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


STILL ATONING FOR THAT SUHA EMBRACE . Following up on Ezra's post yesterday on Hillary Clinton 's statement acknowledging Jerusalem as Israel's "undivided capital," it's worth noting that this puts her to the far right of Israeli public opinion, of which a stable majority recognizes the Palestinian claim to East Jerusalem, and accepts that shared sovereignty over Arab neighborhoods and religious sites will be part of a final status agreement. Honestly, though, I'd be interested to hear from Clinton how Israel's policy of demolishing Palestinian homes in Arab East Jerusalem to make way for Israeli settlements, in which non-Jews are prohibited from living, accords with her "liberal values," but, then again, I suppose no one ever lost an American election by ignoring Palestinian rights. --Matthew Duss


STEADY AS A ROCK. Jonah Goldberg on the inconstancy of President Bush 's war critics: "Perhaps the answer is that when it comes to bashing Bush about the war, no accusation is inaccurate -- even if it contradicts all the accusations that came before. Some say it's all about the Israel lobby. Others claim that Bush was trying to avenge his dad. Still others say Bush went to war because God told him to. Which is it? All of those? Any? It doesn't seem to matter. It's disturbing how many people are willing to look for motives beyond the ones debated and voted on by our elected leaders." Right. On the other hand, President Bush's justification for invading Iraq has always stayed the same : Saddam has WMD. Or, Saddam has connections to al-Qaeda. Or, Saddam wanted to develop WMD, and might could possibly have had connections to al-Qaeda. Or, we're building democracy in Iraq. Or, now we're fighting al-Qaeda in Iraq so we don't have to fight them here. Or, now we're fighting Iran in Iraq. Why...


REDNECK CHIC. Is there anything more pathetic than the spectacle of the wealthy conservative pundit, that creature of millionaire-funded think tanks, TV studio green rooms, and catered symposia, trying to establish some red-state cred by pretending to be down with redneck culture? Michael Ledeen : "Barbara and I went to Indianapolis for a Toby Keith concert, where we partied with something like 25,000 happy rednecks, most of them young, most of them wearing boots and cowboy hats (and cheering Keith's great song "I Should Have Been a Cowboy"). It's a great show, and he's a wonderful performer, not least because of his deeply moving patriotic songs like "American Soldier," "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue," and " The Taliban," etc. It's great to get out of the Washington culture of narcissism and spend some time with the rednecks, a.k.a. real Americans. And it's simply great, as the encores end, and a downpour of red, white and blue confetti covers the crowd, to see Toby say "don't...


THE DREAM PALACE OF THE NEOCONS . Fouad Ajami yesterday in Tigris Beat magazine, err, the Wall Street Journal , remembering Sheikh Abdul Sattar Abu Reisha : “This was the dashing tribal leader who emerged as the face of the new Sunni accommodation with American power, and who was assassinated by al Qaeda last week. I had not been ready for his youth (born in 1971), nor for his flamboyance. Sir David Lean, the legendary director of "Lawrence of Arabia," would have savored encountering this man. There was style, and an awareness of it, in Abu Reisha: his brown abaya bordered with gold thread, a neat white dishdasha, and a matching headdress.” …The air was heavy with cardamom and fatoush, the palms beat gently in the breeze...or was it my heart? The rest of Ajami’s piece shows Abu Reisha as someone who had mastered the art of telling Americans exactly what they wanted to hear, and Ajami as someone completely committed to playing along. Given Ajami’s reputation as a skeptical analyst and...


OBAMA’S TEACHING MOMENT. Alec MacGillis reported Tuesday on the spectacle of Barack Obama's campaign frantically trying to distance the candidate from an ad for Mearsheimer and Walt's new book The Israel Lobby which appeared on the campaign's website . Yesterday we had this number from The Politico , in which Ben Smith functioned as a conduit for vague, unsubstantiated accusations of bigotry against the authors, and also against Obama adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski . "Brzezinski, 79, stepped into the crossfire this summer when he published an essay in the summer issue of the journal Foreign Policy, defending a controversial new book about the power of the “Israel Lobby” in American politics. The book’s authors, Harvard’s Stephen Walt and the University of Chicago’s John Mearsheimer, thanked him for his “incisive defense.” But the article inserted him into one of the most heated debates in America-Israel politics, a bitter dispute about whether the authors’ claims smacked of bigotry,...