Forward Thinking

Jane Eisner Discusses Gaza Crisis on MSNBC

By Forward Staff

Forward editor-in-chief discussed the battle in Gaza and the broader Israeli-Palestinian conflict in an appearance on the Melissa Harris-Perry show on MSNBC.

Eisner pointed out that Palestinians are plagued by internal divisions that complicate the peace process. She also noted that many American Jews are watching the conflagration with nervous concern.

MSNBC host Chris Hayes lavished praise on the Forward’s Larry Cohler-Esses for his groundbreaking interview with top Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzook. Watch the entire show below.

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Some More Snap Thoughts on the Debate

By J.J. Goldberg

Was tonight’s debate a turning point in the campaign? Republicans believe it was, and that’s important. Republicans believe Romney won and they’re energized. The money that was fleeing Romney in the last several weeks is going to come back. Romney’s campaign was collapsing until tonight, and now it’s not collapsing anymore. He’s got a second wind. That’s huge.

CBS snap poll of undecided voters: 46% believe Romney won, 22% say Obama won, 32% say it was a tie. CNN snap poll of registered voters who watched the debate: 67% say Romney won, 25% say Obama won.

A crucial point to watch for tomorrow, thanks to Rachel Maddow on MSNBC: the question tomorrow will be whether Romney gets slammed for making stuff up or Obama will get slammed for letting Romney getting away with it. Some examples: Romney said Obama shouldn’t raise taxes on the rich – after all, he opposed raising them a year ago when the economy was in trouble and hey, it’s still in trouble. Actually, Obama wanted to let the Bush tax cuts expire for the rich only and the GOP blocked him, insisted on saving all the Bush cuts or none of them. The notion that Obama made a judgment call not to raise taxes last year is simply false, and Obama let it slide.

Romney said he doesn’t want the government deciding what healthcare he can get. Right now insurance companies decide what care you can get. Romney said it’s a bad idea to raise taxes because it will kill job growth, while lower taxes will create jobs and generate new tax revenue to close the deficit. Clinton raised taxes, got enormous job growth and closed the deficit. Reagan lowered taxes, got job growth and exploded the debt. Bush lowered taxes and got listless job growth and exploded the debt even more. Obama just didn’t parry any of Romney’s points. Romney was sharp and Obama wasn’t. He was convoluted, sleepy and unresponsive.

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Watch: Slain Envoy Saw Al Qaeda Take Root in Libya

By J.J. Goldberg

Rachel Maddow opened her MSNBC show this evening with a fascinating piece about a small city just east of Benghazi called Derna, which was reported several years ago by the late Chris Stevens, then a junior U.S. diplomat in Libya to be a hotbed of Islamic radicals and Al Qaeda wannabes. According to a 2008 memo by Stevens that was published last year by Wikileaks, Al Qaeda identified Derna some years ago as a major source of terrorist recruits in Iraq and deliberately built it into a new hub of terrorist recruitment and training. She also shows several films taken by Derna-based radicals of earlier attacks they had launched against Western targets in Benghazi.

What she shows is how the attack on the consulate and the murder of Stevens and the others was not a protest that got out of hand but the latest in a series of increasingly elaborate, highly planned operations by Al Qaeda from the hub they have built over the years in Derna, one of a growing network of bases across Africa.

She draws some tantalizing though incomplete connections to the Iraq war, which apparently was a boon to Al Qaeda’s recruitment and expansion strategies, and to the imprisonment in North Carolina of the blind sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman. Must see TV:

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