Speaking Ill of the Dead

Shimon Peres, 1923-2016 (World Economic Forum via Wikimedia Commons) Shimon Peres, who died on Monday at the age of 93, spent much of the last couple of decades of his life paying lip service to the idea of making peace with the Palestinians, and so it's much easier for world leaders to eulogize him as … Continue reading Speaking Ill of the Dead

Politicizing Ethnic Cleansing

Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a video on YouTube. A video that may shock, anger, and possibly horrify you. Here it is, and please don't say I didn't warn you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQ1BltDU4iM Oh wait, no, that was a campaign ad from last February. Still, horrifying. This was last week's video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8CUFSHB114 Netanyahu's attempt … Continue reading Politicizing Ethnic Cleansing

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Faysal-Weizmann Agreement (1919)

As World War I was wrapping up, and the Ottoman Empire was collapsing, the question of what to do with all that soon-to-be-former Ottoman land loomed large. Most Ottoman territory outside of Anatolia was predominantly Arab, and the 1916-1918 Arab Revolt had done much to advance British war aims in the Middle East, so the … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Faysal-Weizmann Agreement (1919)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the First Intifada begins (1987)

In contrast with the Second Intifada, which then-Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon deliberately provoked when he and 1000 Israeli police officers marched on to the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount in September 2000, the First Intifada ("popular uprising") began almost by chance. On December 8, 1987, an Israeli Defense Forces truck crashed into a line of cars stuck at the … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the First Intifada begins (1987)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Balfour Declaration (1917)

It was on November 2, 1917, when British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour sent a relatively brief letter to Walter Rothschild that would wind up becoming one of the most consequential events in modern Middle Eastern history. Really, if you’d looked at the letter at the time, you probably wouldn’t have envisioned the importance it … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Balfour Declaration (1917)