The Israel-Palestine usually takes up a disproportionate amount of attention in two of the three branches of the US government. Now, the third is getting into the mix. The radical irresponsibility of the Roberts Court, which has already gone a long way to robbing Americans of the principle of “one person, one vote” is now quite inappropriately sticking its nose into a dispute between Congress and the State Department over identifying Jerusalem as Israel for the purposes of US passports.
There are some serious implications here. I explore them at LobeLog.
Posted in Jerusalem, United States | Tagged AIPAC, Congress, Hillary Clinton, Israel legal status, Israel supreme court case, Jerusalem, Jerusalem provision, John Kerry, John Robert, Menachem Zivotofsky, Seth Lipsky, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Supreme Court hearings, Zivotofsky v Clinton, Zivotofsky v Kerry | 2 Comments »
An edited version of this article appeared first at LobeLog.
They were dueling op-eds, one in the New York Times and the other in the Jewish communal magazine, Tablet. The question being
Nationalistic signs at Salute to Israel Day in New York, July 2006
Photo by Rabih/Public Domain
bandied between them was whether Israel is becoming a theocracy. Not surprisingly, both pieces missed the mark. It’s not theocracy but unbridled nationalism that is the threat in Israel.
The Times piece was authored by Abbas Milani, who heads the Iranian Studies program at Stanford University and Israel Waismel-Manor, a lecturer at Haifa University who is currently a visiting associate professor of Political Science at Stanford. Their thesis is that Iran and Israel are moving in opposite directions on a democratic-theocratic scale, and that they might at some point in the future pass each other. Milani and Waismel-Manor are certainly correct about the strengthening forces of secularism and democracy in Iran, along with a good dose of disillusionment and frustration with the revolutionary, Islamic government that Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini ushered in thirty-five years ago. But on Israel, they miss the mark by a pretty wide margin.
Waismel-Manor and MIlani posit that the thirty seats currently held in Israel’s Knesset by religious parties shows growing religious influence on Israeli policies. But, as Yair Rosenberg at Tablet correctly points out, not all the religious parties have the same attitude about separation of religion and the state. Where Rosenberg, unsurprisingly, goes way off course is his complete eliding of the fact that the threat is not Israel’s tilt toward religion, but it’s increasingly radical shift toward right-wing policies, which are often severely discriminatory and militant. Continue Reading »
Posted in Israel | Tagged Abbas Milani, Avigdor Lieberman, Benjamin Netanayhu, Benny Begin, Dan Meridor, democracy, Iran, Israel, Israel Waismel-Manor, Israeli domestic politics, Jewish Home, Knesset, Menachem Begin, Miri Regev, Naftali Bennett, New York Times, Shas, Tablet Magazine, theocracy, Tzipi Hotovely, UTJ, Yair Rosenberg, Yesh Atid, Yisrael Beiteinu, Ze'ev Elkin | 2 Comments »
This is not something I do very often. The discourse, everywhere I look, surrounding Ukraine is so remarkably one-sided and shallow. I see this among supporters of current US/EU policy and critics. So, when I find an article that is reasonably sensible and useful, I feel a need to spread the word.
This piece, surprisingly enough, was in Foreign Affairs. It comes from an approach I don’t share, and the recommendations and point of view of it do not entirely reflect mine, though I agree with a good chunk of it. But understanding that a lot of what is happening in Ukraine is, in the last analysis, Ukrainian is a point that is routinely lost in the media, among policymakers and among both supporters and critics of US/EU/NATO or Russian policy. Thus I am sharing a link to the article, by Keith Darden. You needn’t agree with his worldview or conclusions to learn a lot from it. Please check it out.
UPDATE: The New York Times kindly demonstrates precisely what I’m talking about with this atrocious piece of drivel passing for “coverage” of today’s events in Eastern Ukraine. No consciousness whatsoever that there is a real split among Ukrainians, a country that has always had serious nationalist divides. No, it’s all about Russian meddling, which, though certainly real, has been balanced all along by meddling from NATO, the EU and US. In both cases, however, the outside meddling is far from the whole story, or even the root cause. That is native Ukrainian.
Perhaps the most pathetic part of the Times’ blatant propagandizing is this: “(The Ukrainian army) faced not only the civilians, but behind them a force of well-armed men in unmarked green uniforms who Western governments said are either Russian soldiers or Russian-equipped militants. These soldiers were well-armed. They carried radios and ammunition pouches. Some had rocket-propelled grenade launchers slung over their soldiers.” (emphasis mine)
Leaving aside how poorly written that paragraph is, the propagandizing here is just so shameless. Radios? Ammunition pouches? This is supposed to be the hi-tech equipment that proves the militants are Russian-backed? Hell, would we even want to think about how many grenade launchers are in private hands in the more remote areas of Montana or Texas? Please.
I wonder if this is what it was like to read about Russian issues in the 1950s. McCarthy would surely have been pleased in any case.
Posted in Russia | Tagged Crimea, European Union, NATO, Russia, Ukraine, Vladimir Putin | Leave a Comment »
My latest at LobeLog reviewing John Kerry’s recent testimony before Congress and the ripples on the Israeli right in response to the collapse of the talks, at least for now.
Also, Dimi Reider has a piece up at 972 Magazine which goes well with mine.
Posted in Peace Plans | Tagged Avigdor Lieberman, Barack Obama, Benjamin Netanyahu, Congress, ICJ, Iran nuclear talks, Isaac Herzog, Israel, Israel ICJ, Israel Palestine ICJ, Israel-Palestine Talks, John Kerry, John Kerry April 8 testimony, Mahmoud Abbas, Naftali Bennett, Oslo Peace Process, Palestinian tax revenues to Israel, Palestinian UN applications, Rome Statute, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, The Walking Dead, US-Israel relations, Zehava Gal-On | Leave a Comment »