'Tis the season to be thankful for hard-hitting journalism. Too many media outlets focused on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and every other made-up shopping holiday. Instead, we bring you the best coverage of Israel and Gaza you may not have read: from Israel's pinkwashing to the IDF and Hamas's Twitter sparring.
Nader Atassi focuses on Middle Eastern politics and society.
“Colonial Experiments in Gaza,” by Samera Esmeir. Jadaliyya, November 18, 2012.
This is a different kind of piece on Gaza. Samera Esmeir shows how attacking Gaza isn't really about achieving anything in Gaza specifically. Gaza is the "laboratory" where Israel tries to achieve its larger goals and assert its dominance, and in this sense, Gaza is "instrumentalized." Thus, the chief motivation behind the latest aggression on Gaza is a grand scheme "to remind all concerned that Israel makes the rules," rather than an attempt to achieve concrete military objectives in Gaza.
Jeff Ernsthausen focuses on domestic politics and the influence of money on public institutions.
“Big Sky, Big Money.” Frontline, October 30, 2012.
The election may be over, but the fights over campaign finance limits and disclosure are sure to continue in the wake of the most expensive election in US history. This documentary, focused on the legally murky activities of a dark money group in Montana, offers a behind the scenes look at how limitless funding and anonymous donors are altering the landscape of our democracy. Those familiar with the work of conservative campaign finance lawyer James Bopp, who successfully argued on behalf of Citizens United, will find his interview particularly colorful.
Stefan Fergus focuses on US media, the Presidency and China.
“Obama’s Southeast Asia Trip: ‘Last Trick’ to Contain China?” by Melinda Liu. The Daily Beast, November 20, 2012.
An interesting look at Chinese and Asian reactions to President Obama's Asian tour. The article's clearly written but, as per usual with Newsweek/Daily Beast, doesn't really delve as deeply as it should. A particularly noteworthy inclusion is a comment from Lu Yucheng, an official in the Foreign Ministry—"China is still a growing country with imbalanced development… It is not unwilling, but unable, to take on more international responsibilities and fully play the role of a major country." It's not clear what the implication is: does China wish to be considered a more important player in Asia? In which case, Beijing will have to accept a role similar to the one the US currently plays in the region. Otherwise, China's neighbors will continue to bandwagon with America, which will only increase Beijing's insecurity and paranoia.