The Last of the New York Jewish Intellectuals?

Along with Norman Podhoretz, writes Daniel DiSalvo, Nathan Glazer is likely the last of a group of Jews, centered in New York City, who played such an outsized role in politics and the life of the mind in the U.S. in the middle of the last century. A sociologist by training, Glazer wrote on an astonishing array of topics. Selections from his work, together with several appraisals thereof, have recently been published in a volume titled When Ideas Mattered. DiSalvo writes in his review:

The son of Yiddish-speaking Jewish immigrants from Poland, Glazer grew up in East Harlem. He attended the City College of New York and then split his professional life between magazines and the academy. . . .

In his student days at City College, he was a part of Zionist-socialist group that argued with Stalinists, and he later became a staunch anti-Communist. He first came to national attention as David Riesman’s junior co-author of The Lonely Crowd (which remains among the greatest bestsellers of American sociology) in 1953. A decade later, based on ideas tested in the pages of Commentary, Glazer published Beyond the Melting Pot (with Daniel Patrick Moynihan contributing a chapter and writing the preface), which became a classic in the study of immigrants and ethnicity in America. . . .

Glazer cultivated and practiced intellectual virtues that are in increasingly short supply, including dispassion, humility, and love of debate. . . . Any reader of Glazer will appreciate in his writings the empathy for his subjects and his humility when confronted with the messiness of reality. Glazer’s personal grace and self-effacing style rarely made colleagues feel personally attacked even when he was witheringly critical of positions they held dear.

When Ideas Mattered shines light on the enduring themes of Glazer’s work. The first is Glazer’s lifelong interest in America’s “ethnic pattern.” In his study of immigrant assimilation in New York, he showed that Jews, Irish, Italians, Polish, and other groups continued to maintain dual identities rather than completely assimilating into a preexisting American identity. Assimilation took a long time—even with the help of epoch-making events like depression and war. And the overarching American identity that the ethnics assimilated into changed in the process.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Daniel Patrick Moynihan, History & Ideas, Neoconservatism, New York City, Norman Podhoretz, Sociology

Planning for the Day after the War in the Gaza Strip

At the center of much political debate in Israel during the past week, as well as, reportedly, of disagreement between Jerusalem and Washington, is the problem of how Gaza should be governed if not by Hamas. Thus far, the IDF has only held on to small parts of the Strip from which it has cleared out the terrorists. Michael Oren lays out the parameters of this debate over what he has previous called Israel’s unsolvable problem, and sets forth ten principles that any plan should adhere to. Herewith, the first five:

  1. Israel retains total security control in Gaza, including control of all borders and crossings, until Hamas is demonstrably defeated. Operations continue in Rafah and elsewhere following effective civilian evacuations. Military and diplomatic efforts to secure the hostages’ release continue unabated.
  2. Civil affairs, including health services and aid distribution, are administered by Gazans unaffiliated with Hamas. The model will be Area B of Judea and Samaria, where Israel is in charge of security and Palestinians are responsible for the civil administration.
  3. The civil administration is supervised by the Palestinian Authority once it is “revitalized.” The PA first meets benchmarks for ending corruption and establishing transparent institutions. The designation and fulfillment of the benchmarks is carried out in coordination with Israel.
  4. The United States sends a greatly expanded and improved version of the Dayton Mission that trained PA police forces in Gaza after Israel’s disengagement.
  5. Abraham Accords countries launch a major inter-Arab initiative to rebuild and modernize Gaza.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, Israeli Security, U.S.-Israel relationship