Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Palestine

A Critique of Sam Harris

Over at Current Affairs, Nathan Robinson and Eli Massey have written the critique of Sam Harris. Robinson offers a magisterial, detailed overview of the rhetorical sleights of hand Harris uses to give relatively weak, unoriginal positions the imprimatur of “science” and “reason”. I want to add something to this discussion–something Robinson touches on but which I want to stay with for a minute. There is a core problem with the way Harris thinks which necessarily generates bad takes on Islam and the Muslim world.

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John Kerry and the UN are Right about Israeli Settlements

The UN Security Council has passed Resolution 2334 by a vote of 14 to zero, with the United States choosing to abstain rather than exercise its veto. The resolution condemns Israel’s construction of settlements within the occupied Palestinian territories. The language is uncharacteristically blunt:

the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace

The 14 member states who voted in favor of the resolution include the remaining permanent members (Britain, France, Russia, and China) and all of the current non-permanent members (Angola, Egypt, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Senegal, Spain, Ukraine, Uruguay, and Venezuela). Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claims the resolution is “skewed against Israel” and Donald Trump agreed, tweeting:

But both Trump and Netanyahu are mistaken–not only is Resolution 2334 not skewed against Israel, it is in Israel’s interest to abide by the resolution and abandon its settlements. Here’s why.

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Corbyn, Stein, and the Left’s Anti-Imperialism Problem

If you ask the British people what they think about Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s policies, it’s clear that any skepticism they may have about his economic agenda is far surpassed by misgivings about his foreign policy:

Since becoming Labour leader, Corbyn and his supporters have been accused of being “terrorist sympathizers” and anti-Semitic. This perception is tied to a suite of policy positions and attitudes which are best described as “anti-imperialist”. Left wing politicians and movements which embrace anti-imperialism face a set of political obstacles that they avoid if they jettison it. Today I’d like to think a little bit about how anti-imperialism works, both as a theory of international politics and in terms of its influence on the success and failure of the left in domestic politics.

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Netanyahu’s Reelection is a Disaster for Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has scored a stunning victory in his battle for reelection, defeating a center-left coalition which just days prior looked to have the upper hand. Netanyahu achieved this by pulling sharply to the right, saying several remarkably destructive things that he cannot simply take back. By re-electing Netanyahu in the full light of the things Netanyahu has said in the last week, Israel has indicated to the world that its population largely stands behind the things Netanyahu has said. This will cause irreparable damage to Israel’s international standing and to the US-Israel alliance, all of which can only serve to undermine Israel’s long-term strategic interests.

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Human Shields, Krauthammer, and Bad Arguments for Operation Protective Edge

Since I last wrote about Operation Protective Edge, the conflict in the Gaza Strip has escalated, with Israel launching a ground invasion. I’ve discussed the conflict with many people, and there are a few key arguments I keep hearing in defense of the operation that do not stand up to scrutiny. My aim today is to expose them to said scrutiny.
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