Monthly Archives:
May 2007

Libs (and TNR) Praise the Iraq War With Faint Damnation

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This week’s New Republic has a profile of Chuck Hagel written in a regretful tone by the usually-emulable John Judis saying that Hagel has become “unmoored” by the Iraq war. It epitomizes a leading attitude among liberals: Iraq was a…

Whatever Happened to the Realistic Jewish Novel?

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Everyone is talking about Michael Chabon’s new novel, and good for him, he’s good. But let’s be clear, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union is a fantasy set in Alaska. It’s not about the here and now. Chabon began in a different…

The Connection Between Oil and Slavery

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A year ago I turned on C-SPAN and found myself transfixed for an hour by Roscoe Bartlett, the octogenarian congressman/engineer from Western Maryland who has made a cause out of lecturing Americans about their dependence on petroleum. Well it happened…

Black Snake Mimics Rattler to Scare Off the Nosy

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Yesterday I was hiking through the woods moving a little too fast and almost stepped on a black snake, about 5 feet long, traveling on its own through the woods in the opposite direction. I’m fascinated by snakes and stopped…

Let’s Blame the American People for Iraq, Not Just Bush and Neocons

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Keith Olbermann last night issued another of his signature condemnations of the political establishment, where he addresses Bush witheringly as “Sir.” Last night he said the Democrats are not following the mandate of the people from last November, to get…

O.K., Jimmy Carter Is Impolite. But Is He Right?

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Three months ago Commentary Magazine called Jimmy Carter “our worst ex-president” (because of his position on Israel, of course). Now Carter is calling Bush “our worst president ever,” and the press is attacking him for violating some unspoken ethic of…

Chomsky Ascribes ‘Self-Hating’ Blackmail to Abba Eban ’73

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The latest Jewish Currents traces the history of the blackmail “self-hating Jew” to describe Jews who have not drunk the Israel koolaid. It quotes Noam Chomsky on the subject: Chomsky attributes the promiscuous use of the accusation of Jewish self-hatred…

George Tenet’s Rebirth as Critic of Israel Policy

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Did George Tenet’s threat to resign cause Clinton to scuttle deal with Israel to release imprisoned spy Jonathan Pollard in ’98? Did Tenet lie about his role? And does Tenet secretly share Walt and Mearsheimer’s view that the Israel lobby…

Larry Says My Position Threatens the Jewish Future

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In a comment the other day, Larry says that religion sustained the Jews for generations, and my assimilationist stance could break the chain: Most of us are only a few generations away from the shtetl, where our grandparents or great…

Nukes Destablized Mideast in ’67

Philip Weiss on

For some time I have argued that the ’67 war in the Mideast was related to Israel’s nuclear plans. Today the Jerusalem Post heralds a book that says I am right…

Walzer Says Jews Aren’t Good at Governing Others

Philip Weiss on

A few weeks back, I landed on Michael Walzer for his parochialism in a speech about Jewish identity at the Center for Jewish History. The speech was complacent: it celebrated the American Jewish religious revival and American Jews’ connection to…

Tony Soprano’s New Muse: Wordsworth

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Last night’s “Sopranos” turned on the famous line from Wordsworth: “Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers; Little we see in Nature that is ours…” Young Anthony Soprano reads the line on a college blackboard. Then his father realizes…

Palestinians Barred From Bathing in Dead Sea

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Realistic Dove has picked up an unbelievable story about the Israeli army not allowing Palestinians to bathe at the Dead Sea: Israelis bathing on the north shore of the Dead Sea had not been pleased with the presence of the…

Why Iraq Isn’t Vietnam: Public Opinion Matters

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Today brings more evidence that Republican congressmen have turned on the war and are talking about a September deadline out of fear of the political consequences of persevering in a failed policy. I’m an optimist; I think this trend will…

Is Anti-Zionism the New Zionism?

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Last night I was reading a biography of Walter Benjamin that described the excitement over Zionism in Berlin intellectual circles 90 years ago. Socialists and dreamers adopted Zionist ideas. In the U.S., too, many eastern European Jews who had lately…

In Jersey, Governor and ‘Sopranos’ Are In Recovery

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I’ve been moved by Jon Corzine’s ordeal, it’s about hubris and defeat and a new life, with a script seemingly provided to the governor by the recovery movement. Inote that Corzine’s girlfriend is a psychotherapist. The Corzine story echoes that…

Why the Right Wing Needs Hillary

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Conservatives are obsessing over Hillary Clinton even more than Democrats are. She’s all they see when they look at the Democratic smorgasbord, they dismiss Obama. Conservatives secretly want Hillary to become President because that will fulfill their worldview, that p.c….

Hannah Arendt (and Ted Koppel) on Jewish Assimilation

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The most interesting interchange at the Center for Jewish History event on Hannah Arendt on May 2 involved Jewish assimilation in western societies. Arendt was born in Germany in 1906. Jerome Kohn said that two ideologies she grew up with…

Hannah Arendt on Self-Love and -Hatred

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Tomorrow night the Center for Jewish History is having an event on Hannah Arendt, reconsidering her Jewish writings, and I’m excited. I find Arendt’s writing thrilling, and the controversies she was mixed up in 40 and 50 years ago anticipate…

Quote Approval: An Unspoken Issue in Journalism

Philip Weiss on

Someone who commented on my Halberstam post the other day mentioned various Times execs, including deputy managing editor Jonathan Landman, and I’ve been thinking about my sole interaction with Landman, which left me impressed. A year ago I wrote an…