7:14 AM, Jul 17, 2014 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Douglas Murray has a terrific post at the London Spectator's website, a reply to Hugo Rifkind's claim in his column in the magazine that Israel is "drifting away" from the West.
What is more interesting is this idea of Israel drifting away from the West. In his heartfelt and admirably frank piece Rifkind says of Israel: ‘I like it far more than Syria, China, Zimbabwe and plenty of other countries, but less than I do north London.’
I can understand why Rifkind and other westerners, Jewish and non-Jewish, might feel more culturally aligned to North London than to Israel. North London isn’t my thing, but life there seems fine. There seem to be few existential questions beyond the discussion of house prices and whether people can afford to send the kids private. Life is easy, life is good. Not especially noble, but nice.
Israel shares many of these characteristics. But it is also a nation which currently has to do what people in countries like this one — even people in North London — used to have to do but seem to have forgotten about: it has to fight for its survival. Israel is surrounded by enemies, as we have been for much of our history. But today we like to think that enemies are a thing of the past. There are no enemies, just phobias we haven’t been cured of yet.
Today Israel is also distinguished by a deep sense of its values and ethics as well as a profound awareness of their source — things we also used to have. Deep questions of survival, the tragedy and triumph of the past, present and future remain the stuff of every Israeli house I have ever been to, though are rarely heard among the residents of North London. So yes, these are very different lives....
What I am coming to is that it seems to me — from many visits there, and seeing the country in peace and war — that it is Israel that remains the truly western country. It is Israel which takes its history seriously, thinks deeply about where it is going and what it exists for. It is Israel which takes western values seriously and fights for the survival of those values rather than sitting back and assuming they are simply part of some birthright. Israel’s questions and dilemmas are not the stuff of North London or other parts of western Europe these days, though they remain febrile in much of the US. In conclusion, and despite my admiration for his frankness, I cannot help thinking that Hugo has got this wholly wrong and upside-down. Geography aside, it is Israel that is still truly a western country. Far more than many parts of western Europe now are.
A gap may well be emerging. But not because Israel has drifted away from the West. Rather because today in much of the West, as we bask in the afterglow of our achievements — eager to enjoy our rights, but unwilling to defend them — it is the West that is, slowly but surely, drifting away from itself.
This is why debates in the U.S. and Europe about Israel are so heated and so revelatory. The debates aren't just about Israel. They're about us.
2:05 PM, May 16, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
"Is she too old to be president?” It is an indelicate question and you wonder if there is anyone of voting age for whom Hillary Clinton’s age would be a deal-breaker should she be the Democratic candidate in 2016. Can you imagine someone thinking, Well, I was going to vote for Clinton but … well, you know, she’s almost 70. So I guess I’ll go with Rubio.
5:11 PM, Apr 22, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Charles Murray says an event he was scheduled to speak at was postponed at the last minute because the university was worried about "hurting our faculty and students of color." The event was supposed to take place tomorrow at Azusa Pacific University.
1:59 PM, Nov 21, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
UPDATE: Coburn's spokesman called to say that his boss was joking. Says the spokesman, “Dr. Coburn was poking fun at himself and the focus on presidential politics and rivalries three years ahead of the next election. The exchange characterized below was a joke – it didn’t happen in real life …” The full text of the speech is bellow. The post is updated to reflect this fact.
9:02 AM, Jul 1, 2013 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Kenneth Minogue, longtime professor of politics at the London School of Economics, died Friday, age 83. He was a leading conservative political thinker of our time—no, he was a leading political thinker, period, of our time, whose classic, The Liberal Mind, written a half century ago, remains must reading. Here's a taste of Minogue, courtesy of Steven Hayward at Powerline:
9:05 AM, Jun 3, 2013 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
The website Jewish Ideas Daily has been, for quite some while, a star of the web, featuring interesting original material as well as links to other worthwhile writing embodying a lively, serious, and committed approach to Jewish issues and ideas. Today, Jewish Ideas Daily has re-launched as Mosaic.
4:34 PM, Oct 4, 2012 • By CHARLOTTE ALLEN
I hardly ever watch televised politics. I skipped both conventions. Last night's was the first presidential debate that I have ever watched in my life (OK, I think I caught a little Reagan-Mondale back in 1984).
12:29 AM, Oct 4, 2012 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
If Mitt Romney campaigns over the next month in the bold, aggressive manner he debated Wednesday night, he will be the next president.
12:28 PM, Sep 6, 2012 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
Many conservative commentators saw in Bill Clinton’s speech an overly long, rambling, charming, endorsement of Barack Obama, a bit too wonky, and probably successful, if at all, only in assuring some wavering voters to stick with their 2008 decision and renew President Obama’s contract with America.
12:00 AM, Aug 22, 2012 • By ARTHUR C. BROOKS
Since the 2008 election, American conservatism has been in a struggle to define itself. Now the selection of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney's vice presidential candidate is helping to resolve that struggle.
8:31 AM, Jul 16, 2012 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
Thirteen years ago? Or thirteen years from now?
Some perspective on the state of the current presidential campaign: This past week, when the national political debate wasn’t focused on the origins of U.S. Olympic uniforms, it was dominated by questions about the date of Mitt Romney’s retirement. Barack Obama’s campaign says it was a decade ago; Romney says it was 13 years ago.
6:00 AM, Jul 13, 2012 • By JAY COST
Conservatives are increasingly frustrated by the vagueness of Mitt Romney’s campaign, which perhaps can be best summed up by his non-sequitur of a slogan, “Believe In America.” Romney has to put down some detailed policy proposals to win, the argument goes.