Bev Goldman’s pick of the holiday reading
Opinion and Analysis on Zionism
(1) The unique tragedy of the Palestinian refugees
The Palestinian refugees have an emotional hold in the Muslim world unlike any other refugee group. No other Muslim refugee problem, including those of conflicts in Sudan, Syria, Iraq, or Afghanistan, generates such indignation
(2) Too much politics and not enough policy
Israel is heading into deeper geopolitical isolation. By putting politics ahead of leadership, Netanyahu is feeding into the hands of its opponents and undermining much of the good will Israel has developed over the years.
(3) “Saudi Arabia will go it alone”, says diplomat
A top Saudi diplomat said this week that the Gulf kingdom was prepared to act on its own to safeguard security in the region, describing the West’s policies on Iran and Syria as a “dangerous gamble.”
(4) Listening to the Palestinians
The biggest failure in the American diplomatic quest to midwife the State of Palestine has been a failure to listen to the Palestinians, who don’t hide much. This is a failing not only of the present administration, but it is reaching a fever pitch as Secretary of State Kerry alternately cajoles and threatens the parties to accept his view of what the disposition of their conflict should entail.
(5) The changing of the tide in the Syrian civil war
The tide is changing in the Syrian civil war. Bashar al-Assad and his regime are gaining momentum, the opposition is weakening, and some of its major traditional supporters seem to be reconsidering their position. These new trends influence the options available to those advocating transition to a more democratic and moderate regime in Syria as well as those who are primarily interested in the stability of the country and the region.
(6) It’s about the settlements, stupid
Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, the misnamed occupied territories, are not the obstacle to peace between Israelis and Palestinians. They are the acid test of peace. To argue that peace is conceivable unless the bulk of the settlements remain in place constitutes stupidity or hypocrisy.
(7) Boycott of Israeli academic institutions is bigotry personified
You would think that historians and others who belong to the American Studies Association would understand that in light of the history of discrimination against Jews, you can’t just pick the Jewish state and Jewish universities as the place to “start” and stop. President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority himself opposes academic boycotts of Israeli institutions
(8) Forced exodus: Christians in the Middle East
Across the Middle East, it is the same narrative of thousands of Christians fleeing their homelands. Almost half of Iraq’s Christians have left since the 2003 invasion, leaving about four hundred thousand, or scarcely three percent of the current population. Once a majority, Lebanon’s million and a half Christians – most of them Maronite Catholics – now account for thirty-five percent of the population.