Category Archives: The Middle East

Israel/West Bank trip, day 5

(Tel Aviv) After talking last night with the editor of the very liberal Israeli newspaper, Ha’aretz (Aluf Benn), I’m thinking that the most interesting question is which of these two views most accurately represents the Israeli government: We (the state … Continue reading

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Israel/West Bank trip, day 4

(Tel Aviv) Since I last blogged, we have met with Vice Prime Minister (and Lieutenant General) Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon,* Ethiopian Israeli politician Shlomo Molla (who’s very talented, by the way), human rights attorney Hanny Ben Israel (who painted a fairly … Continue reading

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notes from the West Bank

Today, we talked to senior officials of the Palestinian authority in the Palestinian Authority’s capital of Ramallah. We also visited a brand-new, planned Palestinian city called Ramabi. And before we entered the West Bank, we toured the Israeli separation wall … Continue reading

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Israel, day 3

(Jerusalem) Since I last posted, we have met with an Arab member of the Knesset, Ahmad Tibi, in the Knesset building. One of the founders of the settler movement, Israel Harel, showed us around his controversial West Bank settlement of … Continue reading

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Israel, day 2

(Jerusalem) I am here on a political study tour; our main business is a large number of meetings with experts and representatives of various sectors of Israeli and Palestinian society. I won’t try to narrate the whole trip but will … Continue reading

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Israel, day 1

I am in Jerusalem. I have traveled to Israel and the Palestinian territories with a group of Americans. We will be meeting with about 20 people here, including Members of the Knesset and a Vice Prime Minister, military and intelligence … Continue reading

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Arab students’ speech at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

This morning, my colleague Vanessa and I participated in a videoconference with Arab students in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. They are members of the Watan movement, which, as they presented it to us, exists to celebrate Palestinian culture and … Continue reading

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at Wye, remembering Abu Ghraib

I am at the Aspen Institute along the Wye River on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Think of tidy fields with picket fences, Georgian brick houses, placid reaches of salt water at every turn, great flocks of starlings on the … Continue reading

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the ideological valence of Sebastian Junger’s War

I enjoyed War, Sebastian Junger’s vivid report of an American platoon in the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan during five months of regular combat. I was a little taken aback to note that the other Amazon customers who had bought War … Continue reading

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motives and incentives in the Iraq war

I’m generally against imputing motives to political leaders. I don’t think we can know what they want; there are too many screens and interpreters between them and us. Motives don’t necessarily matter, because a leader can do the right thing … Continue reading

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