A New Year, A New Opportunity

To all my friends and followers here at The Third Way:Me Dec 2014

First, let me take this opportunity to thank all of you for your support this year. This blog, both as a site for my original works and as a way for me to let you know about pieces published elsewhere, has had an unprecedentedly fabulous year in terms of readership. I’d like to think as well that my analysis and writing have also sharpened in 2014, and I appreciate all of my readers tagging along for that ride.

As 2014 draws to a close, there has been a lot happening for me personally. I have completed  my Masters program at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy. I did get quite a lot out of the program, although it really enhanced my sense of concern about the next generation of leaders in both the public and private sectors in the United States.

More importantly for me, I have finally found employment and couldn’t be more excited about the wonderful opportunity I have. I am the new Program Director for the Foundation for Middle East Peace, where I will be working closely with Matt Duss, and some really great people on the Foundation’s Board of Trustees. Everything about the job seems terrific and perfectly suited for me. Kind of makes me think the world was making me wait all this time for this job.

I am very sure that some of the ideas that are already in motion at the Foundation are going to afford a fantastic opportunity for me to make an impact on US policy in the Middle East and for all of us working on the issue to have greater impact going forward. For me, and for my readers and followers, I’ll still be writing. The Foundation will be a new outlet, but I will still be writing in some familiar places, and will continue maintaining this blog. I don’t anticipate big changes in that regard, and you’ll still be able to find all of my writing, either linked or in full, right here.

Many of you, I’m sure, were already aware of all of this, but this seemed like a great time to let the rest of you know and to let everyone who reads The Third Way know how much I appreciate all of you. There’s a lot happening in the discourse on Israel-Palestine even as the occupation entrenches itself. There’s real reason to hope that we can change things in the coming years. So, my friends, onward!

And again, happy holidays and only the best things for all of you and those you hold dear in 2015.

Mitchell

On the firing of Ari Roth from Theater J in DC

By now, many of you are surely aware of the fact that the Washington, DC Jewish Community Center’s Executive

Ari Roth

Ari Roth

Director fired the artistic director of Theater J, Ari Roth. This has been coming for some time, as Roth has insisted on exercising artistic freedom and bringing quality performances to the Theater J stage, even if those sometimes make some on the JCC board uncomfortable because they don’t jibe with the positions and narrative of Israel.

The JCC’s statements about Roth’s dismissal have been unfortunately spinnish. They first tried to characterize it as a mutually agreeable parting. When that failed, they tried to blame it on Roth having publicly disputed a report back in November that claimed that Theater J had “moved to cancel” a controversial program called “Voices From a Changing Middle East.” In fact, Roth is quite dedicated to that program (so much so, that he will be working to continue it outside of Theater J) and made that clear to the reporter who wrote the story in The Forward about the incident.
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Livni Joining With Labor: Not A Game-Changer

The media in Israel is abuzz with the news that Tzipi Livni will bring her Ha’Tnuah party into a joint ticket with the 675px-Kalpi_israel_18much larger Labor party. Now there is a tandem that can outpoll Likud, they are saying. The Israeli center just might be able to assert itself in this election.

Permit me to throw some cold water on this excitement. Livni, who has been the lone voice in the current government who has actively supported talks with the Palestinians, is doing this because if she doesn’t, there is a very strong possibility that her party will not get enough votes to remain in the Knesset. Labor leader Isaac Herzog, who has very little international experience, ran for the party leadership based on his commitment to resolving the long-standing conflict with the Palestinians. As the prospective Number Two, Livni gives Herzog some credibility in this regard. Read more at LobeLog

Poll: Increasing Support In US For One-State Solution

On Friday, yet another poll on the Middle East was released. They seem to come in a very steady stream, and once

Tzipi Livni and Saeb Erekat flanking John Kerry at the kickoff of the new Israeli-Palestinian peace talks

Tzipi Livni and Saeb Erekat flanking John Kerry at the kickoff of the new Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in 2013

you identify the questions, the results are almost entirely predictable.

But Shibley Telhami, the Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland, regularly produces polls that are always worth looking at. Unlike most surveys of American views on US policy in the Middle East, Telhami tends to dig deep as opposed to simply establishing general opinions. The poll he released Dec. 5 includes some very interesting developments and reminders as to why things still aren’t changing—in the region or in Washington. Read more at LobeLog.

New Israeli Elections Offer Little Hope For Change

The Israeli government is headed for yet another round of elections. Although the official election date for the next

Moshe Kahlon

Moshe Kahlon

Knesset is November 7, 2017, no one ever expected this government to last that long. The voting will likely take place in March of 2015.

What do the new elections mean outside of Israel? Nothing very good, I’m afraid. For the most part, any elections held in the foreseeable future are going to cement the status quo even further, and where they don’t do so, elections will mean a shift even further rightward. Read more at LobeLog