No Tea Parties for Bibi

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s arrival in Washington shortly after President Barack Obama’s victory on health-care reform had both symbolic significance and practical implications for the Likud leader. Obama’s win was interpreted as Netanyahu’s loss, reflecting the zero-sum nature of the diplomatic clash between the right-wing Israeli leader and the liberal occupant of the White … Continue reading “No Tea Parties for Bibi”

Petraeus’ Cry

"Jewish Settlers Live High While GIs Die" is what Gen. David Petraeus is saying if we strip away the niceties. Is Petraeus’ formulation anti-Semitic? Perhaps it would be better to talk of "Israeli settlers." But that portrayal is not accurate. The minority of Arab citizens of Israel, even though suffering so many forms of discrimination, … Continue reading “Petraeus’ Cry”

On the Road to Canossa

In January 1077, King Henry IV walked to Canossa. He crossed the snow-covered Alps barefoot, wearing a penitent monk’s hair shirt, and reached the North-Italian fortress in which the Vicar of God had found refuge. Pope Gregory VII had excommunicated him after a conflict over the right to invest bishops throughout the German Reich. The … Continue reading “On the Road to Canossa”

The Tail That Wags the Dog

Just prior to leaving to meet with President Barack Obama this week, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet, "As far as we are concerned, building in Jerusalem is like building in Tel Aviv," and there would be no halting or restrictions of construction in East Jerusalem. The international community considers East Jerusalem occupied … Continue reading “The Tail That Wags the Dog”

Biden in Israel: Tiff or Tipping Point?

"Condemn" is not a word that rolls trippingly off the tongue of a U.S. politician addressing anything having to do with actions, however objectionable, by Israel. So it was no surprise that close observers of U.S. Middle East policy sat up a lot straighter in their seats when Vice President Joseph Biden used the word … Continue reading “Biden in Israel: Tiff or Tipping Point?”

Biden Brouhaha: Just a Matter of Bad Timing?

Some weeks the news is dominated by a single word. This week’s word was "timing." It’s all a matter of timing. The government of Israel insulted the vice president of the United States, Joe Biden, one of the greatest "friends" of Israel (meaning: somebody totally subservient to AIPAC), and spat in the face of President … Continue reading “Biden Brouhaha: Just a Matter of Bad Timing?”

Raze Illegal Buildings — Unless They Are Jewish

SILWAN, East Jerusalem — Backed by armed security men, the municipal inspectors race their jeeps through the narrow alleyways and up a hillside crowded with buildings. Some of the homes are well-faced with stone; the naked concrete of others gives off something of a temporary air. One block of flats stands out for its unusual … Continue reading “Raze Illegal Buildings — Unless They Are Jewish”

‘Lost Tribe’ on Fast Track to Israel

The Israeli government is reported to have quietly approved the fast-track immigration of 7,000 members of a supposedly “lost Jewish” tribe, known as the Bnei Menashe, currently living in a remote area of India.  Under the plan, the “lost Jews” would be brought to Israel over the next two years by right-wing and religious organizations … Continue reading “‘Lost Tribe’ on Fast Track to Israel”

The Liebarak

The business is registered in the name of Binyamin Netanyahu. But the reality is different. Netanyahu has never been more than a slick patent-medicine salesman. That is a type that appears frequently in American Westerns and sells an elixir that is good for everything: against the flu and against tuberculosis, against heart attacks and against … Continue reading “The Liebarak”