© Judy Roth, PhD

In this Uncontainable Night

Notes from Jerusalem and the Occupied West Bank

Against Censorship © Pier Paolo | Flickr
EssaysFeatureLiberal Democracy in QuestionMedia & PublicsThe Left

Anachronism with a Kafkaesque Touch

Last Thursday, I received a message via Facebook messenger. The message’s author was (so it read) the Chief Censor of Israel’s Military Censor, one Colonel Ariella Ben-Avraham, and in it she demanded that I submit to the Censor’s warrant. Entering Ben-Abraham’s Facebook page showed a page that was almost empty — her name and picture only. In fact, it seems that the Censor was so embarrassed by all the publicity in recent days that she erased it. When I tried to enter the page today in order to write the post, it …

High Line to the Fast Lane. NYC © A. David Holloway | Flickr

It Is About Time.

New York is the empire of the present, for in this city the past is gone and the future is already here. For me, coming to America was a form of time travel. Not into the future or into the past, but rather from them and into the deep dense present. I come from Jerusalem, the holy and sad city that is at the heart of this complex space people here call the Middle East. In Jerusalem, the present is narrow, pale …

Jerusalem through barbed wire © Michael-Ann Cerniglia | Flickr
EssaysThe Psyche

When will the Barred Owl of Minerva Fly?

Time is running out for Israel-Palestine

On a cold, dreary November morning in the Berkshires, Massachusetts, I finally understood why owls are seen as wise, why in the ancient world they represented Athena and Minerva, the goddesses of wisdom. On my way from an academic symposium in Great Barrington …

Angelus Novus, 1920 © Paul Klee | Wikimedia Commons
EssaysLiberal Democracy in Question

Benjamin in Jerusalem

The Middle East as crisis and critique

This month, two conferences and one exhibition dedicated to Walter Benjamin’s legacy are descending on Ramallah, Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv. Because of an unhealthy mix of political considerations, security measures, and academic snobbery, I will partake in none of them, despite my deep roots in this troubled land and my recent book on Benjamin. …

Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres, and Yitzhak Rabin as Nobel Prize Laureates in Oslo, 1994 © Saar Yaacov/Government Press Office | Wikimedia Commons
EssaysLiberal Democracy in Question

Twenty Years after Rabin’s Death: The Oslo Illusion

Looking back in the midst of the Third Intifada

Mahmoud Abbas made headlines last month when he announced in the U.N’s General Assembly that the Palestinians would no longer “continue to be bound” by the Oslo Agreements. He had warned that he was going to drop a “bombshell,” but given that Oslo has been dead for several years already, the significance of …

At Abu Dis checkpoint, East Jerusalem © Kashi Halford | Flickr

The El Niño Intifada

Jerusalem's boulevards of broken dreams

I’m spending the year in California, which explains how earlier this week I found myself on a marine sightseeing trip, on a rough sea watching for seabirds. As my first such trip it was a wonderful experience, filled with many exciting species of shearwaters, storm-petrels, alcids, jaegers, and even one black-footed albatross. To the more veteran participants, the experience was mixed. The El Niño we’re now experiencing messes with sea …