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January, 2013Back to Top
The Task
by John Podhoretz
On November 6, President Obama won by three percentage points, about the same margin as President Bush eight years earlier—after which the electorate moved in a radically different direction.

The End of the Peace Process
by Jonathan Tobin
The Palestinian victory at the United Nations on November 29 was timed to bring the world body full circle from its vote on that same date in 1947 that had called for the creation of Jewish and Arab states in what was then the Mandate for Palestine.

The Golf Joke
Moses is in his office in Heaven. “Moses,” says his secretary, “it’s God on Line 2.” “Oy,” says Moses. He knows what this is about.

What Is the Future of Conservatism in the Wake of the 2012 Election?—A Symposium
ELLIOTT ABRAMS It always seemed to me that during the Cold War, what divided the people who thought we'd all end up incinerated by Soviet bombs from the people who thought it would all come out fine was not their political analyses.

The Bitter Victory
by David French
The Endgame: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Iraq,from George W. Bush to Barack ObamaBy Michael R. Gordon and Bernard E.

The Shadow Doesn’t Know
by Jonathan Neumann
In God’s Shadow: Politics in the Hebrew BibleBy Michael WalzerYale University Press, 256 pages The philosopher Michael Walzer has written a new book that aims ‘‘to examine the ideas about politics [and] the understandings of government and law that are expressed in the Hebrew Bible.’’ It turns out that there aren’t all that many, because the Bible is largely concerned with the story of divine intercession in the lives of men that traduces human action.

This Jewish Sporting Life
by Joseph Epstein
Jewish Jocks: An Unorthodox Hall of FameEdited by Franklin Foer and Marc TracyTwelve, 285 pages For the 50th-year reunion of the Senn High School class of 1955, each of us was asked to submit a few words about his life since graduation.

What’s Wrong, Doc?
by Terry Teachout
Cartoon Network, a cable-TV channel owned by Turner Broadcasting, shows animated cartoons around the clock. In 1992, when the channel was launched, its programming consisted solely of old-fashioned short subjects that featured such cartoon characters of the Hollywood studio era as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Wile E.

The Missing Lincoln
by Andrew Ferguson
The surprising popularity of Steven Spielberg’s movie about Abraham Lincoln adds a new chapter in the country’s long love affair with the man American schoolchildren will someday learn was the real Daniel Day Lewis.

The Logical Endpoint of Cutting Defense
by Our Readers
To the Editor: As usual, Victor Davis Hanson provides a clear and insightful view of American defense and the cost of preparedness [“America on Defense,” October].

Don’t Subsidize the Muslim Brotherhood
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I agree with Michael Rubin that Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood would like to turn Egypt into another Iran [“Whitewashing Islamists,” October].

Legitimacy and Stability in the Arab World
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Elliott Abrams has provided a trenchant analysis of what the future may hold for the countries that changed regimes during the Arab Spring and has offered important policy suggestions [“Dictators Go, Monarchs Stay,” October].

Success Breeds Resentment
by Our Readers
To the Editor: James Kirchick’s excellent article “The Global Popularity Fetish” [October], about the desire to appease world opinion, calls to mind a common marketing error.

Plum Precedent
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In his article “Taking a Second Look at Neil Simon” [October], Terry Teachout refers to “Simon’s unprecedented commercial success—at one point in the mid-1960s he had five shows running simultaneously on Broadway.” But there is a precedent: P.G.

February, 2013Back to Top
The Month That Was—January 2013
by John Podhoretz
If you’d told me that an Orthodox Jew would one day be treasury secretary, I’d have had the Elders freeze your bank account. -- Jan 10 “And may your second administration be a masculine administration.” –Luca Brasi to Obama -- Jan 10  I hope being short or long Herbalife doesn’t offer any clues to a person’s appointed time here on earth. -- Jan 10  _____________ Always amused when writers whose last glimpse at a synagogue was when they were paid to give a speech at one use their Judaism as a rhetorical weapon. -- Jan 8 _____________ Mint the trillion-dollar coin, then flip China for it. -- Jan 6 _____________ I have good news and bad news.

The Hagel Factor
by Jonathan Tobin
The Hagel FactorThroughout his reelection campaign President Obama pledged that he would keep Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. In particular, he said that the United States would not resort to a policy of containment but try to actively prevent Tehran’s nuclear ambition from being realized.

Three Jokes Involving Insurance
I Cohen, who makes ladies’ blouses, runs into Sheinbaum, who makes pajamas, on Seventh Avenue. “I’m so sorry, Sheinbaum,” says Cohen.

Poseur Politics in the Era of Obama
by Matthew Continetti
Neither the senate nor the House of Representatives had voted on the proposed agreement to avoid the “fiscal cliff” of tax hikes and spending cuts when President Obama assembled a friendly crowd of “middle-class taxpayers” at the White House on New Year’s Eve to announce his triumph.

Bombing the Syrian Reactor: The Untold Story
by Elliott Abrams
As the civil war in Syria enters its third year, there is much discussion of the regime’s chemical weapons and whether Syria’s Bashar al-Assad will unleash them against Syrian rebels, or whether a power vacuum after Assad’s fall might make those horrific tools available to the highest bidder.

The Truth About Mass Shootings and Gun Control
by Benjamin Domenech
When tragedy strikes on a national scale, our initial reactions have a commonality to them: We recoil in shock and are overcome with sorrow.

The Great Exchange War of 2013
by Tevi Troy
ObamaCare survived both the Supreme Court challenge to its constitutionality at the beginning of 2012 and the election close to year’s end.

How This Magazine Wronged Herman Wouk
by Michael J. Lewis
To review favorably a work by Herman Wouk, America’s only prominent Orthodox Jewish novelist, is to break with long-standing Commentary precedent.

First Day
by Elisa Albert
I spent sixteen weeks at the center. Today’s my first day out. First I went for groceries. Then I put the groceries away.

The 63.8 Solution
by Andrew Roberts
Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfarefrom Ancient Times to the PresentBy Max BootW.W. Norton, 784 pages Any author who attempts to relate the whole history of guerrilla warfare from Mesopotamia in 2334 B.C.E.

Red Spread
by Michael Moynihan
Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944–1956By Anne Applebaum There was a remarkable notice in the New York Times Book Review shortly after the release of Anne Applebaum’s book Iron Curtain, a stunning exposition of the Soviet Union’s brutal occupation of Poland, Hungary, and East Germany.

Watchman on the Walls
by Stephen Daisley
From Ambivalence to Betrayal: The Left, the Jews, and IsraelBy Robert S. WistrichUniversity of Nebraska Press, 648 pages The volume, character, and tone of Judeophobia to be found in the public discourse around the world, whether in the form of classical Jew-hatred or the more respectable negation of the validity of the State of Israel, forces us to ask: What is anti-Semitism? What does it mean in 2013? Does it continue to pose a significant threat to the physical and spiritual integrity of the Jewish people? The past 12 months have provided us with ample evidence that the oldest hatred endures.

