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  • Originally published 07/17/2014

    The Curse of The Occupation

    To be sure, occupation is a curse that dehumanizes both the occupier and the occupied. It runs contrary to every tenet of humanity.

  • Originally published 07/14/2014

    Why Does Hamas Want War?

    "The holy grail of political warfare is to win the sympathy of the global Left by presenting oneself as underdog and victim."

  • Originally published 07/14/2014

    Israel’s Groundhog Day: Reverse Snowballs and the Horror of Lawn-Mowing

    "The Israelis, the Palestinians and the world are doomed to relive these periodic slaughters over and over again, until slowly, inexorably, they further corrupt the Israeli soul and make the Zionist enterprise so unlovely in the eyes of the world that it loses crucial support."

  • Originally published 07/09/2014

    We Should All Be Frightened by What's Happening in Israel

    With the killing of three Israeli teen-agers and the apparent revenge murder of a Palestinian youth – possibly burned to death – the hatred between Israelis and Palestinian has reached a new level of obscenity.

  • Originally published 01/16/2014

    The Israel Double Standard

    The prejudice against Israel in diplomatic matters is as troubling as more crude bigotry against Jews.

  • Originally published 12/30/2013

    Hypocrisy, Thy Name Is ASA

    The vote by the 5,000-member American Studies Association to support the academic boycott of Israel, reportedly by a 2-1 margin, has evoked many responses, but none so far has identified the irony at the core of the matter.

  • Originally published 10/20/2013

    Why Things are Looking Good for Israel

    The Arab Spring, Iranian sanctions, the Syrian civil war, and the fall of the Brotherhood in Egypt have all strengthened the Israeli strategic position.

  • Originally published 09/04/2013

    The Long Arm of the October War

    The 1973 War wasn't just a turning point in Middle East affairs -- it was also a critical battlefield of the Cold War.

  • Originally published 08/08/2013

    Louis René Beres: Peaceful Civil Disobedience in Israel

    Louis René Beres (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) lectures and publishes widely on Middle East security matters.  His writings on Israel, military strategy, and jurisprudence appear regularly in many major newspapers and magazines, and also in more than a dozen major law journals.Sometimes, tragedy and irony may arrive together. Now that it is reportedly back “on track,” the so-called Middle East Peace Process threatens Israel with additional dismemberment, and eventual disappearance.Aware of these intolerable prospects, thousands of Israelis who are opposed to any further existential surrenders may soon prepare for an appropriate response to “Palestine.” Whatever its particular shape and expression, this "post-peace" response to a new Arab state, one that would be carved out of Israel's own still-living body, may take some recognizable form of civil disobedience.To be sure, the Netanyahu Government, inexplicably confident in Palestinian compliance with pre-state agreements on “demilitarization,” will object strongly to any such tactics. Nonetheless, civil disobedience has a long and distinguished tradition in jurisprudence and democratic theory.  In part, as the following argument will make clear, certain roots of this tradition actually lie in Jewish Law.

  • Originally published 08/06/2013

    Daniel Pipes: The Right Moment for Israel's Danny Danon?

    Daniel Pipes (DanielPipes.org) is president of the Middle East Forum. © 2013 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved."Lunacy." That's how Danny Danon describes Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's decision to hand over 104 killers to the Palestinian Authority as a "goodwill gesture."He's hardly alone, as many observers (including myself) are outraged by this move. But Danon, 42, has a unique place in this debate because he (1) sits in Israel's parliament as a member of Netanyahu's Likud Party, he (2) is chairman of Likud's powerful Central Committee, and he (3) serves as Israel's deputy minister of Defense. In American terms, his criticism resembles Gen. Stanley McChrystal's 2010 interview mocking Vice President Joe Biden. But McChrystal was gone within days whereas Danon continues to gain influence and stature.

  • Originally published 07/26/2013

    Moshe Dann: Zionism as a Civilization

    Moshe Dann, a former assistant professor of history, is a writer and journalist living in Jerusalem. Zionism is not just supporting the State of Israel, it is the recognition of the historical connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. This connection is critical for understanding the state as the basis upon which a third Jewish commonwealth/ civilization is being created.The most important factor in the creation of the state is the Shoah. It has shaped the consciousness of every Jew, in one way or another, and it is an open wound. The rise of Jew-hatred and its proxy, opposition to Israel, is a constant reminder that Jews are still vulnerable.In response to the Shoah, Jews took three major directions.First, there was an attempt – primarily by Hassidim and haredim (ultra- Orthodox) – to recreate the Jewish world that was lost.Second was the creation of a sovereign state that would be able to rescue Jews and have the ability to defend itself.The third response was to assimilate, in varying degrees; building secular or “traditional” Jewish lifestyles and culture, or, in extreme cases, abandoning any connection to Judaism and the Jewish people....

