Tag Archives | lee harris


When Boaz Modai finished his posting as the Israeli Ambassador to Ireland, he published an intriguing article in the Irish Independent that talked about the subject of memory. In that piece, he compared his experience to that of Bill Murray in the film Groundhog Day, finding an equivalent between Murray’s continually waking up on the […]

Continue Reading

A Source of Optimism in a Time of Ruthlessness

Some recent communication crystalized thoughts regarding how to approach events in the Middle East (and their associated blowback at home) with anything but despair. Most recently, a brief discussion in the comments section required me to think again about the conundrum of treating BDS as both a failure and a threat. As I’ve explained in […]

Continue Reading

Somerville Divestment Revisited – Ruthlessness

Closing in on the finish to a series of postings from many years ago regarding my first encounter with the BDS “Movement” in Somerville, MA, here was my first invocation of Lee Harris and his theories regarding ruthlessness (with a nod towards the kind of fantasy politics that defined the BDS movement that was resurrected in 2009). […]

Continue Reading

Bigger Picture – Keeping Ruthlessness at Bay

This entry is part 9 of 9 in the series Big Picture (9 parts)

When Pandora’s box was opened, allowing to escape all the ills and evils of the world, the only thing that remained behind was hope. This is an important image since, while hope itself has very little power against forces of darkness (or, more specifically, the ruthlessness I’ve been talking about the last couple of weeks) […]

Continue Reading

Bigger Picture – What the Big Ugly Teaches Us

This entry is part 8 of 9 in the series Big Picture (9 parts)

Having identified “The Big Ugly,” as that phenomenon in which the ruthless are driven to organize their politics (and often their lives) around opposition to the Jews and their state, the next question is what to do with this understanding? After all, this Big Ugly is our real enemy (even if it appears to us […]

Continue Reading

Bigger Picture – The Big Ugly Defined

This entry is part 7 of 9 in the series Big Picture (9 parts)

In my last piece, I introduced some of Ruth Wisse’s ideas that explain why so many people avert their gaze from the true nature of the Middle East conflict (the very popularity of that generic, even-handed term, vs. Wisse’s more accurate “Arab War Against the Jews” demonstrating the phenomenon she talks about).  And in a […]

Continue Reading

Bigger Picture – Ruth Wisse and the War Against the Jews

This entry is part 6 of 9 in the series Big Picture (9 parts)

Unlike evil, ruthlessness is not some metaphysical abstraction we can ponder and dissect, but never fully understand. For ruthlessness is concrete and, in its own self-centered way, completely rational. After all, none of us would claim that we don’t want something from life (money, respect, love, authority), nor is it controversial to say that some […]

Continue Reading

Bigger Picture – Civilization and Its Enemies

This entry is part 4 of 9 in the series Big Picture (9 parts)

Keen-eyed readers may have noticed the reference at the very end of my last piece to Civilization and Its Enemies, the first book by one of the most important philosophers writing today: Lee Harris. In his now famous essay, Al Qaeda’s Fantasy Ideology, Harris first discussed the role fantasy plays in individuals and societies, and […]

Continue Reading

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes