1. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Lawrence Wright likes to be at the cross-section of religion and culture.  He has written about al-Qaida, Scientology and now, what happened behind-the-scenes at the Camp David Accords in 1978.  His book, Thirteen Days in September, takes a look at what Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin wanted to gain—and what they had to lose.
Wright tells Fresh Air today that both Sadat and Begin came close to walking out and how President Carter reacted: 

"Implicitly, [Carter] was threatening war because he was saying that if there’s another war, [the U.S.] is going to be on Israel’s side and Egypt will be alone and friendless in the world. It was a very sobering moment. Carter told me that he had never been angrier in his entire life. It was clear that he made a real impression on Sadat. Sadat had already ordered the helicopter; he had packed his clothes; he was out of there. He was worried that he was going to be asked to give up too much at Camp David and he wouldn’t be able to justify it when he got home.
[Begin] didn’t really have a position. He didn’t want to agree to any of the terms that Carter was putting forward. Finally, he began to realize that he was going to have to agree with something in order to preserve the relationship with the United States. Carter told him that if he left Camp David, he was going to make sure that the American people knew who was to blame [for the collapse of the peace talks]. He was going to go to Congress; he was going to lay it on them.
One of [Carter’s] speechwriters was told to draw up a speech in which Carter was going to ask the Israeli people to overthrow their government, through a vote, but imagine! You can’t believe how that would be received in Israel or even the Congress of the United States. Things had gotten so personal at the point. Carter believed so strongly that peace was worth it, but he was about to blow everything to smithereens — if either of these men walked out, they were going to pay a price and he wanted to make sure they knew it.”
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    Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Lawrence Wright likes to be at the cross-section of religion and culture.  He has written about al-Qaida, Scientology and now, what happened behind-the-scenes at the Camp David Accords in 1978.  His book, Thirteen Days in September, takes a look at what Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin wanted to gain—and what they had to lose.

    Wright tells Fresh Air today that both Sadat and Begin came close to walking out and how President Carter reacted: 

    "Implicitly, [Carter] was threatening war because he was saying that if there’s another war, [the U.S.] is going to be on Israel’s side and Egypt will be alone and friendless in the world. It was a very sobering moment. Carter told me that he had never been angrier in his entire life. It was clear that he made a real impression on Sadat. Sadat had already ordered the helicopter; he had packed his clothes; he was out of there. He was worried that he was going to be asked to give up too much at Camp David and he wouldn’t be able to justify it when he got home.

    [Begin] didn’t really have a position. He didn’t want to agree to any of the terms that Carter was putting forward. Finally, he began to realize that he was going to have to agree with something in order to preserve the relationship with the United States. Carter told him that if he left Camp David, he was going to make sure that the American people knew who was to blame [for the collapse of the peace talks]. He was going to go to Congress; he was going to lay it on them.

    One of [Carter’s] speechwriters was told to draw up a speech in which Carter was going to ask the Israeli people to overthrow their government, through a vote, but imagine! You can’t believe how that would be received in Israel or even the Congress of the United States. Things had gotten so personal at the point. Carter believed so strongly that peace was worth it, but he was about to blow everything to smithereens — if either of these men walked out, they were going to pay a price and he wanted to make sure they knew it.”

  2. fresh air

    interview

    lawrence wright

    history

    israel

    egypt

    camp david accords

  1. Tonight on the Sundance cable network, Maggie Gyllenhaal stars in a new eight-part miniseries that couldn’t be more timely: It’s about a woman who finds herself embroiled in the political tensions of the Middle East, and the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Our TV critic, David Bianculli, has this review of The Honorable Woman:


"Writer-director Hugo Blick peels back and reveals the elements of his story, and the motivations and relationships of his characters, very slowly. A scream you hear in episode one isn’t explained until episode four, and the pain behind anguished glances isn’t evident until you’ve clocked hours of TV time. But by that time, The Honorable Woman has taken you places where TV seldom ventures. Not only to the tunnels under the Gaza Strip – and I couldn’t believe I was seeing scenes set in those tunnels, after they’ve figured so prominently in the news – but to the deepest fears and hopes and dreams and despairs of the show’s characters. Politically, The Honorable Woman doesn’t take sides – it comes at you from all sides. And all sides are given motivations and conflicts, which makes this miniseries both a rare and a rewarding viewing experience. The characters in The Honorable Woman may not know whom to trust – but trust me. This is one TV drama not to miss.”


View in High-Res

    Tonight on the Sundance cable network, Maggie Gyllenhaal stars in a new eight-part miniseries that couldn’t be more timely: It’s about a woman who finds herself embroiled in the political tensions of the Middle East, and the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Our TV critic, David Bianculli, has this review of The Honorable Woman:

    "Writer-director Hugo Blick peels back and reveals the elements of his story, and the motivations and relationships of his characters, very slowly. A scream you hear in episode one isn’t explained until episode four, and the pain behind anguished glances isn’t evident until you’ve clocked hours of TV time. But by that time, The Honorable Woman has taken you places where TV seldom ventures. Not only to the tunnels under the Gaza Strip – and I couldn’t believe I was seeing scenes set in those tunnels, after they’ve figured so prominently in the news – but to the deepest fears and hopes and dreams and despairs of the show’s characters. Politically, The Honorable Woman doesn’t take sides – it comes at you from all sides. And all sides are given motivations and conflicts, which makes this miniseries both a rare and a rewarding viewing experience. The characters in The Honorable Woman may not know whom to trust – but trust me. This is one TV drama not to miss.”

