Category Archives: Guest Columns

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

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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

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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 , , , , , | 26 Comments

An Inconvenient Truth for Israel

Uri Avnery argues that the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate on Iran is a catastrophic blow to the Israeli leadership, which has been using the “Iran threat” as a political organizing principle at home and abroad. Continue reading

Posted in Guest Columns, Situation Report | 27 Comments

Constructing Hanukkah

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.) He offers a fascinating, and very … Continue reading

Posted in Guest Columns, Situation Report | 17 Comments

Annapolis and Iran

Cheney lobbies Arab support against Tehran Guest Column: Dr. Gary Sick of Columbia, the preeminent U.S. scholar and analyst on Iran (and former NSC staffer and author of “The October Surprise”), earlier today mailed out an astute analysis of the … Continue reading

Posted in Guest Columns, Situation Report | 21 Comments

Why I’m Happy England Failed

Guest Column: Saifedean Ammous may be a passionate England football fan, but he’s glad they were dumped out of Euro 2008 qualifying by Croatia last Wednesday. Here’s why Why I’m Happy England Failed to Qualify for Euro 2008 By Saifedean … Continue reading

Posted in Glancing Headers, Guest Columns | 9 Comments

Global Warming as White Man’s Burden

Davos considers the options Guest Column: Climate scientist V. Balaji reminds us that before Davos, there was Bandung. While the captains of the industrialized world claim a monopoly on policy ideas for responding to global warming, they are clearly unable … Continue reading

Posted in Guest Columns, Situation Report | 48 Comments

Can Al Gore’s Vision Avert a Climate-Change Catastrophe?

The Nobel Peace Prize award to Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change left me a little uncomfortable. I have no problem with the IPCC, obviously, but singling out Gore seemed a little too Hollywood to me. I … Continue reading

Posted in Guest Columns, Situation Report | 39 Comments

Iran, the Inflatable Bogey

I’m delighted and honored to welcome Dr. Trita Parsi as a guest columnist at Rootless Cosmopolitan. Following the escalating tension between Iran and the West over the past two years, I’ve found Trita to be a singular voice of sanity … Continue reading

Posted in Guest Columns, Shameless Cronyism, Situation Report | 87 Comments