  • Originally published 07/22/2013

    Laurence Zuckerman: FDR Holocaust revisionism serves right-wing agenda

    David Austin Walsh is the editor of the History News Network.It's a cliche, but it's true: historical controversies are as much about contemporary politics as they are about history.Laurence Zuckerman, a former reporter for the New York Times and currently an adjunct professor at Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism, just published a feature article in the The Nation that profiles the dispute between Richard Breitman and Allen Lichtman on the one hand and Rafael Medoff on the other about President Franklin D. Roosevelt's response to the Holocaust and his failure to save European Jews.Roosevelt's critics, argues Zuckerman, are motivated less by the historical evidence and more by contemporaries challenges faced by Israel. "The not-so-subtle message" of critics like Medoff, Zuckerman writes, is "like the Jews of Europe in 1939, Israel is under an existential threat and cannot count on anyone for help -- even the United States, even liberals, even Jews in the United States."

  • Originally published 07/21/2013

    Israeli archeologists say they have discovered King David’s palace

    JERUSALEM — A team of Israeli archeologists believes it has discovered the ruins of a palace belonging to the biblical King David, but other Israeli experts dispute the claim.Archeologists from Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Israel’s Antiquities Authority said their find, a large fortified complex west of Jerusalem at a site called Khirbet Qeiyafa, is the first palace of the biblical king ever to be discovered.“Khirbet Qeiyafa is the best example exposed to date of a fortified city from the time of King David,” said Yossi Garfinkel, a Hebrew University archeologist, suggesting that David himself would have used the site. Garfinkel led the seven-year dig with Saar Ganor of Israel’s Antiquities Authority....

  • Originally published 07/12/2013

    German settlers left mark on Palestine

    Kurt Eppinger's community of German Christians arrived in the Holy Land to carry out a messianic plan - but after less than a century its members were sent into exile, the vision of their founding fathers brought to an abrupt and unhappy end.The Germans were no longer welcome in what had been first a part of the Ottoman Empire, then British Mandate Palestine and would soon become Israel."On 3 September 1939, we were listening to the BBC and my father said: 'War has been declared' - and the next minute there was a knock at the door and a policeman came and took my father and all the men in the colony away."Aged 14 at the time, Kurt was part of a Christian group called the Templers. He lived in a settlement in Jerusalem - the district still known as the German Colony today....

  • Originally published 07/09/2013

    Q&A: Israeli historian Ilan Pappe

    The work of Professor Ilan Pappe - an advocate for an international boycott against Israel and the establishment of a single state for Israelis and Palestinians - has drawn praise as well as harsh criticism in academic and political circles.The criticism is not surprising, given that Pappe's work has sought to challenge the accepted truths of a divided land, and led to him being forced to resign from the University of Haifa in 2007....Al Jazeera and Professor Pappe discussed the stalled "peace process", along with Palestinian unity and the successes of the push for a one-state solution.Al Jazeera: How do you assess the recent efforts of US Secretary of State John Kerry to restart negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians?

  • Originally published 07/09/2013

    Daniel Pipes: Is Netanyahu Turning Left?

    Daniel Pipes (DanielPipes.org) is president of the Middle East Forum. © 2013 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.With Syria and Egypt aflame, why is U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry returning to the Middle East for his sixth visit since February to focus on more Israeli-Palestinian shuttle diplomacy?In part, because he and other liberals think that the Arab and Iranian (and now Turkish?) war on Israel boils down to an Israel-Palestinian conflict and therefore they over-emphasize this dimension; in part, too, because he subscribes to the liberal illusion that Israel-related issues constitute the "epicenter" of the region (as James L. Jones, then Obama's national security adviser, once put it), so their resolution must precede dealing with other Middle Eastern problems.But there's another possible reason for Kerry's enthusiasm: he took the measure of Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and found him indeed serious about reaching an accord with the Palestinians, and not just pretending enthusiasm to please Washington.

