Reasons for the Mideast’s Despair

French diplomat Francois George-Picot, who along with British colonial officer Mark Sykes drew lines across a Middle East map of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, carving out states with boundaries that are nearly the same as they are today.

The West is quick to show disdain for the Muslim world and almost as quick to bomb it. But the only way to ultimately diffuse Islamic extremism is to understand the West’s historic role in causing the problem – and then pursuing practical ways to address legitimate concerns, as Alon Ben-Meir explains.

Misunderstanding Jesus’s Execution

Jesus, driving the money-changers from the Temple, in a painting by El Greco.

From the Archive: In Holy Week, many Christians celebrate what they regard as God’s sacrifice of his Son and the Resurrection. But some scholars see another narrative in which Jesus, a rural rebel, brings his critique of the Jewish-Roman power structure to Jerusalem and is killed for it, as Rev. Howard Bess wrote in 2011.

Distorting Putin’s Favorite Philosophers

Russian President Vladimir Putin taking the presidential oath at his third inauguration ceremony  on May 7, 2012. (Russian government photo)

Amid the endless demonization of Russian President Putin, David Brooks and other upscale U.S. pundits have taken to misrepresenting the views of several Russian philosophers whom Putin is known to admire, apparently following the theory that whatever Putin likes must be evil, as Paul R. Grenier explains.

Israel Faces Moses’s Demand to Pharaoh

Charlton Heston (as Moses) confronting Yul Brynner (as the Pharaoh) in "The Ten Commandments."

The racist dishonesty of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has challenged Judaism’s humanistic principles, as many young Jews will now flip the Passover script, putting the Palestinians in the position of Moses demanding “Let my people go” – or give them the vote in one state, writes Rabbi Michael Lerner.

Treading a Delicate Line on Israel

The Flag of Israel

A sensitive point in criticizing Israel over its persecution of the Palestinians is the need to separate the actions of that government from the Jewish people, many of whom also object to those repressive policies. One bungled case at UCLA raised accusations of anti-Semitism, as Lawrence Davidson describes.

The Secret Saudi Ties to Terrorism

Zacarias Moussaoui

Exclusive: Saudi Arabia, working mostly through Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu, is trying to enlist the U.S. on the Sunni side of a regional war against Iran and the Shiites. But that alliance is complicated by Saudi princes who support al-Qaeda and other Sunni terrorists, as Daniel Lazare explains.

A Congress that Disdains Science

The image of the Earth rising over the surface of the moon, a photograph taken by the first U.S. astronauts to orbit the moon.

America, the world’s superpower, is becoming a country disconnected from evidence and reality with the Congress now controlled by a Republican Party that has assigned anti-science zealots to run committees responsible for addressing environmental dangers including the threat from global warming, writes Lawrence Davidson.

Jesus as Whistleblower

Jesus delivering his Sermon on the Mount as depicted in a painting by Nineteenth Century artist Carl Heinrich Bloch.

Christian churches typically present the religious mythology about Jesus, as the supernatural Son of God who was sacrificed on the cross as atonement for man’s sins. But there is a more historical Jesus who instructed the poor about the injustices they faced and died for it, writes Rev. Howard Bess.

The Problems with Being Charlie

Islamic terrorists prepare to execute a wounded policeman after their attack on the offices of French magazine Charlie Hebdo on Jan. 7, 2015.

It’s one thing to decry all terrorism and defend the principle of free expression; it’s another to show disproportionate concern for some victims over others and to embrace offensive or irresponsible media content, troubling issues from the Charlie Hebdo case, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

A ‘Free Press’ and Double Standards

The slogan used to show support for the Charlie Hebdo journalists killed by Islamist terrorists in Paris on Jan. 7, 2015.

The Western reaction to last week’s terror attacks in Paris has been rife with double standards as U.S. and European politicians and pundits reinvent themselves as purists on freedom of the press and compound the hypocrisy by ignoring the longstanding slaughter in the Middle East, John V. Walsh observes.