With politicians wanting to look tough – and the public putting security over freedom – the “war on terror” has become an excuse to erode civil liberties, such as the freedom of association and the right to a fair trial. Yet, in the U.S. and Israel, pushback against repression won modest victories, writes Lawrence Davidson.
Israeli hardliners continue to block the compromises for a two-state solution with the Palestinians, while Jewish settlements keep expanding into land that would be part of a possible deal. Thus, the prospect for a meaningful two-state solution is dying, with dire consequences for both Arabs and Jews, writes Lawrence Davidson.
Even as some ex-officials in Israel question the “messianic” behavior of Prime Minister Netanyahu, his hard-line American supporters are escalating a propaganda war against U.S. academics who challenge Israel’s abuse of Palestinians. One ugly smear appeared on the New York Times’ editorial page, writes Lawrence Davidson.
In recent years, Florida has been the scene of high-profile political and legal scandals, from Election 2000 to the delayed justice in the Trayvon Martin slaying. But it’s also known as a place intolerant of dissent, especially if someone praises Fidel Castro or criticizes Israel, says Lawrence Davidon.
Historically, ardent Christians have been among the most bloodthirsty of religious believers, justifying wars and genocides around the world, ironically, in the name of Jesus, an avowed pacifist. Now, many devout Christians rally to Israel’s side in its ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the Holy Land, Lawrence Davidson notes.
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.