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Farewell to the Era of No Fences 

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Europe’s openness rests on America’s strength—you can’t have one without the other.

Bret Stephensrenocol_BretStephens writes: This was supposed to be the Era of No Fences. No walls between blocs. No borders between countries. No barriers to trade. Visa-free tourism. The single market. A global Internet. Frictionless transactions and seamless exchanges.

In short, a flat world. Whatever happened to that?

In the early 1990s, Israel’s then-Foreign Minister Shimon Peres published a book called “The New Middle East,” in which he predicted paradwhat was soon to be in store for his neighborhood. “Regional common markets reflect the new Zeitgeist,” he gushed. It was only a matter of time before it would become true in his part of the world, too.

[Order Robert Kagan’s book “Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order” from Amazon.com]

I read the book in college, and while it struck me as far-fetched it didn’t seem altogether crazy. The decade from 1989 to 1999 was an age of political, economic, social and technological miracles. The Berlin Wall fell. The Soviet Union dissolved. Apartheid ended. The euro and Nafta were born. The first Internet browser was introduced. Oil dropped below $10 a barrel, the Dow topped 10,000, Times Square became safe again. America won a war in Kosovo without losing a single man in combat.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

Would Israeli businessmen soon be selling hummus and pita to quality-conscious consumers in Damascus? Well, why not?new-middle-east

[Check out Shimon Peres’s bookThe New Middle East: Protest and Revolution in the Arab World at Amazon.com

Contrast this promised utopia with the mind-boggling scenes of tens of thousands of Middle East migrants, marching up the roads and railways of Europe, headed for their German promised land. The images seem like a 21st-century version of the Völkerwanderung, the migration of nations in the late Roman and early Medieval periods. Desperate people, needing a place to go, sweeping a broad landscape like an unchanneled flood. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jon Stewart Wrong on Israel-Gaza ‘I think they take the very funny Mr. Stewart very seriously. Which, in this case, is a bit of a problem.’

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It’s an asymmetrical war, all right. But America’s satirical news host has got it the wrong way around

dhorovitz2b-mediumFor The Times of IsraelDavid Horovitz writes: That Jon Stewart, he’s sooooo funny. Just watch his amusing take on the current Israel-Gaza conflict. Really, it’s a nonstop laugh fest.

Yeah, it misrepresents what’s going on here. But hey, it is funny, and all those millions of Americans who watched it on Monday know that it’s just satire, don’t they?

Except I fear that they do not. I think they take the very funny Mr. Stewart very seriously. Which, in this case, is a bit of a problem.

Why? Let’s take it joke by joke.

Our super-smart, engagingly frustrated host starts up despairing over a news report of the intensifying conflict which says Israeli troops are poised to invade Gaza, and which ends with the words “as the aerial bombardment from both sides continues.”

Stewart: “Tastes great. More killing.”

See, right off the bat, I’m unhappy. Because, first up, he’s begun with talk of Israel being set to invade Gaza, but without any cited reason — such as, say, Hamas being a terrorist organization with a notorious track record of suicide bombings, individual killings, kidnappings, and incessant rocket fire. And, second, because the implication here is that the combatants — Israel and Hamas — are both happy to be back killing again, and that’s just plain false. Hamas is avowedly committed to the destruction of Israel and holds to a perverted interpretation of Islam that claims killing Jews, Christians and non-believing Muslims is your guaranteed path to paradise if you also die in the process. Israelis, by contrast, would much rather live and let live. (We left Gaza unilaterally in 2005, under international pressure, hoping that the security risk would be worth it, and that we’d be rewarded with tranquility rather than rocket fire, but I wouldn’t expect Stewart to go back that far.)

Stewart “Both sides are engaging in aerial bombardment, but one side appears to be bomb-better-at it. (Studio laughter at the wordplay.) Most Hamas rockets are neutralized by Israel’s Iron Dome technology, and Israeli citizens can even now download a warning app. (Cut to clip of Israel’s US ambassador Ron Dermer explaining how Israelis can know where and when they’re being attacked.) So Israelis seem to have a high-tech, smart-phone alert system.”

Let me see if I understand the point he’s making here: Having falsely implied that Israel is as keen on killing as Hamas is, Stewart now seems to be criticizing Israel for not being as vulnerable as Hamas would like it to be to those Hamas rockets that are sent to kill us. Read the rest of this entry »