The Duke and the Reds
by Terry Teachout
In 1969, Duke Ellington celebrated his 70th birthday at the White House, where President Nixon threw a star-studded party and presented him with a Medal of Freedom.

Tower of Babble
by Judah Bellin
Jewish Ethics and Social Justice: A Guide for the 21st CenturyBy Shmuly YanklowitzDerusha Publishing, 344 pages In the increasingly crowded field of Jewish social justice, Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz has carved out a niche for himself as a Modern Orthodox crusader.

Shepherds and Farmers
by Matt Abelson
The Philosophy of Hebrew ScriptureBy Yoram HazonyCambridge University Press, 286 pages In the opening chapter of his new book, The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture, Yoram Hazony laments that “the Hebrew Bible remains a closed book for the overwhelming majority of educated men and women.” His lament is certainly deserved, particularly when it comes to American Jews.

Chattering Away the Evil
by Andrew Ferguson
Our news media suffer from a terrible supply-side problem. The number of people paid to offer opinions greatly outstrips the number of things worth having an opinion about.

Israel’s True Friends
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Michael Moynihan argues convincingly in “False Friends” [November 2012] that fascists in Europe must not be allowed to get away with what he calls “strategic Zionism” and “Israel-washing”—that is, concealing their ugly views by a show of support for the Jewish state.

America’s Obligation to Europe
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Josef Joffe’s call to the American public [“The Turn Away from Europe,” November 2012] is intended to strengthen America’s military commitment to Europe.

Anti-Semitism or Humanitarianism?
by Our Readers
To the Editor: The premise of Ben Cohen’s piece, “Europe’s Assault on Jewish Ritual” [November 2012], is misleading in its body as well as in its title.

March, 2013Back to Top
How to Save the Republican Party
The Republican Party is in trouble: In the wake of the presidential election, everybody has said so, and everybody is right.

Age of Obama?
by John Podhoretz
The future is now out of Barack Obama’s hands. How can I say this, given that his second term has only just begun? Simple: He has already set his course—and the nation’s.

Rewarding Egypt for Hate
by Jonathan Tobin
Rewarding Egypt for Hate While the United States continues to embrace the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt, that country’s president seems determined to make clear just how much he rejects American policy objectives and values.

The Vacation Joke
Phyllis runs into Frances at spin class. “You have a nice tan,” Phyllis says. “We went away,” Frances says. “Where did you go?” Phyllis says. “The Maldives,” Frances says. “The Maldives?” Phyllis says.

Israel’s Capitalist Election
by Mati Wagner
As the Israeli elections loomed in January, reporters and pundits, biased by their own ideas about Israel and Israelis, failed colossally.

Gay—or Left?
by James Kirchick
On July 19, 2005, authorities in the Iranian city of Mashhad publicly lynched two teenagers, Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni, for the alleged crime of raping a 13-year-old boy.

Web of Illusion
by Abe Greenwald
To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological SolutionismBy Evgeny MorozovPublicAffairs, 432 pages Aaron Swartz, a 26-year-old computer programmer and “hacktivist” who hanged himself in January, once issued something called the “Guerilla Open Access Manifesto.” The brief and dramatic document is a call to liberate all scientific papers—and maybe even all cultural works—currently “locked up by a handful of private corporations,” by making them freely and universally available on the Internet.

Man of His Moment
by John Bolton
Moynihan’s Moment: America’s Fight Against Zionism as RacismBy Gil TroyOxford, 368 pages The United Nations General Assembly’s “Zionism is racism” resolution, adopted on November 10, 1975, was a Cold War high-water mark for the Soviet Union and a low-water mark for the UN.

Dearth Control
by Ari Schulman
What to Expect When No One’s Expecting: America’s Coming Demographic DisasterBy Jonathan V. LastEncounter Books, 200 pages Starting with the three subjects your parents told you not to discuss in polite company—politics, sex, and religion—and going from there, one cannot easily have a conversation about America’s low birth rate without saying something provocative about taxes, entitlements, immigration, climate change, abortion, contraception, assisted reproduction, and gender norms, not to mention health-care reform, end-of-life medical care, gay marriage, education, and national security. It is into this minefield that Jonathan V.

Death Valley
by Sam Jacobson
The Outpost: An Untold Storyof American ValorBy Jake TapperLittle, Brown & Company, 688 pages There was the evening-news version. If you’d been paying any attention to the headlines on the television that night, the night of October 3, 2009, you might have been vaguely aware that some troops had been killed in one of our wars.

Hollywood’s New Finger-Waggers
by Sonny Bunch
Hollywood’s critics are in high dudgeon. The motion-picture industry has sunk into a moral morass, they say, one that threatens our national self-understanding and traduces simple decency.

His Masterful Voice
by Terry Teachout
Nothing is more legendary than the work of a legendary stage actor, since it is all but impossible to leave behind a permanent record of the live performances that made his reputation.

Whacking Mackey
by Andrew Ferguson
You don’t often hear this kind of talk on NPR—not on “Morning Edition,” certainly. Everyone’s always so polite. So I nearly leapt out of my Lands’ End Bootie Slippers when a man with a brittle voice dropped the F-bomb in the middle of an interview with Steve Inskeep.

The Stanford Marshmallow Experiment
by Fernanda Moore
On Wednesday afternoon, my brother Danny calls me from his car. “Dad’s on NPR,” he says. In the background, I hear voices, though I can’t make out the words: a woman, eager, impressed, and then, speaking slowly and carefully, savoring his own response, my stepfather.

The Changing Face of Anti-Semitism
by Robert Wistrich
It is a struggle to choose the term that most accurately describes the phenomenon of Jew-hatred. Judeophobia is little used because it literally means “the fear of Jews.” Anti-Judaism, which is the most literal and specific, is problematic because it suggests that Jew-hatred is primarily or exclusively religious.

Why Romney Lost
by Our Readers
To the Editor:  I do not agree with the thrust of John Podhoretz’s “The Way Forward” [December 2012]. What was the major factor in Mitt Romney’s loss? In my opinion, it’s that Romney is not a natural politician.

The Freedom Agenda Revisited
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I greatly appreciated “Was Promoting Democracy a Mistake?” by John Agresto [December 2012], if only because it is rare to read someone acknowledge a mistake.

Understanding China
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In Jay P. Lefkowitz’s sobering account of the horrors of the North Korean gulag, “Escaping from the North Korean Stalemate” [December 2012], there are some observations regarding relations between China and North Korea that merit reconsideration.  Mr.

April, 2013Back to Top
How America Lost Its Four Great Generals
by Max Boot
The quasi-official ideology of the U.S. armed forces holds that generals are virtually interchangeable, that individual personalities don’t matter much, that ordinary grunts are in any case more important than their leaders, and that what really counts are larger systems that make a complex bureaucracy function.

The Outreach Revolution
by Jack Wertheimer
A chasm separates the Orthodox from other American Jews—or so we are told. Orthodox Jews marry younger, have considerably larger families, and provide their children with far more intensive Jewish educational and socialization experiences.

