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Israel, Anti-Semitism, and the Arts

To the Editor:I applaud Jonathan S. Tobin’s main point in “Why The Death of Klinghoffer Matters” [December 2014]: that the defense of the opera in the arts world and the intellectual mainstream signals “a terrifying milestone in the treatment of Israel and anti-Semitism.”Responses to 

The Mother-in-Law Joke

Bernstein has always wanted to go big-game hunting. His wife, Myrna, has always wanted to go on a safari. They compromise and decide to do both. “Oh,” says Myrna, “we have to bring my mother with us, too.”

Muslims and Terror: The Real Story

January’s murderous attacks in Paris on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and the kosher supermarket Hyper Cacher evoked not only fear, indignation, and defiance from Western leaders and publics, but also a second stream of reactions: anxious assertions that the killings bore no relation to Islam and expressions of worry that the Muslim identity of [...]

Israel’s Left-Wing Right Wing

Nowadays, it’s become virtually accepted wisdom that Israel is becoming increasingly right-wing, and that this shift constitutes a major obstacle to peace. No less a figure than Bill Clinton made this claim at a Clinton Global Initiative conference in 2010. A 2011 study by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies similarly declared, “Today [...]

The Truth About ‘Wage Stagnation’

In Through the Looking-Glass, Alice meets the White Queen, who proceeds to explain that she “remembers” the future. Alice responds, reasonably enough: “I can’t remember things before they happen.” The White Queen is unimpressed: “It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards.” In his State of the Union address in January, Barack Obama [...]

The Quiet Fever of Peggy Lee

Few things in the world of popular art are more dismaying than the spectacle of a beloved performer who goes on too long. The singer Peggy Lee was such a performer, and her decline was all the more pitiable for being so protracted. She made her last noteworthy recordings in 1975, when she was just [...]

Terrific Enough

Honeydew: StoriesBy Edith PearlmanLittle, Brown and Company, 288 pagesEdith Pearlman is 78 years old. For 47 years, she has been writing quietly gorgeous short stories. (One, the astonishing “Settlers,” appeared in these pages in 1986). Although her fiction has been published in three of The Best American Short Stories compendiums, two of the Pushcart Prize [...]

American Sniper as Apple Pie

With a war lost by the president whom liberals urged, indeed demanded, to abandon unsettled Iraq to the rule of chaos, and with the conflict’s cultural divisions pushed off the front page, the cultural commentariat let down its collective guard. Its panjandra had no idea the effect a movie like American Sniper could have in [...]

The Dishonor of Brian Williams

Brian Williams must have assumed he was being gracious. The Army command sergeant major he had befriended during the 2003 invasion of Iraq was retiring after 24 years of service. So on January 29, the anchor of NBC Nightly News invited Sergeant Major Tim Terpak to see the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden [...]

Iran Showdown Postponed

Iran Showdown PostponedThe new Congress was prepared to pass a fresh set of sanctions on Iran intended to pressure that country’s leaders into negotiating in good faith and abandoning their nuclear dreams. But President Obama, still intent on pursuing détente with Iran, vowed to veto any sanctions bill. Though there appeared to be veto-proof majorities [...]

American Exceptionalism’s Global Legacy?

To the Editor:In his cover article, “The Good Country” [December 2014], Tim Kane asserts that during and following the Cold War, “prosperity in the form of economic growth and human development has emerged in [nations] where American boots have trod.” He argues his case for this assertion largely on the basis of countries such as [...]

Tormé the Entertainer

To the Editor:Terry Teachout has written an excellent delineation of Mel Tormé’s place in American popular song [“Mel Tormé’s Torment,” December 2014]. The fact that Tormé lamented his perceived lack of appropriate recognition was due to a number of factors: style, appearance, and his own significant and often unpleasant arrogance. Rob McConnell, creator of the [...]

Who’s Shutting Down DHS? Democrats!

With only hours to go before the deadline for a Department of Homeland Security shutdown expired, a last minute compromise attempt to continue the funding failed late Friday afternoon. After the Senate passed a temporary spending bill to fund DHS, the House took up a measure that would keep the money flowing for three weeks […]

RE: The GOP has an Image Problem with the Middle Class

I totally agree with Pete that the GOP has an image problem, as revealed by the Pew polling data:

Obama Sabotaged AIPAC, Not Netanyahu

The AL Monitor website gained a lot of attention yesterday with a story that alleged that AIPAC was opposed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans to speak to a joint session of Congress next week on the Iranian nuclear threat. The conceit of the piece was that the controversy over the speech was undermining […]

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