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Chat About the Intersection of Race, Gender & Politics in The Hive

Slice contributor Samhita Mukhopadhyay will join The Slice's editor Nona Willis Aronowitz Thursday at 1 p.m in The Hive (sub req) to chat about the intersection of race, gender, and politics. Mukhopadhyay is a writer and former executive editor of Feministing.com. She's the author of Outdated: Why Dating Is Ruining Your Love Life and contributed this piece on Mindy Kaling and race to The Slice. She is passionate about race, gender politics, technology and the media.

Netanyahu Feeling Squeezed in Right-wing Coalition?

I wanted to flag this article on the coalition negotiations in Israel which I think captures a key reality of the moment. It's very important. Netanyahu's party won a resounding victory on March 17th. But the outcome (a narrow right wing coalition) is far less appealing for him than the one he faced when he assembled in 2009 and 2013. In both earlier cases he was able to get buy in from center or center-left parties. That gave him a fig leaf on the international stage - continued settlement activity but with the appearance of on-going two state negotiations which he nonetheless made sure would not g anywhere. This allowed him to pursue what was basically a right wing agenda while also keeping the demands of the US and Europe at bay. It also gave him room for maneuver within his coalition to pivot a bit right or left as conditions warranted.

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Oops. Somebody Didn't See That Coming

Did the State of Indiana have any idea what it was getting itself into? Reading the history of this particular law, the relatively quiet progress of the legislation, followed by the avalanche of criticism and boycotts, the answer seems almost certainly to be no. There's now even a backdraft of commentary that the criticism and boycotts are somehow hypocritical since 19 other states and the federal government have similar laws. And the state's hapless Gov. Mike Pence is claiming that Barack Obama voted for a similar law when he was in the Illinois state legislature. Indeed, Pence now says he will push for a new law to "clarify" the law that's gotten his state in all this trouble.

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Be Happy They Are Acting

Years from now, whoever we decide was right or wrong in the context of US politics and foreign policy, I imagine we will see the current history of the Middle East as a story unfolding from the 9/11 attacks to the US invasion of Iraq to the Arab Spring and then moving on to the current many-headed conflagration in Syria, Iraq, Libya and now Yemen.

Of course, history didn't begin in 2001. The 9/11 attacks were umbilically connected to the Gulf War and the Afghan insurgency. And we can go back before that to the creation of the modern Arab state system, the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and more. But history has decisive turning points when contingent events shove building trends in dramatic directions. And I have little doubt that the disputed election of George W. Bush in December 2000, the cataclysmic 9/11 attacks a year later and the invasion of Iraq eighteen months after that, were just such a contingent and conjoined group of events.

But there's one element of the story which many see as a negative but which I think is actually a positive development.

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Natan Sachs in The Hive

We're hosting a Live Chat with Natan Sachs in The Hive (sub req). Sachs is a fellow at the Brookings Institution's Center for Middle East Policy and he'll be discussing the recent Israeli elections, US-Israel relations and future of the two state solution. I'll be there. Get your questions in now.