The Monitor never much cared for Martin Indyk during the latter’s service in a variety of diplomatic roles (including ambassador to Israel and assistant secretary of state) for President Bill Clinton. He seemed to be the very embodiment of the Clinton foreign-policy mindset that had as its centerpiece the pursuit of a nebulous Middle East “peace process” and the elevation of Yasir Arafat to statesmanlike status.
Several years ago the Monitor recommended a bunch of books on U.S. presidents and the Middle East. The following is an updated and expanded listing for anyone interested in filling some hours during the upcoming Pesach holiday that otherwise would be spent sitting in a hotel lobby or zoning out on the couch at home.
When Gen. David Petraeus was portrayed last month as having made statements suggesting that America’s support of Israel was imperiling the lives of U.S. soldiers, the usual anti-Israel suspects had a field day on blogs and websites. Turns out, though, that the general didn’t quite say what was being attributed to him.
Thomas Friedman, who in the past has written of American officials being held “under house arrest” in the White House by an Israeli prime minister, used a crass Yad Vashem metaphor to describe Israel, and viewed Menachem Begin’s pride in things Jewish as “his pornography” (more on those statements later), is at it again, this time likening Israeli leaders to dangerously inebriated motorists.
Joseph Farah the founder and editor of WorldNetDaily, is so solidly and unashamedly pro-Israel that he’s developed something approaching a cult following among pro-Israel Jews. (Yes, “pro-Israel Jews” – it has, unfortunately, become necessary to make that distinction.)
Last week the Monitor, noting the publication of a new collection of essays from the tendentious post-Zionist historian Avi Shlaim, reflected on the damage inflicted by post-Zionism on Israel’s international reputation and, more important, Israel’s collective consciousness.
Avi Shlaim, one of the Israeli “New Historians” who in the 1980s and ‘90s helped popularize the precepts of what came to be called “post-Zionism,” is out with a new book, a collection of essays titled Israel and Palestine: Reappraisals, Revisions, Refutations.
Howard Zinn, a Marxist polemicist who masqueraded as a historian, died on January 27 at age 87. The Brooklyn-born Zinn was professor emeritus of political science at Boston University and the author of a number of books, but it was his A People’s History of the United States (1980) that more than anything else made him the darling of the media and Hollywood Left.
Going through some old issues of The Weekly Standard magazine on a recent rainy day, the Monitor was struck by a November 9, 1998 cover story from the acclaimed columnist Charles Krauthammer that fairly shouted Crystal Ball.
C-SPAN often teeters on the brink of self-parody, particularly when the hosts of its interview programs stare impassively at the camera while yet another crazed caller recites chapter and verse of the latest conspiracy theories involving the Trilateral Commission 9/11 being an “inside job” or the Bush family's Nazi/Saudi/Zionist/ KGB/CIA ties (choose one or more and don't think twice about any seeming contradictions).
The Media Research Center is out with its annual Best Notable Quotables in recognition of the most biased, outrageous, or unintentionally humorous media quotes from December 2008 through November 2009.
Turns out there are real questions about the accuracy of a Quinnipiac poll showing President Obama’s approval rating has fallen to just 52 percent among Jewish voters. As the JTA’s Eric Fingerhut pointed out in a front-page story in last week’s Jewish Press, the Jewish sampling “was derived from a sample of just 71 respondents, for a margin of error of plus or minus 11.6 percent – a sample size that pollsters generally say makes such surveys unreliable.”
It’s time for the Monitor’s sixth annual Henry Schwarzschild Award, bestowed on a Jewish person in the public spotlight who, by his or her statements, displays contempt for the Jewish people, disregard for historical truth, a desire to sup at the table of Israel's enemies, or who otherwise plays into the hands of the enemies of Jews and Israel.
Last week the Monitor noted that, contrary to popular perception, mainstream media bias against Israel is not something that developed as a result of Israel’s allegedly intransigent negotiating posture, or of Israel’s supposedly disproportional response to terrorist provocation, or of the ascension to power of so-called hard line prime ministers.
With the proliferation over the past several years of websites and blogs spotlighting anti-Israel media bias, it’s not surprising that some of the Monitor’s younger readers harbor the misimpression that the bias is only as old as the Internet age itself – that prior to, say, 1995 or 1996 Israel received favorable, or at least fair, press coverage.
Not since John Podhoretz’s 1993 Hell of a Ride, a hilarious yet depressing account of working in the George H.W. Bush administration, has an insider political book satisfied as much as does Speech-less: Tales of a White House Survivor (Crown Publishers), Matt Latimer’s new, screamingly funny memoir of working as a congressional staffer and then as a speechwriter, first for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and later for President George W. Bush.
As the Monitor is only too aware, having received a fair number of admonishing e-mails on the subject, this column has disappointed at least some readers with what one called its “shameful silence” on the subject of William Safire in the weeks since the former New York Times columnist passed away in late September.
October 23 is a date the Monitor will always remember, and so should you. It was on that day in 1995 that Mayor Rudy Giuliani threw Yasir Arafat out of a UN event – and in so doing brought down upon himself the opprobrium of the Clinton administration, New York’s political elite, and not a few feckless Jewish “leaders.”
It's been a while since the Monitor’s last listing of worthwhile websites and blogs. As always, there’s no particular order to the list, and the views expressed on the various websites and blogs do not necessarily reflect the Monitor’s.
This week marks the 36th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, so it seemed appropriate to revisit Richard Nixon’s role in enabling Israel to recover from the staggering setbacks it suffered in the first week of fighting.