Monthly Archives:
November 2006

The Pressure on the Times–Very Tolstoyan

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Steven Erlanger wrote a great piece for the Times last week about a study by Peace Now showing the staggering percentage of stolen Arab land being built upon by Israelis (facts on the ground!). The story ran off the front…

American and Israeli Interests Diverge on Talking to Syria

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Public broadcasting stars Terry Gross and Judy Woodruff have both now paddled Jimmy Carter for the “provocative” title of his book, Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid. In each case the gentlemanly grandfatherly prez bore up beautifully under the treatment, stuck to…

I Am Wrong Again, Re: Birthright Israel

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Matt Dorf of Rabinowitz/Dorf communications informs me I got the #s wrong on how many young Jews go to Israel free every year. Your piece on Ali Abunimah’s talk includes a mention of our client birthright israel: “Indeed, he said,…

A Japanese Filmmaker’s Desolating View of Palestinian Life

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Toshikuni Doi is a 50-ish Japanese journalist now visiting the U.S. after spending years in the Occupied Territories with a camcorder. The other day at Columbia he had his first American audience, for a documentary about a family in a…

The Tongan Peace Corps Murder, Now in Fiction

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Having spent months in Tonga, I’m not entirely surprised by the latest videos of Nuku’alofa in flames. It’s a sleepy South Pacific capital, and there’s always a lot of feeling rumbling underneath the placidity. My main Tonga interest is the…

A Brief Encounter With Robert Altman

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Ten days before he died, I met Robert Altman at a party in New York for his friend Gore Vidal’s new book. I was on a couch and he was in an armchair when a friend started telling him how…

Ali Abunimah on One State in Israel/Palestine

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I caught Ali Abunimah, the Palestinian/American activist and author of a new book calling for a single Arab and Jewish state in Palestine, at Columbia the other night. Abunimah made a few interesting points: 1. Having been to Northern Ireland,…

How Republicans Define Jewishness

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Jennifer Siegel of the Forward has turned in another fine piece of reporting, this on the fact that Republicans count their Jewish vote in the recent election at 26 percent, while the Associated Press puts it at half that, 13…

The Two Narratives About the Israel Lobby: Will They Ever Meet?

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The idea that there are two narratives about Israel/Palestine in this country, and never the twain shall meet, was reinforced last week by the Times’ two-parter on the special relationship of Israel and the U.S., titled “Anatomy of an Alliance.”…

The News From Nuku’alofa

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Those of us who love a tiny Polynesian nation in the South Pacific are distressed by the reports out of Tonga of anti-royalist riots that have left at least six dead and destroyed the downtown of Nuku’alofa, the capital of…

Advice Column: Two Weeks of Bliss, and Confession

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This morning I overheard my wife giving relationship advice to a friend on the phone: “This is the rule. In the beginning of a relationship, those first two or three golden weeks, you can confess anything. You get permission to…

The New Yorker Uses the G-Word

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Janet Malcolm is one of my idols, I’d read her shopping lists if someone would print them. Her book The Journalist and the Murderer is a cultural landmark, it changed the relationship of journalists and their sources, giving more power…

Re: Comments ‘Signed’ by Me

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Some readers are abusing this site by leaving comments “signed” by Phil Weiss. I didn’t write these comments, I’m going to start taking them down when I get a minute; they’re misrepresentations. If you want to go after me, fine,…

Scott Ritter on ‘My Good Friend,’ Israel

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Last night at Columbia’s school of international affairs, Scott Ritter, the former weapons inspector, and former Marine, opened a speech about Iran bracingly, by speaking not of Iran but about the “elephant in the room”: Israel. He said that Israel…

Harry Reid Calls for Talking to Syria

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Senator Reid just now said a smart thing on the floor of the Senate: the way out of the Iraq mess involves talking to Syria. “Even talking to Syria.” The grieving David Grossman told Israel the same thing last week….

Sacha Baron Cohen, Guilty of Minstrelsy

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My commenters below are right: the prejudices that Sacha Baron Cohen stokes in Borat are conventional ones, and the film is a form of Red-State blackface. All the juice in his journey happens between the coasts. When he’s on the…

“Israel Is in Serious Decline,” Says a Progressive Jew

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Antony Loewenstein is saying just what I’m saying about Israel’s crisis, but in Australia. The author of the book, My Israel Question, Loewenstein writes in The Age: Israel is a nation in serious decline. Israel’s long-term future lies not with…

Borat’s Coded Message: Pogroms Could Happen Here

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The movie Borat is a lot of things, a comic triumph, mean, weirdly Tocquevillian. It is filled with anti-semitic humor, and I admit I laughed. But there is also something really scary about the film, and that seems to me…

Prediction: Bush Will Now Emulate His Father Re Israel/Palestine

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The Gates appointment to replace Don Rumsfeld is important: I think it might signal a shift in George Bush’s thinking (I know, that’s an oxymoron) re Israel/Palestine. Consider a few facts: Former Sec’y of State James Baker is now of…

More Fingerpointing at Rove

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If Rumsfeld’s resignation was in the playbook, presumably under Hail Mary Pass, then why didn’t they call the play two weeks back when it could actually have done some good politically and maybe saved Lincoln Chafee et al? Paralysis at…

Time to Point Fingers: Karl Rove in Pennsylvania!?

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I can’t wait for the Republican fingerpointing to begin. I can’t wait so much I want to start it myself! My Monday-morning questions for Karl Rove: Why didn’t you sacrifice everything else to try and hold the Senate? Howard Dean…

Memo to the Left

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You are not disenfranchised. Stop talking about voter fraud (perennial) and computerized voting (inevitable). Start talking about ideas about real policy. Bring progressive vision to the so-called clash of civilizations.