Neo-Conservatives, Hardline Clerics and the Bomb

by Kaveh Ehsani , Chris Toensing
published in MER233

Even as the US military launched a long-rumored offensive in the Iraqi city of Falluja in early November 2004, the subject of anxious speculation in Washington was not Iraq, but Iran. President George W. Bush’s victory at the polls on November 2 returned to office the executive who located Iran upon an “axis of evil” in the 2002 State of the Union address and called the Islamic Republic a “totalitarian state” during his campaign for a second term in the White House. The neo-conservatives who were so influential in promoting the invasion of Iraq have long harbored the desire to foment “regime change” in Tehran as well as in Baghdad.

Transportational Contiguity

by Robert Blecher
published in MER234

Israel seems to have gotten the message that Palestinian land, in any final resolution to the conflict, cannot simply be divided into isolated cantons. But Prime Minister Ariel Sharon still intends to hold onto large chunks of the West Bank. How can Israel link Palestinian enclaves and dampen criticism of its closure policy while maintaining its hold on the Occupied Territories?

The Bush Team Reloaded

by Jim Lobe
published in MER234

On September 20, 2001, just nine days after the attacks on New York and the Pentagon, the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) laid out a consensus agenda for President George W. Bush's “war on terrorism.” In addition to military action to oust the Taliban in Afghanistan and “capture or kill” Osama bin Laden, PNAC called for regime change in Iraq “even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack,” and “appropriate measures of retaliation” against Iran and Syria if they refused to comply with US demands to cut off support for Hizballah.

The Targeted and the Untargeted of Nablus

by Amahl Bishara
published in MER235

On April 14, 2005, Ibrahim Isneiri, a member of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, was shot dead by Israeli forces in the Balata refugee camp on the outskirts of Nablus, a town located between two mountains in the northern West Bank. Palestinian eyewitnesses said Israeli forces opened fire first, while the Israeli military claimed that they were returning the Palestinian’s fire. Israeli soldiers had entered the camp looking for Isneiri because, Israeli security sources alleged, he was planning an armed operation to be carried out inside Israel.

Syria and Lebanon: A Brotherhood Transformed

by Bassel Salloukh
published in MER236

Unlike its incremental intervention in Lebanon throughout early 1976, Syria’s withdrawal from Lebanon in late April 2005 was swift, unplanned and humiliating. On both occasions, Lebanese, regional and international factors overlapped to shape Syrian behavior. But whereas the 1976 intervention consolidated Syria’s position in the Arab-Israeli conflict and elicited implicit US gratitude and Israeli cooperation, the 2005 withdrawal undermined Syria’s regional security interests and left it besieged in the international arena.

They’re Hounding Bishara Because He’s Right

by Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin
published in MER243

In April, Azmi Bishara, a contributing editor of this magazine and a member of the Israeli Knesset, left Israel and did not return as planned. Toward the end of the month, Israel’s General Security Services (Shabak) announced charges against Bishara of “aiding the enemy” during Israel’s summer 2006 war against Hizballah and Lebanon. Shortly afterward, Bishara submitted his resignation from the Knesset at the Israeli Embassy in Cairo. He maintains his innocence. This commentary by Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin, lecturer in Jewish history at Ben Gurion University in Beersheva, Israel, first appeared at, a Hebrew-language website run by Palestinians from Israel. Raz-Krakotzkin’s article was translated from Hebrew by Robert Blecher.

Khazzoom, Shifting Ethnic Boundaries and Inequality in Israel

by Tamir Sorek
published in MER249

Aziza Khazzoom, Shifting Ethnic Boundaries and Inequality in Israel: Or, How the Polish Peddler Became a German Intellectual (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2008).

The ethnic divide among Jewish Israelis is an elusive concept and a rarely acknowledged reality. There are no discriminatory laws that explicitly sustain it, as with the divide between Jewish and Arab citizens. And it is not institutionalized in parallel state-sponsored school systems, as exist for religious and secular Jews. Zionist ideology, whereby all Jews belong to one nation, may seem to have forged a melting pot.

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

"The Israel Lobby" in Perspective

by Mitchell Plitnick , Chris Toensing
published in MER243

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s 82-page paper “The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy” has entered the canon of contemporary political culture in the United States. So much, positive and negative, has been written about the March 2006 essay that the phrase “the Mearsheimer-Walt argument” is now shorthand for the idea that pro-Israel advocates exert a heavy—and malign—influence upon the formulation of US Middle East policy. To veteran students of Middle East affairs, this idea is hardly new, of course.