In the period between the world wars, Isaac Babel wrote the cycle of stories Red Cavalry in the Soviet Union, S.Y. Agnon wrote the novel In the Heart of the Seas in Jerusalem, and Isaac Bashevis Singer wrote the novella Satan in Goray in Warsaw. Each book, influenced by its author’s experience of war, revolution, and—in Agnon’s case—immigration to Palestine, explores aspects of the Jewish condition. Ruth R. Wisse finds in these works much that is relevant to Jewish politics today. (Video, 35 minutes.)
Lessons in Jewish Politics from Three of the 20th Century’s Greatest Works of Jewish Fiction
Nikki Haley Succeeded at the UN Because She Saw It for What It Is
Last week, Nikki Haley announced that she will be stepping down as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations at the end of the year. When President Trump appointed her to the position, she had behind her a successful tenure as governor of South Carolina, but no prior experience in foreign policy. This, writes Seth Lispky, turned out to have been her greatest asset:
What a contrast [Haley provided] to the string of ambassadors who fell on their faces in the swamp of Turtle Bay. That’s particularly true of the two envoys under President Barack Obama. [The] “experienced” hands who came before her proceeded to fail. Their key misconception was the notion that the United Nations is part of the solution to the world’s thorniest problems. Its charter was a vast treaty designed by diplomats to achieve “peace,” “security,” and “harmony.”
Haley, by contrast, may have come in without experience—but that meant she also lacked for illusions. What a difference when someone knows that they’re in a viper pit—that the UN is itself the problem. And has the gumption to say so.
This became apparent the instant Haley opened her first press conference, [in which she said of the UN’s obsessive fixation on condemning the Jewish state]: “I am here to say the United States will not turn a blind eye to this anymore. I am here to underscore the ironclad support of the United States for Israel. . . . I am here to emphasize that the United States is determined to stand up to the UN’s anti-Israel bias.”