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John Judis’s judicious article on Gaza is well worth reading (as is his recent book on “Truman, American Jews, and the Origins of the Arab/Israeli Conflict”). You may wonder, however, whether his concluding pessimistic paragraph doesn’t miss an important point. The U.S. Secretary of State is not the best person to negotiate a truce between Israel and Hamas, unless he is willing to strong-arm the Israelis. A facilitator independent of all governments and parties would have a better chance of helping both sides to reassess their basic needs and interests.

In … read more…

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Rich and Susan in Israel/Palestine, June 2014

by Rich Rubenstein on July 18, 2014 · 0 comments

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Rich and Susan in Israel/Palestine, June 2014: A Shortish Report

July 18, 2014

We returned recently from a memorable trip to Israel/Palestine and wanted to give family and friends a relatively brief report on our activities there. It would have been briefer if Rich could have foregone making a few observations of his own prompted by the experience – but the leopard cannot change his spots.

The world changes so quickly! Since returning from the Middle East, Rich has had his cardiac plumbing reconfigured, Susan has become a grandmother again, and … read more…

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Matt Rubenstein on the Gaza War

by Rich Rubenstein on July 13, 2014 · 0 comments

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The posting below is from my clear-sighted son, Matt, in Berlin:

It’s always 700:1 for Israel.

We’re only at the beginning of another horrendous Israeli military assault on Gaza, and already the Israelosphere, including people I know and respect, is trotting out all the familiar tropes: Israel is “the only democracy in the Middle East”; Israel is the victim of a “double standard” in the media; “no Democracy on earth” would just sit by and let its people get attacked by terrorists; and my favorite new addition to the litany: Israel … read more…

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I gave this lecture at Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton, VA on April 21, 2014.

Let me know what you think.… read more…

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April 16, 2014

TO THE EDITOR OF THE NEW YORK TIMES:

Perhaps there is no such thing as “objective” reporting, but David Herszenhorn’s wildly anti-Russian reports on Ukraine clearly belong on the Times’s op-ed page, not on page one.

“And so began another day of bluster and hyperbole, of misinformation, exaggerations, conspiracy theories, overheated rhetoric and, occasionally, outright lies,” trumpets Mr. H from Moscow, ignoring the fact that Ukraine is a deeply divided society in which each side, the Russian-speaking East as well as the Ukrainian-speaking West, has every reason to … read more…

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My speech to the SALT anti-poverty coalition’s Virginia Legislative Wrap-up session was given in Vienna, Virginia on 22 March 2014.
It can be found on YouTube at http://youtu.be/7IrsD5FRhV0. The SALT group and its associates (including the Virginia Anti-Death Penalty folks) are tremendously dedicated and imaginative. Click on the YouTube address and let me know what you think.… read more…

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Yom Kippur 5774 — A Time for Collective Atonement

by Rich Rubenstein on September 14, 2013 · 2 comments

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YOM KIPPUR, 5774: A TIME FOR COLLECTIVE ATONEMENT
Sermon at Hill Havurah Congregation
September 9, 2013

Dear Friends,
I decided to speak to you today on the subject of collective atonement – how a whole group can repent for the wrongs it has done to other groups. I wrote my remarks out a few days ago, but this morning, I woke up with a sharp personal memory and a story to tell. Here it is:

Miss Grimm was my English teacher in the tenth grade, exactly sixty years ago. Although a … read more…

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Syria and the Tragic Flaw in American Foreign Policy

by Rich Rubenstein on September 7, 2013 · 19 comments

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Once again, with the United States on the brink of war with Syria, we are arguing about the wrong issues. The problem is not that these issues are irrelevant or unimportant, but rather that they leave out something absolutely essential: the continuing urgent need for a peaceful and just resolution of the Syrian Civil War. We know that a U.S. military strike against Syria cannot be justified unless it is a last resort. The tragic flaw in American foreign policy is that we go to war repeatedly without having made serious … read more…

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TO SAVE EGYPT FROM CIVIL WAR, DON’T LISTEN TO DAVID BROOKS!

Richard E. Rubenstein

To avoid a rapid slide into civil war, what Egypt desperately needs now is serious conflict resolution. It needs facilitated dialogues on the creation of a new Egyptian Constitution by all interested parties, with economic and religious issues, as well as political processes and institutions, up for discussion. But New York Times columnist David Brooks is too busy glorying in the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood to think about the Egyptian people’s basic needs.

The telegenic Mr. … read more…

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BEHIND THE STREET REVOLTS: A RESPONSE TO THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

Richard E. Rubenstein
School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University

Why are we seeing so many massive street revolts in electoral democracies like Turkey, Brazil, Egypt, Israel, Russia, Chile, and – last year, at least – the United States? The New York Times’ columnist Thomas L. Friedman asks the question and then almost answers it. Almost, but not really, since the author of The World is Flat is led astray, as is his wont, by a deeply uncritical appreciation … read more…

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