  2. the honorable woman

    maggie gyllenhaal

    sundance

    israel

    palestine

    david bianculli

  1. Ari Shavit’s new book, “My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel,” is a gale of conversation, of feeling, of foreboding, of ratiocination. It takes a wide-angle and often personal view of Israel’s past and present, and frequently reads like a love story and a thriller at once. That it ultimately becomes a book of lamentation, a moral cri de coeur and a ghost story tightens its hold on your imagination.

    Dwight Garner of the New York Times reviews Ari Shavit’s book, “My Promised Land.” Listen to Shavit’s interview with Fresh Air here.

  2. fresh air

    interview

    ari shavit

    new york times

    review

    israel

    palestine

  1. Israeli journalist Ari Shavit speaks to Fresh Air today about the sociopolitical divides between the secular and ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel:

[The ultra-Orthodox community] is growing very fast and its becoming a big — 10 percent, soon 20 percent — minority with a lot of political power, although the people there are not fully integrated into the society, the economy, and even do not feel a political responsibility for the future of the state.
… I see many positive processes within ultra-Orthodox society, but I think the ultra-Orthodox of Israel have to learn from the ultra-Orthodox of Brooklyn. They have to live in Israel; they have to be working; they have to be paying taxes; they have to be constructive citizens; they have to serve in the army; they have to be gradually integrated into Israel. They cannot live outside the state in society while enjoying all the benefits of being Israeli citizens.
And most important of all, they cannot impose their own values on the state. … We cannot let ultra-Orthodox politics and ideas endanger our relationship with our American-Jewish brothers and sisters. We need civil marriage; we need openness to all minority rights, equality [for] women, gay rights, all these things which secular Israel shares. And Israel is doing pretty well on many of these issues but the ultra-Orthodox keep wanting to push us back to their values.




photo via Cleveland

    Israeli journalist Ari Shavit speaks to Fresh Air today about the sociopolitical divides between the secular and ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel:

    [The ultra-Orthodox community] is growing very fast and its becoming a big — 10 percent, soon 20 percent — minority with a lot of political power, although the people there are not fully integrated into the society, the economy, and even do not feel a political responsibility for the future of the state.

    … I see many positive processes within ultra-Orthodox society, but I think the ultra-Orthodox of Israel have to learn from the ultra-Orthodox of Brooklyn. They have to live in Israel; they have to be working; they have to be paying taxes; they have to be constructive citizens; they have to serve in the army; they have to be gradually integrated into Israel. They cannot live outside the state in society while enjoying all the benefits of being Israeli citizens.

    And most important of all, they cannot impose their own values on the state. … We cannot let ultra-Orthodox politics and ideas endanger our relationship with our American-Jewish brothers and sisters. We need civil marriage; we need openness to all minority rights, equality [for] women, gay rights, all these things which secular Israel shares. And Israel is doing pretty well on many of these issues but the ultra-Orthodox keep wanting to push us back to their values.

    photo via Cleveland

  2. fresh air

    ari shavit

    interview

    israel

    Jews

    judaism

    ultra-orthodox jews

    brooklyn

  1. I see it as my role — as my commitment and my mission, the mission of my generation — to balance the two: to keep Zionism, to maintain the Jewish state, to protect Israel, to love Israel, and yet to realize that we have done wrong to others and to try to limit that moral damage that was done and to enable the two people[s] to live, eventually, in the future, in peace after they come to terms with their dramatic and traumatized pasts.

    — Israeli journalist Ari Shavit talks about his generation’s responsibility to Israel

  2. fresh air

    interview

    ari shavit

    israel

    palestine

    peace

    Zionism

  1. On Monday we speak to Israeli journalist Ari Shavit about the on-going peace negotiations with Palestinians, divides within the country between secular and ultra-orthodox Jews, and his own experiences in the Israeli military forces. Shavit’s new book is “My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel,” in which he challenges both right-wing and left-wing dogmas.



Photo of Tel Aviv, Israel via newmaya View in High-Res

    On Monday we speak to Israeli journalist Ari Shavit about the on-going peace negotiations with Palestinians, divides within the country between secular and ultra-orthodox Jews, and his own experiences in the Israeli military forces. Shavit’s new book is “My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel,” in which he challenges both right-wing and left-wing dogmas.

    Photo of Tel Aviv, Israel via newmaya

  2. fresh air

    israel

    palestine

    ari shavit

  1. Director Dror Moreh tells Dave Davies about one of the reasons he made The Gatekeepers:

My son is going to the army in two weeks from now and for me to create that movie was the fear that he will have to be that young soldier running in those alleys, arresting people, going into their homes in the middle of the night. And what effect it will have on his soul? What effect it will have on his personality, a young boy that now just finished high school?

Image of Israeli tank by jfelse01/Flickr

    Director Dror Moreh tells Dave Davies about one of the reasons he made The Gatekeepers:

    My son is going to the army in two weeks from now and for me to create that movie was the fear that he will have to be that young soldier running in those alleys, arresting people, going into their homes in the middle of the night. And what effect it will have on his soul? What effect it will have on his personality, a young boy that now just finished high school?

    Image of Israeli tank by jfelse01/Flickr

  2. Fresh Air

    Interviews

    Dror Moreh

    The Gatekeepers

    Israel

    Israeli Army

  1. Jewish settlers live under civil law. Palestinians in the West Bank live under military law. With the settler population growing at three times the rate of the Jewish population inside Israel’s original boundaries, at some point in the future, there will be too many settlers in the West Bank to actually extricate Israel from the West Bank, and at that point, Israel will become, in the words of former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, an ‘apartheid state.’ And that would be such a tragedy for us.

    — Peter Beinart, on today’s Fresh Air.

  2. israel

    palestine

    west bank

    peter beinart

    the crisis of zionism

  1. Yes, the left is correct about Israel never being a fully democratic country as long as there’s an occupation. But I think the right is correct in saying that solving the settlement issue won’t solve the larger Arab-Israeli conflict.

    — Journalist Gary Rosenblatt explains why he thinks a boycott doesn’t solve the larger issues in the Israeli/Palestinian crisis.

  2. gary rosenblatt

    israel

  1. We have to invest and spend our money in the original Israel, which offers the right of citizenship to all people, but I don’t think we should be spending our money in the West Bank, which is a territory where Israel’s founding ideals are desecrated,

    — Journalist Peter Beinart has called for a boycott of goods produced in the West Bank. On today’s Fresh Air, he explains why. (And journalist Gary Rosenblatt explains why he disagrees with Beinart.)

  2. peter beinart

    gary rosenblatt

    west bank

    israel

    palestine

  1. On Tuesday’s Fresh Air, we talk to journalist Peter Beinart about his book The Crisis of Zionism, which argues that Israel cannot be a true democratic state as long as there are settlements in the West Bank, where Jews are citizens of the Israeli state and Palestinians are not. In his book and in a recent New York Times op-ed, Beinart has proposed a boycott of goods made in the Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
We also talk to journalist Gary Rosenblatt. Rosenblatt, the editor and publish of The Jewish Weekof New York, details the reaction to Beinart’s article and explains why he disagrees with the boycott proposal.

    On Tuesday’s Fresh Air, we talk to journalist Peter Beinart about his book The Crisis of Zionism, which argues that Israel cannot be a true democratic state as long as there are settlements in the West Bank, where Jews are citizens of the Israeli state and Palestinians are not. In his book and in a recent New York Times op-ed, Beinart has proposed a boycott of goods made in the Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

    We also talk to journalist Gary Rosenblatt. Rosenblatt, the editor and publish of The Jewish Weekof New York, details the reaction to Beinart’s article and explains why he disagrees with the boycott proposal.

  2. peter beinart

    gary rosenblatt

    israel

    middle east

    politics

    west bank

    boycott

  1. Any attack on Iran would probably have the effect of unifying a very divided country. It would bring up a nationalistic surge. It could force opposition politicians to side with the Mullahs. It could make a battle with Israel or the United States an issue in the streets of Tehran rather than seeing those protestors out, as they were in 2009, protesting against their own government.

    — New York Times correspondent David Sanger, on what could happen if Israel or the U.S. attacked facilities in Iran.

  2. iran

    israel

    us

    middle east

    nuclear

    news

  1. The Obama administration has taken the position that if regime change is really Israel’s goal in Iran, then the bombing of the [nuclear] facilities would probably be the single most counterproductive step that they could take.

    — On today’s Fresh Air, David Sanger, the chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times, talks about the ongoing nuclear standoff and details what could potentially happen if Israel decided to mount a military strike against uranium enrichment sites in Iran.

  2. iran

    israel

    nuclear

    news

    david sanger

    the new york times

  1. As someone who spent a lot of years living in Jerusalem, one of the great perks is that when you come back, and you get into these Israel arguments in your American-Jewish clan, you can really just silence them by saying ‘I lived there.’ So we used it like a bludgeon.

    — Nathan Englander, on living in Israel.

  2. nathan englander

    israel

  1. I hope I’m wrong, I’ve made enough wrong predictions over the Arab Spring that maybe I’m wrong on this too — but my conviction is that President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu cannot reach a deal for so many reasons, not just personal outlooks but politics on both sides.

    — The West Bank has yet to see a democracy movement on the of level of those sparking dramatic changes in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. It could have a huge effect on the region, were it to happen, says conflict resolution expert Robert Malley.

  2. robert malley

    israel

    palestine

    middle east

    west bank