The Decline and Fall of the BBC
by Jonathan Foreman
Admired around the world, and nowhere more than in the upper reaches of the American media, the British Broadcasting Corporation has long enjoyed the unstinting support of Britain’s metropolitan media elite, whose views it both forms and reflects.

The Value of Fighting Hagel
by Jonathan Tobin
Presidents are rarely thwarted in their nominations for major cabinet posts. Thus, the 58–41 vote that confirmed Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense on February 26 was to be expected.

The Great Kosher-for-Passover War of 2013
by Seth Mandel
On February 25, exactly one month before the beginning of Passover 2013, the Orthodox Jewish world was sent into a combination of panic and outrage.

'The Gringos Are with Us'
by Elliott Abrams
At the beginning of a new Chilean movie called NO, set in 1988, two men are discussing their country’s upcoming plebiscite on whether to give General Augusto Pinochet another eight years as president.

The Forgotten Man
by John Gordon
CoolidgeBy Amity ShlaesHarper, 576 pages Calvin Coolidge served for five and a half years as the 30th president of the United States, and history has not been kind to him.

Inaction Affirmative
by Judah Bellin
Mismatch:How Affirmative Action Hurts Students It’s Intended to Help, and Why Universities Won’t AdmitBy Richard H. Sander and Stuart Taylor Jr.Basic Books, 368 pages It is a fact of American political life that the loudest advocates of “honest conversations” on race also hold the most narrow-minded views on that topic.

Class Struggle
by Naomi Riley
Becoming Right:How Campuses Shape Young ConservativesBy Amy J. Binder and Kate WoodPrinceton University Press, 422 pages When I was a senior at Harvard and the editor of the campus conservative paper, a well-known conservative provocateur strong-armed an invitation to deliver a public speech at the university.

by Fred Siegel
Detroit: An American AutopsyBy Charlie LeDuffPenguin, 304 pages Detroit: An American Autopsy is a powerful but incomplete dirge for a city that in the 1950s led the country in per-capita income and home ownership but now sets the pace for murder and corruption—a city so dysfunctional that “school kids must leave their books in the classroom and bring [their own] toilet paper to school,” and a city so decadent that arson has become entertainment. Though its author, Charlie LeDuff, won a Pulitzer reporting for the New York Times, the book has the energy and impact of high-end tabloid journalism.

Jewish Guilt
by Peter Lopatin
Anti-Judaism:The Western TraditionBy David NirenbergW.W. Norton, 624 pages At the beginning of his new book, Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition, David Nirenberg makes an underappreciated point: Since the time of the ancient Egyptians, non-Jews have spilled much ink and devoted much consideration not only to the Jews in their midst but also to “the Jews” in their imagination.

Stanley Kubrick, Museum Piece
by Frederic Raphael
The apotheosis of the movie director Stanley Kubrick, after his death in 1999, has been consummated in a traveling exhibition of his photography and motion-picture projects now lodged, until the end of June, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

by Fernanda Moore
The MiddlesteinsBy Jami AttenbergGrand Central Publishing, 288 pages Jami Attenberg’s The Middlesteins, her fourth novel, resists easy summary; though the plot is quickly digested (the matriarch of an eccentric family is eating herself to death), the book itself is a rich and sloppy feast.

David Ives: A Celebration
by Terry Teachout
Twenty years ago a bill of one-act comedies by a nearly unknown playwright named David Ives opened off-Broadway. One-act plays are not often professionally staged in New York, and when they are, they rarely draw crowds.

All the President's Fanboys
by Andrew Ferguson
The next time you say you hate your job, think of poor Martha Joynt Kumar. She labors under that ambiguous title “presidential historian”—except she’s a real historian who studies the presidency, in contrast to those airily credentialed “presidential historians” with names like Brinkley and Beschloss who do most of their lecturing and research at Charlie Rose Tech and the University of NPR.

Time to Get Serious
by John Podhoretz
Barack Obama is a serious man. Yes, he likes to golf, and yes, he ran a campaign with cutesy Facebook pictures and seemingly inane Flash slideshows like “Life of Julia.” No, he does not seem interested in the mechanics of legislation, nor does he seem adept at negotiation.

Immigration and the Hispanic Vote
by Our Readers
To the Editor:  While reading Linda Chavez’s “Hispanic Panic” [December 2012], I had to flip back to the cover several times to reassure myself that I was, indeed, reading COMMENTARY.

Pursuing Peace
by Our Readers
To the Editor:  Stephen Daisley puts matters colorfully and clearly in his essay, “Israel, the Will and Promise” [December 2012]. But a couple of his conclusions, though they may be popular, are not valid. One is that the Israeli public supports independence for Palestinian Arabs in the territories.

Richard Burton's Real Talent
by Our Readers
To the Editor:  I applaud Terry Teachout for his insightful review of The Richard Burton Diaries [“The Devil & Mr. Burton,” December 2012].

Symposium Redux
by Our Readers
To the Editor: As a conservative, I must admit my disappointment in the numerous yet diversely lame replies to your symposium question: “What Is the Future of Conservatism in the Wake of the 2012 Election?” [January].

Turkey's Hate Escalates
by Jonathan Tobin
Turkey’s Hate Escalates The government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spent the last decade trying to shatter his country’s alliance with Israel.

The Sinner Joke
Mendel the Modest is the best person on earth: generous, kind, thoughtful, and deeply pious. He dies and goes to Heaven, and is met there by the Archangel Gabriel.

May, 2013Back to Top
"My Negro Problem-and Ours" at 50
by Norman Podhoretz
This year marks the 50th anniversary of possibly the most controversial but certainly the most notorious piece ever published in COMMENTARY from that day to this.

Gay Marriage, the Court, and Federalism
by Tara Helfman
In 2009, Edith Windsor found herself saddled with an estate tax bill of almost $400,000. She sold some assets, paid the bill, and then sued the U.S.

In Praise of Sheryl Sandberg
by Christine Rosen
In his 1943 paper, “A Theory of Human Motivation,” the psychologist Abraham Maslow outlined what he called our “hierarchy of needs.” Using the image of a pyramid, Maslow described its base as human beings’ physiological needs (such as food and shelter), on top of which came our needs for security, for healthy social relationships, for esteem from others, and finally, at the apex, the need for self-actualization, which included such things as creativity, problem-solving, and morality.

The Spirit of '75?
by Algis Valiunas
On July 30, 1815, John Adams wrote to Thomas Jefferson: “Who shall write the history of the American revolution? Who can write it? Who will ever be able to write it?” With Benjamin Franklin and George Washington, Adams and Jefferson are the most renowned of the Founding Fathers.

Onto a Good Thing
by Joseph Epstein
‘Ron?’ he asked. ‘Ronnie Rosenberg?’ Rosenberg hadn’t a clue who was asking, and the man who had must have sensed this, for he quickly added, ‘Nathan, Nathan Klein.’ Rosenberg still didn’t remember.

