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The Table @ Aspen

Reporting on Israel
(Part 3)

James Bennet, Jeffrey Goldberg, and Ari Shavit explore the Olmert corruption probe and answer questions about the future.

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The Table @ Aspen: A Complete Set

16 Jul 2008 10:47 am

By popular request, here are all four of our Aspen Table series in convenient multi-title players.

Reporting on Israel, July 5th
Participants: James Bennet (moderator), Jeffrey Goldberg, Ari Shavit


Digital Storytelling and the Future of Journalism (July 4th)
Participants: Marc Ambinder (moderator), Sean Parker, Megan McArdle, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Michael Hirschorn


The Future of Party Politics (July 2nd)
Participants: Marc Ambinder (moderator), David Brooks, Ross Douthat, Matthew Yglesias


Is Higher Education For Everyone? (July 1st) 
Participants: Ross Douthat (moderator), Daniel Mote, Paul Verkuil, Michael Bennet

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Reporting on Israel (Part 3)

08 Jul 2008 12:00 pm

[Jennie Rothenberg Gritz wrote:]

Here's the final installment of the final Aspen-based edition of The Table. This part of the discussion dealt mainly with the complicated relationship between Israeli leaders and American philanthropists. Ari Shavit, who has been a fierce critic of the current prime minister (check out his March Ha'aretz column "The Man Without Substance"), nonetheless provided some context for Olmert's alleged lapse of judgment. 

The problem, Shavit explained, is that wealthy American Jews, while doing much good for Israel at large, are in the habit of adopting Israeli war heroes as "pets." The Israelis, in turn, find it hard to resist the lure of American power. The result is an unnatural intimacy that distorts the natural covenant (Shavit used the Biblical term brit) between the two Jewish communities. 

The Q&A session that followed this session was a particularly lively one. As soon as the floor opened, audience members sprang to their feet and crowded the mic, proving Jeff's and Ari's recurring point that the Jewish people thrive on questioning (or, at the very least, on hearing ourselves talk). Some of the questioners expressed fear, even sadness, about the state of Israeli politics and the internal divisions among the Israeli people. 

But Shavit ended the panel on a hopeful note, praising his country as "an amazingly vital society that loves life, and is committed to life, and produces solutions, and radiates energy and creativity." All of these attributes, he asserted, will help the nation move forward and take the right steps toward a peaceful future.


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Reporting on Israel (Part 2)

07 Jul 2008 05:34 pm

This next segment of our final Table gets into some intriguing issues about Olmert's real intentions. Jeff explains that Olmert -- once a hardliner, like Sharon before him -- has now moved his politics to the left of where many American Jews stand. This is a key point: too few Americans realize that holding onto the West Bank has become a matter of demographic and practical concern for even some of the most conservative Israelis. Jeff's May Atlantic cover story, "The Unforgiven," explains this phenomenon in more intricate detail.

Of course, Jeff also acknowledges that there's a certain opportunistic element underlying the prime minister's dovishness, related to his recent corruption charges. "When he's indicted," Jeff deadpans, "he's going to be giving Tel Aviv to Dubai."


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Reporting on Israel (Part 1)

07 Jul 2008 09:53 am

In our last Aspen-based edition of The Table, Atlantic editor James Bennet talks with Jeffrey Goldberg and Israeli journalist Ari Shavit about Israel's media, Olmert's intentions, and the future state of Middle East diplomacy. In this first segment, Shavit and Goldberg explain why big ideas are so crucial for Israel's survival. As Goldberg puts it, Israelis go through their daily lives -- waking up, going to work, taking the bus -- while essentially living inside one big idea.


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Bill Clinton: A Generation of Ideals

07 Jul 2008 12:44 am

Former President Bill Clinton speaks at the Aspen Ideas Festival on the next generation's service and sacrifice. 


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The Table @ Aspen: How Real is Reality TV?

05 Jul 2008 02:35 pm

Digital Storytelling, Part Three: Michael Hirschorn, one of the creative minds behind VH1's "Flavor of Love" and "Surreal Life," talks about the appeal of reality television and whether online video will eclipse traditional programming.


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The Table @ Aspen: The Blogger's Identity

05 Jul 2008 01:48 pm

Digital Storytelling, Part Two:  Marc Ambinder, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Megan McArdle examine how blogging has changed them as journalists.

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The Presidency and the Constitution

05 Jul 2008 12:26 pm

[Jennie Rothenberg Gritz wrote:]

The clip below provides an interesting counterpoint to the video we posted yesterday in which Sandra Day O'Connor laments that the judicial branch is being infiltrated by partisan politics. Here John Yoo, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General under George W. Bush, argues the opposite: that the courts are encroaching on the political process. 

Whatever one's take on John Yoo (he contributed to the PATRIOT Act and staunchly opposes habeas corpus for Guantanamo detainees), it's fascinating to hear him describe the complicated dance that goes on between Congress, the Supreme Court, and the President. His joke about Justice O'Connor speaks volumes in and of itself.

Jeffrey Rosen, the moderator for this session, was the author of our 2006 Atlantic cover story on Roe v. Wade


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The Table @ Aspen: The Reporter and Facebook

05 Jul 2008 10:18 am

Digital Storytelling, Part One:  Is it ethical for reporters to use Facebook to track down sources?  Are everday citizens aware that their online lives are now fair game?  Should journalists even have their own facebook profiles?  In this third session of The Table @ Aspen, Marc Ambinder, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Michael Hirschorn, Megan McArdle and Sean Parker look for answers: 


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Are We Safe Yet?

04 Jul 2008 09:12 pm

Jeffrey Goldberg asks Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff the million-dollar question: does the lack of major attacks against America since 2001 mean we're winning the war against terror? 


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