The Forward »

A History Lesson For Chuck Schumer On Israel — And A Changing America

March 7, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Chuck Schumer is worried about young people. In his speech on Monday at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference, he warned that “too many of the younger Americans don’t know the history” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “and as a result they tend to say, well, both sides are to blame.” And so — after a joke about a Mrs. Goldfarb who is sentenced to one night in jail for each of the four peaches she stole, and whose husband yells to the judge, “She stole a can of peas, too” (relevance: unclear) — the Senate Minority leader offered a history lesson to America’s youth. Read more…

The Atlantic »

AIPAC’s Struggle to Avoid the Fate of the NRA

March 7, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Commentators sometimes compare the American Israel Public Affairs Committee to the National Rifle Association. Both are powerful, controversial, single-issue, lobbying organizations. And both have had enormous success in shaping the Washington agenda. Read more…

The Forward »

Is Jared Kushner’s Leap To Power A Jewish Success Story — Or A Tragedy?

March 2, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Jared Kushner is in the news again. This week, The New York Times reported that, in his role as a White House adviser, he met with financiers who went on to invest in the family real estate business, in which he retains a large stake. Not to be outdone, The Washington Post reported that foreign officials have discussed using Kushner’s financial entanglements, and ignorance of public policy, to win favorable treatment from the Trump administration. To top it all off, Kushner — after repeatedly making false statements on his financial disclosure forms — this week lost his top-secret security clearance. Read more…

The Atlantic »

Conservatives Are Losing the Culture War Over Guns

March 1, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Who’s winning the post-Parkland debate over guns? It depends where you look.

Legislatively, anti-gun control forces remain in control. President Donald Trump, after veering towards the NRA earlier in the week, veered away from it during a meeting with lawmakers on Wednesday. But he did something similar in January, vowing in a bipartisan meeting to legalize the immigrant “Dreamers” only to pull back as the legislative process evolved. And even if Trump remains sympathetic to modest gun-control measures, there’s no guarantee congressional Republicans will go along. Many responded negatively to his comments on Wednesday. And neither Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell nor House Speaker Paul Ryan have even agreed to hold a vote on measures the NRA opposes. Read more…

The Atlantic »

Trump Is Preparing for a New Cold War

February 27, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Read its foreign policy statements and this much becomes clear: The Trump administration is preparing for a new Cold War. Its National Security Strategy, unveiled in December, asserts that “The United States will respond to the growing political, economic, and military competitions we face around the world. China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and interests.” The following month, in announcing the administration’s National Defense Strategy, Defense Secretary James Mattis declared that “Great power competition, not terrorism, is now the primary focus of U.S. national security.” Read more…

The Atlantic »

The Flawed Nationalism of Donald Trump

February 20, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

The astonishing thing about Donald Trump’s response to Robert Mueller’s recent indictments is his inability to recognize that Russia’s interference in the 2016 election is about something bigger than him. Look closely at Trump’s tweets. Read more…

The Atlantic »

The Democrats Keep Capitulating on Defense Spending

February 18, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Since earlier this month, when Congress passed a budget deal that massively boosts both defense and non-defense spending, liberal commentators—and even some Republican politicians—have accused the GOP of hypocrisy. Republicans, they noted, are supposed to loathe debt. They’re supposed to loathe government spending. Yet, in large numbers, they voted for much more of both. Read more…

The Atlantic »

It’s Not Illegal Immigration That Worries Republicans Anymore

February 18, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

A few weeks ago, the contours of an immigration compromise looked clear: Republicans would let the “Dreamers” stay. Democrats would let Trump build his wall. Both sides would swallow something their bases found distasteful in order to get the thing their bases cared about most.

Since then, Trump has blown up the deal. He announced on Wednesday that he would legalize the “Dreamers,” undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, only if Democrats funded his wall and  ended the visa lottery and “chain migration.” He would support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants only if Congress brought the number of legal immigrants down. Read more…

The Atlantic »

The Weirdest—and Possibly Best—Proposal to Resolve the North Korea Crisis

February 8, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

“Washington has a long habit of painting its enemies 10 feet tall—and crazy,” as Fareed Zakaria once noted. Thus, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster in December called North Korea’s nuclear-weapons program—which according to American intelligence still probably lacks the capacity to hit the U.S. mainland with a nuclear weapon—“the most destabilizing development, I think, in the post-World War II period.” More destabilizing, evidently, than Stalin or Mao’s far larger nuclear arsenals; or the break-up of the British, French, and Soviet empires; or the rise of China; or a changing climate that could soon make major cities uninhabitable. If Pyongyang’s nuclear program is allowed to proceed, McMaster continued, North Korea—whose GDP is one-50th the size of South Korea’s and which spends one-fifth as much on its military—might “reunify the [Korean] peninsula under the red banner.” Read more…

The Forward »

You Don’t Need Jewish Values To Denounce Israel’s Treatment Of Asylum Seekers

February 7, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Last week, Isabel Kershner, The New York Times’ estimable Israel correspondent, wrote an article about the Netanyahu government’s decision to either expel Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers to third countries or indefinitely lock them up. The article ran under the headline, “Israel Moves to Expel Africans. Critics Say That’s Not Jewish.” Read more…