Israel's occupation of the West Bank during the Six-Day War 20 years ago this week was "an unmitigated disaster for Zionism, the Jewish people, and most Israelis." So writes Michael Lerner, a self-described "committed Zionist," in the special anniversary issue of the magazine he edits, Tikkun, a young and attention-getting bimonthly magazine of liberal Jewish opinion.
Lerner does not mince words -- "not only in the name of Jewish values but in the name of Jewish survival" -- and they are worth quoting at length.
The occupation, he writes in the lead editorial, is "roughly equivalent to the US trying to occupy a country with eighty million unwilling people." It has resulted in "random acts of violence by Palestinians against individual Israelis," and just as surely in "random violence at Arabs in retaliation for acts by other Arabs. This is the kind of logic of collective responsibility that led medieval Christian mobs to respond to the alleged misdeeds of a single Jew by organizing pogroms against the whole Jewish community."
If the occupation rends the social fabric of Israel, in Lerner's view, it also threatens its most precious external alliance. "The view of Israel as a moral country ... will be dramatically undermined in the years ahead by its continued repression of Palestinians," Lerner writes. "American-Jewish neo-conservatives ... have completely failed to communicate this reality to Israelis." Accordingly, "those who wish to preserve Israel must unseat these sophisticated charlatans from their positions of influence ...
"If there is a reason to fight for a distinctively Jewish society, it must be that that society in some important way embodies the values that have been central to the Jewish experience through the ages," he concludes -- in this instance, by granting the conquered Palestinians sovereignty "and thus rectifying whatever wrongs may have been committed in the struggle in 1948."
In this special anniversary issue are other articles on the same theme, including a lively round table on the West Bank occupation and a defense of settlement policies by Yoseph Ben-Shlomo, "one of the prominent intellectuals of the Right in Israel." (Subscriptions are $25 a year; write Tikkun, 407 State St., Santa Barbara, Calif. 93101.)
Dear Old Dad How old should a father be? For men, the biological clock runs more gently than it does for women, and examples of older fathers and younger mothers have proliferated in American society. Still, a man's decision to become a father in his forties or fifties or sixties -- especially if he's been there before -- does not come easily. Kids are a hassle, the old grump says, best left to younger parents.
Anthony Brandt, who at 50 shares these queasy feelings, was struck by the enthusiasm of the older fathers he interviewed for Parenting. Writing in the June/July issue, he explores the many reasons men in late middle age find dadhood a godsend: the chance to be more closely involved in birth and infancy than fashion permitted two decades ago; the chance to do better as a father with more wisdom and less professional pressure; the chance to make his later years more fulfilling (and conceivably more numerous) than they might be otherwise.
Brandt -- and, in a companion essay, Nikki Meredith -- point out the pitfalls of being an older father, notably a waning reservoir of patience and physical stamina. Relations with the children of a first marriage are a delicate problem. Monica Morris, a sociologist who has studied the older fathers phenomenon, tells Meredith that "daughters tended to cite communications problems and sons a lack of participation in sports. Both mentioned embarrassment at having their fathers mistaken for their grandfathers, and premature concern about their parents' mortality."
This essay is illustrated with photos of a few older men who made the choice: Ernest Hemingway, Charlie Chaplin, Bing Crosby, Pablo Picasso, Anthony Quinn, Ronald Reagan. Interesting company.
Table of Contents Cars as extensions of the living room, as pampered family adjuncts, as modes of risk taking and arousal, as emblems of self-expression and sexuality: Peter Marsh and Peter Collett, authors of the forthcoming book "Driving Passion: The Psychology of the Car" (Faber & Faber), have distilled their theories and observations in a sampler for Psychology Today (June). "A visitor from a different planet," they remark, "might see the car as a central feature of an almost universal terrestrial religion."
It's that time of the decade again. For the next two years, people will be affixing a name to it. "The Re Decade" has been suggested already (by Tom Shales, in Esquire), an allusion to our current obsession with styles of the past. In the June Texas Monthly, David Seeley proposes "The No Decade" -- no to sugar, no to caffeine, no to salt, no to tobacco, no to drugs, no to sex, no to fun. In the '60s, "everything in our culture was based on the word 'yes,' " he writes. In 1980, "voting for Reagan was like voting no to the country we had become," and the one-two punch of herpes and AIDS ratified the vote. "Deep down, maybe we wanted a No Decade to happen. In an uncertain world, being told what to do can be comforting."
GQ turns 30 this month, and among its birthday features is a list of things men should know by the time they turn 30 themselves. Among them: "Own a power drill." "Have all your posters in frames." "Have spent a night in at least one of the following: a jail, whorehouse, monastery, youth hostel, Motel 6." "Own at least one piece of original art (not by a female relative)." "Be able to say no graciously to a woman."