The Bureaucrat-Driven Life
by Heather Wilhelm
Simpler: The Future of GovernmentBy Cass SunsteinSimon & Schuster, 272 pages According to enthusiasts of the ascendant social science/life-coaching strategy/quasi-cult known as “behavioral economics,” government officials can use extensive analysis of human behavior, gentle paternalistic “nudges,” and carefully crafted “choice architecture” to change the way people think and behave.

The Making of an Education Reformer
by Sohrab Ahmari
Radical: Fighting to Put Students FirstBy Michelle Rhee, Harper, 286 pages In 2007, Washington D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty tapped Michelle Rhee to be chancellor of district schools and turn around the failing local school system.

Bork's Watergate
by James Rosen
Saving Justice:Watergate, the Saturday Night Massacre, and Other Adventures of a Solicitor GeneralBy Robert H. BorkEncounter, 200 pages “I am suspicious of anyone,” the late Robert H.

Dear Prudence
by Paul Carrese
Constitutional Conservatism:Liberty, Self-Government, and Political ModerationBy Peter BerkowitzHoover Institution Press, 140 pages Peter Berkowitz’s brief and wise Constitutional Conservatism argues that conservatives, and the Republican Party, lost the popular vote in 5 of the past 6 presidential elections in part because of changing demographics, the popularity of big government, and the pervasiveness of the sexual revolution with its consequences for family and marriage.

Whose Accomplishments?
by Mona Charen
My Beloved WorldBy Sonia SotomayorAlfred A. Knopf, 336 pages The first question that presents itself about Sonia Sotomayor’s autobiography is: Did she write it? This is an age of ghosts (perhaps of many kinds, but certainly of the writing variety), and we take it for granted that prominent people have minions to help with wordsmithing.

The Parenting Trap
by Dana Mack
The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much MoreBy Bruce Feiler William Morrow, 304 pages In recent years, the credentialed experts on child-rearing—the psychologists, educators, and pediatricians who once presumed to dispense the bulk of American parenting advice—have been pretty much tossed to the sidelines and replaced by bestselling memoirists who offer ad hoc counsel to a public hungry for parenting tips.

George Saunders, Anti-Minimalist
by Fernanda Moore
Tenth of December, the sixth book and fourth collection of short stories by George Saunders, was published in early January.

A Chekhov in Training
by Terry Teachout
Playwriting in America has tended to be a man’s game. Many American women have written individual hit plays, but only three—Lillian Hellman, Wendy Wasserstein, and the long-forgotten Rachel Crothers—scored multiple successes on Broadway in the 20th century, and their track records there have yet to be rivaled.

What Ailes the Liberal Media?
by Andrew Ferguson
The first glimpse we get of our hero in the new book Roger Ailes: Off Camera isn’t promising. The author, Zev Chafets, sits with Ailes at his 10-year-old son’s basketball game at an Upper East Side prep school.

Taking Obama's Foreign Policy Seriously
by John Podhoretz
Last month, I argued that many conservatives were failing to take Barack Obama seriously—in their attacks on his golfing and their presumption he was in over his head, they were failing to grasp that Obama might be a world-historical figure who would change the trajectory of the American polity as significantly as Ronald Reagan did. Liberals rather enjoyed this point before they came upon the sentence in which I said that Obama’s “anti-exceptionalist foreign policy is setting the world on a course for nihilistic chaos.” This was deemed an unserious attack, and therefore any argument I was making that it was “Time to Get Serious” (the title of the piece) was disqualified.

More Genocide Threats from Iran
by Jonathan Tobin
More Genocide Threats from Iran While President Obama was in Jerusalem in March reaffirming his promise to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, Tehran’s Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a very different kind of promise.

Denying Jewish Peoplehood-and Reality
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Robert S. Wistrich’s essay on “The Changing Face of Anti-Semitism” [March] is both concise and comprehensive. But the unstated question of the piece is this: Are the Jews a people or a religion? The academic answer is: both.

Gun Laws, Crime, and Freedom
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Opposing gun control, as suggested by Benjamin Domenech [“The Truth About Mass Shootings and Gun Control,” February], is not wise counsel.

Don't Confuse Principle and Pose
by Our Readers
To the Editor: How readily does Matthew Continetti use the invective of the left [“Poseur Politics in the Era of Obama,” February].

Jews and Sports
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I was surprised that Joseph Epstein, in his review of Jewish Jocks [“This Jewish Sporting Life,” January], failed to mention what to me is the primary reason Jews are underrepresented in American sports: the respect many of us have for the Fourth Commandment, “Thou shall remember the seventh day and keep it holy.” Joseph Lieberman managed to combine being an observant Jew and a senator.

The Night School Joke
The year is 1925. Yussele and Shloime are recent immigrants living on the Lower East Side, working at a pillow factory.

June, 2013Back to Top
The Case for Drones
by Kenneth Anderson
1. When Obama Embraced Drone Warfare How, exactly, did drone warfare and targeted killing become key elements in America’s counterterrorism strategy? And why should we care about them as essential national-security tools for the future? Barack Obama campaigned for his first presidential term on the platform of ending America’s wars.

The ObamaCare Blame Game
by Tevi Troy
President Obama’s Affordable Care Act won’t be implemented fully until 2015. But by most every measure, and according to most every voice, things are not going well. Health-insurance premiums are becoming more expensive, which is particularly striking when you consider that the act’s advocates promised it would decrease costs by $2,500 per person.

Trashing Israel Daily
by Joshua Muravchik
On April 2, an Israeli court convicted a member of the Palestinian security forces of the murder of 25-year-old Asher Palmer and his one-year-old son, Yonatan.

Past Due
by Christine Sneed
He was thirty when they met, Nina twenty-one and a few weeks out of college, her diploma in an unopened envelope under the bed she had slept in since girlhood, her job search stalled by inertia and the unhappy disorientation of living again under her parents’ roof after four years away.

Gray Matter Chatter
by Robert Herritt
Brainwashed:The Seductive Appeal of Mindless NeuroscienceBy Sally Satel and Scott O. LilienfeldBasic Books, 256 pages If the field of neuroscience were to be represented by a single recognizable image—a logo—it would no doubt be a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scan of the human brain.

Vali of Doom
by Sohrab Ahmari
The Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy in RetreatBy Vali NasrDoubleday, 320 pages Hell hath no fury like a government staffer scorned. Every U.S.

Beyond Good, Quite Evil
by Andrew Roberts
Hitler’s PhilosophersBy Yvonne SherrattYale University Press, 328 pages Adolf Hitler liked to think of himself as a philosopher, and was never happier than when dropping the names of the thinkers he considered his close colleagues in the realm of deep thought.

Exit Laughing
by Rick Richman
No Joke: Making Jewish HumorBy Ruth R. WissePrinceton University Press, 292 pages In Jews and Power, her brilliant 2007 analysis, Ruth R.

How Hitler Destroyed German Music
by Terry Teachout
The Vienna Philharmonic recently issued a report by a group of independent historians in which the orchestra officially acknowledged for the first time the closeness of its relationship to the Third Reich.

