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A New War. And Everything That Comes With It.
A message from Wisdom of Crowds co-founder Shadi Hamid.
This has been a difficult time. Many of us have friends or family either in Gaza or Israel. Muslim-Jewish tensions are flaring across the globe. It’s sometimes hard to know what to say. Damir and I are both, at least in our original incarnations, foreign policy people. But the events of the past few weeks don’t feel like mere “foreign policy” developments as much as they feel like a harbinger of bad things to come, both at home and abroad.
Israel-Palestine is not any old conflict. People often ask me things like: well, Shadi, why aren’t people paying attention to Afghanistan, Congo, or the genocide of Muslims in China. I actually don’t think it’s all that complicated. Israel-Palestine is a proxy for a deeper set of foundational concerns and civilizational fault lines. All the big moral, political, and ideological questions—many of them first principle questions—are implicated in Israel and Palestine. My hope is that we’ve been able to help illuminate some of these questions.
From my own standpoint, I’m really proud of what we’ve been able to do here at Wisdom of Crowds over the past month. As per usual, we didn’t go into the events in Israel and Gaza with any particular agenda. But we did go into it with an ethos. We’ve tried to be as frank as possible about our starting premises. In attempting in good faith to understand the views of those with whom we disagree, surprising things can happen.
Our conversation with Robert Nicholson—a Christian, a Zionist, and (most importantly) a friend—was a model of what we try to do here. It was an epic and often emotional episode, and it raised a set of questions that have stuck with me since. Are the things each of us believes simply irreconcilable? Honestly I think this is one of the best episodes we’ve ever done. Seriously, do try to listen to it if you get the chance. As with all of our episodes, the full conversation is for paying subscribers, so if you’ve been waiting for the right moment to join the Crowd, we’d love to have you.
To make it all a bit more digestible, we’ve assembled in one place below a collection of our recent work that delves into both the geopolitics of the Israel-Hamas conflict and the first principles that it’s prompted us to reexamine.
If you’re interested in trying us out, here’s a special offer for a 14-day free trial. And, without further ado, scroll down for the best of Wisdom of Crowds, Israel-Palestine edition.
🔴 Do not miss ’s other recent Monday Notes, including “Biden's Happy-thinking in the Middle East.”
🔴 In addition to Elisabeth’s column, read ’s essay, “The Case for Honesty in Foreign Policy”.
🔴 Relatedly, read ’s latest column in The Washington Post, “Reducing Hamas’s terrorism to a problem of ‘evil’ is a mistake”.