Messianist Crypto-Jews in the Ottoman Empire

Nov. 16 2015

Shabbetai Tsvi was one of Jewish history’s most notorious false messiahs. After the Ottoman sultan ordered him forcibly converted to Islam in 1666, a number of his followers, who came to be known as the Dönmeh, converted along with him, but clung to their heterodox Jewish faith in secret. Most of them lived either in Salonica or in what is now western Turkey; some have maintained their identity until today. William Armstrong reviews a recent book about their history:

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Read more at Hurriyet

More about: History & Ideas, Messianism, Ottoman Empire, Shabbetai Tzvi

How the U.S. Can Get Smart about Promoting Democracy and Human Rights in the Middle East

Sept. 27 2021

Considering the current state of the region and the policy mistakes of the recent past, David Pollock and Robert Satloff outline a strategy that is “both virtuous and realistic” for defending human rights and encouraging democratization in a region plagued by autocracy, chaos, and brutality. They argue that “in the long run, more democratic, tolerant, and inclusive governments are likely to be better at defending themselves, and more reliable and effective security partners for the United States.”

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Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Arab democracy, Human Rights, Middle East, U.S. Foreign policy