Widow's Peak
by Fernanda Moore
The View from Penthouse BBy Elinor LipmanHoughton Mifflin Harcourt, 272 pages Elinor Lipman, a genuinely gifted writer of light fiction, has a lovely formula down pat, as her 10th novel, The View from Penthouse B, proves.

Turncoat in a Toga
by Stephen Daisley
A Jew Among Romans: The Life and Legacy of Flavius JosephusBy Frederic RaphaelPantheon, 368 pages It is no meager feat to defend a man whose own mother could not bring herself to forgive his sins—but this is the task to which Frederic Raphael sets himself in A Jew Among Romans, his apologia for the classical Jewish historian and arch-turncoat Titus Flavius Josephus. Little is known about the biography of Josephus, born Joseph ben Mattathias in 37 c.e., other than his claim to priestly and royal lineage.

The Los Angeles Times Earthquake
by Andrew Ferguson
There are moments in the life of a good progressive when ordinary measures are deemed inadequate to the task at hand—when drastic action is required to contain a mounting crisis.

The Second-Term Curse
by John Podhoretz
Did the Obama administration lie about the nature of the attack on our post in Benghazi last September? Yes. Did a leak investigation by the Department of Justice end up as a general intelligence-gathering operation against the Associated Press? It would appear so.

Disappearing Red Lines
by Jonathan Tobin
Disappearing Red LinesLast fall at the United Nations General Assembly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invited ridicule by literally drawing a red line across a cartoon bomb to demonstrate the peril of allowing Iran to refine sufficient uranium and build a nuclear weapon.

Republican Recovery
by Our Readers
To the Editor: If one starts off with flawed—or totally wrong—premises, it’s unlikely one will end up with the correct conclusions.

The Firing Squad Joke
      Sam Finkelstein and Ben Schwartz are brought before a firing squad. They are put up against a wall. “Any last requests?” the captain asks. Finkelstein says, “I would like please a blindfold.” Schwartz says, “Sam, please, don’t make trouble.”

July, 2013Back to Top
My Sister Rachel
by John Podhoretz
When her oldest, Jake, was a baby, my sister Rachel once told me, she would go into his room and watch him as he took his naps.

The Censorship You've Never Heard Of
by Philip Hamburger
The licensing of speech and the press is profoundly unconstitutional. Other methods of controlling speech, such as after-the-fact penalties, are unconstitutional only when they are used in dangerous ways.

Sentence First, Verdict Afterward
by Walter Olson
Perhaps the Obama administration was not expecting a great public outcry this spring when it unveiled a “blueprint” for how campuses across the nation will henceforth need to handle complaints of sexual misconduct.

Can Islam Be Reformed?
by Daniel Pipes
Islam currently represents a backward, aggressive, and violent force. Must it remain this way, or can it be reformed and become moderate, modern, and good-neighborly? Can Islamic authorities formulate an understanding of their religion that grants full rights to women and non-Muslims as well as freedom of conscience to Muslims, that accepts the basic principles of modern finance and jurisprudence, and that does not seek to impose Sharia law or establish a caliphate? A growing body of analysts believe that no, the Muslim faith cannot do these things, that these features are inherent to Islam and immutably part of its makeup.

The High Tea Party
by Jonathan Foreman
It takes a lot to intimidate David Cameron, the ultra-confident “modernizing” leader of Britain’s Conservative Party. After all, he took in his stride the surprising humiliation of having to form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats—a third party which had never before known office—in order to become prime minister in 2010 and claimed, almost convincingly, that he had always wanted such an alliance.

The Man Who Knew Everything
by Joshua Muravchik
“Are there any anti-Communists in Washington?” I asked as I prepared to move from New York to the capital. In 1974, the question was less odd than it may sound today.

How Putin Does It
by Leon Aron
When Vladimir Putin became acting president of Russia after Boris Yeltsin’s resignation on New Year’s Eve, 1999, the retired KGB Major-General Oleg Kalugin, then already living in or around Washington, was asked about the former KGB lieutenant-colonel.

Reading to Jacob
by John Clayton
Every night he reads to his beloved dead brother. Reads poetry, reads stories, and, accompanying himself clumsily on guitar, sings Jacob’s own songs to him.

The Depressed Hyperpower
by Tod Lindberg
This nation and its leaders have been humbled over the past decade by the ambiguous results of the American military power unleashed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Iron Intellectual
by Andrew Roberts
Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography, Volume One: Not for TurningBy Charles MoorePenguin, 784 pages The only time I spoke with Margaret Thatcher about her own death was over dinner at her home in Chester Square in London, when the conversation got round to Charles Moore’s authorized biography of her.

A Moral Authority
by Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry
Conscience and Its Enemies: Confronting the Dogmas of Liberal SecularismBy Robert P. GeorgeIntercollegiate Studies Institute Books, 384 pages It is a strange feeling to read a book with which one agrees almost entirely, and yet find oneself shaking one’s head at every other page.

Oh, Henry
by Ronald Radosh
Henry Wallace’s 1948 Presidential Campaign and the Future of Postwar LiberalismBy Thomas W. DevineUniversity of North Carolina Press, 424 pages Recently, there has been an attempt by the left to resurrect the reputation of the long-forgotten Henry A.

The Postmodern Party
by Jeremy Rozansky
The Centrist ManifestoBy Charles WheelanW.W. Norton & Company, 144 pages “Something has to change.” Thus begins the economist Charles Wheelan’s latest book, The Centrist Manifesto.

Leading from Ahead
by Tevi Troy
Leading the Way:The Story of Ed Feulner and the Heritage FoundationBy Lee EdwardsCrown Forum, 464 pages Over the past 40 years, Washington think tanks have evolved from somewhat sleepy quasi-academic institutions to important public-policy institutions that can make or break major policies.

The Lincoln Link
by John Gordon
Lincoln Unbound:How an Ambitious Young Railsplitter Saved the American Dream—and How We Can Do It AgainBy Rich LowryBroadside Books, 288 pages In politics, not even the dead get to rest.

Saturday Night Strive
by Terry Teachout
In the winter of 1972, CBS began to air four of its most successful comedy shows, All in the Family, The Bob Newhart Show, The Carol Burnett Show, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, back to back on Saturday evenings, customarily the night of the week people were least likely to watch television.

Oh, but I'm Not Judging You...
by Heather Wilhelm
I Can Barely Take Care of Myself:Tales from a Happy Life Without KidsBy Jen KirkmanSimon & Schuster, 224 pages The Little Way of Ruthie Leming:A Southern Girl, a Small Town, and the Secret of a Good LifeBy Rod DreherGrand Central Publishing, 288 pages Twenty-first century Americans certainly spend a formidable amount of time squabbling over the exact components of a morally and politically acceptable life.

