21st Century


  • Israel-Palestine Population By the Numbers

    Israel-Palestine Population By the Numbers

    The relative size of the population of Arabs and Jews in Israel Palestine– as well as the raw numbers of people involved– tends to surprise many people in the West. Perhaps it is emblematic of the problems there, but the numbers can be confusing to pin down or understand because the definition of the areas…

  • The Last Palestinian: The Rise and Reign of Mahmoud Abbas

    The Last Palestinian: The Rise and Reign of Mahmoud Abbas

    The publisher of The Last Palestinian touts it as the first book in English to profile Mahmoud Abbas, the man who succeeded Yasser Arafat as leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization and has since been the titular head of the Palestinian national movement. Astonishingly, the publisher’s claim appears to be true, and co-authors Grant Rumley…

  • A Tale of Two Jerusalem Days

    A Tale of Two Jerusalem Days

    A couple of years ago I found myself changing my flight to Jerusalem to include a side-trip to Jordan, so that I could meet a friend-of-a-cousin-of-a-friend who had offered to help me with my research. It was difficult to find anything about the man I was to meet, but among the precious snippets I could…

  • Making Moderate Islam by Rosemary R. Corbett

    Making Moderate Islam by Rosemary R. Corbett

    Nobody seemed to care that an upscale Islamic community center was being proposed for lower Manhattan until 2010 when Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post christened it “The Ground Zero Mosque”. Sporting its new sobriquet, the proposed project made the familiar leap from scandal rag to cable news to becoming a fetish in America’s culture war.

  • Donald Trump, Theologian

    Donald Trump, Theologian

    Recently, James Carroll wrote a sensitive piece in the New Yorker (“The Radical Meaning of Pope Francis’s Visit to Juarez”) about the testy exchange between Pope Francis and Donald Trump regarding immigration. Midway through the brief article and on his way to making the point that the pope held the ethical high ground in the debate,…

  • Infographic: New Survey of Palestinian opinion

    Infographic: New Survey of Palestinian opinion

    It can be a startling for Westerners to see a scientific poll of Palestinian residents asking, among other things, if they are in favor of a third intifada, but it is an improvement over the not-too-distant past when far too few people cared what Palestinians thought. When the first intifada erupted in December of 1987 it…

  • Inside an Islamic document restoration facility on al Haram al-Sharif

    Inside an Islamic document restoration facility on al Haram al-Sharif

    On a recent trip to Jerusalem, I got an unexpected and fascinating tour of a facility just steps away from the Dome of the Rock that is dedicated to restoring old Islamic documents. My host was my new friend Mouhannad, whose family was graciously assisting me with my research and who works as a document restorer in…

  • Reading Fields of Blood while watching Charlie Hebdo

    Reading Fields of Blood while watching Charlie Hebdo

    I know the sorrow I feel for those murdered in Paris – the creative artists, their colleagues and those killed trying to protect them – is shared by a massive international host who revere the norms of civil society and are shocked by the barbarity of the assailants. The attacks were nothing if not an…