Middle East

GUEST OPINION: Roots of the Gaza violence


 In 2009, I was working in Congress when the eminent South African judge Richard Goldstone came to the House of Representatives to defend the UN report he authored on war crimes committed by both Israelis and Palestinians during that year’s war.

Goldstone stood before a handful of members of Congress and told them that before you condemn the report, you should at least read it. A few staffers and I sent emails across Capitol Hill offering to hand-deliver a paper copy of the entire 575-page report to any member of Congress. Only two took up our offer. That afternoon 344 out of the 435 members of US Congress voted in favor of condemning the report.

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Cup-of-tea diplomacy


In the spring of 2008, I was invited to give a briefing on human rights to a Bush-appointed US ambassador scheduled to be posted to the Middle East. But the ambassador had little interest in talking about human rights.

“What I want to know is this,” he said. “Is Islam the problem here? Is Islam retarding progress—economically, socially, politically?”

I tried to steer the meeting back to human rights but the ambassador kept persisting. “I mean you’re a Muslim…so do you think Islam is standing in the way?” Read more »