Matthew Duss

Matthew Duss is a foreign policy analyst and a contributing writer for the Prospect. You can follow him on Twitter @mattduss.

Recent Articles

A History of Nonviolence

Palestinian leader Naim Ateek has long advocated nonviolence as the only way to secure peace between Israel and Palestine. So why is he so despised by hard-line Israel supporters?

"The Palestinians need to become really conscious of and sensitive to the horror of the Holocaust. ...We must understand the importance and significance of the Holocaust to the Jews, while insisting that the Jews understand the tragedy of Palestine for the Palestinians." - Rev. Canon Naim Ateek , founder of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem * * * Naim Ateek had just turned 11 when forces of the Haganah, the pre-Israel Zionist paramilitary organization, occupied his village of Beisan in Palestine. Days later, the villagers were informed that they were to be "evacuated," forcibly moved off land that Palestine's Jewish minority now claimed for its own state. Ordered to gather in the village center, the Ateeks took what they could carry, and joined the other frightened families, all clutching heirlooms, photographs, jewelry, and awaiting an uncertain future, away from the homes in and lands on which their families had lived for generations. It is perhaps...

ON THE FRIED CHICKEN MOON CONTROVERSY.

Last night, NOVA premiered a documentary on the Dover, PA intelligent design trial of 2005. It should be up on the web soon, I'm looking forward to watching it, having played a small part myself in the controversy over ID. Greg Anrig has some comments : "In watching the documentary, I was struck by the parallels between the Dover story and movement conservatism generally. The selling of “intelligent design,” and the idea itself, has much in common with Social Security privatization, supply-side economics, the invasion of Iraq, school vouchers, and other half-baked causes that the right has relentlessly been pushing in recent decades. [...] Basically, the Discovery Institute’s Center was in the business of marketing—not research. It had a product to sell – intelligent design -- and was focused on doing whatever it could to sell that idea. Even the name of the idea itself was changed from creationism to make it more palatable. Much like the unobjectionable moniker “Center for Renewal of...

IN WHICH I IMPLICITLY RAISE THE PROSPECT OF FUTURE XBOX DIPLOMACY

Rod Nordland reports that General Petraeus has held meetings with several of Muqtada al-Sadr 's top deputies. "U.S. commanders say that the Mahdi Army's quiescence is a significant factor behind the recent drop in attacks in Baghdad—by a third compared with six months ago, according to one estimate. And they say they now share a common enemy: rogue Mahdi Army units, known as "special groups" and allegedly funded by Iran, who have declared they will not obey the ceasefire. Sadr loyalists have formed an elite unit called the "golden battalion" to go after these rebels; the Americans are hoping to encourage the more moderate leaders to distance the Mahdi Army even further from its "irreconcilable" wing. "Those elements, such as the special-group, extremist elements, have in fact dishonored Sadr's pledge of honor," says Boylan." I think this tracks pretty well with what Bartle Bull has written about Muqtada deciding , over a year ago, that it was in his interest to cooperate, however...

AT LEAST SHE DIDN'T MENTION THATCHER'S FEET...

I don't really know how to respond to Holy Dolphin Lady's paean to Margaret Thatcher except to say that I find Noonan's contention that there is one appropriate way for a woman to conduct herself in politics (carry a purse, eat beef, and govern like a mean daddy) to be utterly sexist, as well as transparently partisan: Thatcher supported policies Noonan liked; therefore, she is to be emulated by all female chief executives. It's not clear to me that, apart from noting the obvious significance of possibly being the first female president, Hillary Clinton has, in fact, made her gender all that much of an issue, certainly not to the extent that Noonan insists. But if so, so what? As Ann and Jessica indicated last week, male politicians accentuate their gender all the time, they just don't get called on it because in our political culture we expect our male leaders to strut like cocks for our votes. It's also because there is a wider selection of types after which these leaders can...

TALK TO IRAN

David Ignatius writes that Israel's former top spy believes that we need a less apocalypse-baiting approach to Iran: "[Efraim] Halevy suggests that Israel should stop its jeremiads that Iran poses an existential threat to the Jewish state. The rhetoric is wrong, he contends, and it gets in the way of finding a peaceful solution to the Iranian nuclear problem. [...] "We must be much more sophisticated and nuanced in our policies toward Iran," Halevy contends. He argues for a combination of increased economic pressure and a diplomatic opening that attempts to speak to Iran's "national aspirations" and its shared interests with America and the West -- and even Israel." Efraim Halevy 's characterization of Iran as a rational hegemonic actor, and not the nation-as-suicide-bomber that people like Norman Podhoretz and Michael Ledeen are desperately trying to sell , tracks pretty well with what Trita Parsi wrote last week. Iran feels entitled to a prominent and influential role in the Middle...

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