January 16, 2019

Sunday Reads: The ceasefire in Syria, Netanyahu takes on the world, the poetic genius of Ibn Gabirol


Phillip Gordon explains why ” target=”_blank”>the place of Syria in the Obama legacy:

But for now it seems hard to escape the conclusion that in correcting for Bush’s overly aggressive foreign policy, Obama went too far in avoiding confrontations, and that in that halting and hesitant approach he wound up neither strengthening his country’s influence and status nor its power to bring about its ultimate goal of a safer and more peaceful world.


Ben Dror Yemini argues that ” target=”_blank”>Netanyahu’s diplomatic world war:

Haaretz reported that Netanyahu threatened New Zealand’s foreign minister, Murray McCull, telling him, “If you continue to promote this resolution, from our point of view it will be a declaration of war.” Netanyahu probably wasn't intending to launch long-range missiles at Wellington, so one could assume that the prime minister was referring to a diplomatic war on New Zealand. Thus the day after the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 affirming the illegality of Israeli settlements, Netanyahu set out for diplomatic battle — and not just against New Zealand's far-off islands. Netanyahu embroiled Israel in a diplomatic world war.

Middle East

Patrick Cockburn believes that “>start getting tough with Erdogan:

For a start, it’s clear that Erdogan is no longer a U.S. ally; these days, he is a humbled subject of Vladimir Putin. As I’ve explained, Erdogan’s supplication to Russia was forged by two developments: ISIS’s increasing threat to Turkey and President Obama’s yielding of Syria to Russian dominion. The days when Erdogan shot down Russian fighter jets are long gone. He knows who is boss now: the KGB colonel.

Jewish World

Raymond Scheindlin discusses “>growing suicide and overdose numbers among members of the ultra-orthodox community in America:

Activists are warning of a crisis on the edges of the ultra-Orthodox community. Amid a nationwide opioid epidemic and a surge in suicide rates, some insiders say that young people on the fringes of Orthodox life are being hit particularly hard. They aren’t fully enmeshed in a religious community; nor have they left it altogether to build lives in the secular world. Deutsch, an anti-abuse activist, said that it was the worst year for these sorts of deaths in his community in recent memory.