Barry Rubin has been a PJ Columnist since April 2011 and is also PJ Media’s Middle East Editor.
Following the Middle East is no small feat. For Barry, it is a daily pursuit that might go for 17 hours. As he explains, “Historically, the Middle East has had two or three big stories simultaneously, but over the last year, the total has been closer to ten or twelve. We are engaged in a real-time intense battle to explain what’s going on even as things move very quickly.”
It helps that he lives in Tel Aviv, Israel, which he describes as “large but not too large, full of interesting people, great characters, and a complex mix of influences.” He also believes Tel Aviv is far more typical of Israel than Jerusalem, which is why he insisted that a photo of a Tel Aviv beach scene be on the cover his new book, Israel: An Introduction. The book explains that Israel is a real country with real people and not just a projection of foreign fantasies — or ideological constructs of absolute good or evil. (You can order the book by clicking here.)
Barry describes his intense life – running a research center and dealing with lots of projects, the media, diplomatic briefings, and all sorts of things:
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.
When he’s not working, Barry makes time for family life, and he cares for his clowder of four indoor and two outdoor cats. He also builds model railroads and is a Civil War re-enactor.
You can follow Barry Rubin’s blog at http://pjmedia.com/barryrubin/