Benjamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama meeting at the White House, March 2012. (Photo: Reuters)
Iran-Israel History Suggests a Different Future
Writing for Bloomberg, Pankaj Mishra looks at the shifting ties between Iran, the U.S. and Israel, and what it could mean in the future.
Any rapprochement between Iran and the U.S. will have to acknowledge Iran’s centrality in its region—just as the U.S. eventually recognized India’s in South Asia after a series of futile alliances with Pakistan. But the U.S. has never been further away from this possibility, as Republican candidates line up to prove themselves more trigger-happy than the next. Suddenly, entire countries, indeed civilizations, with complex histories are being depicted as potentially uncomplaining, even grateful, victims of aerial bombing.
Obama Betrayed Ideals on Israel
The president has sacrificed his principles for the sake of placating Israel’s rightist leadership and its American supporters, writes Peter Beinart in Newsweek.
The story of Obama’s relationship to Netanyahu and his American Jewish allies is, fundamentally, a story of acquiescence. Obama took office with a distinctly progressive vision of Jewish identity and the Jewish state, one shaped by the Chicago Jewish community that helped launch his political career. Three years later—after a bitter struggle with the Israeli government and the American Jewish establishment—that vision is all but gone.
Dem primary creates rift between district’s Muslim, Jewish voters
Two Democrats fighting for the same district have dragged racial politics into their battle for a seat in Congress, writes Josh Lederman of The Hill.
At the center of the rift sit two competing sets of allegations. One accuses Rothman — a Jew — of putting Israel before the United States. The other accuses Pascrell — a Catholic — of not supporting Israel enough, subtly tapping into some voters’ fears about the area’s Muslim population.
In Tunisia, press freedoms are in the crosshairs
Writing in the Washington Post, Elliott Abrams sounds the alarm on media censorship in post-revolution Tunisia.
Ghannouchi’s finessing of the issue of press freedom — attack the company, not the journalists — is clever, for corporate fines will never attract the international attention and protests that arise when a journalist is jailed. But both methods can be effective in censoring Tunisia’s newly free press, so Ghannouchi’s failure to support freedom of expression is alarming.
Jews in Russia
Alexei Bayer of the Moscow Times examines how Soviet-style anti-Semitism is still being employed for political ends in modern Russia.
There used to be murky circles in the Soviet Union of my childhood in which it was held that Leonid Brezhnev and his Politburo were Jews. Today’s nationalists, monarchists and other “real Russians” like to point out that Putin’s entourage includes people with names like Abramovich, Fridman and Rotenberg and that his first political patron was St. Petersburg Mayor Anatoly Sobchak.