Israel wears its shirt inside-out

Will miracles never cease?  Finally there’s political unity in Israel.  The first bill in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s judicial overhaul package — that which would curb the Supreme Court’s ability to examine a law based on its reasonableness — passed unanimously.  Of course, nothing in Israeli politics is unanimous, or at least not since February 16,…

Culture: Demand-side vs supply-side analysis

A recent piece in The Economist has prompted me to articulate my thoughts on the dynamics of culture; my letter is below.  The Economist lamented the grade inflation in book reviews today, compared with a prewar golden age of sharper pens of reviewers gleefully opinionated on the record.  Today, says the newspaper, book reviews are…

Va, pensiero (Temistocle Solera, from Verdi’s Nabucco): My translation to Hebrew

My translation to Hebrew of the Italian text of the famous Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves from the opera Nabucco by Giuseppe Verdi (1842), libretto by Temistocle Solera: לך לךָ דמיוני על כנפי נשרים מעל גאיות, מעל ההרים  עוף דמיוני לעבר ריחות משכרים שאותך ימשכו אליי ארץ מולדת!   בעבור הירדן קדם לו ברכה, כשפנייך…

Town Hall vs Shtetl Yeshiva: Constitutional Lessons from New York and Jerusalem

The LGBT Center’s Town Hall: A Jerusalem Take, Gay City News, March 31, 2011 At the end of the two-hour town hall meeting at the LGBT Community Center, nobody looked particularly content. No party was recognized as victorious; little news awaited breaking; no obvious sound bites emerged to shape future discourse. After two time extensions,…

How to Read Kafka?

The following exercise is intended for night owls having a hard time waking up in the morning: Imagine a scenario to get you out of bed. Perhaps something of the kind was attempted by Kafka in several of his best known works. I bring it up not because I mean it as a textual interpretation….

Review of Charles Blow’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones

The Gay and Lesbian Review, May-June, 2015 The bisexual’s dilemma Fire Shut Up in My Bones by Charles Blow Houghton Mifflin. 240 pages, $27. The American Dream is not one but rather a kaleidoscope of dreams; this is the rural Southern version. Charles Blow’s life to date can be comfortably divided into two roughly equal…

Review of Martha Nussbaum and Saul Levmore’s Book on American Masculinity

Review of Martha Nussbaum and Saul Levmore’s Book on American Masculinity

Legally Male The Gay and Lesbian Review, March-April 2015 MASCULINITY is a flexible enough concept, and America is a large enough country, that the essays in this collection cannot be reduced to a single dimension or formula. American Guy, edited by Saul Levmore and Martha Nussbaum, grew out of an academic conference of the law…

המהפך שעבר על המחוקק הלהט”בי החשוב בארה”ב

המהפך שעבר על המחוקק הלהט”בי החשוב בארה”ב

הארץ, 24 ביוני 2015 Frank: A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same Sex Marriage Barney Franak. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 387 pp נראה שהיום כבר לא צריך להגיע לסוף הקריירה כדי לסכם אותה; מדפי הספרים עמוסים באוטוביוגרפיות של בני 30 ו–40. אבל ברני פרנק, בן 75, הולך שוב נגד הזרם. עד לפרישתו…

Review of Universal Man: The Lives of John Maynard Keynes by Richard Davenport-Hines

Review of Universal Man: The Lives of John Maynard Keynes by Richard Davenport-Hines

What Makes an Economist Great? The Gay and Lesbian Review, Nov.-Dec. 2015 Universal Man: The Lives of John Maynard Keynes by Richard Davenport-Hines Basic Books, 432 pages, $29.99 JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES would not make a great Hollywood protagonist, at least based on Richard Davenport-Hines’ biography. It’s hard to identify a breakthrough moment, any dramatic shift,…

Review of Martin Duberman

The Gay and Lesbian Review, July-August, 2013 The freedom fighters’ historian The Martin Duberman Reader: The Essential Historical, Biographical, and Autobiographical Writings New Press. 384 pages, $21.95 THIS COMPENDIUM of Martin Duberman’s published writings has funneled into a single volume samples from an oeuvre that includes some twenty books and numerous essays written over a…

Review of Declaring His Genius: Oscar Wilde in North America by Roy Morris Jr.

Review of Declaring His Genius: Oscar Wilde in North America by Roy Morris Jr.

Strange Man in a Strange Land The Gay & Lesbian Review, Sep.-Oct. 2013 Review of Declaring His Genius: Oscar Wilde in North America by Roy Morris Jr. Belknap Press. 264 pages, $26.95 THE TITLE of Declaring His Genius refers to Oscar Wilde’s notorious remark upon landing in New York in 1882 (“I have nothing to…

Thousands Become Millions: An Error in Translation Gains Credence in The New York Times

תקציב הפרסום הגאה של עיריית תל-אביב וגלגוליה של טעות תרגום העין השביעית, 30 בינואר 2012 נניח שאתם העורכים של עיתון ישראלי הצריכים להעריך את התקציב של מסע פרסום במימון ציבורי להאדרת שמה של תל-אביב כמעוז הומואי מצטיין. בלי להציץ, מהי לדעתכם עלותו הכוללת של הקמפיין? עכשיו מותר להציץ. ב-21 בפברואר 2011 פירסם ynet ידיעה שעניינה…

Confessions of a Pinkwasher

Gay City News, December 7, 2011 The New York Times recently dedicated precious space to the follies of Israel’s public relations. I’m not talking about Sarah Schulman’s “Israel and Pinkwashing,” which alleges that the Israeli government effectively leverages the gains of the LGBT community to have its way with the Palestinians, but rather a Times…

Bias in Black and White

The venomous disregard for the truth makes Spanish criticism of Israel banal and misses important issues. This simplistic anti-Israel narrative represents not a noble struggle for human rights, but rather a contamination of both journalism and the great democracy that the newspaper serves. (Read on the Haaretz website) Haaretz, April 3, 2009 Imagine that Spanish…