Israel

The Third Narrative: Not So Third, Not a Narrative, Not New

April 7, 2014

(This essay originally appeared in the Algemeiner on April 3, 2014.) I regret to say that a fair number of people I respect (and some not so much) have signed on to a statement about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that, evince as it may the best of intentions, is nonetheless, in truth, very considerable twaddle. I [...]


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A Misguided Argument About Anti-Semitism

February 18, 2014

(This essay originally appeared in the Algemeiner on February 11, 2014.) In the Wall Street Journal of February 3, Harvard’s Ruth R. Wisse published an Op-Ed titled “The Dark Side of the War on ‘the One Percent.” In the article, Wisse argues for a “structural” connection between “anti-Semitism and American class conflict.” First tracing the [...]


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Academic Boycotts and Re-Colonization by Theory

February 3, 2014

(The full text of the following essay was published by Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.) from “Academic Boycotts and Recolonization by Theory“  As a matter of international justice, however, conceptually distinguishing and crucial in consideration of what constitutes an indigenous people have been the following characteristics, developed for the Working Paper on the Concept [...]


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Wrong on Both Counts: Academic Boycotts and Israel

January 6, 2014

(An earlier version of this essay first appeared in the Algemeiner on December 30, 2013.) Now that the American Studies Association has passed its resolution calling for an  academic boycott of Israel, universities and fellow academics all over the country are denouncing it. These and other critics of an academic boycott of Israel generally resort [...]


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A Second Look: Thinking Through the Iranian Dilemma

December 16, 2013

I posted the following on March 19 of last year. Nothing that has transpired since, not even the recently achieved, yet still not implemented short-term deal – which I think a basis for justified future military action just as it is, more hopefully, a foundation for peaceful resolution – has changed the balance of views [...]


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A Second Look: the End (of History, War, the Enlightenment, and Western Civilization) Or Not

November 18, 2013

My recent posts on Syria were argued against a more global backdrop: considerations of war and how it is entered into, with what achievable (or other) ends in mind, and, more specifically again, how the United States engages in it. In focus were questions of American empire and the nature of victory and whether it [...]


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Helen Thomas and Oedipus

July 21, 2013

On the CNN’s Reliable Sources this morning, new host David Folkenflik hosted three female journalists, including Judy Woodruff and Candy Crowley in considering the career and legacy of Helen Thomas. The entire discussion addressed Thomas’s groundbreaking career and generous influence on young women journalists like Woodruff and Crowley. Just before the end of the discussion, [...]


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A Second Look: The Uncanny John Mearsheimer

July 8, 2013

The weekend found me in my cyber perambulations encountering greater than the usual concentration of anti-Semitic eruptions from the maw of the uncivilizing world. We withdraw from the end of history. It produced my own ironic rants in twitter eruption, first on Saturday, again on Sunday. Some meditation on the nature of that ur-hatred that [...]


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“It goes without saying”: the Further Rhetoric of Terrorist Apologia

June 24, 2013

When the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald, then with Salon,interviewed Rene Brulin in 2010, the purpose of the conversation was to discuss Brulin’s research into the origins of the contemporary usage of the term “terrorism.” According to Brulin it has two origins. One is in the United States in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In the late 70s, President [...]


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Notes Toward a Terror Apologist’s Rhetoric (Abridged but Unexpurgated)

June 10, 2013

This commentary first appeared in the Algemeiner on June 3, 2013. Apologia in the rhetorical tradition is not a common apology, in the simple sense of “sorry,” though it may fulfill that purpose. It may decidedly not. Apologia is a defense against accusation. Plato gave us Socrates’sApology, which was not. In the religious tradition, apologia is [...]


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A Second Look: What About Chas Freeman?

May 28, 2013

. Whenever they become topically relevant, I am going to offer a scond look at some older pieces still worth reading. Yesterday, the anti-semitic Mondoweiss blog reposted a recent speech by Chas Freeman at A National Interest discussion about “Israel’s fraying image.” I do not link to Mondoweiss, but you can find Freeman’s comments at his [...]


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Drones and the Human Agency of War

May 20, 2013

. This commentary previously appeared in the Algemeiner on May 17, 2013. Joshua Foust has written at Foreign Policy a misleadingly essay titled  ”A Liberal Case for Drones.” I think there is such a case, but this it not it and a case for drones is not even truly the subject of the piece. The [...]


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A Campaign of Willful Blindness on Terrorism

May 6, 2013

. This article first appeared in the Algemeiner on May 2, 2013.   On April 15, 2013 at 2:49 p.m. two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Most of us know the details, more or less – the three dead, 264 wounded and maimed, the days of fear, of investigation and pursuit, the [...]


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Taking Stock, Taking a Leave

March 4, 2013

. The first post on this blog is dated December 2, 2008, so I have been blogging as of the date of this post, four years, three months and two days. I began when Julia and I hit the road during a sabbatical year, traveling the country in our motor home researching Native American life. [...]


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Lessons from Brooklyn College BDS, Barghouti, and Butler

February 25, 2013

. This commentary originally appeared in the Algemeiner on February 22, 2013. Reader and correspondent David Lurie has directed me to some not well-publicized revelations about the Brooklyn College BDS event. To begin, the campus BDS chapter defended itselfagainst various accusations of selective and prejudicial admission to the event and other claims, including the discriminatory eviction [...]


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Response to Judith Butler at Brooklyn College

February 18, 2013

. This commentary first appeared in the Algemeiner on February 15.  The ironic and the disingenuous are kin. Their commonality resides in a gap, which is the distance between what is said and something else. With the ironic, the distance is between what one says and what one means. With the disingenuous, the distance is between what [...]


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The Israeli-Palestinian Textbook Study Fraud

February 12, 2013

. This commentary first appeared in the Algemeiner on February 8.  You think you’re a person of good will and fair minded. You are a strong and aggressive advocate for Israel against its many and varied enemies, malicious or misguided, but you are not single-minded: you support two states for two peoples – Jews and Palestinians – [...]


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More on the Israeli-Palestinian School Book Project

February 8, 2013

. At the Algemeiner today, I address the just released Israeli-Palestinian School Book Project. Since posting I have gained further clarity and focus on problematic features of the project and the information about it released to the press. About the number of books and items “analyzed,” The official list of books included those approved by the [...]


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They of All People

January 30, 2013

. (Updated) It has been a fascinating week in anti-Semitism, but then they all are. The more I witness it, the more persuaded I become of the identity of the purer, more direct forms and the ignorant forms. After all, much ignorance – lack of knowledge and sophistication – is open with wonder and without [...]


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Two Epistemic Closures: The GOP and Israel-Critics

January 28, 2013

. (This commentary originally appeared in the Algemeiner on January 25, 2013.) What do Tuesday’s election results remind us of? They should recall the result of November’s U.S. elections. Against all evidence – and here I do mean all evidence – Mitt Romney and Republicans of every stripe, from Tea Party to establishment, genuinely believed that they [...]


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Why Obama Hearts Hagel

January 14, 2013

. This commentary first appeared in the Algemeiner on January 11.  The last time I wrote about President Obama’s then only rumored selection of Chuck Hagel I said two things I knew I would wish to revise. The first, rhetorically, was the question: “What was he thinking?” The second was a quotation from Gil Troy’s generally very good writing [...]


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