Jueves, 31 de mayo de 2012

When a slow-motion massacre has unfolded over the course of 15 months, it’s easy to lose the world’s attention. But even the most jaded gasped in horror as news emerged of the latest carnage inflicted on the Syrian people. The images from the town of Houla defied belief.

Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad went on a systematic killing spree, murdering at least 108 people. Most shockingly, the killers targeted women and children. A U.N. representative said the victims included 49 children who were younger than 10. The al-Assad regime denied it carried out the atrocities, but U.N. officials said they saw clear evidence that the Syrian government was involved in the attacks.…  Seguir leyendo »

In village after village in the Jabal al-Zawiya region of Syria, northwest of the central city of Hama, the scene was the same: burned-down houses and grieving families who described atrocities by Syrian soldiers — relatives of all ages dragged away and shot, their bodies often set on fire, making them literally part of the military’s “scorched earth” policy.

I spoke to people who are terrified of leaving their homes.

Syrian army positions dot the hills around villages in this region, and the main roads are accessible only through army checkpoints. Even in areas ostensibly under the control of the armed opposition, residents are frightened.…  Seguir leyendo »

With no prospect of meaningful negotiations between the Palestinians and the Netanyahu government, a new approach to peace is needed, one that focuses on the Israeli and Palestinian people themselves. Though not a perfect analogy, let’s call it UNSCOP-2 because the work of UNSCOP, the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine, in 1947, is the closest precedent for what is needed today.

UNSCOP was charged with coming up with a solution to the Palestine question, and after visiting the region to hold hearings, and then traveling to Europe to interview Holocaust survivors, the committee called for two states, one Arab and one Jewish.…  Seguir leyendo »

Syrians have been killed almost since Hafez al-Assad took power in the 1970s. Now that the bloodshed has escalated under his son Bashar, history repeats itself, and no one seems to care.

In March, the international community put its faith in the peace plan that Kofi Annan, the former United Nations secretary general, struck with Mr. Assad. However, his brutal crackdown on the Syrian people — which has killed thousands and displaced hundreds of thousands — continues. Gruesome atrocities happen as soon as United Nations inspectors turn their backs. Civilians are targeted for having dared to speak up to the inspectors or are killed indiscriminately for protesting.…  Seguir leyendo »

As demand starts to build for President Obama to «do something» about the situation in Syria, let’s review where the United States and its citizens stand on the general question of using military force abroad.

On this issue, Americans are divided in strange ways. There are liberal hawks and conservative doves, and vice versa.

Liberal doves oppose almost any use of U.S. power because their mind-set hardened during Vietnam: War kills children and other living things; we can’t be the world’s policeman; and so on. This sounds dismissive, but it’s not meant to be. In fact, it’s more or less where I come out.…  Seguir leyendo »

La actual crisis económica mundial no solo ha llevado a que en muchos países los partidos gobernantes pierdan las elecciones: también está causando un terremoto en las juntas directivas de las empresas. En otros tiempos, cuando las cotizaciones bursátiles y los beneficios empresariales parecían desafiar la ley de la gravedad, las asambleas de accionistas se parecían a las convenciones políticas estadounidenses: más que foros donde discutir asuntos contenciosos, parecían espectáculos montados para promover la imagen de las empresas. Pero la ronda anual de asambleas generales de este año fue diferente. Los inversores, decepcionados por los bajos rendimientos, están mucho más belicosos que antes.…  Seguir leyendo »

A lo largo y ancho de la Unión Europea y el resto del mundo, muchos gobiernos parecen enfrentarse a un dilema insoluble: las deudas nacionales contraídas se han convertido en una pesada carga que los obliga a recortar gastos y aumentar los impuestos en un intento de reducir el déficit. Pero estas medidas desalientan el consumo, que es necesario para impulsar la actividad económica y el crecimiento. Conforme de la austeridad se pasa a discutir la implementación de medidas que estimulen el crecimiento, la búsqueda del equilibrio justo exige pensar en un modelo impositivo más inteligente.

Cuando los gobiernos se enfrentan a la difícil tarea de cobrar impuestos, suelen pensar en el impuesto sobre la renta, el impuesto de sociedades y el impuesto al valor agregado (IVA).…  Seguir leyendo »

Some of us still have to work for our living, so with all due respect to writing this column, in my other hat I’m the Director General of Mishkenot Sha’ananim, the lovely guest house and conference center in Jerusalem, established by the great Jewish British philanthropist Sir Moses Montefiore, more than 150 years ago.

Two weeks ago we ran our biannual International Writers Festival, with some 15 guest writers from all over the world dialoguing with the greatest Israeli authors: Amos Oz, David Grossman, Meir Shalev and others, to the delight of the local book enthusiasts. The mutual respect — at times even admiration — between writers, surpassed borders and politics.…  Seguir leyendo »