Making Sense of the Middle East

Magazines about conflict and resistance

| September/October 2002

Reading news about the Middle East can be dispiriting. It's hard not to feel overwhelmed by all the accounts of occupying soldiers destroying villages and killing children, and of young people strapping bombs to their bodies to explode in public places.

One option is to bury your head in the sand. Another is to seek out a wider range of outlooks. Several magazines and newsletters provide deeper, broader, and less militaristic views of life in the region.

The comprehensive Washington Report on Middle East Affairs includes perspectives from the European press, examines media bias, runs statements by Israeli refuseniks and letters by prisoners, and reports on diplomatic doings. A recent issue includes an article on Arab women journalists and a selection of pointed political cartoons. Subscriptions: $29 (9 issues) from 1902 18th St. NW, Washington, DC 20009;

The Other Israel, newsletter of the Israeli Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, is a longtime source of information relating to Israeli citizen peace efforts. Whether it's covering the organized actions of peace groups Women in Black and Yesh Gvul or conscientious individual stands, it offers heroic signs of resistance. Subscriptions: $30 (6 issues)-$15 for students and unemployed or retired people-from America-Israeli Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, 224 Lake Dr., Kensington, CA 94708;

Challenge, 'a magazine covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,' reports bimonthly from Israel and acts as a forum for those who seek to go 'beyond a primitive urge to annihilate.' Recent issues have featured an interview with Israeli conscientious objectors, a report on the Arab education crisis, and an interview with Palestinian leader Hani Issawi. Subscriptions: $30 (6 issues) from Box 41199, Jaffa 61411, Israel;

The Middle East Report is published quarterly by the nonprofit Middle East Research and Information Project. One recent issue of the newsmagazine focused entirely on barriers to peace between Palestine and Israel, but attention is also regularly given to Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq. Subscriptions: $37 (4 issues) Box 277, Hopewell, PA 16650;

Also worth noting: The Link, newsletter of Americans for Middle East Understanding (subscriptions: $40 contribution for 6 issues from Room 245, 475 Riverside Dr., New York, NY 10115;;Minaret, 'America's source on Islam' (subscriptions: $25 for 10 issues from 434 S. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90020);Mizna, a journal of prose, poetry, and art by Arab Americans (subscriptions: $15 for 3 issues from Box 14294, Minneapolis, MN 55414;; and Tikkun, a progressive American Jewish magazine that often covers the Middle East (subscriptions: $29 for 6 issues from Box 460926, Escondido, CA 92046).

This Just In
Z Magazine
, an ad-free independent monthly, recently celebrated its 15th anniversary. Z covers world politics and culture, with analysis and commentary by critical progressive thinkers such as Noam Chomsky, Edward S. Herman, and Michael Bronski. Subscriptions: $30 (12 issues) from 18 Millfield St., Woods Hole, MA 02543; $30;

Fourth Door Review is a noncommercial magazine aimed at breaking down barriers 'between ecology and technology, land art and digital crafts, music and media.' The latest issue (#5) includes an interview with 'cyberphilosopher' Pierre Levy, as well as articles on new music from Norway, 'beehive' buildings, and the handmade paper industry in India. Subscriptions: $50 (3 issues) from 68 Mt. Gilboa Rd., Westmoreland, NH 03467;

The Free Press Death Ship is a new publication agitating for freedom of expression. Edited by Violet Jones (who also edits the silk-screened zine Spunk), the first issue includes short reviews of hundreds of small publications, from Disgruntled Postal Worker to I Dreamed I Was Assertive. Subscriptions: free, but cash donations welcomed, from Box 55336, Hayward, CA 94545.

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