Middle East

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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Finessing Foreign Policy

January 25, 2013

. In his testimony at yesterday’s hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John Kerry said, It is also imperative that in implementing President Obama’s vision for the world as he ends more than a decade of war, we join together to augment our message to the world. President Obama and every one of us [...]


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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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Blasphemy Is not Bigotry

September 25, 2012

. The President has spoken (at the United Nations). People are praising what they think he got right and what he got not so right. (We ignore here today the people who think he gets most everything wrong. They get too much attention anyway.) On the issue of free speech stemming from the “Innocence of [...]


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The Palestinian Failure

August 16, 2012

. Some nations are lucky in their leaders. For decades now, academic historians have downplayed the significance of the leader – the “great man” – in the understanding of historical epochs and focused their attention elsewhere. Still, you cannot study the early American republic without renewed appreciation for the role of George Washington. How lucky was the U.S. again [...]


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Anti-Labor, Anti-Free Press, Anti-Gay, Anti-Israel

August 8, 2012

. Some people never get the point. Some people once got the point, or claimed to, claimed to see it – there it is, over there – and then they got their hands on the point and stretched the point, to make a point, turned it inside out, inverted and perverted the point, developed a [...]


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The Mystery of Terrorism, Revealed

July 26, 2012

. Cross posted at The Times of Israel. When I wrote the other day about our dumbness before the phenomenon of terrorism – so often the wanton and random killing in large numbers of those who must by any non-self-justifying reason be considered innocents – I was invoking the mystery of the moral self that can rise [...]


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Alexander Cockburn: Remembering the Dead

July 25, 2012

Cross posted at the Algemeiner. It really is the ultimate sentimentality. That concern with how we will be remembered, or how those for whom we care will be treated in the minds of others, or who is saying what about whom now gone. It is too obvious to say we will never know the reputations [...]


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Dear Nicholas Kristof, You Are a Fool

October 7, 2011

. Let’s begin with the title of that ejaculation of tendentious nonsense you and The New York Times have passed off as thoughtful commentary by a serious commentator on international affairs. “Is Israel Its Own Worst Enemy?” Really, you mean that? You haven’t heard that spoken around the block a time or two. It’s your [...]


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The State Solution: Yes, for South Sudan; No, for Israel

July 19, 2011

Hedar Sela has an incisive piece at The Propagandist that sharply zeroes in on the true nature of the so-called “one-state solution.” (H/T CiFWatch). Readers of political commentary on the Middle East will frequently see reference to the ‘one-state solution’ in relation to the Arab-Israeli conflict. What perhaps is often not sufficiently clear is what [...]


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A “Rose in the Desert” Smells Like Shit

April 25, 2011

I mean not to diminish but heighten in significance the state repression and murder currently being executed across Syria by reminding us all of what I had intended to write of at the time, the creepiest, most morally repugnant journalism of the year – Joan Juliet Buck‘s “A Rose in the Desert,” for Vogue, with [...]


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Egyptics

February 3, 2011

Among the many approaches to the study of literature are varied considerations of structure, form, and language, including archetypologies, symbologies, and rhetorical and verbal analysis. These differing hermeneutics can be brought to bear on the interpretation of more than just literature, as almost anything can be argued to show intention, in the sense of indications [...]


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Thinking about Egypt

February 1, 2011

We were thinking about it yesterday in more theoretical terms, about what makes a revolution and the act of rebellion legitimate and humane – true to the liberating spirit that animates it – and how revolutions betray themselves. To think about Egypt more practically is to recognize the social factors in Egypt that make the [...]


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Rebellion and Revolution

January 31, 2011

With the current events in Egypt following upon the still unfolding story in Tunisia, the nature and potential consequences of revolutionary upheaval are much on people’s minds. For Egypt, as generally for the Middle East, democrats everywhere celebrate the swell of a common spirit of liberty seeking to throw off shackles. Realists, even among democrats, [...]


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Israel Responds to Time Magazine

January 20, 2011

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the following response from Ron Dermer, Senior Adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, to the latest of Time Magazine’s increasingly and starkly biased reports on Israel is not how well-reasoned and clearly presented it is. What is most remarkable is how obvious the various counter points are to the [...]


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Ship of Fools 1

September 16, 2010

One of the questions of the Normblog profile, of which I was the subject a little while back is What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? I responded like a blogger. The excesses of the international Left that are in part responsive to the [...]


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Counter Thinking in the Israeli Palestinian Conflict

September 7, 2010

In the contemporary field of education, few concepts are more heavily promoted than that of what is called critical thinking. Very simply, thinking that analyzes itself, that habitually questions suppositions and established intellectual foundations –  the warrants on which we base our claims about the world – is critical thinking. Revisionist histories arise from critical [...]


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All Israel, All the Time

September 7, 2010

Sometimes it can seem that way. All from The Guardian. First, Iran‘s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, today launched an angry attack on “doomed” US-brokered Middle East peace talks and urged the Palestinians to continue armed resistance to Israel. Ahmadinejad used the annual al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day rally in Tehran to scorn the Obama administration’s efforts in launching [...]


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TULIP: Trade Unions Linking Israel and Palestine

July 22, 2010

Founding statement The solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is clear – and has been accepted in principle by both sides.  Israeli and Palestinian states living side by side, within secure and recognised borders, is the only workable solution to a conflict that has dragged on for decades. Israel has already taken [...]


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Tony Judt, the Kurds, and Captive Minds

July 16, 2010

The attempt to stand outside history and see ourselves in it is like trying to look at the back of one’s head: it is a trick done with mirrors, over the shoulder. The effort is unsteady, and the first thing you are likely to see is your own face. Yesterday The New York Times reported [...]


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Quotes of the Day

July 9, 2010

Glenn Greenwald: CNN yesterday ended the 20-year career of Octavia Nasr, its Atlanta-based Senior Middle East News Editor, because of a now-deleted tweet she wrote on Sunday upon learning of the death of one of the Shiite world’s most beloved religious figures. Glenn Greenwald: And Nasr herself wrote a moving explanation after the controversy over her tweet [...]


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