Category Archives: The Middle East

the 2020 election in the shadow of the Iraq War

Facebook13 Twitter1Total14Polls usually show that foreign policy is a low-priority issue in US political campaigns. This year is no exception: asked to choose one priority, just 13 percent of prospective voters recently selected foreign policy. But I think the Iraq … Continue reading

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a range of federalism options for Israel-Palestine

Facebook7 Twitter0Total7In the Washington Post today, Daniel Hollander notes that there is another possible option for Israel/Palestine beyond one state or two states: “a federalist, multistate solution.” I think this direction should be considered, if for no reason than “inventing options” … Continue reading

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why calling Israel democratic increases criticism of Israel

Facebook5 Twitter0Total5If you tell Dutch people that Israel is a democracy like the Netherlands, Israel’s favorability rises among the conservative respondents but falls among those on the left. That’s according to an experiment by Lelkes, Malka, and Sheets (2015). They asked everyone the same questions … Continue reading

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medieval iconoclasm and modern prejudices

Facebook7 Twitter0Total7More than 1,000 years ago, the Christian world was consumed with a violent conflict over religious images: whether they should be venerated or destroyed as idols. That conflict, which brought down emperors, has resonances today. But even before the … Continue reading

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Jesus was a person of color

Facebook66 Twitter0Total66As everyone knows by now, Fox News host Megyn Kelly said last week, “Jesus was a white man, too. It’s like we have, he’s a historical figure. That’s a verifiable fact, as is Santa. I just want kids to … Continue reading

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an argument against intervening in Syria

Facebook67 Twitter0Total67The Syrian government appears to have violated the Geneva Protocol to the Hague Convention (1925). The Protocol, which Syria signed in 1968, begins: “the use in war of asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and of all analogous liquids, materials … Continue reading

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the Nehemiah story: on the pros and cons of walls

Facebook6 Twitter0Total6In writing yesterday about the Palestinian city, Rawabi, that is rising not far from Jerusalem, I thought of the Book of Nehemiah in the Bible. It tells a good and relevant story–but also a problematic one. It is a … Continue reading

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Rawabi, the planned Palestinian city

Facebook2 Twitter0Total2In yesterday’s New York Times, Isabel Kirshner reports from Rawabi, the planned city that’s rising on a hill between Jerusalem and Nablus. She describes Rawabi’s struggles with the Israelis over permits and water, limited support from the Palestinian Authority, … Continue reading

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the limits of putting yourself in their shoes and looking with their eyes

Facebook59 Twitter0Total59Yesterday in Jerusalem, the president told the story of Israel, much as mainstream Israelis understand it, and then asked his audience to see the Palestinians’ side of the story. Those passages in his speech drew applause. I used to … Continue reading

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bloggers remember what they wrote when the Iraq war started

Facebook5 Twitter0Total5Blogging was still pretty new in March 2003, but I was already at it. This week, on the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War, veteran bloggers have been reviewing their own opinions when it started. (See, e.g., contrasting posts … Continue reading

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