Sartre, Not Sabras

In her analysis of Charlie Gibson’s interview with Sarah Palin, New York Times TV critic Alessandra Stanley may have been a bit too critical.

About Gibson she wrote: “But his attitude was at times supercilious: He asked if a nuclear Iran posed an ‘existential threat’ to Israel, as if it were the land of Sartre, not Sabras.”

I don’t mean to be supercilious, but this is the problem with a TV critic dabbling in political reporting. Anyone who reads the newspaper — and particularly stories about Israel — knows that there’s nothing hoity-toity about  the way Gibson asked the question. The term “existential threat” could hardly be more commonplace.

But just to be sure, I checked the Jargon Database, which specifically knocks out the Sartre option.

Existential Threat
Surprisingly NOT something one finds covered in a college philosophy textbook, this is regarded as a military or terrorist threat to the existence of something, usually the United States. Usually involves nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons.

Related

Discover More

This Israeli Dish Will be the Highlight of Summer

Pashtida, a crustless quiche, is a great way to use your corn and zucchini.

What Are the Nine Days?

In this period leading up to Tisha B'Av, Jews traditionally abstain from eating meat.

How to Find a Mahzor (High Holiday Prayer Book)

Options for purchasing printed books and downloading free PDFs.