Shut Up, She Explained
by Fernanda Moore
The Woman UpstairsBy Claire MessudKnopf, 272 pages Claire Messud’s new novel opens with a rant. Forty-two-year old Nora Eldridge, “a good girl, a nice girl, a straight A, strait-laced, good daughter, good career girl,” is furious.

American Dreamer
by Stephen Daisley
The Great Gatsby is the biggest, brightest, most thrilling movie of the year so far. It sings and swings like a chorus line and smolders with the smoky intensity of a gin-soaked speakeasy.

Jeremiah's Johnson
by Andrew Ferguson
I like to think that the last thoughts of Haynes Johnson were happy ones. Johnson, a longtime reporter for the Washington Post and the author of many sweeping books about American life in toto, died in late May.

The Eternal Light Joke
  The rabbi and the synagogue president are having a meeting in the sanctuary. In the back of the room, a hired hand is mopping up the floor.

Why Walker?
by Jonathan Tobin
Why Walker?Would a respected Jewish institution welcome and honor a writer who fervently supports the boycott of Israel and even refuses to allow Hebrew translations of her work? The answer is yes.

Outreach & Orthodoxy
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I read with great interest Jack Wertheimer’s essay “The Outreach Revolution” [April]. While he is correct in pointing out the political divergence between Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews, I came away with the impression that in many respects he had missed the mark. I am the president of a small shul officiated by Tucson’s head Chabad shaliach rabbi and his son-in-law and am one of the roughly 2,000 people each year whom Mr.

What Happened in Chile?
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Elliott Abrams has written an engaging account of Chile’s transition to democracy [“‘The Gringos Are with Us,’” April].

Four-Star Farewell
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Without disputing any of Max Boot’s conclusions about his subjects’ abilities and esteemed service, I must highlight two flaws in his article “How America Lost Its Four Great Generals” [April].

September, 2013Back to Top
The Citizen of the World Presidency
by Elliott Abrams
In 2007, early in the improbable presidential candidacy of Barack Obama, the young first-term senator began a series of foreign-policy speeches that seemed too general to provide a guide to what he might do if elected.

Provocation at the Wall
by Evelyn Gordon
In an interview with Haaretz shortly before finishing his term as Israel’s ambassador in Washington, Michael Oren said he had been devoting considerable effort to convincing Israeli leaders that the battle over the attempt by a women’s group to hold prayer services at Jerusalem’s Western Wall “could have strategic implications.” In Israel, Oren explained, the controversy over Women of the Wall “is perceived as a marginal question,” but “Americans see it as an issue of human rights and women’s status and freedom of worship.” This divergence of views between Jews of the diaspora and Jews in Israel has a simple explanation.

The Media's Zimmermania
by Noah Rothman
The factors that caused the shooting of a black teenager in central Florida to develop into a national obsession will be studied for years to come.

Fifty Years After the March
by Joshua Muravchik
On August 28, 1963, a quarter million Americans staged the most important demonstration in our nation’s history. They marched from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial in what is now remembered primarily as the setting for Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

I Dream of Genius
by Joseph Epstein
A happy genius is the gift of nature: it depends on the influence of the stars, say the astrologers, on the organs of the body, say the naturalists; ’tis the   particular gift of heaven, say the divines, both Christians and heathens.

The Lies of Hannah Arendt
by Sol Stern
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. In the history of American publishing, there has never been anything quite like the fevered public debates, the personal recriminations, the civil war of ideas, unleashed by Arendt’s deliberately provocative account of the trial of a perpetrator of the Final Solution.

The Happiest Number
by Naomi Riley
One and Only: The Freedom of Having an Only Child, and the Joy of Being OneBy Lauren SandlerSimon & Schuster, 224 pages Just a few pages into her new book, One and Only, Lauren Sandler cites Alice Walker on the question of whether women should reproduce.

American Crank
by Robert Herritt
The United States of Paranoia:A Conspiracy TheoryBy Jesse WalkerHarper, 448 pages There’s a certain temptation to consider Jesse Walker’s The United States of Paranoia a timely book.

A Haredi Masterpiece
by Michael Medved
The most beneficial by-product of the national debate on gay marriage involves a sharply increased, society-wide willingness to take the institution of matrimony with the seriousness it deserves.

Neocon Zombie War
by Stephen Daisley
“The earth belongs to the living and not to the dead,” Thomas Jefferson once counseled, albeit musing on generational obligations rather than zombie property rights.

Blues for Mister Charlie
by Terry Teachout
After Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker ranks as the most influential jazz musician of the 20th century. He was also a hard-drinking heroin addict whose habits directly led to his death in 1955 at the untimely age of 34.

Don't Mess with Texas
by Fernanda Moore
The SonBy Philipp MeyerEcco, 576 pages The Son, Philipp Meyer’s second book, aims to be the Great Texan Novel. The story begins in 1836, the year of the Alamo, and ends in 2012, with the unacknowledged half-Mexican heir of a powerful family riding into the distance while the family mansion succumbs to flame behind him.

Team Media: Identity Police
by Andrew Ferguson
It’s always nice to start the day with a good chuckle, and a good chuckle—perhaps a throaty ho ho is nearer the mark—is just what hit me when I picked up the Style section of the Washington Post the other day.

A Too Perfect Weapon?
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Kenneth Anderson’s otherwise superlative “The Case for Drones” [June] touches only obliquely on the two objections that, however lacking in sense, seem to resonate most strongly with Americans who oppose the use of drone warfare. One objection is that this excellent weapon of war may be turned against America’s domestic population.

The Federal Role in the Family
by Our Readers
To the Editor: While I am sympathetic to Tara Helfman’s argument against enforced conformity to national standards where states’ discretion has previously reigned, I judge it to be misplaced and wildly overstated in the matter of United States v.

Israel and the Media
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Joshua Muravchik’s essay on Haaretz reminded me of a political panel I attended at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center some years ago [“Trashing Israel Daily,” June].

The Suit Joke
     All his life, Feffer wanted a tailored suit. Finally, at the age of 65, he went to get himself one.

Terror and the Peace Talks
by Jonathan Tobin
Terror and the Peace Talks Secretary of State John Kerry has been rewarded for months of effort with a new round of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians taking place in Washington.

October, 2013Back to Top
Treason Chic
by James Kirchick
On August 18, security officers at London’s Heathrow Airport detained a Brazilian named David Miranda. They did so under the United Kingdom’s Terrorism Act, which allows authorities to hold an individual for up to nine hours if they believe him to be in possession of “information which he knows or believes might be of material assistance” to terrorists.

Is Obama Like Ike?
by Michael Doran
“I remember some of the speeches of Eisenhower,” Hillary Clinton said during a joint interview with President Obama in January.

Notes Toward an Israeli Jewish Culture
by Ruth Wisse
Cancelled and current passports show that I have been in Israel 40 times since 1992, on visits lasting from several days to several months.

Making the Jewish State a ‘Jewish State’
by Lahav Harkov
For all the controversy about Israel’s status as a “Jewish state,” the country’s own legal framework establishing it as such is surprisingly tenuous.

