10:01 AM, Jul 2, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Martin Kramer, writing for Mosaic:
Others have found Shavit’s account of Lydda “riveting” (Avi Shlaim), “a sickening tour de force” (Leon Wieseltier), and “brutally honest” (Thomas Friedman). As I read through it, however, the alleged actions and attitudes of Shavit’s Israeli protagonists struck me as implausible. To me they seemed to personify much too readily Shavit’s broader thesis: that “Zionism” had been preprogrammed to depopulate the country of its Arabs, and that this preprogramming filtered down even to the last soldier. In Lydda, soldiers licensed by “Zionism” then became wanton killers of innocents, smoothing the work of expulsion.
Perhaps my suspicion was stoked by the fact that, time and again over the decades, Israeli soldiers have stood accused of just such wanton killing when in fact they were doing what every soldier is trained to do: fire on an armed enemy, especially when that enemy is firing at him. That such accusations might even be accompanied by professions of “love” for Israel is likewise no novelty. (See under: Richard Goldstone.) When such charges are made today, they tend to be subjected to rigorous investigation. Could Shavit’s narrative withstand a comparable level of scrutiny?
Shavit relies largely on his interviews, conducted those many years ago. Since he doesn’t cite documents in a public archive, I have no way of knowing whether he fairly represents his subjects. But it did occur to me that these same protagonists may have told their stories to others. And, with a bit of research, I discovered that they had.
Whole thing here.
6:15 AM, Jun 23, 2014 • By PAUL WOLFOWITZ
The death of Fouad Ajami this weekend, at the age of 68, deprived this country and the world of a uniquely powerful voice – one that is at the same time both Arab and American – that could have helped guide us, as he has in the past, through the hazards and complications of his native Middle East.
Erich Auerbach and the understanding of literature. Jun 16, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 38 • By JOSEPH EPSTEIN
T.S. Eliot thought that the first requisite for being a literary critic is to be very intelligent. The second, I should say, is to have a well-stocked mind, which means having knowledge of literatures and literary traditions other than that into which one was born; possessing several languages; and acquiring a more than nodding acquaintance with history, philosophy, and theology—to be, in brief, learned. To be both highly intelligent and learned is not all that common. Eliot claimed for himself—and this by implication, for he was a modest man—only the former.
9:09 PM, Feb 25, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
During a celebration of African-American History Month, Vice President Joe Biden said, "I may be a white boy, but I can jump." The comments were made at Biden's home, the Naval Observatory.
Via the pool report:
2:30 PM, Feb 8, 2014 • By ALGIS VALIUNAS
Mr. Vladimir Putin intends that the current Olympic games be forever stamped with his glory. Sochi is being protected by a “Ring of Steel.” Thus has spoken Russia’s current Man of Steel, who sees himself as the rightful descendant of the original, although Mr.
The president takes an unwarranted shot at art history.
12:22 PM, Jan 31, 2014 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
President Obama traveled to Wisconsin yesterday and engaged in a tasteless bit of anti-intellectualism.
3:21 PM, Jan 11, 2014 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Ariel Sharon—a man whose deeds as soldier, general, cabinet minister, and prime minister were decisive in the history of modern Israel, a soldier-statesman of true historical significance, a larger-than-life figure whose like we're unlikely to see again—dies, and Barack Obama issues a statement that would be appropriate if one were recognizing the death of a pedestrian functionary who had routinely served as the insignificant leader of a random country.
Remember, remember the sixteenth of December.Dec 16, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 14 • By RICHARD SAMUELSON
Two hundred and forty years ago this month, a gang of Bostonians dressed as Indians boarded the Dartmouth, the Eleanor, and the Beaver and dumped 90,000 pounds of tea into Boston Harbor. That fateful action on December 16, 1773, and Parliament’s inflammatory response—closing the Port of Boston, altering the colony’s charter, radically limiting popular government in Massachusetts, allowing the quartering of troops in private houses, among other arbitrary measures—precipitated the American Revolution.
Bring the ‘clerkship’ back to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Nov 11, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 09 • By JAY COST
At the start of last month’s government shutdown, a mostly overlooked message emanated from the Twitter account of Michelle Obama, informing her followers: “Due to Congress’s failure to pass legislation to fund the government, updates to this account will be limited.” The conventions of American governance typically exclude the first lady from the rough-and-tumble of politics, yet it does raise an important question: Why is America paying a staffer good money to publish Tweets under Michelle Obama’s name?
The left-wing contribution to the shouting match.May 13, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 33 • By JOSEPH KNIPPENBERG
There is a genre of books about politics written by ideologues on both sides of the divide. Their aim is to inform their fellow partisans about the misinformation, misdeeds, and malign intentions of the people on the other side, offering talking points to rally the troops for the next confrontation. The authors are often prominent media figures—Glenn Beck, for example.
The Democratic ascendancy and why it happened Feb 11, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 21 • By JEFFREY BELL
In the six presidential elections between 1992 and 2012, the Democratic party has regained the solid popular vote majority it enjoyed during the New Deal/Great Society era (1932-64) but relinquished in the six elections between 1968 and 1988.
The elder brother of Charles I, in pictures and memory.Feb 4, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 20 • By SARA LODGE
Henry IX is one of the most interesting monarchs Britain never had.
The Lost Cause is among the casualties in this definitive history. Dec 31, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 16 • By MACKUBIN THOMAS OWENS
As we mark the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, the publication of Allen Guelzo’s magisterial new account of that conflict is most timely.
Where did they come from, where are they going?Dec 24, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 15 • By THOMAS A. KOHUT
The Third Reich hovers over German history.
Despite the careful, intelligent research conducted by countless scholars in numerous disciplines, those 12 years remain in some essential way incomprehensible. How, we ask—without ever being able to provide a truly satisfying answer—could more or less ordinary human beings have done what they did to other human beings in an attempt to create a racial utopia?