Sanctimonium Santorum

Playing the “gotcha” game is a dangerous political pastime. At best it puts public servants on the defensive, forcing them to measure every word and speak in pablum, impoverishing and degrading the public discourse. At worst an individual’s words can be misquoted or taken out of context, subjecting them to undeserved attacks. That apparentlyRead More

Yes, Prime Minister

When the showdown ended this week between Yasser Arafat and his prime minister-designate, Abu Mazen, it was Arafat who blinked. With the full weight of the international community coming down on him, he was forced to back down and accept Abu Mazen’s nominee for security chief, Mohammed Dahlan. Arafat appears to have given up his precious controlRead More

Expecting the Unexpected

You can never be sure what to expect next in the Middle East, but one thing is certain: It’s never going to be what you expected. Those who march in with the surest sense that they know what they’re doing are the ones most likely to be surprised, usually unpleasantly.Case in point: the unexpected outpouring of Shi’ite Muslim fervorRead More

Gedenk — Remember

It was six decades ago, on April 19, 1943 — most Jewish communities will mark the anniversary on Tuesday, following the Hebrew calendar — that a group of young Jews in Nazi-occupied Warsaw began the hopeless act of resistance remembered as the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Numbering scarcely 750, armed mainly with pistols, they took on theRead More

Shame and the Congo

The numbers are in. Our shame can now be quantified. At least 3.3 million people have been killed in the pointless, genocidal warfare in the Democratic Republic of the Congo during the last four and a half years, while most of us were looking elsewhere. Let us remember, and tell our grandchildren. How did we not notice?The figure, releasedRead More

Crossing the Line

Whatever one’s views on the proper location of the line separating church and state — and there is legitimate room for debate — it’s clear that the line was crossed this week by President Bush’s education secretary, Rod Paige, when he called in a published interview for America’s schoolchildren to learn in schools that teach “theRead More

The Time of Our Freedom

Passover, the festival of freedom that begins this coming week, is not the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, but it’s arguably the best-loved. Its powerful tale of liberation from Egyptian slavery, the oldest freedom struggle on record, is traditionally cited as the formative event in Jewish history. Over the ages it has servedRead More

Naming the Plague

It’s possible, just possible, that there’s nothing more than coincidence behind the shocking increase in antisemitic incidents in various parts of the world during the last year. The surge may be entirely unconnected to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the escalating American war on Islamic extremismRead More

The Debate Debate

As America’s generals scramble to regroup for a battle more bloody than any envisioned and Republicans in Washington agonize over what went wrong and why, the American public is descending into a more basic and ugly debate over the very legitimacy of debating.The signs are everywhere. In New Mexico, four schoolteachers have been suspended so farRead More

Our Side

As America’s war machine rolled into action in the Middle East this week and humanity watched in awe and foreboding, there was no longer any denying the blunt fact that a new page was being written in world history. America, the world’s sole superpower, was claiming the right to make war anywhere — not for defense against aggression, butRead More

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