web analytics
October 23, 2014 / 29 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Barry Rubin, Scholar and Friend

barry-rubin2

This is not a post that I wanted to write, though I knew it was coming. Barry Rubin died last night, aged 64. You can find an obituary here. I and many others will miss Barry, both as a notable scholar of the Middle East and a personal friend.

Barry had at least 18 books to his credit — most of them serious scholarly works. He also wrote hundreds, probably thousands, of scholarly and popular articles, blogs, etc. He edited journals, administered institutes, and spoke in venues around the world. His scholarly writing was nevertheless clear and approachable, even entertaining, without academic jargon. Sometimes he introduced his articles with quotations from popular movies and music, or Shakespeare’s plays.

Unlike many ‘authorities’ on the Middle East, his predictions were usually accurate. He knew the players, and had visited many of the countries. He had correspondents throughout the world. It bothered him that so many important people in government and academia who dealt with the region did not know the most basic facts about it (he used the word ‘idiots’).

Another thing that made him unhappy was the politicization of his field of Middle Eastern Studies. He remarked that when he was a student, he had teachers that strongly disagreed with his pro-Israel politics, but never allowed that to affect their evaluation of his work. Today, he thought, that would not be the case. And today, someone like Barry, despite his qualifications, would have a hard time being hired in a Middle East Studies department.

Barry’s approach was always fact-based analysis. He never fit his conclusions to an ideology, and he could be quite critical of Israel’s policies when he felt that was appropriate. He did not dislike Arabs or Muslims, and had many Arab friends. He did dislike ideologues and they disliked him. Those who cared about the truth respected him.

He continued to work to the end of his life — a decision that he made after being diagnosed with aggressive lung cancer (he did not smoke) 18 months ago, and initially given only a few months to live. Despite his enormous output, he always had time and patience to answer questions from friends and students.

Some months ago, I emailed him a question. “I’m having trouble typing,” he responded. “I’ll call you.” And he did.

I enjoyed talking to Barry about lots of things, not just the Middle East. I first met him in person some years ago when I invited him to speak in Fresno. When I asked about his travel from Los Angeles, he told me that he preferred the train. “I like trains,” he said. I discovered that we shared an interest in railroads, and later was impressed by an elaborately detailed model of the Baltimore area in his Tel Aviv apartment. When did he find time to build this? Who knows?

His untimely death is a great loss for his family and friends, of course, but it is also a loss to scholarship and to the pursuit of truth.

Visit Fresno Zionism.

About the Author: Vic Rosenthal created FresnoZionism.org to provide a forum for publishing and discussing issues about Israel and the Mideast conflict, especially where there is a local connection. Rosenthal believes that America’s interests are best served by supporting the democratic state of Israel, the front line in the struggle between Western civilization and radical Islam. The viewpoint is not intended to be liberal or conservative — just pro-Israel.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

4 Responses to “Barry Rubin, Scholar and Friend”

  1. A true man is hard to find

  2. Ruth Hirt says:

    Adieu, Prof. Barry. You make me mourn.

  3. Ruth Hirt says:

    Adieu, Prof. Barry. You make me mourn.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Ebola virus particles.
New York City Hospital Testing Patient for Ebola Virus
Latest Blogs Stories
Chaye Zisel Braun

Arab terrorism against Jews and the State of Israel is not something we should be “calm” about.

European Union

Is the EU “Jewish challenged”?

Car in Light Rail Runover

The headlines refused to scream “ARAB TERROR ATTACK;” instead the phrase “Suspected Terror Attack.”

"Shiloh"

I’ve heard many times I write what others think, making them extremely happy; that’s why I continue.

Though secular, Hitman’s CV includes writing music for, recording, and popularizing religious songs.

Polls indicate that the Palestinians are much more against a two state solution than the Israelis.

Has the Jewish world adapted to the times? Hear the answer with Doug and his guest, Rabbi Berel Wein.

Leon Klinghoffer’s daughters: “‘Klinghoffer’ is justified as ‘a work of art’…This is an outrage.”

Kids bring in the light and let out the darkness through breathing exercises; it changes people.

If I make a million dollars in 2 weeks, how can I observe something like this and sit by quietly?”

Sometimes collective action against the heinous acts of the majority is not enough. The world should not only support the blockade of Gaza; it must enforce the dismantling of Hamas.

How long will it take for Israel and the Jewish World to admit that we are in very serious danger?

How do changes in technology affect the human life and our interactions with each other?

Palestinians (and Jordanians) often use the term “provocation” regarding Israeli action in Jerusalem

The zealots who engineered the ban have been publicly disgraced.

I am sick and tired of this one way street boycott! Time to boycott all products developed or invented in the Palestinian controlled areas! Let’s start with……umm….

More Articles from Vic Rosenthal
A map of Israel showing Gaza, Gedera and Tel-Aviv

Expecting the IDF to mount a ground attack against Hamas in Gaza? There may be a better approach…

It looks from here like a really bad weekend in Israel. Some 40-odd rockets were fired from Gaza at southern Israel within 48 hours, as far as Beersheva. Arabs rioted throughout the country, throwing rocks and firebombs at any available Jewish target. They systematically destroyed the light rail tracks, stations and equipment in Arab neighborhoods […]

The problem is a culture whose essence is to negate ours.

The teenagers in the video, then, were either injured non-seriously by rubber bullets, or faking for the camera.

The liberal wing of the Jewish establishment in the US is following the same path as it did in the 1940s.

When will the State of Israel decide the Palestinian Arabs are a hostile enemy and treat them as such?

The fact that she chooses a boycott of Israeli universities as an example of a just limitation of academic freedom is a perfect example of the defect in her approach.

Israel is an independent sovereign state, and it should not be treated as a banana republic.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/fresno-zionism/barry-rubin-scholar-and-friend/2014/02/04/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: