The Tikvah Podcast

In this podcast, Eric Cohen sits down with the legendary editor of Commentary, Norman Podhoretz, to discuss his 2007 essay, “Jerusalem: The Scandal of Particularity.” The ancient capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem, has been the essential center of Jewish political and religious life for generations. But, despite promises of its inviolability, the temptations to divide Jerusalem in exchange for peace arise again and again. “In wondering about this singling-out of one city from among all the cities in the Land of Israel,” Podhoretz writes, “I find myself ineluctably led to its larger and even more mysterious context, which is the singling-out of one people from among all the nations of the world.” Eric Cohen talks to Podhoretz about the circumstances that inspired this essay, the feelings that being in Jerusalem stirs in him, the moral and political significance of Jerusalem, what it means to be the chosen people, and why modern men and women find Jewish particularity such a scandal.

As recently as the Cold War, the center-right and the center-left overcame their differences on other issues to oppose the enemies of the open society. In a lecture to alumni and guests of the Tikvah Fund, Standpoint editor Daniel Johnson argues that the center is failing to hold and that illiberalism's many forms are on the rise. Both right and left have been submerged under populist spasms. The right lured in by the coarse, idea-free spectacle of Donald Trump; the left embracing the Western self-loathing typified by Jeremy Corbyn. Radical Islam, the European migrant crisis, and the rise of Putin's Russia all threaten the West. Are conservatives up to the task? And what is the role of the Jews in all this? Johnson argues that Israel is uniquely central to the fate of the West, both as the frontier of its fights and as a symbol of what the West still stands for—or what, to its shame, it may yet abandon.

William Kristol, the editor of the Weekly Standard offers some thoughts on Johnson's lecture at its conclusion. Then the two take questions. The discussion was filmed in Jerusalem on June 2, 2016.

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Category:Event -- posted at: 5:37pm EDT

In this podcast, Michael Doran, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and prominent scholar and commentator on Middle Eastern affairs and world politics, talks with Tikvah's Eric Cohen about a classic essay excoriating Western elites for misunderstanding the passions that drive the Middle East. Elie Kedourie's 1970 manifesto, "The Chatham House Version," examined the confusions of Arnold Toynbee and other British mandarins: confusions over pan-Arabism, over the links between the Israeli-Arab conflict and other situations of unrest, over the role of the West in Arab discontent, and much else. The political, religious, and ideological fault lines of the Middle East often go back at least a century, so it is a mistake for Westerners to explain the Middle East in the categories of Western social arrangements. Kedourie is not as widely read as he should be, but his influence on leading scholars like Michael Doran is profound. One modest hope of this podcast is that the discussion might awaken listeners to his immense body of work.

In this podcast, the Tikvah Fund’s Distinguished Senior Fellow, Ruth Wisse, joins Eric Cohen to discuss her 2015 Mosaic essay, “Anti-Semitism Goes to School.” Drawing on her experiences at Harvard University and elsewhere, Wisse argues that there has been a resurgence of anti-Semitism on campus, often centered on attempts to delegitimize the Jewish state and assail what Israel represents. Despite ideological pressure on campus to stifle bigotry, Jews are the “one licensed exception … the only campus minority against whom hostility is condoned.” Wisse and Cohen examine what the new campus anti-Semitism means for American Jews, the future of the America-Israel relationship, and the choices that face pro-Israel young people attending American colleges.

Realist foreign policy is premised on the idea that states always act in their own interest, as defined by the rational calculation of external threats from rival states. To scholars and practitioners of the realist school, America’s support for Israel is irrational, for in the support of the Jewish State realists see no benefit to American interest. Some have concluded that a small and influential political lobby is to blame for America’s support for Israel. In this recording, Walter Russell Mead revisits his 2008 essay “The New Israel and the Old,” which argued that America is pro-Israel because Americans—particularly non-Jewish Americans in the heartland—are pro-Israel.

As a part of Tikvah’s advanced institute, “Is Israel Alone?: The Past, Present, and Future of the U.S.-Israel Relationship” Walter Russell Mead and Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Michael Doran examine the false assumptions of so-called realists and explore the popular convictions that are the true foundation of America’s historic support for Israel.

Direct download: Walter_Russell_Mead_-_The_New_Israel_and_the_Old.mp3
Category:Event -- posted at: 12:30pm EDT