I’ve got a new Think Again column called "Foolish Loudmouths in the Military and in the Media."
And I gotta say, I think the Nation editors’ response to my letter about Gaza is kind of funny. First they write, “as Alterman must surely know, three years ago in a lead editorial, we said, ‘We cannot accept Hamas’s ideology, and we reject the idea that "Islam is the solution" to political problems (the common formulation of Hamas and other Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated movements). But the United States and Israel must finally acknowledge that Hamas is a popular movement with deep roots in Palestinian society, and for that reason should be engaged rather than ignored.’" I’m sorry, but I’d be impressed if anyone on earth remembers three-year-old editorials in The Nation, including most of the editors. And second, my point is not to say that The Nation has never made its disagreements with Hamas explicit; my point was Hamas’s ideology as well as its practices cause real problems for Israel that need to be addressed. I think the embargo should be lifted, and I think Israel should engage Hamas in discussions as well. Great. But what exactly should Israel do about the acts of terrorism, the kidnappings and the rockets? If anyone at The Nation can find me any useful suggestions for addressing the security threat posed by Hamas—other than Kumbaya style “negotiations”—I’d be mightily impressed.
For instance, what would be the Nation editors’ reaction to this article that appeared shortly after their response be?
Late June is a nice time in the city in part because of the weather, in part because of the subway series and in part because of what for many years was the Kool, then the JVC, and now the CareFusion festival organized by the great promoter George Wein, who is also responsible for the Newport Jazz Festival, among others. Last night was a bit balmy, but to go to a free show in Central Park by a band fronted by the great McCoy Tyner who is 71, and sure as hell still has it, joined by Ravi Coltrane—a nice sentimental touch but also a fine, intelligent musician—and the extremely exciting Esperanza Spalding on bass and Francisco Mela on drums, thousands of people, both inside and outside the ampitheater, got to experience what makes New York so great. Tyner was followed by a funkish group put together by Stanley Clarke—which was odd since it should have been the other way around, and a lot of people got there late expecting it would be, but he was fun too, and threw in some “RTF” material for the codgers in the audience.
Earlier in the week it was almost as much fun to see a complete full Carnegie Hall for a wordless but unspeakably beautiful and constantly (and quietly) impressive show by Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette. These guys have been playing together so long they don’t even have to look at one another, though even when I knew all the songs, I wasn’t sure what they were. (Like Dylan and the Allman Brothers combined. Anyway, it’s another great thing about my city that these guys can fill a Carnegie-sized hall. And the sound, for once, was great.)