  • Originally published 06/25/2013

    Louis Rene Beres: The Palestinian Treaty Problem

    Louis Rene Beres is a professor of International Law at Purdue University. Born in Zurich, Switzerland at the end of World War II, he is the author of many major books and articles dealing with world politics, law, literature, and philosophy.From the beginning, the state of nations has been the state of nature. Always, states and empires are poised for war. Normally, in order to secure themselves within this condition of protracted peril, they have fashioned assorted written agreements under international law. These formal codifications, expressed as treaties, have sought to smooth over the dreadfully harsh realities of anarchic world politics.Still, on a fragmenting planet, law insistently follows power politics. Throughout history, more or less grievous problems have arisen whenever particular signatories had determined that lawful compliance is no longer in the "national interest." The overriding takeaway here is that treaties can be useful whenever there is a conspicuous mutuality of interest, but they can also become worthless whenever such mutuality is expected to disappear.

  • Originally published 06/13/2013

    Netanyahu helps dedicate upgraded Holocaust exhibit at Auschwitz

    OSWIECIM, Poland —For decades, the Communist-era memorial to Jewish victims at the barracks known as Block 27 in the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex of death camps stood dilapidated and mostly ignored.“No one visited. They opened the doors, that was it,” said Avner Shalev, chairman of Yad Vashem, Israel’s vast and authoritative Holocaust memorial museum and research center.Key artifacts had gone missing. The history presented in the signage was inaccurate, at best, and dominated by Soviet propaganda....

  • Originally published 05/29/2013

    Jewish fund, Germany agree on aid for Nazi victims

    BERLIN (AP) -- A fund for Jewish victims of Nazi crimes says it has reached an agreement with the German government for Berlin to provide some $1 billion in homecare for victims.A spokeswoman for the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany said Tuesday that about 56,000 survivors in about 46 different countries will receive financial support under the agreement for a four-year-period from 2014-2017.Hillary Kessler-Godin, speaking by phone from the fund's New York office, said the amount of financial aid for each person will depend on individual needs and circumstances....

  • Originally published 05/13/2013

    Nuclear Terror in the Middle East

    Credit: Wiki Commons.In those first minutes, they’ll be stunned. Eyes fixed in a thousand-yard stare, nerve endings numbed. They’ll just stand there. Soon, you’ll notice that they are holding their arms out at a 45-degree angle. Your eyes will be drawn to their hands and you’ll think you mind is playing tricks. But it won’t be. Their fingers will start to resemble stalactites, seeming to melt toward the ground. And it won’t be long until the screaming begins. Shrieking. Moaning. Tens of thousands of victims at once. They’ll be standing amid a sea of shattered concrete and glass, a wasteland punctuated by the shells of buildings, orphaned walls, stairways leading nowhere.This could be Tehran, or what’s left of it, just after an Israeli nuclear strike.

  • Originally published 05/10/2013

    Israeli archaeologists find source of 'Second Temple' era stones

    A huge quarry, along with tools and a key, used by workers some 2,000 years ago have been discovered during an excavation in Jerusalem prior to the paving of a highway, the Israel Antiquities Authorities (IAA) announced.The first-century quarry, which fits into the Second Temple Period (538 B.C. to A.D. 70), would've held the huge stones used in the construction of the city's ancient buildings, the researchers noted.Archaeologists also uncovered pick axes and wedges among other artifacts at the site in the modern-day Ramat Shlomo Quarter, a neighborhood in northern East Jerusalem....

  • Originally published 05/08/2013

    Israeli Holocaust memorial seeks to preserve memory of the 6 million victims, a name at a time

    REHOVOT, Israel — With a hand on her chest, 82-year-old Rivka Fringeru battled back tears as she reeled off a list of names she has rarely voiced in the past 70 years: her father, Moshe, then her mother, Hava, and finally her two older brothers, Michael and Yisrael.All perished in the Holocaust after the Harabju family from Dorohoi, Romania, was rounded up in 1944 and sent to ghettos and camps. Only Rivka and her brother Marco survived, and like many others, they spent the rest of their lives trying to move on and forget.Now, Yad Vashem, Israel’s national Holocaust memorial and museum, is asking them to remember.Decades after the Holocaust, experts have documented the names of about 4.2 million of the roughly 6 million Jews who were killed by the Nazis in World War II, and officials are going door-to-door in a race to record the memories of elderly survivors before their stories are lost forever....

