Monthly Archives: February 2008

Obama and the ‘Jewish Vote’

The problem with Obama, for the Zionist establishment, is that they can’t be sure he hates the Palestinians enough. The deeper problem for the Zionist establishment, of course, is that Jewish Americans are flocking to Obama despite their coded warnings Continue reading

Posted in Featured Analysis, Situation Report | 72 Comments

Inside a Failed Palestinian Police State

Guest Column: Arthur Neslen, writing from Ramallah, offers a glimpse of the political decay at the heart of Mahmoud Abbas’s Vichy state. Hamas doesn’t need to challenge Fatah in the West Bank, because Fatah is destroying itself through corruption and kow-towing to the U.S. and Israel. Never mind Hamas, it’s hard to find a Fatah activist on the West Bank who actually believes any good will come from the Bush-Olmert-Abbas “peace process” so regularly hyped in the Western media. Continue reading

Posted in Guest Columns, Situation Report | 22 Comments

Who’s Got the Power?

President George W. Bush could be forgiven for underestimating China: He had spent some months there in the mid-1970s, when his father was U.S. Ambassador to Beijing. His firsthand experience of a largely pre-industrial colossus could hardly have prepared him for dealing with the China of today — a China to which the U.S. owes some $1.5 trillion and counting, and to which America’s beleaguered banks turn for the multibillion dollar loans required to keep them afloat.
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Posted in Situation Report | 6 Comments

The Guilty Pleasure of Fidel Castro

What fascinates me is the guilty pleasure with which so many political leaders around the world revere Fidel Castro — revere him, but wouldn’t dream of emulating his approach to economics or governance. Continue reading

Posted in Situation Report, The Whole World's Africa | Tagged , , , | 77 Comments

Honey, I Shrank the Superpower

In a snide reference to Bill Clinton’s 1992 promise to “build a bridge into the 21st century,” Barack Obama recently quipped that what Hillary Clinton really offers is a bridge back into the 20th century. Yet, a bridge back into the last century may be what all the major candidates are offering when they promise to restore the American leadership and primacy. The Republicans promise to restore American power by staying the course in Iraq, threatening Iran, and staring down “radical Islamic terrorism,” which John McCain calls “the transcendent issue of the 21st century.” The Democrats envisage turning the clock back eight years, restoring post-Cold War American primacy simply by adopting a more sober and consensus-based style. The problem, of course, is that while Bush’s
reckless forays into the Middle East have accelerated the decline of America’s strategic influence, there’s little reason to believe that this decline can be reversed either by more of the same, or by a less abrasive tenant in the Oval Office.
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Posted in Annals of Globalization, Featured Analysis | 13 Comments

Israel’s Self-Defeating ‘Liquidation’

Guest Column: Uri Avnery, the doyen of Israeli peace campaigners, has seen it all before. With last week’s killing of Hizballah commander Imad Mughniyeh, Israel once again demonstrated an unrivaled capacity to pull off difficult assassinations, and then went into a frenzy of self-congratulation over its prowess. After last year’s failed Lebanon war, Israel’s political-military leadership certainly felt the need to offer its public a psychological pick-me-up. But at what cost? Avnery explores the history of such “liquidations,” as the Israeli establishment calls them, to show that they tend to actually strengthen resistance organizations, while raising the danger to the civilian population of those who carry them out. Continue reading

Posted in Guest Columns, Situation Report | 18 Comments

The Fish is in the Mail

You’d think that avowed Christians would have remembered that Biblical lesson about the difference between giving a poor man a fish, and giving him a fishing pole — or a job on a snoek boat, or a deepwater hake factory ship, you know what I’m getting at. Nope, when President Bush hands out $1.5 trillion with the approval of the Democratic Congress, it’s going to be all fish. Checks mailed out in the spring, $600 or $1200, on the bizarre assumption that these will somehow be serve as a defibrillator on the flagging economy.
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Posted in 99c Blogging, Situation Report | 15 Comments

Learning From Arab Jews

Guest Column: David Shasha, the founder and director of the Center for Sephardic Heritage in Brooklyn, New York, is one of my favorite weekly email reads. (You can subscribe, too, by contacting him directly.) Arab and Jew are not mutually exclusive categories. Quite the contrary. Anyone who tells you, as so many “pundits” do in this society when trying to explain the Middle East, that “Jews and Arabs have been fighting for thousands of years,” is speaking from ignorance. The idea of a conflict between “Jews” and “Arabs” is really only as old as modern political Zionism, and really only took on a generalized form in the second half of the 20th century amid the trauma that accompanied the creation of the State of Israel. Jews and Arabs had, in fact, lived together for hundreds of years in the Muslim world, and many Jews have always considered themselves Arab.

David Shasha makes the case that this branch of Judaism, what he calls the “Levantine Option”, is tragically silenced and excluded from the mainstream Ashkenazi and Zionist narrative that dominates discussion of the Jewish experience. He argues that while the Ashkenazi tradition was both heavily influenced by Western Christian traditions and also, because of persecution, evolved a far more narrow, insular “shtetl” outlook on Jewish identity. By contrast, he argues, the Sephardic experience, in the “convivienca” of Moorish Spain and the Arab lands in the Islamic golden age actually has much more to offer Jews looking for an expansive, universalist version of their identity in a multi-cultural, cosmopolitan world. It’s fascinating stuff: Read on!
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Posted in A Wondering Jew, Guest Columns, Situation Report | Tagged , , , , , | 23 Comments