Near & Middle East

Turkey will never be the same again. The papers are filled with news of the crisis in Iraq, Soviet intrigues in Turkey, the persecutions of Christians, fears of a Turkish-Italian war, the hanging of opposition members of the Grand National Assembly, Turkish women demanding votes and claiming complete emancipation, and the Kurds rising in rebellion against the new “infidel,” Kemal Pasha. (More…)

The House of Representatives, it was announced on Thursday evening, passed a resolution condemning “all forms of hatred.” On its face, there is much to recommend this. Who, after all, is not against hate? (More…)

If all follows plan, an Israeli space project will land in early April on the moon’s Mare Serenitatis, the Sea of Serenity.  Somewhere here there is an unintended comment on the distance needed to travel for Middle East peace.  The Beresheet lander may achieve escape velocity from earth orbit, but it will not escape Middle East politics. (More…)

The scheduling of a meeting of the Visegrád 4 (Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia) in Jerusalem at the end of January was a seen as a moment worthy of remark even at the time. As Israeli media noted, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu had originally offered to host a meeting of the V4 in 2017, and this was the first time that the group would meet outside of Europe. (More…)

My dad is an engineer and he saved to buy a big house where our family of eight could find happiness: two stories designed by an Algerian, white walls with a red roof, a garden with trees and flowers, and my own bedroom. It was a dream come true. (More…)

San Francisco, April 2008

Every weekday morning, I watch the news as I pick up our bedroom before heading off to work. Last Friday was no different. (More…)

The Gulf War was not ended by the military victory of America and the Allies. It was ended by the mass desertion of thousands of Iraqi soldiers. So overwhelming was the refusal to fight for the Iraqi state on the part of its conscripted army that, contrary to all predictions, not one Allied soldier was killed by hostile fire in the final ground offensive to recapture Kuwait. (More…)

In May 2017, Israel effectively cut one-fifth of asylum seekers’ wages, hoping people such as Eden Tasfamariam would leave the country. (More…)

One of the many consequences of the 12-year Israeli and Egyptian blockade of the Gaza Strip is the prevention of the reconstruction needed following past wars on the strip. This has prohibited thousands of families in Gaza’s eight refugee camps from having their homes repaired—forcing them to live in dilapidated, unsafe structures. (More…)

In Kurdish areas in the north of Syria, an implicit popular (i.e. trans-class) alliance was first formed after 2011 to self-manage a territory deserted by the Syrian authorities, and then in 2014 to defend it against the deadly threat from ISIS. The resistance combines former traditional ties and new movements, women’s particularly, in a working community of proletarians and middle-class elements, cemented by an emphasis on a common Kurdish nation. (More…)

A lifetime ago, I wrote a paper on the semantics of threatening for a course I took at the small liberal arts college where I was an undergrad. I don’t remember what my line of argument was. I do remember being complimented by the professor for my thoroughness. I am sure, however, that it was only later that I grasped a fundamental fact about my topic: the need to utter a threat is inversely related to its power. (More…)

Security wouldn’t let them through. “Please, please,” the mother entreated the officer in Hebrew. “I need to get my daughter to the bathroom.” Her pleas fell on deaf ears. (More…)