  • Originally published 04/18/2013

    Mysterious stone structure discovered Galilee

    A giant "monumental" stone structure discovered beneath the waters of the Sea of Galilee in Israel has archaeologists puzzled as to its purpose and even how long ago it was built.The mysterious structure is cone shaped, made of "unhewn basalt cobbles and boulders," and weighs an estimated 60,000 tons the researchers said. That makes it heavier than most modern-day warships.Rising nearly 32 feet (10 meters) high, it has a diameter of about 230 feet (70 meters). To put that in perspective, the outer stone circle of Stonehenge has a diameter just half that with its tallest stones not reaching that height.It appears to be a giant cairn, rocks piled on top of each other. Structures like this are known from elsewhere in the world and are sometimes used to mark burials. Researchers do not know if the newly discovered structure was used for this purpose....

  • Originally published 03/26/2013

    Yair Auron: Israel must recognize Armenian genocide

    YEREVAN, MARCH 23, ARMENPRESS: Being a country which experienced the suffering of the genocide, Israel has to recognize Armenian Genocide. Israeli historian, scholar and expert specializing on Holocaust and Genocide studies, racism and contemporary Jewry Yair Auron made a statement at two-day international scientific conference titled “Armenian Genocide. Challenges ahead of the century”....

  • Originally published 03/25/2013

    Melissa Weininger: Why President Obama Should Not Visit the Western Wall

    Melissa Weininger is a scholar of modern Jewish Studies. She received her Ph.D. in 2010, and has taught at The University of Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago, and Rice University.Last week the New York Times and the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reported that President Obama will not go to the Western Wall when he visits Israel next week.An official who spoke to the Times framed this lacuna in the president’s itinerary as a security issue, explaining that the difficulty of protecting the president near the site was too great. And other presidents, including Bill Clinton in 1996, have not visited the Wall either. In general there has been little response, positive or negative, to the news that the president would not go to the Wall. But Americans and Israelis concerned with civil rights in Israel should be applauding the news, because there are many good reasons why President Obama should not visit the Western Wall.

  • Originally published 03/25/2013

    With Obama as broker, Israelis and Turkey end dispute

    JERUSALEM — Under persistent prodding from President Obama, Israel and Turkey resolved a bitter three-year dispute on Friday with a diplomatic thaw that will help a fragile region confront Syria’s civil war, while handing the president a solid accomplishment as he closed out his visit to the Middle East.

  • Originally published 03/22/2013

    Ron Radosh: Why Conservatives Should be Critical of Obama’s Middle Eastern Policy, But No Longer Attack Him as an Enemy of Israel

    Ron Radosh is a PJ Media columnist and Adjunct Fellow at the Hudson Institute.I, along with other supporters of Israel, have for the past few years rightfully been critical of President Obama and his position on the Middle East, beginning with his disastrous Cairo speech and his misguided decision to combine a wooing of the Arab world with a decision to put U.S. pressure first and foremost on Israel. Particularly, Obama chose to make settlements the most important issue regarding the peace process.The major change during his two days in Israel was a decisive shift in approach, which many of his ardent supporters have been loath to acknowledge. This shift was succinctly pointed out by veteran foreign affairs analyst Leslie Gelb:

  • Originally published 03/22/2013

    Obama visits Yad Vashem

    JERUSALEM — President Barack Obama on Friday pledged that with the “survival” of Israel, “the Holocaust will never happen again.”“Here on your ancient land, let it be said for all the world to hear,” Obama said at a service held at Israel’s Holocaust memorial and museum, Yad Vashem. “The state of Israel does not exist because of the Holocaust, but in the survival of a strong Jewish state of Israel the Holocaust will never happen again.”Obama’s third day of his trip to Israel got off to a solemn start on Friday with the Yad Vashem trip as well as trips to grave sites of Israeli heroes....

  • Originally published 03/21/2013

    Nixon mocked Democrats for calling Jerusalem Israel’s capital; now both parties agree on that

    WASHINGTON — Last year, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney attacked the Democratic convention platform for its “shameful” decision to omit a reference to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. But in a sign of how U.S. politics have changed in 40 years, President Richard Nixon complained in 1972 of the Democrats’ ”dishonest” platform language declaring the city Israel’s capital.Nixon’s national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, agreed with his condemnation during a previously unreported taped conversation from June 29, 1972. “To make Jerusalem the capital of Israel is not the platform of a major American national party,” Henry Kissinger told Nixon. “That is what I find so revolting here.” The tape is one of a collection housed at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center.On Wednesday, Barack Obama arrived in Israel for his first visit there as president — about six months after telling Democratic Party officials to reinstate language from previous convention platforms stating Jerusalem is the Israeli capital....

