Is Iran winning or losing?


There’s an old Jewish joke where a young man walks up to his grandfather and asks him how he’s doing. The grandfather answers, “In a word, good.” “And in two words?” the grandson presses. “Not good,” his grandfather replies. The events of the week call the joke to mind in relation to Iran and its war against Israel and the…

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Al-Baghdadi and Trump’s Syrian Chessboard


US President Donald Trump’s many critics insist he has no idea what he is doing in Syria. The assassination of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi over the weekend by US Special Forces showed this criticism is misplaced. Trump has a very good idea of what he is doing in Syria, not only regarding ISIS, but regarding the diverse competing actors…

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A terrifying assault on Israeli press freedom


  On Sunday, press freedom in Israel effectively ended, at least for some. Sunday evening, the police and State Attorney’s Office divulged that they are conducting a criminal investigation against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s top media advisors Jonatan Urich and Ofer Golan. The two are suspects and police investigators have seized their cellphones. Then on Monday,  police revealed that two…

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Trump, Israel and the Democratic Crack-Up


Nearly every week, the Democrats reach new heights of radicalism. Israel has good reason to be deeply worried. Until 2000, the peaceful transition of power in the wake of elections was a feature of American democracy that everyone took for granted. In 2000, the Democrats shifted. They refused to accept the election results in Florida that gave Bush his victory…

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Netanyahu, the media and the fate of Israeli democracy


The ongoing criminal probes against Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyhahu are reaching their climax. After conducting a marathon four-day pre-indictment hearing for Netanyahu earlier this month, Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit reportedly intends to complete his review of the state prosecution’s cases and decide whether to indict Israel’s longest-serving prime minister by the end of next month. The main charges…

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Trump did not betray the Kurds


  The near consensus view of President Donald Trump’s decision to remove US special forces from the Syrian border with Turkey is that Trump is enabling a Turkish invasion and double crossing the Syrian Kurds who have fought with the Americans for five years against ISIS. Trump’s move, the thinking goes, harms US credibility and undermines US power in the…

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American Jewry’s Days of Reckoning


  On September 29, President Donald Trump set out his nationalist political philosophy in his address before the UN General Assembly. Arguing that the nation-state is the best guarantor of human freedom and liberty, Trump set up a contrast between “patriots” and “globalists.” “The future does not belong to globalists,” he said. “The future belongs to patriots.  The future belongs…

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Israel’s flailing democracy


  US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s announcement Tuesday that she is opening an official impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump struck many Israelis as yet another sign that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Trump are in the same boat. Both are hounded by legal elites who will stop at nothing to oust them from office. There are parallels between the…

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The straetgic cost of Israel’s political instability


When Israel Beitenu  party chairman Avigdor Liberman abruptly resigned his position as Defense Minister last November and started the countdown to the Knesset elections in April, he plunged Israel into a state of political instability. Following the April elections, by refusing to serve in a government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and so forcing Israel into a second election,…

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A note on Tuesday’s elections


The US media coverage of the Israeli election has misrepresented the results of Tuesday’s vote. This isn’t necessarily deliberate. Israeli elections are inscrutable for most foreigners, particularly for Americans who are used to the clarity of the presidential system and two-party system. Here are a few of basic facts about how the vote has gone, and where Israel is likely…

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