Obama in power (6):policies clarifying, pattern still hazy

By the time Obama was inaugurated, he had promised so much, there was a risk that he could only disappoint. Let’s not get too carried away in these tough times, but there is some much needed good news: perfect his administration is not, but the first signs in foreign policy are far from negative. This extended post surveys the key issues. Continue reading

The special significance of the Israel-Palestine conflict

Why is it that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians generates such intense feelings among so many people? It goes deeper and spreads more widely than virtually any other current political issue. People who have no personal stake  – no relatives in any part of Israel and Palestine, for example – express themselves on this conflict with genuine feelings of grief and anger, where other conflicts provoke only a more general humanitarian response or concern for the unjustly treated. What’s special about Israel-Palestine? Continue reading

Gaza, criticising Israel and Howard Jacobson

The three-week offensive Israel launched on Gaza on 27 December has predictably led to a re-airing of the argument about whether and to what degree it is possible to criticise Israel without being anti-Semitic. This is the conflict that receives more coverage and more passion than any other in today’s world and how the arguments about it are handled is important in the evolution of our political culture. This post goes into this treacherous subject at some length.
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