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Understanding the Arab Revolts: Where is the Middle East?


The Arab revolts of 2011 have a message that is not just for “progressives” (see The message of the Arab revolts for progressives ). It is this: The Middle East is much more than Israel and the Palestinians.

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Viva Mubarak! Say what???


The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;

Marc Antony in Wm Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act 3, Scene 2

The bard was wrong for once. Departed leaders are idealized, a custom which probably began before the days of the Pharaohs. After the death of Caesar, it become the custom to deify the Roman emperors. To perpetuate the memory of Augustus, he or his sycophants took care to leave a funerary record of his good works, the Res Gestae Divi Augusti, or “The things done by the Divine Augustus.” The historian Tacitus left a less flattering record.

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The message of the Arab revolts for progressives


There are still a great many things that are unclear about the Arab revolts. Israelis, for example, watch nervously to find out if the new Egyptian government will honor the peace treaty. One message, however, is shouted out loud and clear to “progressive” opponents of Israel in Europe and the USA.  Unbelievably, nobody is talking about it:

The revolts exposed the dirty little secret of most Arab and Islamic regimes. It is a “secret” that almost everyone in the Middle East knows, and it turns  all the dogmatic cant about “Zionist imperialism” and “Apartheid Israel” into ludicrous drivel.

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U.S. veto of U.N. Resolution on settlements – not so simple.


Israeli leaders seem to think the U.S veto of the Security Council Resolution declaring Israeli “settlements” (including those in East Jerusalem) illegal is a cause for celebration. Actually, there are many lessons to be learn by the Israelis, the Palestinians and the Americans from this little episode, but nobody seems to be learning them.

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Birthright and value-based double-talk


The Birthright (Taglit) program is one of the shining successes of the Zionist movement. Birthright offers free trips to Israel for Jewish young people in the hope that seeing is believing. Though it has probably not been able to fully exploit its potential, there is no doubt that Birthright brings Jewish young people closer to Israel and to their Jewish heritage and closer to an understanding of the achievements and challenges facing Israel.

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Egypt: Inside the Muslim Brotherhood


The following tells you what you need to know about the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. It was written by a reformist Egyptian friend, who has been heaping calumny on Hosni Mubarak and wishing for a swift end to his rule. Nonetheless, he writes about the Muslim Brotherhood:

I wrote this piece to the USA politicians who proved (over the past 60 years) that they are designed to wrongly understand anything related to the
middle east. Would they “get it” this time ? I would be surprised if they would !!

Ami Isseroff

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Common sense about Egypt


It would be hard enough to understand events in Egypt without the deliberate obfuscations various analysts and commentators. It might be easier if we kept in mind some obvious facts which everyone seems to have known until about a month ago and then forgotten. Unfortunately, when people talk and write about Egypt they seem to forget everything they knew and assume that their audience did too.

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What is “Jewish” in the Diaspora?


[Several readers have asked for a summary of the "Jewish Identity" series. This discussion is the closest I can come to such a summary.]

The problem of Jewish identity in the Diaspora rears its head in unexpected places and is widely misunderstood and denied.It arises when we think about Jewish education (obviously) but also when we try to count Jewish population in the Diaspora (see How many Jews in America and does it matter?). It is, truthfully, an embarrassing problem that is ignored or denied more than it is faced.

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Revolution in Egypt


Everybody knows that democracy is a good thing, and therefore everyone should support the revolution in Egypt, if we believe Hillary Clinton and some Western European leaders. But this is the Middle East and not Western Europe.

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Behind the spin about European Jews


Is a wave of anti-Semitism forcing a massive Exodus of Jews from Western Europe? I confess that I do not live in Europe and do not know very much about European Jews. After reading a few articles on the subject, it seems that I knew even less than I thought. Two mutually contradictory pictures are presented. There is evidence for both or neither.

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