Matthew Duss

Matthew Duss is president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace and a contributing writer for the Prospect. You can follow him on Twitter @mattduss.

Recent Articles

FRIENDS DON'T LET FRIENDS DISAPPEAR AS PART OF THEIR ESCHATOLOGY

I heard this NPR story this morning as I made pancakes: "Seven thousand evangelical Christians from nearly 100 countries are in Israel this week to show support for the Jewish state. [...] The evangelical Christians in colorful costumes wave flags, sing and dance — marching as part of the city's traditional parade for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot... Wearing large styrofoam cowboy hats and beaming with joy, Sandy and Greg Cassee from Amarillo, Texas, said this was their first visit to Israel.” You know, to me, nothing quite says " zman simchateinu !" like a large styrofoam cowboy hat. On the other hand, I should point out that the wearing of large styrofoam cowboy hats in observance of Sukkot has about as much to do with Jewish tradition as premillenial dispensationalist Christian Zionism does with anything Jesus ever taught, so I guess there's a certain symmetry there. The article is worth reading (or listening to). TAP contributor Gershom Gorenberg is quoted in regard Christian...

THE PASDARAN'S FAVORITE PUNDIT

Michael Ledeen tries punching above his weight : "[Seymour] Hersh has been announcing the imminent bombing of Iranian nuclear sites for many months, and has now changed the lyrics to that chant. He now says that there’s been a change in program: we’re going to bomb military targets, Revolutionary Guards bases, and so forth. As usual, his sources range from the unnamed to the unreliable. He relies on Vincent Cannistraro, who has lied about me among his other inventions, and on Vali Nasr, who rarely sees anything to criticize in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The quality of Nasr’s analysis emerges in an amazing statement that Hersh quotes with favor: "It’s clear that the United States cannot bring security to Iraq, because it is not doing everything necessary to bring stability. If they did, they would talk to anybody to achieve it—even Iran and Syria,” Nasr said. (Such engagement was a major recommendation of the Iraq Study Group.) “America cannot bring stability in Iraq by fighting...

ARABS AND HOLLYWOOD.

There's an Interesting LA Times story today on actors of Middle Eastern descent struggling with the roles available to them: "Arabs and Arab Americans in Hollywood live in an interesting time. The appetite for Middle Eastern stories and themes boomed after 9/11 and grew again with the ongoing grind of the war in Iraq. But the roles suddenly being created for Arab-heritage actors often are limited to those of terrorists or are otherwise so poorly drawn that actors must swallow their pride to take them. And that's if they even get offered the parts. Some in the community still see the changes as a sign of progress. "There is more work out there for the Arab actor than 10 years ago," said Ismail Kanater, a Moroccan actor who has been in Showtime's "Sleeper Cell" and the now-canceled Steven Bochco series "Over There." "Even though we get actors complaining about terrorist roles, there is a natural interest in the region. That will open doors." At least one actor made that interest pay off...

THE NEOCON MERGE TEMPLATE REVEALED.

Read the following and see if you can guess whether David Frum is writing about Iraq back in 2003, or about Iran today: "You want realism? It's this: The emerging US-____ confrontation is a confrontation of ___'s choice and ____'s making. It is ____ that has determined to seek nuclear weapons, ____ that has declared it will use those weapons aggressively against its neighbors, and ____ that has made a nonsense of the long negotiations with the UK, France, and Germany. We are rapidly reaching the point - maybe we have reached it already - where ____ has succeeded in reducing our choices to two: acquiesce in a nuclear bomb or stop it by force. As for the idea that the present ____ regime can be a negotiating partner - a constructive force in the region - or anything other than a menace to its neighbors or its own people, well we need another term for that. How about "fantasy"?" Answer: Why should anybody give a ____ what David Frum writes at this point? --Matthew Duss

TODAY'S VERY SERIOUS, THOUGHTFUL ARGUMENT.

Jonah Goldberg brings his favorite analytical tools, the broad generalization and the unsubstantiated assertion, to bear upon the question of "national culture," with predictable results : "I've come around to the view that the culture war can best be understood as a conflict between two different kinds of patriotism. On the one hand, there are people who believe being an American is all about dissent and change, that the American idea is inseparable from "progress." America is certainly an idea, but it is not merely an idea. It is also a nation with a culture as real as France's or Mexico's. That's where the other patriots come in; they think patriotism is about preserving Americanness. Okay, but we all have our own definitions of "Americanness," don't we? For instance, the sort of Americanness I want to preserve involves my right not to be kidnapped by my government, held indefinitely without charge in a secret location, and tortured, err, I mean "stressed" into a confession. For...

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