in 1963. Arendt, who covered the trial for The New Yorker, seemed to have her own agenda. At times her tone bordered on flippancy, particularly when she accused the Judenräte, the councils that ran the ghettoes of Poland and Russia, of collaboration. More»

Pimping Climate Action

Pimping Climate Action

I’ve never been to a protest march that advertised in the New York City subway. That spent $220,000 on posters inviting Wall Street bankers to join a march to save the planet, according to one source. That claims you can change world history in an afternoon after walking the dog and eating brunch. More»

The Paranoid Style

The Paranoid Style

There’s something of a cottage industry in the US, devoted to tying contemporary politics to their intellectual forebears. In some cases, it’s a matter of pure character assassination, as in the assertions from the far right that Barack Obama is some sort of  socialist. From the leftward side of the spectrum come claims that this or that politician is a devotee of the thought of that great seducer of the adolescent male mind, Ayn Rand. More»

Black Kids Always Die

Black Kids Always Die

Make no mistake. Ferguson is the War on Terror exploding in a relatively unspectacular American town. The crackdown that immediately followed protests over Michael Brown’s shooting recalls, for many immigrant Muslims, the sort of violent excesses present in countries like Iraq, Iran, and Pakistan. More»

The Belgian Nazi

The Belgian Nazi

European intellectuals can be divided between those who embrace history, and those fleeing from it. Marx and his intellectual progeny (up to Louis Althusser) represent the first sort. Men make their own history, as Marx once averred, but they do not do so under conditions of their own choosing. For structuralists and post-structuralists, by contrast, the role of history is, at best, secondary for understanding human life. More»

Their Ideal Israel

Their Ideal Israel

Larry Gordon assured me that it was all a big misunderstanding. Sure, his Long Island newspaper, the 5 Towns Jewish Times, printed an article by his son and staffer, Yochanan, titled “When Genocide Is Permissible.” In considering how Israel can protect itself from rocket fire the author ponders the unthinkable, and while the paper officially apologized, Gordon insisted that the outraged public got it wrong. More»

Bild's Europe

Bild’s Europe

Germany’s biggest tabloid has been roundly criticized for publishing an op-ed decrying Islam as a barrier to integration. Bild editor-in-chief Kai Diekmann has since apologized for the article, penned by Bild am Sonntag vice editor-in-chief Nicolaus Fest. But not before his polemic helped reinvigorate German Islamopobia, and renewing anxiety about diversity in Europe. More»

La Nakba Française

La Nakba Française

On a warm summer night several years ago I found myself in a busy internet café on the Karl Marx Strasse in the Neukölln section of Berlin. Neukölln has one of the largest Turkish populations in the city, and rather a bad name both in Berlin, and in Germany more generally. More»

The Sale of War

The Sale of War

Two months ago, I set up an email alert for “UK Ministry of Defense.” Just to keep an eye on what my old chums are up to. I was expecting to have blogs, articles and reports of military activities – drone strikes, deployments, the usual catalog of daily military fuck-ups and the like – appearing in my inbox every day. More»