The Corner


An Israel Explainer, and More

Supporters of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party at party headquarters in Jerusalem on March 23, 2021 (Ammar Awad / Reuters)

In Impromptus today, I lead with Kamala Harris, who is “making a run for the border,” to borrow from an old Taco Bell slogan. She is visiting our southwestern border, where there is a lot of work to do. I also ask the question: Is Harris a good politician? This may seem an odd question to ask of someone who has risen to senator from California and vice president, but it’s a good one.

I also deal with the question of paying college athletes. Most people — most people of my acquaintance, certainly — think it’s a good idea, long overdue. I am a dinosaur objector.

Apple Daily has shut down — been forced to close in Hong Kong, its home. But the Taiwanese edition will continue to publish. In a nutshell, you have the difference between a free China and an unfree China. In 2012, I visited Apple Daily offices in Taipei. There was a bust of Hayek in the lobby. Jimmy Lai — the entrepreneur who founded the paper, and has now been imprisoned by Chinese authorities — is an extraordinary person.

So, that Impromptus, again, is here.

My latest Q&A podcast is here. You know the expression “back by popular demand”? Last month, Haviv Rettig Gur, the Israeli journalist, appeared on this program to explain the Hamas war (the latest one). He is back by popular demand, to explain Israeli politics: Bibi out, a crazy-quilt coalition (as it seems to many of us) in. HRG assesses Benjamin Netanyahu. He sketches the rise of Naftali Bennett. And he guides us through the tumultuous, amazing world of Israel’s parliamentary democracy.

HRG is a born analyst and teacher. An hour with him is an education and a delight.

I will end this post on a letter, heartwarming:

Mr. Nordlinger,

A note of appreciation for your work and that of your NR teammates. A while back, in a fit of pique, I took a decade off from reading NR. Then a couple of years ago we re-subscribed. I’m glad we did. Sanity always, and a little levity — a happy recipe for a political journal, especially over the past year-and-change.

What a pleasure to find that you are still doing Impromptus, with its trademark cadence.

Speaking of music: My wife and I have five kids. My eleven-year-old daughter frequently requests Music for a While listening sessions with Dad. Go figure.

Sometimes I twist a few arms and make them all listen. I suspect they secretly enjoy it too, but won’t admit it.

So, bravo and thanks for what you do.

Heh (and bless the eleven-year-old, in particular). (My latest Music for a While, incidentally, is here.)


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