Richard Just

Richard Just is the deputy editor of The New Republic. From September 2002 until December 2003, he was editor of The American Prospect Online. He graduated cum laude from Princeton University in 2001, with a degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. At Princeton, he was the editor-in-chief of The Daily Princetonian.

Richard is also the founder and executive director of The Daily Princetonian Class of 2001 Summer Journalism Program, a 10-day program for students from under-resourced high schools who are planning to pursue careers in journalism. The program is held annually on the campus of Princeton University; its inaugural session took place in August 2002.

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During the spring of my senior year in college, I signed up for a class called "Cinema, Politics and Society in the Middle East." The professor was unabashedly pro-Palestinian, and the way she taught the region's history reflected her political bias. As the only defender of Israel in the class, I frequently found myself challenging her assertions and those of my classmates. At the same time, I also found myself exposed to the Arab narrative of modern Middle Eastern history, which was quite different from the one I had previously learned. I emerged from the course as staunchly pro-Israel as I had been before, but better able to articulate my views and to understand, if not necessarily agree with, the other side.

A New Wind:

Middle East watchers are so desperately starved for the slightest glimmer of hope these days that they're prone to seize on even the smallest bit of good news as a genuine breakthrough. Sadly, we've seen would-be deus ex machinas before in the last few months, most prominent among them the dead-on-arrival Saudi Arabian peace plan. Each was full of hot air and false promise.

Go West:

The backlash against Princeton's luring of African-American studies professor Cornel West from Harvard has officially begun. In the last two weeks, The New Republic's editors strongly criticized West's scholarship and ridiculed Princeton's pursuit of him. Slate announced the start of a regular feature called the "Cornel West Whine Watch." John McWhorter of Berkeley pounded West in The Wall Street Journal.

Upping the Anti:

At about 1:30 on Saturday afternoon -- with a pro-Palestinian rally on the White House ellipse ending and a crowd of several thousand protesters, mostly Arab-Americans, preparing to march down Pennsylvanian Avenue -- a middle-aged white woman exclaimed, "I like that!" and pointed excitedly at a sign bobbing above the crowd. It was a drawing of the American flag, but without the usual 50 stars. In their place was a single blue Star of David; the bottom of the sign read simply, "Free America."

"Free America from the Jews," the woman said contentedly. "Yeah."

From Tel Aviv to Washington:

At the time, the evening of November 4, 1999, seemed a singularly hopeful moment in recent Israeli history. That night I was in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, where tens of thousands of Israelis had assembled to pay tribute to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Though it was the fourth anniversary of his assassination, it was the first to occur with a pro-peace Labor government back in power. During the week leading up to the rally, there had been controversy in the Israeli press as to whether Rabin's protege, newly elected Prime Minister Ehud Barak, would speak; his presidential security service had apparently advised him it could not guarantee his safety at such a large event.

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