The Pop Presidency of Barack Obama
by Tevi Troy
In his memoir Dreams from My Father, Barack Obama describes the after-school routine of his childhood in Hawaii, where he was raised by his grandparents: I might stop off at a newsstand run by a blind man who would let me know what new comics had come in.

Ancient Life
by Peter Lopatin
Squatting at the edge of a rock outcropping, Paul Lipinsky, twelve years old, heard the sound of tires disturbing the bungalow colony’s gravel road.

Democrats Going Down
by James Rosen
Losing the Center: The Decline of American Liberalism, 1968-1992By Jeffrey BloodworthUniversity Press of Kentucky,384 pages Who remembers the fall of 1976, and the brief flurry of interest when it appeared that Senator James Buckley, the Conservative party incumbent in New York, might face a challenge from Monday Night Football’s Howard Cosell? Or that the first African American to win a majority-white district in the South was Harold Ford Sr., of Tennessee, in 1974—the year 74 liberal “Watergate babies” stormed the House? Jeffrey Bloodworth does.

Dr. K
by Matthew Continetti
Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes, and PoliticsBy Charles KrauthammerCrown Forum, 400 pages Young people often ask Charles Krauthammer how they can become a syndicated columnist.

History's Invader
by Michael Moynihan
The Interloper: Lee Harvey Oswald Inside the Soviet UnionBy Peter SavodnikBasic Books, 288 pages In 2011, a paranoid schizophrenic named Jared Loughner approached Gabrielle Giffords at a campaign event, drew a handgun, and shot the congresswoman from Arizona in the head.

This Town Isn't So Bad
by Peter Wehner
This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral—Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking!—in America’s Gilded CapitalBy Mark LeibovichBlue Rider Press, 400 pages Many years ago, shortly after I moved to Washington D.C., I began to notice a pattern: People would talk about the nation’s capital with disgust and barely concealed contempt, as if living and working there were a terrible sacrifice.

Blues, Jews, and Money
by Howard Husock
Few forms of American music are considered to be as indigenous, authentic, and regional as blues, especially Mississippi Delta blues.

The Lettered Bernstein
by Terry Teachout
By the time Leonard Bernstein died in 1990, he was unquestionably America’s best-known classical musician. Yet his achievements were viewed with persistent skepticism by critics and scholars.

Greek Tragedy in Manhattan
by Fernanda Moore
The MorelsBy Christopher HackerSoho Press, 368 pages To review Christopher Hacker’s debut novel in the conventional manner—introducing the characters, summarizing the plot, then weighing in with critical judgment—would do this stunning, unsettling book a tremendous disservice.

The Artist of the Obituary
by Andrew Ferguson
Margalit Fox is one of those writers—I’m reluctant to demote her to the rank of mere journalist—whose every paragraph carries an undercurrent of humor.

Message in a Missile
by Jonathan Tobin
Message in a Missile Vladimir Putin bolstered his Syrian ally, Bashar al-Assad, last month, but that wasn’t the only important and recent example of Moscow’s flexing its muscles in the Middle East.

Islam's Future
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Daniel Pipes accurately shows the need for the reform of ossified Islamic doctrine and law (Sharia), and cites a few signs he finds hopeful [“Can Islam Be Reformed?” July/August].

The Criminal Mind
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Robert Herritt’s review of Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience, by Sally Satel and Scott O. Lilienfeld, resurrects the old mind-body dualism, the idea that the mind and body are separate entities that just happen to intersect in the brain [“Gray Matter Chatter,” June].

Rachel Abrams, 1951-2013
by Our Readers
To the Editor: What a lovely tribute by John Podhoretz to his much-loved sister! [“My Sister Rachel,” July/August.] It brought tears to my eyes.

The Missing Guest Joke
     The phone rings on the wall of Mrs. Gerda Weinblatt’s kitchen in her apartment at 303 Avenue S in Brooklyn. “Mrs. Weinblatt?” a voice says.

November, 2013Back to Top
Loving Us to Death
by Jonathan Tobin
In the first half of the 20th century, the political and social perspective of the American Jewish community was defined by its collective experience of anti-Semitism—both in the countries from which Jews had emigrated and, in far more muted form, inside the United States.

The Failed War on the 'War on Terror'
by Seth Mandel
In May, President Barack Obama responded to critics of his counterterrorism policies by declaring that he was ready to work with Congress “to refine, and ultimately repeal” the authorization for the use of military force that served as the legal foundation and operational genesis of the war on terror.

How Putin Bested Obama
by Aurel Braun
Three weeks after Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad killed more than 1,400 of his own people with chemical weapons, the Obama administration announced the framework of an agreement directing Assad to give up his chemical arsenal—an agreement brokered by Russia, Syria’s ally and arms dealer.

Jews, Conservatives, and Canada
by Michael Medved
For forty years, Republican operatives have been consistently frustrated in their energetic and well-funded efforts to win the support of Jewish voters for their presidential candidates.

Out of Action
by Joseph Epstein
It was a pretty good night at Gamblers Anonymous. Eddie Rothman had been coming to these meetings, held in the basement of the Methodist Church on Lawrence Avenue every Tuesday night save holidays for more than three years now.

Turf Warriors
by Robert McManus
Enemies Within:Inside the NYPD’s Secret Spying Unit and Bin Laden’s Final Plot Against AmericaBy Matt Apuzzo and Adam GoldmanTouchstone, 336 pages There was a time when the wages of disloyalty were paid in ridicule and scorn.

Honest Abe
by Edward Kosner
The Rise of Abraham CahanBy Seth LipskySchocken, 240 pages The lost world of Abraham Cahan was alive with clamorous politics, intellectual combat, and misery leavened by immigrant optimism.

The Court Reporter
by Philip Terzian
The Center Holds: Obama and His EnemiesBy Jonathan AlterSimon & Schuster, 448 pages Advertised as “a narrative thriller about the battle royale surrounding Barack Obama’s quest for a second term,” Jonathan Alter’s The Center Holds is the second installment of a likely three-volume account of the Obama presidency.

It's All Greek
by Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry
The Cave and the Light: Plato Versus Aristotle, and the Struggle for the Soul of Western CivilizationBy Arthur HermanRandom House, 704 pages The world is full of secrets hiding in plain sight.

Up on the Roof
by Terry Teachout
The history of the Broadway musical in the 20th century is also a not-so-secret history of the parallel project of Jewish assimilation in America.

Motherless Commies
by Fernanda Moore
Dissident GardensBy Jonathan LethemDoubleday, 384 pages Dissident Gardens is exhilarating, overwhelming, and a mess. Jonathan Lethem’s ninth novel is a sprawling meander through three generations of New York Communists and other left-wing radicals, and it ranges all over the metropolitan—and ideological, and religious, and racial—map.

Jonathan Franzen Stands Corrected
by Andrew Ferguson
When a media war erupts between tolerant, diverse, future-oriented progressives and reactionary mossbacks clinging mindlessly to tradition and the past, you will find me with the fuddy-duddies every time.

