June 4, 2018

One of Socialism’s Biggest Failures: Israel

Unless you’re an Israel scholar, you may not know that most of the founders of the modern state of Israel were secular Jews and socialists. The system they put in place in 1948 was based on socialist principles, reflecting both the experience many had growing up on kibbutzim or activism in socialist organizations in Europe. The founders created an economic system dominated by the public sector, which to a certain extent fit the needs of the nascent country at the time. By taxing private enterprise heavily and raising money in the U.S. and elsewhere, they sought to build a social infrastructure, including government buildings as well as roads and housing, all designed to handle the massive flow of immigrants into […]
July 26, 2015

PollaksPolitics: My Political Blog

I am a writer of genre fiction, but I am also engaged in the political realm. As a result, it seemed logical to have two separate blogs–one for each kind of post. For that reason I created PollaksPolitics.com, a blog where I post my thoughts on political issues. In case you’d like to label me before reading these, call me a Jeffersonian. I believe in the kind of democracy that the founders envisioned which expected its citizens to have a stake in society, to be informed, and to take responsibility for themselves and their families, not the kind that grants one a vote just because you reached the proper age. Remember much evil has come about due to elections in […]
July 22, 2015

Jerusalem 1913: The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict (2007) by Amy Dockser Marcus

On the basis of her 2007 study Jerusalem 1913: The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, Amy Dockser Marcus, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, was invited to be a consultant on the PBS Special “Roots of Conflict” that premiered June 30 of this year. After reviewing the PBS Special, I felt obligated to read Marcus’ book, and am glad that I did. Marcus’ thesis in Jerusalem 1913, which is echoed in the PBS documentary, is that Arabs, Jews, and Christians lived in relative harmony in Jerusalem in 1913, but that harmony was irrevocably upset by the Zionist movement and its drive to establish a Jewish state in Palestine. She tells her story through several individuals, each of whom sees the impending […]
July 12, 2015

The Israeli Solution: A Review (Part Two)

The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East by Caroline Glick (Crown Forum, 2014) In Part One of my review of Caroline Glick’s The Israeli Solution, I describe her rationale for rejecting the two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict that has been a leading policy objective of presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama. Glick argues that advocates of that “solution” incorrectly claim that giving the Palestinians their own state will reduce violence in the region. Events, including the escalating Sunni-Shi’a conflict, the rise of ISIS, the dissolution of Syria, and Iran’s nuclear ambitions, should put that thesis to bed. Under Barack Obama, the U.S. has increased pressure on Israel to accept a two-state solution. In his “New […]
June 25, 2015

The Israeli Solution, A Review, Part I: The Two-State Chimera*

Seminal, must read works exist in literature, philosophy, and political theory. For example, can one study the Cold War without having read George Kennan or discuss ethics without having read Rawls? In that vein, anyone who seeks to defend a position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict needs to have read Caroline Glick’s The Israeli Solution (2013). Since Glick’s book is fairly recent, you are forgiven if you haven’t heard of it or haven’t got around to reading it. My hope is that this review will convince you to remedy that lapse. The first part of this review covers Glick’s analysis of the two-state solution; her alternative is the subject of part two. In part one of The Israeli Solution, Glick, who […]
April 27, 2015

Book Review: Leon Uris, The Haj

This Leon Uris 1984 classic is worth reading (or re-reading) today in light of current events. It tells the story of an Arab family living in Palestine during the influx of Jewish settlers from Europe prior to World War II, the failure of the Arab nations to deal honestly with the refugees after the 1948 war, and the failure of the refugees to adjust to the new reality, leaving us where we are today, 67 years after Israeli independence, with the refugees still thinking their well-being depends on the destruction of Israel. Uris interweaves the story of his Arab family with historical events and people, but not always successfully as he is stuck with how to end the book–a problem […]