  • Originally published 02/27/2013

    Israelis upset with Chevy "SS" car

    The recently introduced 2014 Chevrolet SS muscle car has been welcomed in NASCAR country with open arms, but GM’s latest halo car isn’t getting as warm of a response in The Holy Land.It’s not the performance of the 415 hp V8-powered sedan that’s at issue, but the name: SS.It’s short for Super Sport, but an official at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem says the name evokes memories of Nazi Germany’s paramilitary Schutzstaffel organization, infamously known as the SS, which was the primary force behind the Holocaust that killed over 6 million Jews in Nazi occupied lands....

  • Originally published 02/21/2013

    Moshe Dann: Hezbollah, Syria and the Golan Heights

    The presence of a reported 50,000 Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Syria to support President Bashar Assad is an indication of what Iran and Hezbollah have in mind – the preservation of Syria as a strategic asset in the regional power struggle. Losing Syria would leave Hezbollah isolated in Lebanon; a Syrian-Lebanese alliance, on the other hand, would allow Hezbollah to fortify Iranian interests in both countries.A future Syrian government would then comprise a Sunni-Hezbollah alliance, similar to the political structure in Lebanon, without Assad and the Alawites, who would become a minority protected by Hezbollah. Following the Lebanese model, Hezbollah in Syria would be a state-within-a-state, with its own army and political structure, allied with a weak, fragmented Islamist Sunni-dominated state. For Hezbollah this is the perfect solution; it allows them to function covertly without the inconveniences of diplomatic restrictions.Hezbollah can and will attack Israel, as it did in the Second Lebanese War (2006), protected by its parent state and entrenched within Syria, with vastly expanded capabilities....

  • Originally published 02/16/2013

    Modern politics overshadows Israel’s historic Herod exhibit

    He's best known as a great tyrant. King Herod is said to have killed his wife and sons as well as all the baby boys of Bethlehem.But the first major exhibition on the Biblical ruler at the Israel Museum sets out to prove that he also had positive qualities that make him more deserving of the title "Herod the Great"."We tried to show that he was not only the cruel person described by [the Jewish historian] Josephus and the New Testament but he was also a ruler who managed to keep this country in peace for 33 years," says curator Silvia Rosenburg."It was probably very difficult being a local ruler caught between the Roman Empire and the different exigencies of Judaism, but he did it very well. In his time there was prosperity and work for everyone."A main reason why there was mass employment was because of the ambitious building projects ordered by Herod when he ruled between 37 and 4 BC......Palestinian officials say they will make a formal complaint to the museum for removing relics from the West Bank, which Palestinians want as part of a future state.

  • Originally published 02/14/2013

    Even the Israeli Center is Racist

    Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid. Credit: Flickr.Originally posted on Al Jazeera English.Former anchorman and middle-class darling Yair Lapid stunned the Israeli political scene in the recent elections. His party, Yesh Atid (There is a Future) won nineteen seats, second in size only to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s Likud-Beiteinu alliance, thus ensuring that Lapid will play a pivotal role in the next government.But who is Lapid and what exactly does he stand for?

  • Originally published 02/12/2013

    Despite Nazi past, Israel considered pope friend

    JERUSALEM — When Joseph Ratzinger became pope in 2005, many in Israel wondered whether the German-born Cardinal with the Nazi past would prove a worthy successor to the popular Pope John Paul II, whose pluralistic path helped sooth centuries of fraught relations between Jews and Christians.Eight years later, following his surprise resignation Monday, Israeli leaders lauded Pope Benedict XVI as a friend who helped promote dialogue and coexistence....

  • Originally published 02/05/2013

    Israelis unhappy with study of their textbooks and Palestinians’

    JERUSALEM — A State Department-funded study released Monday on the contentious issue of how Israelis and Palestinians depict each other in textbooks says both are locked into narratives that portray the other side as the enemy and erase it from maps, yet do not dehumanize each other.The independent study, billed as the first empirical and quantitative analysis of textbooks on both sides, was boycotted by Israel’s Education Ministry, which refused to cooperate. The ministry called the study biased and said it was based on a false comparison between the Israeli and Palestinian school systems....Funded with a grant from the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, the study was directed by Bruce E. Wexler, a professor of psychiatry at Yale University who worked with two Israeli and Palestinian experts on textbook analysis, subjecting books from both sides to identical evaluation questions, with results fed to a database....