The Ignoble Prize
by John Podhoretz
When the sages of Oslo recently bestowed the Nobel Peace Prize on the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, they demonstrated yet again how their kind of “peace” is often just an excuse for turning a blind eye toward the true nature of war.

The Lateness Joke
Morris Birnbaum has worked behind the counter selling buttons and zippers at Katz Luxury Notions for 27 years. He has never missed a day of work.

Scholarship and Censorship
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I am a recent college graduate who has conducted research that required approval from an institutional review board (IRB).

Not So Subtle Anti-Semitism
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I think Terry Teachout is a bit off the mark in assigning so much importance to Richard Wagner in inspiring the virulent anti-Semitism of Germany and Austria in the latter 19th century [“How Hitler Destroyed German Music,” June].

Playing the Race Card?
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Noah C. Rothman gives President Obama too much credit for standing up to extremists over the Trayvon Martin–George Zimmerman case [“The Media’s Zimmermania,” September].

Discriminating Genius
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Setting aside the vanity, the most crippling problem with Joseph Epstein’s September piece, “I Dream of Genius,” is that it’s easier to trace the history of an idea—in this case, the idea of genius—than it is to define it.

December, 2013Back to Top
Will We Never Be Free of the Kennedy Assassination?
by Jacob Cohen
The fall semester is almost gone, and it’s time to order books for a spring course I have offered at Brandeis University for more than 30 years: “The Idea of Conspiracy in American Culture.” I have found the perfect book, for my purposes, from the profusion of tomes on the Kennedy assassination that have appeared in this 50th-anniversary year of that mesmerizing tragedy.

Why Sunnis Fear Shiites
The recent Arab revolts in the Middle East and the concomitant “Islamic Awakening” have not merely shaken up the order of an already violent and unstable region.

The Three Failed Promises of ObamaCare
by Tevi Troy
No matter the degree of disastrousness of its October debut, no matter the efforts of Republicans to derail it, there is little or no chance that ObamaCare can be stopped before the president leaves office in January 2017.

A GOP Civil War: Who Benefits?
If the Republican Party descends into civil war over the next two years, a luncheon in October of this year will count as its Fort Sumter.

Obama the Scrivener & the Supine Court
by Tara Helfman
When it comes to getting his way on domestic policy, President Obama seems to have found a model in Herman Melville’s Bartleby, the Scrivener: What he cannot accomplish through the legislative process, he is achieving through deliberate inaction.

Men of Iron
by Abe Greenwald
Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White HouseBy Peter BakerDoubleday, 816 pages In significant ways, we still live in the post-9/11 era.

Song of Ascent
by Stephen Daisley
Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a NationBy Yossi Klein HaleviHarper, 608 pages When the 18th World Zionist Congress met in Prague in August 1933, delegates were asked to choose an official anthem for the Jewish national movement.

Arrested Development
by Armin Rosen
The IdealistBy Nina MunkDoubleday, 272 pages With the publication of his 2005 bestseller The End of Poverty, Columbia professor Jeffrey Sachs rose to fame in the world of development economics.

The Hidden Hand
by Seth Sacher
The Why Axis: Hidden Motives and the Undiscovered Economics of Everyday LifeBy Uri Gneezy & John A. ListPublicAffairs, 288 pages The range of subjects covered by those who deem themselves economists has exploded in recent decades.

Hey, Hey, JFK
by James Pethokoukis
JFK, ConservativeBy Ira StollHoughton Mifflin Harcourt, 288 pages Is Ira Stoll’s JFK, Conservative just a bit of high-end trolling of liberals? Nothing wrong with that, of course.

They Loved Their Work
by Andrew Roberts
Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing FieldsBy Wendy LowerHoughton Mifflin Harcourt, 288 pages Although Rudyard Kipling told us in 1911 that “the female of the species is more deadly than the male,” and despite the fact that special forces are instructed to shoot female terrorists first in any hostage situation as women are far more likely to kill innocents, somehow women’s capacity for viciousness—especially against children—still has the capacity to shock.

Nora Ephron’s Secret Heart
by Terry Teachout
When Nora Ephron died in 2012, many who wrote to mourn her passing gave the impression of feeling they had lost someone close to them—regardless of whether or not they had known her personally.

Clapboard Conservatives
by Anthony Paletta
When Hollywood Was Right:How Movie Stars, Studio Moguls, and Big Business Remade American PoliticsBy Donald T. CritchlowCambridge University Press, 240 pages The idea of an era in which Hollywood exerted a substantial influence in Republican politics seems almost science-fictional.

Oliver Twit
by Fernanda Moore
The GoldfinchBy Donna TarttLittle, Brown and Company, 784 pages The Secret History, Donna Tartt’s 1992 debut, was that exceedingly rare creature: a brilliant and addictive thriller that utterly fulfilled its unprecedented pre-publication hype.

The Media, on the Warpath
by Andrew Ferguson
The sports columnist for the Washington Post was adamant: Change was in the air, a longstanding injustice was soon to be righted.

The Chrismukkah Battalions
by Jonathan Tobin
In my feature story last month, “Loving Us to Death: How America’s embrace is imperiling American Jewry,” I discussed the implications of the Pew Research Center’s new study,“A Portrait of Jewish Americans.” Here is a sample of reactions from other sources on the same topic. The Chrismukkah Battalions While Pew’s statistics told a story in which intermarriage and the decline of belief in Judaism and Jewish peoplehood were inextricably linked, those who prefer to celebrate this trend were given prominent platforms to extol rather than lament the results.

Explaining Obama’s Foreign Policy
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In his description of Barack Obama’s basic beliefs on America’s position in the world [“The Citizen of the World Presidency,” September], Elliott Abrams surprisingly did not support his assertion of the president’s spinelessness in foreign policy by describing the White House’s response to the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the follow-up Egyptian revolt in July 2013, and the recent increasingly large role of Hezbollah in Syria. Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate in Egypt’s first democratic election, won about 51 percent of the vote.

Arendt & Her Defenders
by Our Readers
To the Editor: What is one to make of Sol Stern’s diatribe about Hannah Arendt, which is cloaked as a review of the new Margarethe von Trotta film about Arendt [“The Lies of Hannah Arendt,” September]? One would think that all the issues related to Eichmann in Jerusalem and Arendt herself should have been dealt with in the 38 years since she passed away.

Religious Equality at the Kotel
by Our Readers
To the Editor: One question seems to have escaped Evelyn Gordon’s recasting of the events surrounding the blatant discrimination against Nashot HaKotel/Women of the Wall in Israel [“Provocation at the Wall,” September], which too often leads to the violent reactions of a narrow Haredi Orthodox conception of what “true” Judaism is: How does one bring about positive social change without what she labels as provocation? It is beside the point that for the majority of Israelis, religious gender discrimination against women is irrelevant.

The Panhandling Joke
Finkel is shopping on Orchard Street on the Lower East Side when he is stopped by a man in a threadbare suit, dirty shirt, and torn sneakers who is wearing a yarmulke.

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