February 4, 2014
A staunch defender of Israel is dead. Columnist, scholar, and author Dr. Barry Rubin died last night after a battle with cancer. He was 64.
The Jewish Press said of him, "Barry Rubin's was a rare voice of clarity in the Israeli academia and in Jewish media. He was one of the good guys."
Indeed he was. Barry Rubin was director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA), and a professor at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya, Israel. He was also editor of the journal Turkish Studies, and penned frequent columns at PJ Media where he served as Middle East Editor.
His "voice" rang true when he defended Israel, especially from western critics. But Rubin was no apologist for the Jewish state, being a frequent critic of government policies. He also brought clarity to the Palestinian issue, exposing the blindness of the Obama administration to the real goals of Palestinian diplomacy.
His criticism of Secretary of State Kerry (and his predecessor Hillary Clinton) was harsh, fact based, and relentless, exposing their naïveté and stupidity time and time again. Few scholars had the depth of knowledge and understanding of the entire region - its history, its people its politics - and Dr. Rubin employed this understanding to show how dreadful American policy in the region had become.
His output was astonishing. Columns, blog posts, books, as well as editing GLORIA's website. He explained his busy life this way:
It's like an iceberg. What you see is only a small portion of what goes on behind the scenes, including contacts with people all over the region, sometimes people whose lives would be in danger if it were known they were talking to me. As an Israeli, I often find it's much easier to talk with Turks, Iranians and Arabs because we are on the same page - especially in private - about understanding the reality of the region compared to the fantasies often held in Western academic, media and governmental circles.
One of the little known contributions Dr. Rubin made to the defense of Israel was his mentoring of students, bloggers, and writers. Dozens of men and women received the benefit of his wisdom. No one who worked with him could forget the largeness of spirit he demonstrated while sharing his thoughts and ideas.
That he was largely ignored by western academics rankled him. He knew he was smarter, more knowledgeable, far less enamored of politically correct talking points about Palestinians and Muslims in general than his counterparts at the institutions of higher learning in the US and Europe. He believes that this attitude is suicidal and a danger to Israel.
I had the great good fortune of working with Barry on a number of his articles at PJ Media, and I interviewed him a couple of times on my radio show (He got up at 4 in the AM to call in). He was an original, to be sure. He did not suffer fools gladly and was direct in his criticism of some of my other guests who got the history wrong, or drew the wrong conclusions. But he was never mean spirited about it, acting more the professor than prosecutor.
A powerful voice for Israel has been stilled.
This article was originally posted in American Thinker. Refer to original article for related links and important documentation.
Editor's Note: Our condolences to the Rubin Family. Dr. Rubin will be greatly missed by all who sought peace in the Middle East.
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