  • Originally published 01/28/2013

    Murray Polner: Only Part of the Story: The Smearing of Chuck Hagel

    Murray Polner was editor of Present Tense, a liberal Jewish magazine published for 17 years by the American Jewish Committee. He has written and edited four books on Jewish life.“Israel Vows To Use Veto Power If Chuck Hagel Confirmed As U.S. Secretary of Defense.” –the Onion, Jan. 8, 2013.The above headline was a typical Onion gag but like so many of its sarcastic pieces it contained a measure of truth.

  • Originally published 01/25/2013

    Jim Sleeper: Israel's Election: Sea Change, or Mood Swing?

    Jim Sleeper lectures in political science at Yale and posts frequently at TPM. He has been a New York newspaper columnist and is the author of The Closest of Strangers and Liberal Racism. His website is www.jimsleeper.com."In the space of a few hours, Netanyahu watched as the American people formally gave their president four more years, and the people of Israel gave their prime minister six more weeks. That is the prime minister's deadline for forming a new coalition based on a Knesset majority, and it is going to be one long row," writes Bradley Burston of the liberal Haaretz, Israel's equivalent of Britain's The Guardian.In Burston's judgment, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won a mostly Pyrrhic victory in the recent elections not only because he'd tried to offset religious rightists' defections from his coalition by moving farther right himself; his big mistake was to assume "that the center was as dead as the left. [But] the center, unimaginably, woke from years of suspended animation."

  • Originally published 01/23/2013

    Obama's Anti-Zionism

    Barack Obama in the White House. Credit: Flickr.Originally posted on DanielPipes.orgWere Barack Obama re-elected, I predicted two months before the November 2012 presidential vote, "the coldest treatment of Israel ever by a U.S. president will follow." Well, election's over and that cold treatment is firmly in place. Obama has signaled in the past two months what lies ahead by: 

  • Originally published 01/16/2013

    Israel museum to exhibit reconstructed tomb in first major exhibition on biblical King Herod

    JERUSALEM — Israel’s national museum said Tuesday it will open what it calls the world’s first exhibition devoted to the architectural legacy of biblical King Herod, the Jewish proxy monarch who ruled Jerusalem and the Holy Land under Roman occupation two millennia ago.The display includes the reconstructed tomb and sarcophagus of one of antiquity’s most notable and despised figures, curators say.Modern day politics are intruding into this ancient find. Palestinians object to the showing of artifacts found in the West Bank. The Israeli museum insists it will return the finds once the exhibit closes....

  • Originally published 01/16/2013

    Martin Kramer: Chuck Hagel and Linkage

    Martin Kramer is Schusterman senior visiting professor at the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, and president of Shalem College in Jerusalem.Former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel is President Obama’s nominee for secretary of defense. Much has already been said about the pros and cons of the nomination, and much more will be said during confirmation hearings in the Senate. Here is one possible line of questioning: given the centrality of the Middle East in U.S. military planning, how does Hagel think the region works? If the United States has limited resources, and must apportion them judiciously, where is it best advised to invest them?Hagel has a view of this, expressed on numerous occasions. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the core problem of the Middle East. Until it is resolved, it will be impossible to make progress in treating any of the region’s other pathologies. Hagel claims to have reached this conclusion by talking with leaders of the Middle East. He’s just repeating what they tell him, he has said. So it’s interesting to go back and see just what they did tell him—an exercise made feasible via WikiLeaks. (If you belong to that class of persons who have to avert their eyes from WikiLeaks, don’t follow the links and take my word.)...

  • Originally published 07/18/2014

    Setting the Record Straight on Palestinian Youth

    Irfan Khawaja has an excellent post at the Austro-Athenian Empire responding to the usual negative portrayal of the Palestinians, especially the youth. I highly recommend it.

  • Originally published 07/09/2014

    Israel and Due Process

    The murders of the Israeli teens were atrocities, of course, but they can in no way justify, retroactively or prospectively, the systematic violence perpetrated against Palestinians that the state of Israel constitutes at its core.

  • Originally published 06/06/2014

    About that new “study” that supposedly vindicates Piketty…

    Robert Murphy has an excellent post up today following a conversation about the new Saez-Zucman (2014) “study” of US wealth inequality that Piketty iscurrently trumpeting (see p. 7) as something of a vindication of his highly problematic and as-of-yet still unexplained Figure 10.5.

  • Originally published 09/04/2013

    Revolutionary Situations are Inherently Messy

    Social scientists who study revolutions and other historical processes generally look for patterns and similarities. Historians, by contrast, have traditionally focused on factors that are specific to each situation, in each time and in each place. They seek to understand the particularities of each situation, rather than generalize about commonalities.