Brand new second edition of “Broken Spring” is available for 3 bucks!

The second edition of Broken Spring is up on and other platforms. It features new chapters about how journalists operate (or don’t) in the Middle East and how conflicts are judged–and it’s updated throughout with developments in the region since the first edition came out in March.

AND the e-book is selling for $2.99 on Amazon! That won’t last long…so buy a bunch and send them around as gifts.

Seriously…the reason I wrote this book is to get the word out about mistakes the West makes over and over in this region, using Arab Spring as an example. But it’s not all heavy stuff. There’s a chapter about walking in the Cairo streets, visiting with a shopkeeper. and trying to find kosher food in Cairo.

The heavy parts include chapters about regional developments and how Israel and its role in the region look from outside. There are about 40 chapters in 230-some pages–short bites of reality for easy reading.


Mark with books!


Don’t laugh this off–Rwandan troops in Gaza isn’t off the wall

I laughed when I saw the headline…Rwandan troops to clean up the Gaza mess? Are you kidding? Then I read Shmuley Boteach’s article and found it eerily sensible. The main point, while he doesn’t state it explicitly, is that Israel can’t do this by itself, and that may be the main takeaway from the last conflict. I’ll write about that myself…in the meantime, give this some consideration:

Rwandan troops with grim evidence of genocide


Why the Israeli story is distorted and overblown — not just the Gaza war

Matti Friedman is one of the most talented and intelligent reporters I have had the privilege of working with in my 50-year career. When you read this, you will understand why he left the AP, and you will understand why I’m happy to be on my own now. I’m in this article, though not by name–Matti says when readers see the word “furious,” they’ll know it’s me. Cute. In my book, I write about being banned from writing about Israel’s 2008 peace offer to the Palestinians in detail. “Furious” is an understatement. I took some job interviews before people begged me to suck it up and stay.

It’s worth reading every word of this article. I perked up when I read that the AP Jerusalem bureau actually tried to file a story about Hamas intimidation of reporters in Gaza, but it was spiked by higher-ups.

I am proud that my article in magazine was the first to expose this vital aspect of the war coverage. Since it appeared, some reporters are talking about Hamas tactics–while the New York Times, of course, denies that there’s any intimidation at all. They must be covering a different conflict.

Matti Friedman

Forbes to US: Let up on Israel, help Egypt grow economy

It’s refreshing to see some public support for the obvious need to help Egypt restructure its economy. That’s an issue that always takes a back seat to politics and violence–but it’s more important than both put  together. Steve Forbes has a double message to the US–stop pressing Israel for a cease-fire, and help push Egypt into the 21st century. They’re related, in his mind–a new way of thinking about the Mideast:


US tried to rescue captured journalists in Syria but failed

I’m going to get a couple of things off my chest here.

Please read this article by my Cairo friend, now safe in Washington (well, safe might be a bit exaggerated, because, well, it’s Washington):

An American journalist, James Foley, was beheaded not far from here. This comes at  a time when I’m reading armchair backers of this side or that side of the Israel-Gaza conflict complaining about journalists not doing their jobs, not getting out and covering the news, not defying the tyrannical regimes and telling the “truth.” 

Of course it’s a problem–that’s why I wrote a 2,500-word article for about intimidation of reporters in Gaza:

But until you are personally willing to go to a place like that and march down the street with your camera and your microphone and defy the authorities, please give me a break and back off the journalists who are actually there. They are doing the best they can in life-threatening situations.

And if you look at the chart at the bottom of @nancyayoussef ‘s article, you’ll see that I am not talking academic theory here. This is a dangerous profession, and reporters get killed.

I spent two years in Egypt. During that time (I came home a year ago), colleagues were harassed, beaten and arrested. Now it’s worse than it was then, all over the region. There are people here who are glad I’m home now…and in my book, I promised to stay home. I’ll keep the promise. More than 40 years of running around the region is probably enough.

James Foley

Foreign Press Association blasts Hamas intimidation

If you thought I was kidding about Hamas intimidation of journalists in Gaza, here’s an unusually blunt statement from the Foreign Press Association, representing correspondents–both local and foreign–who work for overseas news outlets in Israel and the Palestinian areas:

The FPA protests in the strongest terms the blatant, incessant, forceful and unorthodox methods employed by the Hamas authorities and their representatives against visiting international journalists in Gaza over the past month.

The international media are not advocacy organisations and cannot be prevented from reporting by means of threats or pressure, thereby denying their readers and viewers an objective picture from the ground.

In several cases, foreign reporters working in Gaza have been harassed, threatened or questioned over stories or information they have reported through their news media or by means of social media.

We are also aware that Hamas is trying to put in place a “vetting” procedure that would, in effect, allow for the blacklisting of specific journalists. Such a procedure is vehemently opposed by the FPA.

Yes, FPA, media can and are prevented from reporting by threats and intimidation. I understand why you need to sound defiant (I was on the FPA board for more than 10 years), but this is a main reason why you aren’t seeing the whole story in Gaza. Excusing their coverage, news outlets are saying, gee, we didn’t see anything, they just disappear…understandable, but how is it that in every other conflict, we see the combatants every day? This FPA statement comes along after many of the foreign correspondents have left Gaza, also understandable, but their stringers are still there and still subject to Hamas intimidation.



We see pictures of women, but not Hamas

US newspaper prints Mark’s article about “proportionality”

Here’s my article analyzing the concept of “proportionality” in the Israel-Hamas conflict as it appears in a Midwestern US newspaper:

And while you’re here, join us for some musical entertainment from Friday at 1:30 in the morning:

And a satirical take on the Proportionality issue: