Official Washington treats New York Times pundit Thomas Friedman as an oracle on the Middle East, but his commentary is often pedestrian and wrongheaded, as it was disastrously on the Iraq War. But Friedman has now proclaimed what must be done to reverse U.S. failures in Muslim countries, Lawrence Davidson writes.
Many admirers of Judaic traditions, including the commitments to independent thought and social justice, have wondered why the Israeli experience has veered so far from those honorable principles. But Lawrence Davidson says some Israelis continue to ask the tough questions and reject anti-Arab bigotry.
Since its founding in 1948 as a refuge for Holocaust survivors and other Jews, Israel has called itself a democracy but has restricted rights of Arabs inside Israel and under Israeli military occupation. This tension – and the rise of Jewish fundamentalism – are now eroding support among liberal Zionists, writes Lawrence Davidson.
For many American politicians and pundits, the smart career play again is to clamber on the bandwagon for war with Iran, just as they did for war with Iraq. But the recycled neocon tough talk and the renewed pandering to Israeli leaders could take the world down another catastrophic path, Lawrence Davidson writes.
American politicians forever talk about the nation’s “exceptionalism,” a special greatness that sets the U.S.A. apart from all others. But this jingoism requires whitewashing much of U.S. history and ignoring much of the present, too, says Lawrence Davidson.
Over the past few decades in America, reality has been put in play as never before, with powerful interests using sophisticated “perception management,” the shaping of how the public perceives the outside world, a threat that Lawrence Davidson says is again leading the nation to destruction.
Rick Santorum, the latest Republican “flavor of the month” for president, exudes a boyish enthusiasm that many Americans find personally appealing. But his vision for America would combine a moralistic theocracy with free-market capitalism and perpetual war, a nightmarish scenario, says Lawrence Davidson.
The U.S. appears on the verge of a new war in the Middle East, between Israel and Iran, but much of the casus belli traces back to the long-running dispute over the rights of Palestinians. In that context, Lawrence Davidson asks again if a one-state solution might be the only viable answer.
More and more, the Republican Party is becoming a Christian fundamentalist movement with attacks on “secularism” and demands for school-run prayers for students, but many of these same politicos express shock when people in the Middle East turn to Islamic-oriented parties, Lawrence Davidson notes.
Those who want true democracy favor a well-informed public, but those who simply want power understand that a smart electorate is a dangerous thing, so they seek out and destroy truth-tellers, as is now happening to a crusading judge in Spain, as Lawrence Davidson reports.