Before going there myself, I had heard this phrase, open-air prison, and figured it was not literally a prison.
May 20, 2021
Palestine Diary 2016
You might be surprised at your own intolerance of the idea of a democracy maintaining an open-air prison for 2.7 million people. Before going there myself, I had heard this phrase, open-air prison, and figured it was not literally a prison. (As someone who spends a fair amount of time in prisons, I’m sensitive to its use as a metaphor.) But everywhere I went I saw guard towers and concrete barriers and razor wire—truly an open-air prison—except where there were settlements, which featured posh, Beverly Hills–style landscaping: little blooming flowers, fragile and bright, the guard towers in the far distance.
He leaked humanity
It wasn’t “New Critical” thing-in-itself close reading, because poems weren’t things in themselves, they were living subjects, and as full of contradictions and private dramas and unconscious desires and hauntings as any other.
April 12, 2019
More than Netanyahu’s election to a fifth term as prime minister, the collapse of the Zionist left was the night’s historic result.
At least since Netanyahu’s election in 2009, Labor has repeatedly tried to defeat Likud by tacking right. Labor voters elected Avi Gabbay, a millionaire telecom executive and former minister in Netanyahu’s government, to head the party in 2017, in the hopes that he could reach voters beyond the party’s base. Gabbay, the son of Moroccan immigrants and raised in a poor Jerusalem neighborhood, was meant to take the party of the kibbutzim in a new direction. And in a sense, he did. He joined the right-wing attacks on the legitimacy of Arab political participation; when asked if he would form a governing coalition that included the Arab-led parties, he responded, “We have nothing in common with them.” He pledged not to evacuate Jewish settlements from the occupied West Bank. When, two weeks before the election, a rocket fired from Gaza hit a house in central Israel, Gabbay accused Netanyahu of being weak for not authorizing a more forceful military response. But voters who truly want ethnonationalism will always choose the real, bloody thing. Triangulation only moves the center of political gravity rightward, and when the center moves right, the left loses.
December 4, 2018
I don’t like the electric lock on the door to our shul.
My shul is in Philadelphia, directly across the state from Pittsburgh, where eleven Jews were murdered in October at the Tree of Life Synagogue by an anti-Semite with an AR-15. To have been young and Jewish in this country in the ’80s and ’90s was to have lived in a subconscious state of fear. That was my idiosyncratic experience, anyway—unconscious, inarticulable fear, the product of knowing enough of the “never again” canon, of a Jewish education that emphasized Elie Wiesel and Primo Levi and Deborah Lipstadt, Schindler’s List and Shoah and Night and Fog. In the ’60s and ’70s, the facts of the Shoah were being recovered. No one needed to be reminded not to forget while actively endeavoring to remember.
May 25, 2018
On Philip Roth, 1933–2018
For an age where more people are porn-literate than literature-literate, the nerdy Roth may prove to be his most transgressive persona in posterity, although there’s another candidate for the role. As all the tributes pour in and multiply in thousands of bytes on our screens, there’s another thing that no one has really mentioned: his political astuteness.
Well, I’m all for seeking the triangular god who gave his essence to the triangle.
November 18, 2016
This month on the n+1 podcast, Aaron Braun interviews regular contributor and Columbia University professor Bruce Robbins about his piece in Issue 24 “The Logic of the Beneficiary” on Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions.
Any debt to the living takes precedence over any debt to the dead.
April 10, 2015
The Israeli Right's New Sense of Humor
During his reelection campaign this winter, Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu mentioned the word “Iran” on his Facebook page 155 times. This was three times as often as the next politician on the list, Naftali Bennett, Netanyahu’s younger, right-wing rival. Iran was, in many ways, central to Netanyahu’s campaign. Not only did it form a constant refrain in his campaign rhetoric, it was the focal point of Netanyahu’s epic speech to the United States Congress in early March, a speech intended to help halt his declining poll numbers and draw public attention away from Israel’s internal problems.
September 3, 2014
You’ll get back to your business, while on the other side of the fence dozens of civilians are getting killed every day.
March 1, 2014
I don’t want this post to be about fascism. The word summons up a lot of things, many of them superficial.