May 3, 2013 |
JERUSALEM - Israel's prime minister gave a cool reception Wednesday to a new Arab Mideast peace initiative, saying the conflict with the Palestinians was not about territory but rather the Palestinians' refusal to recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland. The remarks signaled trouble for Secretary of State John Kerry's new push for Mideast peace and risked reinforcing Benjamin Netanyahu's image as a hard-liner unwilling to make the tough concessions required for peace. Netanyahu has not commented directly on the Arab League's latest initiative, but his words questioned its central tenet - the exchange of captured land for peace - and appeared to counter a modified peace proposal from the Arab world that Washington and Netanyahu's own chief negotiator have welcomed.
March 23, 2013 |
JERUSALEM - President Obama urged Israelis on Thursday to move decisively in a spirit of self-preservation and empathy to secure a lasting peace, but he delivered an even sharper ultimatum to Palestinians to drop conditions that have held up a new round of negotiations. His evening address at the Jerusalem International Convention Center signaled a shift away from the balance he has sought to maintain between Israeli and Palestinian leaders since taking office - and toward Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with whom he has had a stormy relationship, at least until this trip.
January 15, 2013
By Moncef Marzouki The futurist Alvin Toffler used to say that when a society reaches a certain degree of development, democracy becomes a technical necessity, not simply an ethical one. But this rule didn't seem to apply to the Arab world. Industrialization failed, "modernity" arrived late due to colonization, and when a democratic wave destroyed dictatorships in Latin America and Eastern Europe, little happened in North Africa and the Middle East. Racists pointed to the wrong cause for this phenomenon, citing the culture.
August 6, 2012 |
Here we go again. That strange coalition of neocons and liberal interventionists is clamoring once more for a more muscular U.S. approach to Syria. And, unsurprisingly, they're looking to blame someone for "losing" the country. Don't believe any of it. The time for guilting the United States into expensive, ill-thought-out military interventions has passed. The reasons to intervene in Syria — to defuse a bloody conflict and deal the Iranian mullahs a mortal blow — are just not compelling enough to offset the risks and unknowns.
February 19, 2012 |
In April, the prize-winning New York Times correspondent Anthony Shadid was asked, on the NPR talk show On Point , why he kept taking terrible risks to cover conflicts in the Middle East. "I kind of wonder if it's irresponsible of you," a caller mused out loud. "Why would someone put themselves in such a situation?" Shadid, in his typically modest fashion, admitted this was "a perfectly legitimate question. " Then he replied slowly, "I felt that if I wasn't there, the story wouldn't be told.
February 3, 2012
O NE WEEK after Holocaust Remembrance Day, the carnival of hate known as the National Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Conference arrives at the University of Pennsylvania today, its clown car stocked with lies, half-lies, white lies and bald-faced lies, playing to the ignorant. It gets no sympathy from Penn, which rejects its theme. Penn believes in free speech, as does Israel, the target of the hate fest. Free speech, and most human rights embedded in Western societies, are absent in Arab states.
October 21, 2011 |
CAIRO - Images of Moammar Gadhafi's bloodied body flashed on TV screens across the world may send shivers down the spines of Syria's Bashar al-Assad and Yemen's Ali Abdullah Saleh, two leaders clinging to power amid Arab Spring uprisings. For the millions of Arabs yearning for freedom, democracy, and new leadership, the death of one of the region's most brutal dictators will likely inspire and invigorate the movement for change. Gadhafi's death sent ripples across the Arab world and set the Internet's social networks abuzz with comments, mostly celebrating the demise of a leader whose bizarre behavior over the years defined the woes of an Arab world mostly ruled by autocratic or despotic leaders.
September 30, 2011
IF THE "Arab Spring" bathed the Middle East in some much-needed sunlight, there's at least one group that sees ominous clouds on the not-so-distant horizon. That would be the region's embattled and apprehensive Christians, who've lived a kind of double life for many decades. While nominally citizens of the countries they inhabit, most non-Muslims, the majority of whom are Christian, are treated as second-class members of society because so many governments in that part of the world adhere to sharia, and anyone familiar with the Islamic legal system knows that it codifies discrimination.
August 30, 2011
By Michal Levertov When the Tel Aviv-based musician Noy Alooshe decided to create an ironic dance remix of a speech by Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, he never imagined it would become a huge YouTube hit in the Arab world. Not only has the video attracted more than 5.5 million hits, but television footage showed Libyan rebels advancing into Tripoli being greeting by locals chanting "zenga zenga" - words from Alooshe's remix. The title, "Zenga Zenga," comes from Gadhafi's repetition of the Libyan Arabic word for "alleyways" in the speech used in the video clip.
August 5, 2011
By Raslan Abu Rukun A recent CNN documentary featured correspondent Amber Lyon reporting on the dramatic democratic upheavals in Tunisia, Bahrain, and Egypt. Lyon offered an inside look at the lives of young activists armed only with the weapons of digital media: computers, cellphones, social networks, and so on. Lyon focused in particular on three young idealists who leveraged technology to expose injustice and violence in despotic countries. It's hard not to admire these people, whose narratives parallel biblical stories of victories against all odds.