Interventions is a feature in Middle East Report Online offering critical reviews of important Middle East-related books, films and other cultural production. Click here for past Interventions articles.

Do We Know Enough?

by Stephen R. Shalom | published February 2013

In January 2007, amid the furor over Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, former President Jimmy Carter made his first major public appearance about the book at Brandeis University, which defines itself as “the only non-sectarian Jewish-sponsored college or university” in the United States. He received a standing ovation, going on to say that he had chosen the word “apartheid” for his book’s title “knowing that it would be provocative” and to deliver a speech describing the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands as “cruel oppression.” Carter then departed, and Alan Dershowitz, author of The Case for Israel, rose to offer a response. Half the audience walked out. A year later, the Brandeis student senate voted not to congratulate Israel on its sixtieth anniversary.

The Reagan Doctrine and the Secret State

by Christopher Hitchens
published in MER148

The Tower Commission has been taken as evidence for very many things. It’s been taken as evidence for President Reagan’s lack of attention to foreign policy; it’s been taken as evidence of a glitch in the chain of command and control in the White House. It can as easily be taken as evidence of the view, held by some people, that this planet Earth is used as a penal colony and lunatic asylum by more advanced civilizations around the solar system. And that view would certainly be as difficult to prove wrong as the one that is offered, which is that it shows a president who is not in control! What the Report shows in bold contours, with ferocious clarity, is the operation in detail of the Reagan Doctrine.

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Halsell, Prophecy and Politics

by Mary Neznek
published in MER150

Grace Halsell, Prophecy and Politics: Militant Evangelists on the Road to Nuclear War (Westport, CT: Lawrence Hill, 1986).

While there is nothing particularly new about Christian fascination with the Biblical “holy land,” Grace Halsell provides an important contemporary portrayal of the means by which this has been molded to enhance the political legitimacy of modern Israel. She documents the growth of a “cult of Israel” among the ranks of “born-again” Christians in the United States.

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Ferguson and Rogers, Right Turn

by Bill Farrell
published in MER150

Thomas Ferguson and Joel Rogers, Right Turn: The Decline of the Democrats and the Future of American Politics (New York: Hill and Wang, 1986).

Where the United States chooses to intervene actively, as in the Middle East, Central America and southern Africa, American politics can be a matter of life and death. Serious examinations of the American political scene are therefore of more than local interest. This study is a welcome addition to the growing body of critical analyses of American politics.

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From Tel Aviv to LA

Israelis as New American Ethnics

by Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi
published in MER150

The Manhattan telephone directory, like that of any major American city, reflects the United States’ melting pot in action. Flipping through its pages and browsing through the names of a million individuals, one realizes quickly that some of them do not melt very readily. Comparing the directory of 20 years ago and that of today reveals certain changes in the origins of immigrant groups and their meltability. The 1987 Manhattan telephone directory is filled with traditional Jewish names, and there is nothing new about that. But Israeli names are not Jewish, and that is why they stick out in Manhattan and elsewhere in the United States.

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Argo and the Roots of US-Iranian Tensions

by Narges Bajoghli | published December 26, 2012

The box-office hit Argo brings back long-faded memories of the Iran hostage crisis for many Americans.

News in November 1979 that US diplomats had been taken hostage in Tehran shocked the United States. Students stormed the US embassy, blindfolding 52 Americans and threatening them at gunpoint. The hostages, held captive for 444 days, immediately became the nation’s top news story and dogged President Jimmy Carter’s unsuccessful reelection campaign.

Zionism, Anti-Semitism and Jewish Identity in the Women's Movement

by Ellen Cantarow
published in MER154

Zionism made its first entry into global feminist debate at the founding UN Decade for Women conference in Mexico City in 1975. There, during discussions of the introduction to a program of action for the decade, the conference passed wording that called for “the elimination of colonialism and neo-colonialism, foreign occupation, Zionism, apartheid, racial discrimination in all its forms.”

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Primer: Where They Stand

The Major Parties and the International Consensus

published in MER158

I. All states in the region, including a Palestinian state, have the right to independence and security.

US / Israel / PLO / Arab States / USSR / EEC States (bold = support; plain text = opposition)

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The Scourge of Palestinian Moderation

Peace Process or Peace Panic?

by Norman Finkelstein
published in MER158

In the early 1960s, before the major US escalation of the war in Vietnam, a negotiated settlement to that conflict was in reach. Such a settlement was supported by the leaders of the Soviet Union, China, France, Cambodia and North Vietnam, and the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam. The United Nations, through then-Secretary General U Thant, put great effort into setting up negotiations. The essential precondition of such a settlement was recognition of the South Vietnamese people’s right to self-determination, a precondition the United States would not abide. In February 1965, an embittered and frustrated U Thant was moved to comment that

From Commentary to Tikkun

The Past and Future of "Progressive Jewish Intellectuals"

by Allen Graubard
published in MER158

I was describing Tikkun magazine’s “National Conference of Liberal and Progressive Jewish Intellectuals” to a steady political and intellectual comrade of the past 30 years, who is not Jewish. “What would you think,” this friend responded, “about a ’national conference of liberal and progressive gentile intellectuals?’”

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