When Norman Podhoretz—then editor of Commentary but not yet the founder of neoconservatism—showed a manuscript of his memoir Making It to the great literary critic Lionel Trilling, his mentor, Trilling begged him never to publish it. When the book was nonetheless published, critics promptly panned it. Now a 50th-anniversary edition has been released—part of a series of “20th-century classics.” In conversation with his son John, the elder Podhoretz discusses the bygone literary world he depicts in the book and his own shock at the book’s hostile reception by the denizens of that world. (Video, 80 minutes.)
The Making of a New York Jewish Intellectual
Israel’s Covert War on Iran’s Nuclear Program Is Impressive. But Is It Successful?
The Mossad’s heist of a vast Iranian nuclear archive in 2018 provided abundant evidence that Tehran was not adhering to its commitments; it also provided an enormous amount of actionable intelligence. Two years later, Israel responded to international inspectors’ condemnation of the Islamic Republic’s violations by using this intelligence to launch a spectacular campaign of sabotage—a campaign that is the subject of Target Tehran, by Yonah Jeremy Bob and Ilan Evyatar. David Adesnik writes:
The question that remains open at the conclusion of Target Tehran is whether the Mossad’s tactical wizardry adds up to strategic success in the shadow war with Iran. The authors give a very respectful hearing to skeptics—such as the former Mossad director Tamir Pardo—who believe the country should have embraced the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Bob and Evyatar reject that position, arguing that covert action has proven itself the best way to slow down the nuclear program. They acknowledge, however, that the clerical regime remains fully determined to reach the nuclear threshold. “The Mossad’s secret war, in other words, is not over. Indeed, it may never end,” they write.
Which brings us back to Joe Biden. The clerical regime was headed over a financial cliff when Biden took office, thanks to the reimposition of sanctions after Washington withdrew from the nuclear deal. The billions flowing into Iran on Biden’s watch have made it that much easier for the regime to rebuild whatever Mossad destroys in addition to weathering nationwide protests on behalf of women, life, and freedom. Until Washington and Jerusalem get on the same page—and stay there—Tehran’s nuclear ambitions will remain an affordable luxury for a dictatorship at war with its citizens.