Archived entries for France24

Cultural Literacy

If Israel launches a ground invasion of Gaza, most defense analysts expect the IDF to face the same kind of anti-tank fire that helped cripple Israeli armor in Lebanon in 2006. In “Sci-fi Tanks“, French military officer Michel Goya and myself discuss the issue, and the technologies under development to help cope with it.

I close things out with a political observation, contending that even if Israel does succeed in employing effective countermeasures, there are other reasons why the Palestinians still might succeed in resisting Israeli forces. Not exactly a feel good conclusion to the year, but neither is the situation in Gaza.

For those curious about why I’d have knowledge of such things, one of my earliest childhood memories is of being taken to a manufacturer‘s demonstration of Leopard tanks crashing through stone walls, near the city of La Spezia, in northern Italy. For further reference, check out the final chapter of my 2002 book, Jerusalem Calling.

Big up to my editors at France 24 for a great first year, and as always, requests for commentaries like these. It takes a lot to surprise me these days, especially when it comes to covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Joel vs. Sarah

Given how important the Evangelical vote is to America’s Republican party, one would think that Sarah Palin’s appointment as John McCain’s running mate would be no big deal. Nonetheless, it is, causing many to shudder at the thought of a Palin Vice Presidency. In Friday’s edition of Religion Dispatches, I examine the possibilities by analyzing the Alaskan governor’s view of the war in Iraq.

Indeed, it feels like it has been a week for tarrying with the negative. Yesterday’s publication follows a short commentary I did on the current spate of Downfall mashups for France 24 last Friday. Asked whether I thought such endeavors were in good taste, I explain that I’ve got nothing but good things to say about Final Cut geeks taking aim at the present by imposing new subtitles over the Führer .



Two weeks ago, France 24 produced a larger television piece on the recent advert attempting to ‘shame’ Israelis who do not do their military service. Based on the recent forum on the Observers site, I discuss my decision, 23 years ago, to not do my military service. Jennifer shot the original interview.

The nicest part about this experience was hearing about it first via my uncle Avi in Tel Aviv, who saw it on France 24 at home, and then telephoned my parents about it, who in turn called me. I didn’t get a chance to see the full piece until last week, when Roi Ben-Yehuda let me know it had been posted online.

Note the use of the word ‘deserter’ in the English broadcast of the interview. In French, the original term, ‘deserteur’  is also used to describe people who choose not to do military service as an act of conscience. It doesn’t consistently translate as ‘to leave one’s post’, though that surplus is most definitely there.

Click here to watch the English version. The French edition is worth a gander, too.


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