I spent much of October writing a long piece for Middle East Policy, provoked in part by a college age daughter’s question about the utility of Israel as a strategic ally. (She was wearying of arguing the moral rights and wrongs of Zionists and Palestinians in the Holy Land.) It can be found here . For me the most illuminating part of the research was reading Jonathan Cook’s fine book on Israel and the Clash of Civilizations, which I think extends our knowledge a lot about the run-up to the Iraq war. In any case, I come to fairly pessimistic conclusions, but I hope some of you check out the essay anyway.